The Czech Republic received its first batch of swine flue vaccines, Health Minister Dana Jurásková told reporters on Wednesday. Ms Jurásková said that out of the 95,000 vaccines that had been delivered, around 50,000 would be distributed to GPs by the end of the week. They will vaccinate high risk patients while the remaining vaccines will be given to health care professionals.
Minister Jurásková also said there will be enough vaccines and antivirotics as more deliveries are expected. She would give more details as well as an outline of the country’s vaccination strategy on Friday.
In related news, some Czech hospitals including Prague’s IKEM institute, Na Homolce and Královské Vinohrady hospitals and other health care facilities across the country have forbidden visits due to the swine flu outbreak. The number of people infected with the H1N1 virus in the Czech Republic doubled over the last week, with 486 patients now registered. A five-year old girl in a critical condition has been hospitalized in Ústí nad Labem, northern Bohemia. Meanwhile, the Czech Education Ministry issued guidelines for schools on Wednesday on how to prevent the spread of the virus.
The ČSOB, Česká spořitelna, Raiffeisen and Volksbank CZ banks have started recalling hundreds of credit cards over a Spanish fraud scam, the news website aktualne.cz reported on Wednesday. The measure affects clients who have used their cards abroad, particularly in Spain where fraudsters stole data from a local credit card centre. The move was prompted by a similar measure in Germany where banks are recalling more than 100,000 credit cards.
Czechs top the list of Europe’s biggest shoplifters, according to a study by the UK’s Centre for Retail Research released on Wednesday. The study shows that around 8.7 billion crowns, or 510 million US dollars, worth of goods was stolen by customers and staff in 2009. The losses accounted for nearly 1.4 percent of total retail sales in the country, which is up by 0.9 percent from last year. The number is the highest of all 21 EU countries featured in the study. Stolen merchandise most frequently includes alcohol, cosmetics, electronics and other goods.
The controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders will address the Czech Senate in late November, Civic Democrat Senator Jiří Oberfalzer told the news agency ČTK on Wednesday. Mr Oberfalzer said he invited the anti-Islamic activist to defend the concept of freedom of speech, which in his view suffered after Mr Wilders was prevented from entering the UK in February. Before the address, Geert Wilder’s anti-Islamic movie Fitna will be screened, Mr Oberfalzer added.
Over 12 percent of Czechs would vote for the Communist Party, a survey by the STEM agency revealed on Wednesday, which is some 0.5 percent more than in the previous poll released in October. The country’s two biggest parties, Social Democrats and Civic Democrats, lost around one percent of support, gaining just over 25 and 23 percent of votes respectively. TOP 09 would receive 8.4 percent and Christian Democrats 5.1 percent. No other party would make it past the 45-percent threshold.
Former dissident and Czechoslovakia’s first post-communist president Václav Havel became on Wednesday an honorary citizen of Slovak capital Bratislava in recognition of his role in the nation’s struggle for freedom. Mr Havel told reporters that the city had a specific atmosphere he always admired.
A drop in the number of overnight stays in hotels in the Czech Republic slowed in the third quarter of 2009, according to government figures released on Wednesday. In total, 4.3 million guests spent a night in hotels around the country in the third quarter, which was 1.7 percent fewer year-on-year. However, the drop was milder compared to the previous quarter due to a higher number of domestic tourists. A bigger decrease was registered in Prague where the number of hotel guests dropped by 4.3 percent.
The police charged Dagmar Tauchenová on Wednesday with three crimes over her role in the escape of her husband, who had been sentenced to five years in jail. Ms Tauchenová helped her husband escape during a visit to a hospital in Plzeň last week. The couple, dubbed ‘Czech Bonnie and Clyde’, were caught two days later. Her husband shot himself and died on the spot while the police shot Ms Tauchenová in the chest. She faces up to eight years in prison. Meanwhile, her lawyer filed a criminal lawsuit against the policeman who fired at her, arguing that she was unarmed and running away when she was shot.
The Czech-based, German-owned car manufacturer Škoda Auto started producing a new, low-volume engine in its plant in Mladá Boleslav, a company spokesman said on Wednesday. The 1.2 litre, 1.2-litre, 77 kW engine is going to be fitted to Škoda, Audi, Volkswagen and Seat cars. Vehicles with the new unit will be marked TSI.
The Czech Republic’s national football team lost to Azerbaijan 0:2 at a tournament in Saudi Arabia on Wednsday, finishing last of four teams. The embarrassing defeat by the 125th team of the FIFA world ranking followed a Sunday’s loss to Saudi Arabia. Czechs lost both games under the new national side manager, Michal Bílek.
Thursday should be cloudy and overcast with occasional fogs. Highest day temperatures should range between 8 and 12 degrees Celsius.