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.
The Czech Post announced on Saturday that it will offer to help the state
by delivering food and other vital supplies to the public in order to curb
the spread of COVID-19 in the country. This as far as its capacity allows.
As of now, post offices and deliveries continue to run as normal.
The company plans to outfit its offices and staff with necessary desinfectants. The current state of precautions has been described as "catastrophic" by Evžen Dvorský, the head of the postal service's trade union, with one office in Prague apparently even lacking soap and no floor cleaning taking place.
The Czech health sector is currently lacking up to 1 millon respirators,
Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said in an interview on Czech Radio's
Radiožurnál station on Saturday. The government has ordered more and 1.7
million will be delivered next week, according to Mr Vojtěch, but he later
added that the delivery could be even higher.
Some 50,000 respirators were sent to key hospitals and ambulance stations during the night from Friday to Saturday.
The Czech government may transfer around CZK 4 billion from alocated EU
operational programmes that are not seen as vital in order to help
businesses impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic, Minister of
Industry, Trade and Transport Karel Havlíček said on Saturday. These
would be used in cooperation with commercial banks so as to increase the
available funding to up to CZK 40 billion.
Negotiations with the European Commission are currently underway, he said.
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen questioned the
efectivity of the Czech Republic and some other EU countries closing their
borders in order to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic.
Mrs von der Leyen said that such closures have a large societal and economic impact, interfering in public life and interstate trade. She pointed to the fact that the World Health Organisation does not view the closing of borders as an effective measure.
The European Commission head went on to say that steps taken by countries individually are not wise as they can lead to a domino effect.
Intrastate and public transport will continue to run in the Czech Republic,
despite wide ranging measures in other aspects of Czech public life
announced this week as part of the state emergency established with the aim
of curbing the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said on Saturday that public transport is
necessary in order to get people to work. While he said that it could be
limited to some way in the future if the situation demanded it, Mr Babiš
said that it will never be shut down completely.
The prime minister went on to say that the government will not be shutting off any parts of the country and that if the need for quarantining arises it will be countrywide.
Interior Minister Jan Hamáček said that the situation is developing dynamically and that this is why all of the preventative measures are being enacted in order to slow down the epidemic as much as possible.