Starting next week, the Central Military Hospital in Prague will begin
treating coronavirus patients with the blood plasma of those who have
recovered from the disease. The treatment will be made available to those
most affected by COVID-19, hospital spokeswoman Jitka Zinke said on Friday.
The hospital has already received the relevant plazma from more than 100 donors and is collecting a further seven samples this Friday. Further donations are encouraged and donors outside of the capital will be reimbursed for their travel.
Some plasma supplies could also be sent to other hospitals, such as Prague’s Na Bulovce or Na Homolce, Ms Zinke said.
Blood plasma treatment for the coronavirus was already applied in Prague’s Thomayer Hospital and the method has also been used in Northern Italy and in China.
In response to the government proposal to extend the state of emergency in
the Czech Republic to May 25, opposition parties in the Chamber of Deputies
have called on the executive to explain its reasoning.
Petr Fiala of the Civic Democrats, the chairman of the largest opposition party in the lower house, said on Friday that a one to two week extension to the current April 30 deadline would be possible if the government presents the Chamber of Deputies with a clear plan based on reasoned argumentation and maximum restraint in its restrictions.
Calls for a clear plan were also voiced from the leaders of the Mayors and Independents and the Christian Democrats.
All three parties criticised the government for not adhering to the country’s Crisis Act.
It is not clear yet how the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia will vote on the measure. However, according to news site iDnes.cz, party chairman Vojtěch Filip said earlier this week that he would be prepared to vote for the extension until May 17.
EGAP, the Czech state’s export and insurance guarantee company, will
receive CZK 4 billion crowns from the Czech government to be used as
securities for loans to the country’s largest exporters who have been
affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government approved the transfer of funds, on Friday, which means its COVID Plus Guarantee programme (EGAP PLUS program) that seeks to provide support for exporters will now be able to go ahead. Further funds may be transferred to fund the programme if needed.
The Ministry of Finance increased EGAP's insurance capacity from CZK 142 billion to CZK 330 billion, as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
The possibility of free travel, which returned to Czechs this Friday after
the government relinquished some of its coronavirus measures, only exists
in theory as current conditions make traveling abroad virtually impossible,
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš told Czech Radio’s Radiožurnál on Friday.
He said that flights remain canceled and that Czechs will not be allowed into other countries unless they have a valid coronavirus test. The loosening of measures therefore mainly applies to business trips, according to the prime minister. However, Mr Babiš did say that he is in regular negotiations with other countries regarding the subject of travel.
The Czech Republic is very effective in its combating of the coronavirus pandemic and is seen by many countries as an example, the prime minister said.
Parts of Charles University could begin offering lectures to a limited
audience again from Monday, May 4, university spokesman Václav Hájek told
the Czech News Agency on Friday. Specific details on what lectures will be
held and what the precautionary measures will look like is to be decided
upon by the university administration next week.
As part of its easing of the coronavirus restrictions, the Czech government announced on Thursday that universities can start teaching again already from Monday, April 27, as long as there are no more than five people in one group.
Foreign film productions worth a total of CZK 5 billion crowns had to be
canceled or delayed due to the coronavirus measures that have been put in
place to combat the spread of the virus, trade unions of workers in the
audiovisual sector write in a newly released study.
The document includes proposals for limiting the impact. This includes financial help, as well as the quickest possible reopening of cinemas, provided these adhere to safety measures, and allowing filming to go ahead without the use of facemasks.
Following the reopening of the country’s borders, the government should
now help Czech travel agencies negotiate bi-lateral agreements with
so-called low risk coronavirus states. In the first phase these should
include Croatia, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary, the head of the
Association of Travel Agencies Jan Papež told Czech Television on Friday.
Such agreements, he hopes, should enable Czechs to travel to these
countries without restrictions, aside from a COVID-19 test, by the
beginning of July. Mr Papež believes deals could also soon be negotiated
with Bulgaria, Greece and the Balearic Islands.
Some travel agencies are considering providing COVID-19 tests as part of their travel offers. This would be up to each individual agency, said Mr Papež.
Trust in the economy has taken the steepest slide on record as a result of
the coronavirus pandemic and related measures, the Czech Statistics Office
reported on Friday.
In the month of April the average trust rating dropped by 19.6 points to 74.8.
The last time that the trust rating dropped below 80.0 points was at the height of the financial crisis in March of 2009.
There has been a steep drop in the confidence rating both on the part of businesses (by 19.3 points to 73.8) and consumers (by 20.4 points to 80.1).
The government will ask the Czech lower house to extend the state of
emergency in the country until May 25, Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamáček
told journalists on Friday.
He said the move had received unanimous approval from cabinet ministers. The Health Ministry will present the Chamber of Deputies with a document justifying the move on Friday, Mr. Hamáček said.
The opposition has criticized plans for an extension and ANO, the leading party in the ruling coalition, was originally also against the idea.
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 April.