Czech morning news in brief: top headlines for March 26, 2021

The Czech census begins, Kupka painting sets record at auction, and through traffic along Prague's embankments may be restricted to locals. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 26.03.2021 09:53:00 (updated on 26.03.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Czech census begins tonight at midnight

The census of the population, homes, and apartments starts in the Czech Republic after ten years from Friday night to Saturday and will run through May 11, Czech Statistical Office (CSU) chairman Marek Rojicek has told reporters. During the first two weeks, from March 27 to April 9, online forms can be submitted. Those who do not do so will be able to fill in traditional paper forms between April 17 and May 11. The census process has been tested several times thoroughly, its cyber protection is secured and the data will be stored in the Czech Republic, Rojicek stressed, adding that the CSU would not submit the data to any authorities. You can read how to participate in the census in our full guide here.

Encephalitis surges to almost record high last year

The number of Czechs infected by tick-borne encephalitis rose to 854 last year, which was 80 more than in 2019 and the highest number since 2012, according to the data of the National Health Institute (SZU) released Thursday. The VZP general health insurance company says the interest in vaccination against encephalitis has been growing. The number of tick-borne encephalitis cases was increasing since 2015 when the SZU recorded 355 of them, but the figure more than doubled by last year. By contrast, the occurrence of Lyme disease fell in the past two years. Last year, 3,710 people got infected with it, which was the smallest figure over the past five years. Last year, 153,400 VZP clients asked for tick-borne encephalitis vaccination, which was about 18,100 more than a year ago. The vaccine has to be repeated three times, already protecting after the second dose after 14 days. One dose costs CZK 800-1000 and is partly covered by the health insurance.

Smartwings to receive government bail out

Smartwings airline has received a loan for CZK 1.92 billion, 80 percent of which will be covered by a state guarantee. The loan will be provided by four domestic banks according to Czech server This week the moratorium that protected the company from creditors will expire. The company's debt is around CZK 6.65 billion most of which is overdue. Another domestic airline, CSA, which is a subsidiary of Smartwings, has gone bankrupt in recent weeks, though announced it would nevertheless increase flight connections to several European destinations.

Prague's embankment traffic could be restricted to locals

Prague City Hall began preparing a plan for modifications of the Smetana embankment. The plan would significantly reduce car traffic on both banks of the Vltava. Drivers from elsewhere will be barred. The restriction would only apply to "non-local" drivers who use the embankment, Křižovnická, Malostranské náměstí, and Karmelitská to move to other parts of the city. The management of Prague wants to inspect individual vehicles by monitoring registration plates. “Smetana's embankment and the Lesser Town are among the most beautiful and valuable places in Europe. Although politicians have been talking about their protection for decades, they are still a transit point for car traffic. At the center, Praguers should be able to live and breathe clean air and use the modes of transport that will transport the most people without emissions. These are mainly trams, ” said Adam Scheinherr, Prague's deputy for transport. 

Kupka painting breaks record at auction

František Kupka called "Blasting II" was auctioned off at Sotheby's in London on Thursday evening for a record-setting price tag of 7.5 million pounds, roughly CZK 230.8 million, though the final price could be more after royalties, value-added tax, or customs duties depending on the owner's country of residence. The painting sets a record for the highest price paid for a Czech work at auction. In recent decades, the image of the Enthroned Virgin Mary with a child, attributed to the workshop of the Master of the Vyšší Brod Altar, reached CZK 158 million when auctioned in Dijon last year. It was acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.


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Sun and spring weather in the Czech Republic through Easter

The coming days will see mostly sunny and spring-time temperatures, and this pleasant weather should last at least until Easter according to Czech meteorologists. A slight and temporary is expected through this weekend and next, with possible freezing temps at night. During the day temperatures will be around 10°C. The weather should warm up again next week and by the end of March the Czech Republic will probably see the first temperatures jump to a summery 20°C.

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