Czech daily news roundup: Monday, March 14, 2022

Zelensky speaks with Czech PM, Babiš reveals more about mystery health issues, Žatec brewery ends production and dismisses staff.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 14.03.2022 09:25:00 (updated on 14.03.2022) Reading time: 4 minutes

16:19 Two Czech trucks take medicine to Ukraine

Two trucks carrying prescription medicines such as painkillers and antibiotics will depart from Czechia for Ukraine this week. Packages worth a total of over CZK 10 million were donated to the country by healthcare companies. Further shipments of medical aid to Ukraine are also planned as the country fights off Russian invasion. The Czech Deputy Health Minister said it is important for medicines to be donated directly by producers and pharmaceutical distributors as this prevents Czechia running out of its own medicine supplies.

14:59 People In Need submits proposals for refugee accommodation

Czech NGO People In Need has submitted recommendations that the state and self-governing bodies prepare four types of accommodation for Ukrainian refugees. The types range from temporary accommodation at hotels to stays in houses and flats. People In Need said rapid action is required, and that such accommodation could house refugees for several years before being converted to social housing. The NGO made the recommendations based on estimates that 350,000 to 500,000 Ukrainians could arrive in Czechia by June.

12:59 Czech employment offices handle wave of Ukrainian refugees

Tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees have visited Czech employment offices in recent days. Most are requesting humanitarian aid and benefits, but some are also interested in work opportunities, according to a spokesperson for employment offices. Staff from other departments have been redirected to employment offices to help meet the demand, and offices are also extending their opening hours. Mobile units are meanwhile being deployed to reach more refugees. As most of the arriving refugees are women and children, most people visiting employment offices request assistance with finding accommodation and taking care of children.

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11:55 Over 150,000 Ukrainians register for Czech health insurance

VZP health insurance company has announced that before today, a total of 152,692 refigees from Ukraine had registered for public health insurance in the Czech Republic. Out of this group, 68,125 are children, while women account for 80 percent of newly insured adults. 39,000 people have registered with VZP in Prague alone after the government made public health insurance available to all holders of emergency visas or refugees.

Ukraine Zelensky speaks with Czech PM over phone

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke over the phone with Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday, Zelensky announced on Twitter. Zelensky said the three-way discussion covered “the fight of the Ukrainian people against Russian aggression, and Russia’s criminal attacks on civilians.”

Fiala said he assured the Ukrainian President that shipments of humanitarian and military aid from the Czech Republic to Ukraine will continue. Johnson told Zelensky that Britain would also continue looking for ways to bolster Ukraine’s defense.

Politics Andrej Babiš reveals more about mystery health issues

Former Czech Prime Minister and current leader of the opposition Andrej Babiš has revealed more about the mystery health condition which led him to be admitted to the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKEM) on Friday. Babiš briefly lost consciousness after eating lunch on Friday.

Babiš explained that he has a partial intestinal obstruction but that his condition is improving. He said his unconsciousness after eating lasted less than a minute, and colleagues immediately provided first aid. Babiš has canceled his work program at least until the middle of this week.

Czech beer Žatec brewery ends production and dismisses staff

Popular Czech beer brand Žatec has announced the end of its traditional style of beer production while dismissing most of its employees. The 220-year-old company has not been able to recover from impacts on revenue caused by the Covid pandemic combined with a drastic rise in energy prices.

Žatec, owned by Danish beer giant Carlsberg, said economic reasons led to the changes. The director of the company said the brewery has not been financially successful for years, but the events of recent years were a tipping point. Traditional beer production will be replaced by the creation of a small brewery with a production capacity of three thousand hectoliters; technically a micro-brewery, according to the company’s management.

Russia-Ukraine Fiala: Czechia will feel impact of war for years

Prime Minister Petr Fiala said in a television interview yesterday that the Czech Republic will continue to feel the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for months or even years. Fiala said Czechs do not need to worry about their own safety, though, because the country is a member of NATO and the EU.

Significant price increases and an influx of Ukrainian refugees will be the main consequences of the war, Fiala said. Consumer prices are rising in various sectors as a direct result of Russia’s actions, with the EU working to effect a shift away from Russian energy dependency. The Ukrainian refugee crisis, meanwhile, is Europe’s biggest migration wave since WWII.

Polling SPOLU coalition increases poll lead

The SPOLU (Together) coalition led by Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala would win a Czech general election held today by a considerable margin, according to a poll conducted by the Kantar CZ polling institute. SPOLU would gain 32.5 percent of the vote, more than in the October general election. Andrej Babiš’s ANO party would be the runners-up with 27.5 percent.

The 5 percent threshold for entering the Chamber of Deputies would also be passed by the Pirates+STAN coalition, with 14.5 percent of the vote, and the Freedom and Direct Democracy party, which has gained slightly in support and is now backed by 12 percent of the population.

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