Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has sharply rejected claims that the cabinet
intended to pave the way for legal changes that would weaken the role of
Parliament in times of crisis and put more powers in the hands of the
The weekly Respekt and the news site Aktualne.cz wrote on Monday that the Defence Ministry is preparing a draft legislation to that effect to be debated by the government in the coming days. According to Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar the government was only to receive suggestions from a group of experts regarding the possibilities of resolving crisis situations. He said the document had been commissioned as a set of guidelines for crisis situations when the government or Parliament were not action capable.
The prime minister reassured politicians and the public that no such document would be discussed saying that the ministry should have known better than to come forward with such an initiative at the present time.
Freezing temperatures broke records at monitoring stations around the
country as night time lows dropped to – 13.7 degrees Celsius on Monday
The absolute record of – 14.5 degrees Celsius registered in 2004 was not broken.
According to the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute the unseasonably cold weather will continue at least until mid-week with Tuesday night expected to be colder still.
A group of Czech singers have come together to produce video clips as an
expression of gratitude to those fighting the coronavirus epidemic on the
Ondřej Brzobohatý, Olga Lounová, Marta Jandova and Vojta Dyk created the songs “Life” and “Never give up” for the country’s doctors and nurses, fire fighters, police and social workers.
The video clips have been released with an appeal for financial support to the Czech Association of nurses.
The number of coronavirus cases registered in the Czech Republic crossed
3,000 on Tuesday morning with 184 new cases registered on Monday.
The number of deaths is now at 23 and the number of those who have recovered at 25.
According to Health Ministry statistics 277 people are hospitalized with COVID 19 and roughly a fifth of them are in a serious to critical condition.
The present state reflects the ministry’s projections from last week according to which the number of infected was expected to reach the 3,000 mark by the end of the month. The first case was reported on March 1.
All persons returning from abroad will be placed in a two week quarantine,
in line with a new measure aimed at containing the spread of the
coronavirus approved by the Czech government on Monday.
The decision was taken in view of the worsening situation world-wide. Up until now only persons returning from 19 countries which are considered high risk were placed in quarantine.
The measure will not affect cross border health workers, fire crews, social workers or diplomats.
The Czech government on Monday extended the restrictions on movement and
business taken to combat the spread of the coronavirus until April 11. The
conditions remain the same –people should stay at home as much as
possible with the exception of trips to work, necessary visits of family
and loved ones and purchases of food, vital supplies, fuel and medicine.
The restrictions on shops, restaurants, pubs, cafes, galleries, sports
facilities and other institutions will also remain in place until April 11.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) and Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said earlier they were in favour of extending the state of emergency beyond April 11, for another 30 days. However that would require approval from the lower house of Parliament.
The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of public media as
a reliable communication tool, according to Jakub Macek, head of media
studies at Brno’s Masaryk University.
According to a poll conducted by the institution 56 percent of Czechs rate Czech public television and Czech public radio as “reliable” or “absolutely reliable” and turn to them in times of crisis.
Ratings show that last weekend Czech public television had 38 percent of the viewer market. Macek said both public radio and television had proved their ability to respond quickly to a crisis to meet the needs of the public, not just in terms of information.
For instance Czech Television launched online school lessons for children almost as soon as schools closed and has now launched a new channel for the elderly who are mostly confined to their homes.
The head of the Czech Chamber of Commerce Vladimír Dlouhý has welcomed
the government’s COVID 19 aid package for employers and entrepreneurs,
but stressed that they should be better informed as regards the conditions
under which they can ask for help.
According to the results of a flash poll conducted among 1400 entrepreneurs two-fifths of Czech businesses plan to make use of the kurzarbeit scheme approved by the government, Dlouhý said.
Almost a third of enterprises say they have exhausted their financial reserves. One in four companies have stopped paying their suppliers.
So far, seven percent of respondents have laid off workers – of that 17 percent in the restaurant business and 14 percent in tourism.
Close to 35 percent of companies in the manufacturing industry are also considering redundancies in the future.