Czech morning news in brief: top headlines for April 12, 2021

Czech Foreign Minister dismissed, Prague blaze disrupts morning commute, and Croatia is now dark red on the travel risk map. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 12.04.2021 09:26:00 (updated on 12.04.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček dismissed

Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (ČSSD) has been dismissed, he confirmed in a statement to ČTK. The minister learned of his dismissal at a Sunday evening meeting with the chairman of the ČSSD and Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamáček. Petříček did not elaborate on the decision and Deputy PM Hamáček did not respond to a request for comment. According to media speculation, Petříček will be replaced by the current Minister of Culture Lubomír Zaorálek (ČSSD). President Zeman has been seeking a change of foreign minister for a while. Petříček has said the reason Zeman does not want him as minister is because he has pointed to the security risks of the tender for the construction of a new unit in the Dukovany nuclear power plant and that he is against Covid-19 vaccination with uncertified Russian or Chinese vaccines. Hamáček should announce Petříček dismisal on Monday; he should be replaced later next week.

Croatia moves to dark red on the Czech travel map

From Monday, April 12, Croatia will move to the dark-red countries with the highest risk of coronavirus infection on the Czech traveler's map. Italy will move in the opposite direction. Denmark will improve from the red to the orange countries, and Colombia and Peru are now in the black, extreme risk, category the Ministry of Health has announced. Testing for Covid-19 is mandatory only before entering the territory of the Czech Republic when returning from countries falling into the dark red category. This includes a small part of the Member States of the European Union as well as most third countries, including Britain. For returns from countries with a high and medium risk of infection (i.e. the red and orange category of countries) the test before returning to the Czech Republic is required only if one uses public transport.

Czech President Miloš Zeman started using a wheelchair

Czech President Miloš Zeman has started using a wheelchair both at Prague Castle and Lany manor because he cannot walk well, he said in an interview with the Blesk tabloid daily Sunday. "I decided to use a wheelchair because I can see nothing bad about it," he said. Zeman said he used the wheelchair sometimes and it was comfortable. He said he plans to hand over state decorations from his wheelchair during the traditional ceremony at Prague Castle on October 28, the day of Czech statehood. The 76-year-old Zeman has had a lenghty battled with diabetes and for neuropathy in his legs. Last year, he fell down, broke his arm and then underwent an surgery for an arm fracture. The president told reporters that he is waiting for his doctor's prognosis as to whether his legs will improve or not.

Prague warehouse blaze complicates morning traffic

A building is burning on Modřanská Street in Prague, and firefighters are advising residents of Braník, Kamýk, and Modřany not to ventilate. The fire has also stopped car and tram traffic, firefighters tweeted. The Prague ambulance service stated that it has not treated anyone as of yet. "The fire is gradually getting under control," firefighters said after 7:30 a.m. "We are trying to get under the roofing. Goods of various kinds are burning in the building, including clothes and furniture," they added. Six professional and five voluntary fire brigades were called into to combat the blaze. Rescue workers also sent a special Atego car to the scene. "We don't have information about the injured yet and we are waiting," the rescue service tweetd. The fire is blocking traffic in the area, updated are available on the public transit website.

Cheb region hit by an earthquake this weekend

The northeast of Cheb was hit by an earthquake on Saturday morning, the strongest shocks of which exceeded a magnitude of 3 degrees. It was accompanied by weaker tremors on the border of Cheb and Sokolov. According to experts, it was possibly an earthquake swarm, a sequence of seismic events occurring in a local area within a relatively short period of time during which even stronger tremors may occur. The tremors were felt by people tens of kilometers away from its epicenter, in Oloví, Jindřichovice, and Krajková. The strongest earthquake in the last few decades hit the Cheb region in 1985, reaching a magnitude of 4.6 degrees. The site, one of the most important seismological areas in Europe, has since been monitored by a network of seismographs which allows people to check whether or not tremors have actually occurred and how strong they were via the website of the Geophysical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. 

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