As of April, labour offices in the Czech Republic have registered 27,151
people seeking to find employment, Labour Minister Jana Maláčová tweeted
on Thursday, a nearly two-fold increase compared to the first week of March
before the government severely restricted movement and the operations of
businesses in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Despite this, at 3 percent, the unemployment rate remains the same as it was in February.
The Czech government agreed to send CZK 1.07 billion in relief to the
culture sector, which has been hit hard by the events and free movement
bans put in place to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic,
Culture Minister Lubomír Zaorálek said on Thursday.
Independent artists are set to receive CZK 440 million, regional cultural institutions CZK 300 million and foundations, which include the National Theatre, or the National Museum will receive CZK 300 million. A further CZK 30 million will be allocated to support the digital media, which are enabling artists to continue to work despite the no-contact measures.
Mr Zaorálek also said that small bookstores could be among the shops allowed to open soon, something that many such store owners have been desperate for as they have seen their income fall drastically in recent months.
The Czech government has officially extended the state of emergency to
April 30, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said on Thursday.
First issued to help tackle the spread of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March, the government originally intended to extend the period until mid-May. However, the length of the extension was shortened after the debate was put forward to the Chamber of Deputies.
Medical equipment worth a total of CZK 25 million will be sent to a select
number of states including Georgia, Cambodia, Moldova and Ukraine, the
Czech government agreed on Thursday, according to Foreign Minister Tomáš
Petříček’s Twitter account.
The minister said Czech companies and know-how would be used as part of the aid package which seeks to help in the fight against COVID-19.
The recent removal of the statue of Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev by local
Prague 6 authorities does not violate any Czech-Russian treaties, the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the Czech News Agency on Thursday.
The statement comes after the Russian Embassy in Prague wrote that the move violated bilateral treaties signed between the two countries and Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu proposed those who removed the statue be criminally prosecuted according to a new law against the damaging of public memorials recently passed in Russia. Prague 6 authorities subsequently called on the Czech Foreign Ministry to make a statement.
For years, the statue has been the subject of 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.
Favipiravir, an antiviral drug, deemed as effective in combating medium
cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus after experimental tests in China, will
become available to patients in the Czech Republic within a few days,
Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said on Thursday.
The drug will be imported from Japan, with the Czech Republic being on the list of 20 countries to which the Asian state has agreed to Favipiravir exports. Parts of the supplies will be delivered for free, while others will be purchased.
Once delivered, the drug will be available in Prague’s General Faculty Hospital and some other hospitals across the country.
Losses to the Czech tourism industry resulting from the ongoing coronavirus
pandemic are expected to reach CZK 50 billion by the end of April, but
could be as high as CZK 75 billion if tourism associated services are
included, data gathered by business and employee associations suggests.
According to these figures, 95 percent of hotels, spas and three quarters of all restaurants in the country are currently closed. Cultural sites and information centres are also closed.
Four associations made up from these affected businesses have proposed a series of measures to counter the damage in a plan sent to the government last week with primary focus given on preserving jobs and the survival of related businesses.
As of Thursday morning, 104 people have died after contracting the
coronavirus in the Czech Republic, and 243 have been cured from the total
of 5,335 that have tested positive for COVID-19.
Wednesday saw a record high amount of 8,164 tests, with total testing rates exceeding 107,000 since the virus first appeared. This means that around 1 percent of the country’s total population has been tested.
The Czech government has taken a further step in loosening its measures
aimed at containing the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, allowing
certain non-essential stores to open from Thursday morning provided that
they adhere to strict hygienic measures.
DIY retailers, ironmongers and bicycle shops can now sell wares to the wider public. However, visitors are required to keep a 2 meter distance between each other and disinfectants need to be available to them on the spot. Aside from face masks, staff are also required to wear gloves.
A special expert team will discuss further openings of some shops, such as book stores, during the Easter period, Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlíček announced on Wednesday.