Czech morning news in brief: top headlines for March 31, 2021

Record March temps in the Czech Republic yesterday, Prague marathon postponed, Pirates/STAN take the lead in the polls, and more. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 31.03.2021 09:47:00 (updated on 31.03.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

Coalition of Pirates/STAN leading in polls

PM Andrej Babiš's ANO movement has lost its leading position in the polls to the coalition of the Pirates and the Mayors and Independents (STAN) which would win the elections with 27.5 percent of the vote, a March poll by the Median polling institute shows. ANO gained 24.5 percent, which is 2 percentage points less than in the previous poll. On the contrary, the Pirates/STAN coalition received 2.5 percentage points more than in the poll released one month ago. A poll conducted by the Kantar CZ agency indicated a Pirates/STAN victory in late January and early February, as well. The handling of the Covid pandemic has considerably begun to influence the position of the coalition parties, analysts said. The Pirates/STAN coalition has the highest support among people with a university education or at least secondary school final exams, while ANO is the most popular among people with lower education. The poll was conducted on 1,000 Czechs over the age of 18 between March 1 and 29.

Czech Republic in favor of faster EU enlargement

The Czech Republic is in favor of a faster EU enlargement and will insist on it during Portugal's EU presidency, B92 TV station quoted Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček as saying during his visit to Belgrade Tuesday. The Czech foreign minister met with Serbian representatives, including President Aleksandar Vucic and PM Ana Brnabic, to discuss the development of bilateral trade, support for regional cooperation, Serbia's plans for EU entry, the development of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the restart of tourism. Petříček also said the Czech Republic is ready to share its experience with EU integration with Serbia noting that Serbia has made good progress so far on the path towards EU entry but "it is necessary for it to continue with reforms." Serbia gained the status of EU membership candidate in 2012. Three years later, the EU opened the first chapters of EU accession talks with Belgrade. Petříček said that his talks with President Vucic also touched on summer tourism between the Czech Republic and Serbia. He pointed out that Serbia has signed a mutual vaccination acknowledgment agreement with Greece, where many Serbs spend their summer holiday.

Germany prolongs border checks with Czech Republic by two weeks

Germany has prolonged permanent checks at its border with the Czech Republic over the unstable epidemic situation in the country by another 14 days as of April 1, but has lifted the checks at the border with the Austrian Tyrol, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer announced today. "The situation in the Czech Republic is not stable yet. I have decided to extend the checks by another 14 days for the time being, " Seehofer said. Consequently, the checks along the Czech border with the German states of Bavaria and Saxony, valid until March 31, will continue at least until April 14. Germany included Czechia, Slovakia, and Tyrol into the list of regions with a high incidence of the more dangerous coronavirus mutations on February 14, and consequently, it also tightened the measures related to these regions, including border checks. Since March 28, Germany removed the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Tyrol from this list, and since then, it has enabled transit of road traffic for Czechs across its territory without Covid-19 tests, which facilitates freight traffic. From now on, the Czech Republic is denoted as a high-risk area in terms of the COVID-19 spread.

Two die in helicopter crash near Prague

Two Czech men died in a helicopter crash between Dobřichovice and Karlík near Prague Tuesday. Police are investigating the cause of the small helicopter's crash in a meadow despite the fact that it was flying approximately 90 meters above the ground. A post-mortem of the victims has been ordered, a police spokesperson said. The crash was reported around 14:00 CEST. Regional rescue service spokesperson pronounced the men dead on arrival. A similar small-helicopter accident occurred last Thursday near Velká Dobrá, in Central Bohemia. One of the two people involved in the incident suffered only light injuries.

Prague marathon postponed from May to October

The Prague International Marathon will not take place May; organizers have moved the race to October 10 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they announced in a press release yesterday. The marathon is traditionally run on the first Sunday in May. Organizers initially postponed the event until the end of May but were forced to postpone once again due to coronavirus restrictions. On May 30, a marathon for elite runners will be organized in Prague as a last-minute opportunity to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games. The qualification period ends on May 31. A marathon spokesperson said to hold an event for several thousands of runners in two months is unrealistic but that Run Czech which organizes the marathon will be monitoring the epidemiological situation and remains optimistic that Sunday, October 10 will be a suitable date for this year’s Volkswagen Marathon Prague.

Record high temps in Prague Tuesdsay

Temperatures in the Czech Republic set a record Tuesday for the highest March 30 temperature in the last 30 years. The hottest temps were recorded in Kopisty in the Most region, where the thermometer showed 24.6 degrees Celsius. Temperatures of up to 25 degrees Celsius are expected by meteorologists on Wednesday as well, but the weather is expected to cool down considerably on Good Friday. On Wednesday, temperatures are forecast to rise to 21 to 25 degrees Celsius in the afternoon, and on Thursday meteorologists expect them to range from 20 to 24 degrees with cooling over Easter break. Temps should not exceed 15 degrees Celsius until Sunday.

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