Deputy Health Minister Roman Prymula says the government will decide in the
coming weeks whether to ease the restrictions on travel allowing Czechs to
holiday abroad in a small number of countries that are perceived as
Prymula said the government was under considerable pressure to open at least a few holiday “channels” out of the country.
The country’s leading epidemiologist said Slovakia and Croatia were being considered as possibilities, adding that this would necessitate an agreement with the respective countries which would have to open their borders to Czech holiday makers.
The situation should become more clear in mid-June, Prymula said.
Amnesty International has criticized continuing discrimination against the
Romany minority in the Czech Republic.
In its 2020 report on the state of human rights Amnesty points to the discrimination of Romanies in the spheres of housing and education.
It says a new law on housing benefits may put many at risk of homelessness, criticizing the fact that the country lacks affordable and quality social housing.
As regards education Amnesty says that despite some progress made, Roma children are still over-represented in programmes for children with special needs and mild mental disabilities.
Concerns over the use of discriminatory speech targeting migrants and the Roma minority also persist.
However the Czech Republic does not appear on the list of countries where Amnesty fears for human rights due to coronavirus restrictions.
People who have been placed in quarantine will need to screen negative for
the COVID 19 virus before the quarantine can be officially terminated,
according to a new regulation passed by the government.
The tests will be conducted by GPs and can only be performed a fortnight after the quarantine has started. The move is to prevent infected people without symptoms spreading the disease.
The new regulation will come into force on April 22.
The Czech Senate is discussing a wide range of legislation related to the
coronavirus pandemic. These include moves to postpone rental payments,
measures to help travel agencies, expanding the central bank’s
competencies and rules on distraint and insolvency.
Senators are to decide whether individuals and businesses can suspend repayment of loans and mortgages for either three or six months. They will also consider limiting the maximum amount of interest on long-term consumer loans and introducing a limit on sanctions for sole traders for late repayment of loans.
The most extensive debate is expected to be over the suspension of rental payments, Czech Television reports. Among the most contentious items on the agenda is allowing police to impose fine people up to CZK 10,000 on the spot for violating anti-coronavirus measures.
Czech hospitals on Wednesday reported no covid-19 deaths, for the first
time since March 23. As of Thursday morning, 418 people were being treated
in hospital for the disease while there were 6,303 confirmed coronavirus
Earlier this week, Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch said the epidemic is under control but urged people to remain vigilant so as not to risk a new wave of infections. He announced Tuesday that hospitals could soon resume performing non-essential operations and other elective treatments.
To date, 166 people have died of Covid-19 in the Czech Republic and 831 have recovered, according to the Ministry of Health. More than 146,000 people have been tested since March 1.
Leading Czech banks have received nearly 200,000 requests to postpone loan
repayments from clients affected by anti-coronavirus measures, according to
a ČTK survey. Most were consumer loans or mortgages.
Česká spořitelna has received 45,000 such requests – about 55 percent for consumer loans, 35 percent for mortgages and 10 percent for corporate loans. The ČSOB Group had registered over 37,000 requests for deferred repayments, also mainly consumer loans and mortgages.
Moneta Money Bank and its subsidiaries Wüstenrot announced on Tuesday they had received over 50,000 requests for postponement of installments worth over CZK 20 billion.
The Czech government on Wednesday presented its plan to gradually lift
anti-coronavirus restrictions on some businesses and open educational
facilities in five stages, from April 20 to June 8.
In the first phase, farmers’ markets, hardware stores and similar small businesses will be among the first allowed to reopen, with other types to follow suit from week to week.
The last phase concerns stores in shopping malls, as well as restaurants, cafés, wine bars, hotels and other accommodation establishments, theatres and castles.
Regarding schools, initially students in the final year of university should be able to access libraries in small groups and consult their teachers at their faculties.
By mid-May, secondary school students nearing graduation should be able to meet teachers to prepare for exams. Entrance exams to secondary schools and universities, and baccalaureate exams, should take place in early June.
As for primary schools, the number of students could be limited to 15 per class (with a return from May 25 only). For now, opening nursery schools has been left to the discretion of local authorities.
The European Commission has approved support for Czech SMEs producing
medical and protective equipment used to combat the spread of coronavirus.
The total amount of aid can reach up to CZK 1 billion.
The Czech Republic will allocate CZK 300 million to companies in the first phase of the program. Support under a Ministry of Industry and Trade program should finance up to half of the production costs in direct grants to SMEs.
The EC has relaxed state aid rules under a series of coronavirus measures in mid-March to help finance the health sector and companies most affected by the crisis.
Since then, states can help the private sector financially in ways not normally allowed. Brussels has already approved over 60 applications received from most EU Member States.