Czech morning news in brief: Top stories for Dec. 16, 2020

Free antigen tests begin, direct flights on FlyDubai to Dubai return next week, and museums with foreign artifacts get an exemption from restrictions

Tom Lane

Written by Tom Lane Published on 16.12.2020 08:54:00 (updated on 16.12.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

Free antigen testing begins today

Free coronavirus antigen testing will start from today, two days earlier than planned. The testing was supposed to take place from Dec. 18 but was pushed forward in a press conference held on Monday evening.

The test will be covered by the national health insurance according to the Health Ministry. Prague residents can book a test on this dedicated website.

Minister calls for Midnight Christmas Church services to be exempt from restrictions

The government should grant an exemption from the coronavirus lockdown for Christmas midnight masses, Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek (Social Democrats, CSSD) tweeted.

Petricek said he had asked Prime Minister Andrej Babis and Health Minister Jan Blatny (ANO) for a special exemption for services.

The lockdown measures, to take effect along with the Czech Republic moving to the fourth, stricter degree of the PES epidemic system, do not enable participation in midnight mass.

Exhibitions with unique foreign artifacts to stay open beyond Friday

Exhibitions at the National Museum showing unique foreign artifacts that have been loaned will remain open even when museums and galleries close on Friday, Culture Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said last night.

Displays with items such as "The Sun Kings” and "Rembrandt. Portrait of a Man" will allow visitors as long as they follow strict sanitary rules.

On Friday, museums, galleries, and heritage sites will close again after 15 days due to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic. Read more here.

FlyDubai Direct flights to Dubai return next week

Direct flights from Prague to Dubai are set to return next week with FlyDubai resuming flights from Dec. 23. They will be operating two flights a week on Tuesdays and Saturdays from Václav Havel Airport in Prague.

For the birds

Czech scientists have released research that shows the size and sexual interests of birds influence the way a specific species sings. The Czech Academy of Sciences findings challenge the current hypotheses that the singing's height and frequency depend on the type of habitat the bird has, according to CTK.

The experts based their research on around 19,000 recordings of the singing of about 5,000 bird species. 

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