Czech morning news in brief: top headlines for May 11, 2021

Czechs take IKEA by storm on Monday, Prague Castle slammed for plastic candle holders, travel for vaccinated could be possible from Saturday. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 11.05.2021 09:57:00 (updated on 11.05.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Prague Castle commemorates COVID victims with 30,000 candles

Nearly 30,000 candles illuminated the three courtyards of the Prague Castle, the presidential seat, standing for all the victims of Covid-19 in the Czech Republic. Altogether, more than 29,700 people have died with the novel coronavirus in the Czech Republic. At the beginning of the ceremony, Zeman said that people's indifference and recklessness led to some of these deaths. The president expressed his respect and thanks to healthcare workers and others who have helped fight the virus. He said he hopes the epidemic will be over this September at the latest thanks to the massive vaccination campaign. Candles were put into plastic cups a move criticized on social media. The Greenpeace environmental organization tweeted that even though the NGO acknowledges various ways of mourning, using 30,000 single-use plastic beer cups is disrespectful to both nature and survivors.

Vaccinated Czechs could be able to travel as of Saturday

People vaccinated against the coronavirus may travel between the Czech Republic and another six states facilitated approximately by May 15, Health Minister Petr Arenberger said after a cabinet meeting Monday, adding that the final talks on the issue are scheduled for Friday. Last Thursday already, PM Andrej Babis said that as of May 15, citizens of Austria, Hungary, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia may arrive in the Czech Republic without any restrictions if they have a certificate proving their vaccination against COVID-19 was completed two weeks ago or earlier. Arenberger confirmed Monday that travel should be facilitated based on bilateral agreements. "Foreign Minister [Jakub Kulhanek] has told me that the final talks in this respect should take place this Friday," Arenberger said. On Thursday, Babis said he would like to invite Croatia, Greece, and Bulgaria to the negotiations.

Concert with audience marks 125 years of Czech Philharmonic

A concert of the Czech Philharmonic (CF) under the baton of its chief conductor Semyon Bychkov for a live audience, 350 people with valid PCR tests for coronavirus, marked the 125th anniversary of this orchestra in the Rudolfinum hall tonight. The concert was broadcast live on the public Czech Television (CT) art channel and on social media. This was a pilot project to anticipate a gradual reopening of cultural events to the public after a long lockdown during the coronavirus epidemic. Thanks to a sponsor, the CF has gained PCR tests for all participants in the concert. The concert program offered music by composers Antonin Dvorak, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Alessandro Marcello, Camille Saint-Saens, and George Bizet. All visitors to the concert had to undergo a PCR test and submit its negative result when entering the Rudolfinum Hall. The number of occupied seats in the concert hall was limited to one-third of its total capacity and audience members were required to wear respirators.

Car drives into canal at Prague's Kampa Island

Prague firefighters were called to the scene of Prague's Kampa Island on Monday night after a call came in that a car had driven into the Vltava. Firefighters tweeted last night, "We are intervening in Kampa. According to calls to the emergency line, the car allegedly went down into the Vltava. We also have divers on site. We are looking for a vehicle, we have boats on the surface." Emergency responders eventually freed a 53-year-old man from the car, and rescuers performed CPR for about 30 minutes, managing to restore his heart function. Firefighters pulled the sunken car to shore around midnight. Police are now investigating the circumstances that caused the accident.

First day of open shops in the Czech Republic sees large crowds and queues

Multiple Czech media outlets reported lengthy lines at shopping centers across the Czech Republic on Monday morning as Czech shoppers welcomed the first opportunity to shop in half a year. The line for the IKEA at Prague's Zličín location reportedly stretched to the bus stop, spilling out of a 10-meter-long corridor marked out with roadblocks to accommodate crowds. The biggest influx of customers was noticeable in the kitchen department. Elsewhere in Prague, the Fashion Arena Outlet experienced a flux of customers and lengthy lines upon opening with some people reportedly taking the day off work to shop.

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