The Czech government will on Monday discuss easing restrictions on the country’s borders for the purposes of work and business, says the minister of foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček. Speaking on Czech Television on Sunday, he said that loosening restrictions for tourists would require coordination with the whole of the European Union and would depend on the situation in individual states in connection with Covid-19.
Mr. Petříček said that now there was greater opportunity to test for the coronavirus the Czech Republic’s borders could be opened in such a way that cross-border workers would not need, as they do at present, to go into quarantine after travelling abroad.
However, he said that Poland, for instance, was stricter on its citizens crossing the border to work in the Czech Republic than the Prague government was in this regard.
The minister of finance, Alena Schillerová, says that in view of the impact of the coronavirus crisis she will propose a budget deficit of CZK 300 billion at a cabinet meeting on Monday. At the end of last month the Chamber of Deputies voted to increase this year’s budget deficit to CZK 200 billion from the previously planned CZK 40 billion.
Speaking on Czech Television on Sunday, Minister Schillerová said her calculations included CZK 120 billion in spending and CZK 140 billion in lost revenues from social insurance, VAT and income tax.
Blanket testing of the population for Covid-19 should begin in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, the minister of health, Adam Vojtěch, said on Czech Radio on Sunday. Tests aimed at establishing the extent of infection among the country’s inhabitants will be carried out in Prague, South Moravia and around the towns of Litoměřice and Litovel.
Minister Vojtěch’s deputy, Roman Prymula, said previously that up to 28,000 people would undergo coronavirus testing, which should also help better predict the future development of the epidemic.
The Czech News Agency said the tests would be carried out in a similar manner to opinion polls, taking in people of different age, gender and profession in various parts of the country.
As of Sunday at 1 pm 181 people with Covid-19 had died in the Czech Republic while 6,657 cases had been detected.
The Ministry of Transport plans 172 major transport projects in the next three years, according to an official document due to be discussed by the government on Monday. The works will cost around CZK 243 billion with most of that amount going to road and motorway construction.
According to the Ministry of Transport paper, the financing of the projects is prepared for this year, despite the current crisis. However, things may be more complicated in the coming years.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has called on the hygiene authorities to investigate after the chancellor of President Miloš Zeman, Vratislava Mynář, said he had held an unauthorised pig killing at his restaurant on Friday, Blesk reported. Mr. Babiš said mass events were barred and this appeared to be a breach of Ministry of Health decrees.
Mr. Mynář said it had been necessary to kill the pig and that only six people had attended, adding that those present, including the local mayor, had undergone rapid tests for Covid-19. Deputy Health Minister Roman Prymula told Blesk such tests were not reliable.
Sales of small domestic pets had increased by over a quarter year on year at the start of April, a representative of the pet shop chain PetCenter, Lenka Harudová, told the Czech News Agency. Many people are buying pets for senior citizens to help them get through the current general quarantine imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, she said.
Sales of rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters in particular have shot up. Pet supply shops have been allowed to remain open and the main difference at present is that owners are now buying feed in bulk, so as not to have to visit so often, Ms. Harudová added.
Sunday is the 75th anniversary of Nazi massacres at settlements around Vizovice in the Zlín Region, Czech Television wrote. Local people had been sheltering partisans and were betrayed by Gestapo informers. The Nazis shot or burnt to death 49 people in the Ploština, Prlov and Vařákovy paseky settlements on April 19, 1945. Only one man survived.
Those responsible for the tragedy, which occurred just weeks before the end of the war, were never punished, Czech Television said.
It should be sunny with daytime highs of up to 13 degrees Celsius in the Czech Republic on Monday. More clear skies are expected all week.