The Social Democrats of the ruling coalition have slammed the former Czech
president, Václav Klaus, for inciting people to rebel against the
government restrictions taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus
In an interview for the news site Novinky.cz Klaus said he was alarmed by the restrictions imposed on businesses and freedom of movement, saying that the looming economic recession was, in his view, a much bigger threat than the coronavirus pandemic and someone should lead a public rebellion against the restrictions enforced.
Social Democrat leader Jan Hamáček said Mr. Klaus was acting irresponsibly by speaking as he did and that by downplaying the danger of the pandemic he was acting like the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un or the Belarusian leader, Alexander Lukashenko.
Most world leaders are listening to the advice of epidemiologists and treating the matter seriously, Hamáček said.
Czechs have invested massively into an initiative to help tide over pubs
during the coronavirus crisis. The "Save the Pub" initiative
launched by the Czech Association of Breweries and Malthouses, has raised
seven million crowns in less than a month.
Pub regulars and people willing to support the Czech pub culture are buying vouchers for food and drinks at their favourite haunt when pubs reopen.
Pub regulars are spending on average CZK 360,000 a day on beer and food to be consumed “in better times” to keep local pubs afloat.
Approximately 50,000 pubs in the Czech Republic were forced to close as a result of government measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus epidemic.
Starting today, April 22, 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
According to the government regulation the tests should 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.
However many GPs say they still lack the rapid test kits required and have had to send patients to the nearest hospital for testing.
A team of Czech scientists is helping to map the occurrence of animals in
the Congolese wilderness, the ctk news agency reported.
In cooperation with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) they have laid dozens of photo traps in rainforests on the border between Congo and Gabon. They hope that by mapping wildlife in the area they will help protect the forests from extensive logging and other human activities.
According to a member of the team, zoologist Tomáš Jůnek, logging and mining activities in the area have gone further and progressed faster than expected. The damage caused to the environment is irrevocable, Jůnek said in an interview for the ctk news agency.
The Supreme Audit Office (NKU) will inspect state purchases of protective
gear during the coronavirus crisis, its president Miloslav Kala told the
news site HlídacíPes.org on Wednesday.
Kala said the office was planning to focus on a number of areas linked to the coronavirus crisis and the state of emergency which allowed the public sector to operate under different legal conditions, such as buying and commissioning materials and services without an open competition.
In recent days, the media reported that the Ministry of Health had purchased protective gear at a much higher cost than the Ministry of the Interior.
Hackers attempted to get into the computer system at the Czech Ministry of
the Interior last week, Lidovky.cz reported on Wednesday. A number of Czech
hospitals, the Ministry of Health and Prague Airport have all seen their
computer networks face attack recently.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Interior said somebody had attempted to find weaknesses in its computer system’s defences. The government department had previously received warnings from the Office for Cyber and Information Security and the police’s organised crime division, which investigates serious cyber crime.
Last Friday the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said his country was concerned about cyber attacks against Czech hospitals that had taken place in the preceding days, which he said could cause deadly results during the coronavirus crisis.
Lidovky.cz reported that the local authorities were in contact with the US’s FBI in connection with the attempted hacking of facilities in the Czech Republic.
On Tuesday the Russian Embassy in Prague denied media reports that the attacks had been carried out by Russia.
Government leaders ANO say they will not seek to have the current state of
emergency extended beyond April 30. Party chief Andrej Babiš announced the
decision on TV Prima. The government initially imposed a 30-day state of
emergency on March 13 in view of the coronavirus situation. MPs later voted
to extend it to the end of this month.
The chairman of the junior party in the governing coalition, Jan Hamáček of the Social Democrats, had called for a further extension but said if Prime Minister Babiš was against there was no point in taking the matter to the lower house.
As of Wednesday morning, 201 people with Covid-19 had died in the Czech Republic. Over 7,000 cases have been detected to date.
Zoos around the Czech Republic are demanding to be allowed to reopen sooner
than the May 25 date set by the government, Novinky.cz reported. Only
outside areas of such facilities will be initially permitted to welcome
Eleven zoos, not including the one in Prague, have written an open letter to the government saying there is no difference between walking outdoors at a zoo and in a park, which is permitted.
Admission is zoos’ main source of income and the group estimate their losses in March and April at around CZK 100 million.
The monthly revenues of carmakers in the Czech Republic have fallen by an
estimated CZK 50 billion since the coronavirus crisis caused shutdowns in
production, according to figures released on Tuesday. In the case of
suppliers, the estimated figure is over CZK 17 billion lost in one month.
All three of the Czech Republic’s main automakers halted production in the middle of March. Only Hyundai has reopened its plant to date, but Škoda will re-launch production on Monday and TPCA will do so the following week.
Car making is one of the most important industries in the Czech Republic, with Škoda alone accounting for around nine percent of the country’s exports.