Some 50,000 COVID-19 testing kits will be transported into regional depo
stations across the Czech Republic by police helicopters this weekend,
Interior Minister Jan Hamáček said on Friday. This, he said, will ensure
that all deposits have tests available.
Furthermore, the state will also begin distributing Czech made protective masks to the regions.
According to the interior minister, there is now a sufficient supply of face masks and respirators in the regions. However, there are complications with some of the materials needed for the production of testing kits, he said.
Deliveries of medical equipment from China will continue, with Czech relevant companies focusing on the production of high quality equipment.
The Embassy of the Russian Federation in Prague says it considers the removal of the statue of Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev by Prague 6 municipal authorities to be in violation of the Czech-Russian Friendship Agreement from 1993 and has issued a protest to the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a Facebook post, the embassy wrote that the Czech side thereby broke one of the provisions which state that the Czech Republic will protect Russian military memorials. The embassy went on to say that the "demolition of I. S. Konev's statue will be met with an adequate reaction from the Russian side". Prague 6 says it will now put the statue into storage after which it will be eventually moved into the capital's planned Museum of the 20th Century.
The Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic has called on the
government to present its plan on the gradual lifting of restriction
measures for businesses by Easter.
Industry representatives are particularly interested in the conditions the government plans to put in place for companies to start operating again. This, because they need time to prepare, Confederation of Industry Vice-President Radek Špicar said in a videoconference on Friday.
Business activity in the country was hit harder than expected by the government's restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The country's dominant services sector has suffered particularly hard losses
Czechs have donated millions of crowns through crowdfunding schemes aimed
at raising money for purchasing medical equipment such as ventilators and
facemasks, or to support the hardest hit small time entrepreneurs, who have
lost their income due to quarantine measures aimed at stopping the spread
of COVID-19, news site iDnes.cz reports.
For example, some CZK 14 million were raised to buy 500 ventilators for Czech hospitals on the website Donio. A further CZK 3 million were raised to buy high energy foodstuffs for health care staff.
Supermarkets with a capacity larger than 200 square meters could open to
the public during the Easter period, the spokesman of the Czech Trade
Inspection Authority Jiří Frölich told news site Lidovky.cz on Friday.
The loosening of the statewide quarantine measures would only be allowed for supermarkets selling foodstuffs.
The trust of the Czech public in the nation's army and police force is
at its highest since 1997 when the data began to be collected, according to
a STEM polling agency survey conducted in March.
Some 78 percent of Czechs trust their armed forces, which regularly rank among the country's most trusted institutions. The same ratio of the public expressed their trust in the police this year, the highest score in public opinion for the institution thus far.
The Czech National Bank also ranked high with 72 percent of respondents saying they trust the country's leading financial institution.
More than half of the population, 56 percent to be exact said they trust President Miloš Zeman. Meanwhile the Chamber of Deputies, the government and the Senate ranked in the mid-40s as far as trust was concerned.
Around 100 Czech tourists returned back home o from the quarantined Tyrol
region in Austria on Friday morning. Their return trip was organised by the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which sent a special convoy composed of a bus
and several cars, the Czech News Agency reports.
The Czechs, most of whom seem to have been on skiing holidays, were stranded in and around Ischgl und Sankt Anton, areas which have been quarantined and deemed high risk during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. More Czechs are expected to return from the region later in the day. Further repatriation flights from Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Australia will take place within the next two weeks.
Nearly 4,500 Czechs have been repatriated through Foreign Ministry organised transports since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček there are still some 2,500 Czech citizens abroad who are asking to be repatriated.
Prague 6 has decided to remove the statue of Marshal Ivan Konev located in
its Bubeneč neighbourhood, the municipality's spokesman Ondřej
Šrámek told the Czech News Agency.
It will be moved into storage and will eventually be placed within the planned Museum of the 20th Century, which Prague plans to open in the coming years. Last year the Council of Prague 6 voted to put a monument to the liberation of Prague from Nazi occupation in place of the Marshal Konev statue.
The statue has been the centre of a heated debate, including protests and international disputes between supporters of the Red Army's liberation of the Czech capital and those who are critical of Konev's repressive role within the Communist Eastern Bloc.
Its removal was described by Communist Party Chairman Vojtěch Filip as disgraceful. Meanwhile, President Miloš Zeman condemned the action and accused the local authorities of abusing the current coronavirus crisis state, according to a tweet by his spokesman Jiří Ovčáček.
The Czech Republic believes that the core democratic principles and values
that the European Union was founded upon are implicit baselines for all
member states, the Czech Foreign Ministry wrote on its web page in response
to some extraordinary COVID-19 measures adopted by the governments of
“The situation we find ourselves in is without precedent in modern European history. This makes it all the more important to ensure that our founding values are respected and that unity and cooperation between all nations of the EU continues to be a priority” the ministry said.
The statement comes just days after Hungary’s Parliament approved an emergency legislation enabling Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to rule by decree for an indefinite period of time.