The Czech Republic has managed to stop the uncontrolled spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and the country can start returning to normal affairs, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said on Wednesday. Original projections saw 14,200 infections by the end of April, but have now been revised to 10,600.
According to the Director of the Institute of Health Information and Statistics Ladislav Dušek the total number of infections in the country is unknown. However, he said that despite an increase in the amount of testing, the graph depicting the increase in transmissions is going down from 11 percent to around 5 percent.
As of Wednesday morning there were 5,017 coronavirus cases in the Czech Republic, 3,000 fewer than projected by the Health Ministry last week.
An evacuation plane organised by the Ministry of Foreign affairs brought 98 Czech travelers back home from the Indonesian island of Bali on Wednesday. Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček tweeted that the plane also carried 61 further citizens from EU member states.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the Czech state has brought back around 5,500 Czech citizens from different parts of the world through specially designated aircraft and buses. A flight to repatriate Czechs from Australia and New Zealand is planned for early next week.
Government packages and support measures aimed at helping the Czech economy during the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus crisis are seen as insufficient by 72 percent of businesses, a survey conducted by the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic revealed on Wednesday. Since the crisis began, nearly a third of Czech businesses have been forced to decrease production by more than 20 percent, while one in ten have had to end production completely. Despite the difficult situation, close to a half of all respondents said that they do not plan to lay off a single employee, fearing the prospect of lacking skilled labour once the crisis dissipates.
However, they need government emergency schemes such as salary contributions to be paid out in as short a time as possible, says Confederation of Industry President Jaroslav Hanák.
Over 5,000 cases of Covid-19 have now been detected in the Czech Republic, according to the latest official figures. The number stood at 5,017 just after midnight. The current figure for deaths is 91. Over 91,000 tests have been conducted for the new coronavirus and 172 people have recovered.
The first three cases of the infection were detected on March 1 and within weeks the government had introduced a series of strict measures to contain the pandemic, including a state of emergency that on Tuesday was extended to April 30.
Current football league leaders SK Slavia Prague have announced they will be using some of the money they recently earned through European competitions to support fellow Czech league one and two football teams who have been hit by the ongoing cancellation of sports events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The club’s chairman of the board Jaroslav Tvrdík tweeted that Slavia will dedicate 15 percent of its total European competition money earned over the past two seasons and called on other clubs who have taken part in European tournaments to do the same.
The move follows similar initiatives by several German football teams, who have raised EUR 20 million this way.
Historian and ex-dissident Jan Křen died on Tuesday at the age of 89. He had contracted Covid-19 at an old folks’ home in Prague’s Michle district, where he had been resident.
Mr. Křen, who specialised in Czech-German relations, was thrown out of the Communist Party in 1970 over his opposition to the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. He later signed Charter 77 and helped run underground apartment seminars. He received a Medal of Merit from President Václav Havel in 2002.
Up to a third of the parishes in the Catholic Archdiocese of Olomouc, which covers much of Moravia and parts of Eastern Bohemia, will organise special online services during Easter time, the Czech News Agency reported on Wednesday, citing the Archbishopric’s spokesman.
Many Czech churches, including those outside of the Olomouc archdiocese, hold online masses that can be accessed via various types of social media, or on the Church’s radio and television stations.
Public masses have been on hold since the government instituted a series of coronavirus countermeasures that include bans on public gatherings and some rituals, such as the washing of feet performed by the priest on 12 selected individuals on Maundy Thursday.
The ongoing spell of good weather is set to continue on Thursday, with temperatures reaching as much as 23 degrees Celsius in parts of Bohemia and Moravia. However, clouds are set to replace open skies across much of the country, with Northern Bohemia expected to see rain.