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.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have
remotely signed a declaration committing to find reliable, trustworthy
suppliers for 5G mobile networks.
The declaration aims to protect networks from intrusion and manipulation, and to ensure the protection of citizens’ privacy and rights, the Czech government office said.
Czech and US intelligence services have warned that to have Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE roll out national infrastructure such as the 5G network would represent a security threat.
Babiš and Pompeo spoke by phone Tuesday since a conference 5G networks at the Prague National Museum had to be postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Pompeo was to be the main speaker.
The auction of 5G frequencies in the Czech Republic was initially scheduled for the second half of 2019 but was postponed due to an objection by the European Commission over competition concerns.
A taxi driver taking Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček home on Wednesday
night died after a crash. The Czech diplomat was unhurt, the news server
Paramedics called to the scene spent 30 minutes trying to resuscitate the 62-year-old driver, who had crashed into a parked car on Nuselská Street at low speed.
Police are investigating the incident. According to Blesk, the driver likely had health issues.
The European Commission estimates Czech economic growth will drop by 6.2
percent this year due to measures to contain on the spread of the novel
coronavirus, a steeper drop than during the 2009 global financial crisis.
In its regular spring macroeconomic estimate, the EU executive arm writes that apart from a decline in production, the export-oriented Czech economy will also suffer due to reduced foreign demand. Real GDP is expected to gradually recover in 2021 but not rebound to 2019 levels.
Czech unemployment is expected to rise to around 5 percent next year, while inflation should fall slightly, mainly due to declining oil prices and lower demand. At the end of 2019, the unemployment rate stood at 2.9 percent.
By comparison, the European Union’s economy is expected to contract by a record 7.4 percent this year. Unemployment in the bloc on average could climb to 9 percent this year.
Mathematics may no longer be a compulsory subject for Czech leaving exams
to earn a high school high school. MPs approved a government proposal on
the matter on Wednesday within the framework of an amendment to the
If the Senate also approves the bill, high school students will be able to choose between taking a leaving exam in mathematics or a foreign language. The state exam should be limited to didactic tests.