The State Security Council has recommended that Czech citizens not visit
the Italian regions of Lombardy and Veneto because of an outbreak of
Covid-19. People should also weigh up going anywhere abroad at the present
time in view of the coronavirus epidemic, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said
after a meeting of the council on Tuesday evening. Its members did not
consider curtailing large arts or sports events in the Czech Republic.
The prime minister said any Czechs who returned from abroad and started feeling symptoms consistent with those caused by Covid-19 should immediately contact a doctor, ideally by telephone.
The minister of foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček, called on Czechs planning to travel to other countries to register with his government department through a voluntary system on its website.
Around 20 people in the South Bohemian Region have been ordered to stay in
quarantine at home for a two-week period in connection with fears over the
Covid-19 virus, Czech Television reported on Tuesday. Similar restrictions
were placed on one person in South Moravia. All of those placed in
quarantine have returned from a region of Italy where cases of the
coronavirus have been recorded.
Eleven Czechs who came back from Iran, where people have also died of Covid-19, were taken to Prague’s Na Bulovce hospital on Tuesday morning.
The State Security Council is meeting to discuss the situation surrounding the disease on Tuesday evening.
Six Czechs who arrived from Iran at Prague Airport on Tuesday were taken
for preventative tests to the city’s Na Bulovce hospital. The measure was
taken in view of the fact that there has been a Covid-19 outbreak in the
country. None of the Czechs had any signs of the disease, officials said.
Airport staff in Prague expected the six and immediately accompanied them from their plane to a medical centre on the premises.
The head of the Czech Army says that years of neglect and cost-cutting have
reduced it to a skeleton that needs to be built up again, Novinky.cz
reported. Speaking at an army command assembly on Tuesday, the chief of the
General Staff, Aleš Opata, called for acceleration in the modernisation of
the force’s heavy equipment.
General Opata said using Russian technology was not the way to go for the Czech Army, which was being left behind by its allies. Potential adversaries are a generation ahead of the Czechs, he added.
The chief of the General Staff said soldiers were expecting political leaders to make good on their promise to reach NATO military spending targets by 2024. Government leaders recently raised doubts over whether this would be achieved.
The minister of labour and social affairs, Jana Maláčová, says she has
no intention of resigning over a police raid at her government department
on Monday. Two people were charged following the intervention, reportedly
including Minister Maláčová’s deputy for the economics and IT. The
pair have been suspended in connection with the arrests, which are linked
to an IT contract.
President Miloš Zeman described the situation as a mess while the prime minister, Andrej Babiš, said it was a major problem and that he would demand an explanation from the Social Democrat minister.
The Czech police have recommended that two more people face trial for
expressing approval on the internet of last year’s terrorist attack in
New Zealand. The police have now called for a total of five people to be
tried for the support of terrorism in this connection, a representative of
the Supreme State Attorney’s Office in Prague said on Tuesday. The charge
carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.
According to previous information, 12 people in the Czech Republic are being investigated on suspicion of publicly approving of a terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch that left 51 people dead.
The percentage of Czechs who are “satisfied with their lives” has grown
in recent years, suggests an opinion poll released by the STEM agency. Some
85 percent of respondents in the survey conducted in January answered in
the affirmative, with the remainder saying they were dissatisfied.
STEM says it has traced a gradual increase in satisfaction levels since 2015. Last month’s rate was the highest recorded since the regular poll was introduced in 1994, it said.
Five Czechs are being held in quarantine on the Spanish island of Tenerife
in connection with the Covid-19 virus. The Spanish authorities ordered all
of the guests at their hotel to be placed in quarantine after one person
staying there was discovered to have the coronavirus, the Czech News Agency
reported, citing the Prague-based tour agency Invia.
The Czech group only arrived in Tenerife on Monday. They were due to return on March 6 but it is not clear if they will be allowed to fly back on that date.
Prague’s Václav Havel Airport as of Tuesday is reserving special gates
for arrivals from Italy, due to a coronavirus outbreak there that has
claimed seven lives, with at least 229 confirmed cases.
Passengers arriving from Italy will be subject to targeted screening and other measures, the airport said on Twitter.
Italy is among the most popular holiday destinations for Czechs. On Monday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommended travelers not visit northern Italy.