Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček has announced a temporary ban on the
issuance of visas to Chinese citizens due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Online applications have also been halted.
So far, five Czechs in Chinese areas affected by coronavirus have requested assistance returning home.
The possible evacuation of Czechs from China is being negotiated with France and British authorities, Petříček told journalists.
Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said a temporary ban on incoming flights from China was under discussion.
The head of the Jewish Community in Prague on Thursday received three
cobblestones identified by city authorities as having being made of Jewish
The fragments come from 28. října street in Prague 1, a community official told the Czech News Agency.
Last autumn, Prague City Hall signed a memorandum pledging to remove fragments of Jewish tombstones used as cobblestones in the city centre and return them to the community.
Jewish community of Prague chairman František Bányai said they will be deposited at the Old Jewish Cemetery in the Žižkov district.
Fragments paving parts of Wenceslas Square and the Prague high street Na Příkopě likelty came mainly from a derelict 19th century Jewish cemetery in Chomutov, north Bohemia.
They were used to repair the pedestrian zone ahead of a 1987 visit to Prague by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. A project called ‘Finding the Lost Face of Jewish Cemeteries’ is working with the city to identify the fragments.
The Czech Republic is now home to some 30,000 feral cats, most of which are
concentrated in urban areas, the daily Mladá Fronta Dnes reports. The
newspaper cites veterinarians as saying that represents a significant rise.
MPs have proposed introducing stricter regulations requiring cat owners to neuter their pets, since feral cats pose a health risk in that they can spread parasites and diseases to other animals, including humans.
The Czech Republic is edging ever closer to an influenza epidemic, health
experts say. The number of identified cases has risen to 1,452 per 100,000
inhabitants, less than 150 cases short of the threshold to officially
declare an epidemic.
According Institute of Public Health (SZÚ) data published on Wednesday, the regions of Central, North and South Bohemia are currently most affected. The greatest number of cases have been recorded among elementary school children.
Many schools have temporarily closed and some hospitals have restricted or banned patient visits in an effort to try to contain the spread of the influenza virus.
The Czech Republic has among the highest percentage of organically farmed
land in the European Union. EU statistical office data show 14.8 percent of
Czech land is organically farmed, nearly twice the EU average of 7.5
Neighbouring Austria has the highest proportion at 24.1 percent, followed by Estonia at 20.6 percent and Sweden at 20.3 percent.
The EU country with the lowest percentage of organic farming is Malta at just 0.6 percent, followed by Romania at 2.4 percent and Bulgaria at 2.6 percent.
The British Ambassador to the Czech Republic Nick Archer says that Brexit
will not have an immediate impact on the lives of Czechs living in Britain
nor for Brits residing in the Czech Republic. However, in an interview with
the Czech News Agency, the head of the local UK mission said that while the
rights of Czechs wil be retained, they will be required to officially
register if they reside in the country after the transition period.
Britain is set to leave the European Union on Friday, January 31, at 11pm GMT. There will be a transition period until the end of 2020, while the UK and EU negotiate additional arrangements.
The Moravian town of Třebíč has been asked by its partner city of
Yichang, where hundreds are infected with the Wuhan coronavirus, for aid in
medical materials, Czech Television reports. Třebíč and the surrounding
Vysočina Region have promised to set aside CZK 100,000 for the purchases.
Town mayor Pavel Pacal says that the raised money can be used to buy some 100,000 facemasks, 150 lab coats, several kilometres of disinfected bedspreads, as well as latex gloves and shoe covers. He told Czech Television on Wednesday that these should be assembled by February 10 and will then be immediately sent to China. Apparently some local citizens have also expressed that they intend to contribute.
Třebíč has been a partner city of Yichang since 2015. Since then, students from both sides have taken part in visitation trips and some local firms have established business ties.
Respilon, a facemask developer based in the Moravian city of Brno says it
will start producing facemasks capable of not just capturing, but also
destroying coronavirus particles. The latter is apparently possible due to
special nanoparticles of copper oxide in the mask, Respilon director Roman
Zima said at a press announcement on Wednesday.
The masks should start being produced in two weeks’ time in cooperation with an Israeli company and could be available for purchase in six to eight weeks for a price ranging in tens of crowns.
In cooperation with universities and other companies, Respilon develops nanofibers which are then sent to China, where they are assembled into facemasks and respirators. These are then distributed to countries in Asia, America and Europe. However, due to the situation surrounding the coronavirus in China, the company director says it is apparently impossible to access its mask supplies there.
Officials from the Czech State Agricultural Intervention Fund (SAIF) say
that negotiations into whether Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis is in a
conflict of interest or not have so far been inconclusive. The announcement
came at a press briefing following Tuesday‘s discussions between
representatives of the European Commission and the Czech state about the
results of an EU audit sent to the Ministry of Agriculture regarding a
potential conflict of interest that Mr Babiš may have due to his position
as head of government while also allegedly controling Agrofert, the company
he founded, through trust funds. The Czech prime minister insists there is
no conflict of interest.
According to SDIF director Martin Šebestyán, the European Commission has approved sending funds to all Agrofert projects except one enterpirse which called for a contribution worth CZK 1.6 million.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture Jiří Šír said at a briefing on Wednesday that negotiations are confidential and detailed information cannot be disclosed, but stressed that the audit results are not yet final.
According to Mr Šír the European Commission now has a month to look into the results of the negotiations. The final audit should then be presented after a further six months.