Czech morning news in brief: top headlines for April 5, 2021

Easter Monday impacted by restrictions, Czech Ministry of Education doubles down on reopening plan, and a slight rise in Sunday Covid cases.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 05.04.2021 10:12 (updated on 05.04.2021)

Slight week-on-week rise in COVID cases on Sunday

Another 1,911 COVID cases were reported on Sunday, 169 more than a week ago, which was the first week-on-week rise since March 12, according to the latest data from the Czech Health Ministry. Since the outbreak last March, the epidemic has claimed 27,057 lives. Most of the deaths occurred this year. The value of the PES system, which guided the lockdown in the Czech Republic previously, rose to 55 by today. In the previous two days, it was three points lower on the 0-100 scale. The change was due to the rise in the reproduction number, which represents the number of people infected by one positive person, from 0.76 to 0.81. The value of the PES still corresponds with the third out of the five degrees of epidemic risk. However, the epidemic measures still reflect the fifth, strictest degree of alert. On Sunday, doctors applied 10,208 doses of Covid vaccines, 700 more than a week ago. Some 1.8 million Czechs have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 576,328 have both.

Education Ministry insists on its plan to return children to schools

The consultancy group of the Czech Education Ministry, which includes representatives of schools, dismissed Prime Minister Andrej Babiš's criticism of its plan to send children partially back to schools on April 12. The strategy was discussed, among others, by the government council for health risks, in which Babiš personally participated, the group said. Czech primary school pupils from the first five grades are to return to regular instruction at schools on April 12, along with kindergarteners, but maybe not in all districts, Education Minister Robert Plaga said on April 1. Primary school lower graders will rotate between regular and distance instruction, while uppers graders, from the sixth to ninth classes, will continue learning remotely. Secondary school and university students will still study via distance instruction as well. On Friday, Babiš told Czech Radio he did not understand why only some children would return to schools. The PM also criticized the proposal that schools should only reopen according to the situation in the districts. The group said the plan would be a challenge for schools but said there was a clear consensus on the plan and that they dismiss Babiš's criticism.

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Easter traditions impacted by Covid restrictions

Today is Easter Monday, celebrated in the Czech lands as a folk tradition, rather than a religious observance. Many of the customs observed are associated with the end of winter and the beginning of spring. However, this year's traditional door-to-door caroling will be affected by anti-epidemic measures, similar to last year. Due to the current state of emergency free movement is restricted and people cannot leave their district; in addition, the government strongly recommends that people only associate with members of their own household. Government officials say the persistence of strict anti-epidemic measures during the Easter holiday is intended to avoid a repeat of the situation from last Christmas, after which the number of new cases rose sharply.

Two-freight train collision leads to one fatality

The collision of two freight trains near the village Svetec Sunday afternoon claimed the life of one engine driver, while the other was injured, a Railway Administration spokesman told reporters yesterday. Three carriages transporting LPG and one with coal derailed after the collision. The general inspector of the Rail Inspection said the damage to the rail amounted to CZK 4.5 million and to the trains a total of CZK 43 million. One of the engines caught fire. There were nine fire-fighting teams and one emergency service helicopter on the scene, a spokesman for the regional emergency service, said. One person suffered lethal injuries and died instantly. Another individual sustained serious injuries and was driven to a hospital in Teplice, north Bohemia. The accident occurred at 14:16. The engine drivers reportedly failed to stop before a signal.