The Czech Republic should get almost 20 billion euros from the European Commission’s special recovery fund to restart economies hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, the Czech News Agency reported on Thursday, citing a draft of the plan.
The European Commission on Wednesday called for a 750 billion euro recovery fund, a third of which would help Italy and Spain – the countries most affected by the epidemic. The commission plans to borrow the whole sum in financial markets.
Out of the sum, 19.2 billion euros should be allocated to the Czech Republic, while direct payments from the EU funds are to amount to 8.6 billion and the remaining 10.6 billion would be loans with advantageous interest rates.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said on Thursday he didn’t agree with unemployment playing a significant role in the aid distribution. He said that states that managed to keep low unemployment even during the crisis should not be penalised.
Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovič is due to visit the Czech Republic next Wednesday, June 3. It will be his first trip abroad since being elected in March. In Prague, Igor Matovič will be received by his Czech counterpart Andrej Babiš.
The Czech Republic has traditionally been the first destination of Slovak officials visit after taking office.
The two prime ministers agreed on Monday to open the borders between their countries. Czechs and Slovaks are now allowed to travel freely without a negative Covid-19 test, provided they return to their country within 48 hours.
The number of newly registered Covid-19 infections in the Czech Republic rose by 36 on Wednesday, which is the lowest figure in the past six days, according to Czech Health Ministry statistics. There have been no coronavirus-related deaths reported over the past 48 hours.
The overall number of registered cases has reached 9,086. Some 317 people have died and 6,370 have recovered from the disease. At the moment, 149 people are hospitalised with Covid-19, with 21 in serious condition.
The number of smokers in the Czech Republic has been steadily decreasing over the past seven years, according to new data released on Thursday.
Less than 25 percent of respondents in an annual survey conducted by the State Health Institute said they were smokers. The drop in the number of smokers is most apparent in the 15 to 24 age group. While in 2017, 35 percent were smokers, last year it was only 23.
An anti-smoking bill, introducing a strict ban on smoking in pubs, restaurants and other facilities, was introduced in the Czech Republic in June 2017.
A mobile museum on rails known as Legiovlak will return to the tracks on Tuesday. The replica of a train used by Czechoslovak legionnaires in Russia has been stopping at Czech towns and cities for several years now, spreading awareness of Czechoslovak Legions and their contribution to the creation of an independent Czechoslovak state.
By the end of November, the Legiovlak is scheduled to make a week-long stop in more than two dozen towns and cities around the country. Its first stop next week will be the West Bohemian town of Plasy, near Pilsen.
The annual Pilgrimage of Reconciliation from the town of Pohořelice to Brno, commemorating the victims of the post-war expulsion of the Moravian capital’s German-speaking population, will be postponed to September.
The event traditionally takes place in May, when the “Brno death march” took place in 1945. Some 20,000 of the city’s German-speaking citizens were rounded up by Czech paramilitaries in the wake of WWII and walked to the Austrian border. Around 1,700 are believed to have died of exhaustion on the way.
Friday is expected to be partly cloudy with daytime temperatures ranging between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius.