One of the country’s largest bus transport services, RegioJet, has
announced it plans to restart its services offering lines to Dresden and
Berlin from next Wednesday, the Czech News Agency reports.
The company has begun selling tickets and says it also hopes to reopen the bus line between Prague and Vienna starting Monday, May 18.
Other bus transport providers have not yet specified when they intend to reopen their foreign transport services, with the lifting of restrictions abroad playing a key role in the decision.
Government measures technically enable buslines to restart their service from next Monday.
The government approved a new draft law on emergency measures, which
expands and clarifies the powers of the Ministry of Health in relation to
the coronavirus pandemic, Interior Minister Jan Hamáček said on Thursday.
This includes enabling the Health Ministry to enact emergency measures that receive government approval and are rooted in warnings from epidemiologists.
The legislation, which would be in place for a limited one year period, could also enable the government to keep certain coronavirus measures in place even after the state of emergency officially ends on May 17. The government’s plan counts on the gradual easing of restrictions in the service sector until May 25, a week longer than the state of emergency deadline.
The Czech Foreign Ministry will strengthen security measures at its embassy
in Moscow, Czech Television reported on Thursday.
According to the ministry, the measures are part of a long-term plan, which has nothing to do with the current tension in Czech-Russian relations.
The measures include perimeter protection and the control of entry into the embassy, ministry spokeswoman Zuzana Štíchová told the Czech News Agency.
Last month, demonstrations led by a Russian nationalist group took place in front of the embassy, while in front of the General Consulate in St. Petersburg another group lit a smoke bomb.
The Czech Republic’s shift towards smart quarantine is a key project and
will enable the country to end its statewide measures, Deputy Health
Minister Roman Prymula said on Thursday. Instead, focus is to be shifted to
local outbreaks of the COVID-19 coronavirus, based around swift detection
and isolation of infected citizens.
To boost the effectiveness of smart quarantine, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch urged Czechs to download the app eRouška, which creates so-called “memory maps” based on mobile phone tracking and identifies high risk areas.
If the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop
favourably, the obligatory wearing of face masks will be lifted in
mid-June, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch confirmed to Czech Television on
However, this would not mean a total end to compulsory face mask wearing, with the rule likely to still be in place when people enter areas of high concentration, such as public transport or shopping malls.
The health minister's statement contradicts an earlier tweet by Central Crisis Staff member Roman Šmucler, who tweeted on Wednesday that facemask wearing would end together with the state of emergency on May 17.
The current ban on visits to care homes and hospitals is to be lifted from
May 25, two weeks earlier than initially planned, Health Minister Adam
Vojtěch tweeted on Thursday. Visits will be possible if hygiene rules are
The ban has been in place for 11 weeks. It was initiated to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in areas with potentially high-risk patients.
Gatherings of up to 500 people are also to be allowed from May 25, the Health Minister said.
There were 254,000 people without work in the Czech Republic in April, the
highest level since March 2018, according to the Czech Labour Office.
However, Labour Minister Jana Maláčová says the data is still
favourable. Unemployment rose by 0.4 percent in April to a total of 3.4
Most of those recently rendered unemployed are from the culinary, hotel and sales sectors.
There are currently 330,000 vacant jobs in the country, statistics show.
Czech authorities should resolve the ongoing conflict of interest of Prime
Minister Andrej Babiš, who still has an influence on Agrofert, the company
he founded, and thus collects money from European Union funds, several MEPs
on the European Parliament's Budgetary Control Committee agreed on
The committee discussed a report from a February European Parliament mission to the Czech Republic. In non-binding recommendations, the committee called on the prime minister to resign or stop collecting money from the EU budget through companies associated with the Agrofert holding if a conflict of interest ends up being proven. According to MEPs, the European Commission should stop payments to Agrofert and strictly apply zero tolerance.
Last year's European Commission audit report states that Babiš still has an influence on the company, which he invested in trust funds. The Czech Prime Minister refuses its conclusion. In response, Agrofert spokesman Karel Hanzelka called the committee's mission politicized
The Czech counterintelligence service (BIS) has filed a criminal complaint
over the leak of classified information about a Russian agent who allegedly
arrived in Prague with the deadly poison ricin, server the Lidovky.cz
The targets of the agent, travelling on a diplomatic passport, were Prague’s Lord Mayor and two colleagues who had taken symbolic steps angering the Kremlin and are currently under 24-hour police, the weekly Respekt wrote last month.
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček has confirmed the Russian diplomat’s arrival but would not comment on whether the man had the poison ricin in his briefcase, as Respekt reported. On Wednesday, a parliamentary committee said Czech authorities had responded appropriately to the situation.