The Czech-Moravian Guarantee and Development Bank will launch a special
coronavirus loan programme in order to support entrepreneurs, Trade and
Industry Ministry spokeswoman Štěpánka Filipová announced on Sunday.
Applications can be sent from Monday onwards, two weeks ahead of the original plan. The government has designated CZK 600 million to the programme.
As the government enacts ever tougher measures in order to curb the spread
of the COVID-19 coronavirus and businesses alow home office arangements,
many Czech families are choosing to travel to their cottages in the
country, or focus on individual sporting activities such as cycling, the
Czech News Agency writes.
Many are also taking advantage of the "take away" form of service offered by many gastronomical businesses after a shutdown on pubs and restaurants was put in place.
Meanwhile, the Archbishopric of Prague has published a manual for home worship on its website, as Church services are canceled.
PPF, the investment group owned by richest Czech Petr Kellner, tweeted on
Sunday that it will be donating 1.7 million N95 respirators, 1.8 million
surgical masks, 40,000 testing kits and 20,000 swabs to the Czech Republic
in order to help fight the coronavirus epidemic.
The 120 tons worth of equipment were purchased from China and Spain by PPF subsidiary Home Credit for CZK 100 million and will be ready for transport to the Czech Republic on Monday evening.
Many Czech hospitals are lacking facemasks and respirators during the
ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. Health Minister Adam Vojtěch has said that some
50,000 respirators have been delivered to Czech medical facilities across
the country. However, he himself admitted that up to a million are needed.
Many of the regional officials questioned by Czech Radio have said that there are cases of only a few dozen or hundred being delivered.
Štěpán Votoček, the director of Slaný Hospital in Central Bohemia, the second most affected region in the country by coronavirus infections after Prague, was very critical of the current situation. Speaking to Czech Television, he said that the hospital has received no respirators thus far and has no information about when the deliveries will come. The hospital staff has therefore resorted to sewing together their own facemasks. Anyone can close schools and borders he said, but when it comes to sorting out infrastructural measures the state is not performing well.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš insisted on Saturday that hospitals are equiped with respirators. Further deliveries are set to arrive next week, the government has said.
Whether it is the Red Cross, or just people grouping together on facebook,
a new wave of solidarity has appeared in the Czech Republic as a result of
the coronavirus epidemic.
The Red Cross is looking for volunteers to put in its information call centers, or to use as assistants for the elderly, those most at risk from COVID-19.
Many groups have also been set up for the purpose of help on Facebook over the past few days, news site Deníkn.cz reports. These include babysitting for parents unable to take care of their children who are now at home due to a closure of schools, or the support of cultural institutions that are unable to generate income as a result of the government ban on public events.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has begun sending buses to pick up Czechs
stuck abroad due to the ongoing emergency measures. Special buses will
therefore be transporting Czechs back home from Munich at 1pm as well as
Vienna and Frankfurt am Main at 10pm on Sunday, according to the
Czechs abroad who cannot return home due to flight and general travel restrictions are encouraged to contact their embassy to get more details on possible transports.
A doctor at the accident and emergency department of the Faculty Hospital in Olomouc has been diagnosed with the coronavirus, news site iDnes.cz reported on Saturday. The hospital has since quarantined all of the patients and medical staff who came in contact with the individual. A total of between 72 to 82 people, according to Czech Television.
The whole of the Czech Republic may have to be quarantined, Prime Minister
Andrej Babiš said in an onterview with TV Prima on Sunday. What that
exactly means´will likely be disclosed at a special government press
conference at 6pm. Mr. Babiš went on to say that he expects the numer of
infected in the country will rise to 300 by the end of Sunday.
Thus far all restaurants, pubs and non-vital shops have been closed, with only grocery stores, pharmacies, drugstores and petrol stations remaining open. A travel ban on Czechs leaving the country and foreigners enetering will begin taking effect on Monday.
Saturday saw the highest rise in confirmed COVID-19 coronavirus cases in
the Czech Republic yet, according to the Czech News Agency. The number of
cases increased by 39 in the course of Saturday and further by 25 during
the night from Saturday to Sunday. Saturday also saw the highest number of
individuals tested for the coronavirus in the country so far, reaching 971
Two thirds of those diagnsoed were infected abroad, one third within the Czech Republic. The most common source of infection is Italy, with 74.5 percent of people who tested positive in Czechia having contracted the disease there.