Czech morning news in brief: top stories for Dec. 21, 2020

The Czech Republic will cancel flights from Britain, govt. to debate tightening of restrictions, prolonged emergency state Wednesday

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 21.12.2020 08:57 (updated on 21.12.2020)

Flights from Britain to stop due to new coronavirus strain

The Czech Republic is stopping flight arrivals from Britain as of noon today (Dec. 21), the Health Ministry has announced.

“As of 12:00, no aircraft from Britain may land in the Czech Republic. The flights from this destination are stopped," the Health Ministry said.

According to information available at the website of the Václav Havel Airport in Prague, four flights from London were to land in Prague, one at 10:15 a.m. and the rest in the afternoon when the arrivals are banned.

People who do arrive in Czech Republic who recently spent time in Britain must switch to home quarantine for up to 10 days as of today due to the emergence of a new mutation of the coronavirus in Britain.

“We are introducing compulsory home quarantine as of today for all people who stayed there for 24 hours at least in the past 14 days and are returning to the Czech Republic,” the Health Ministry said.

The quarantined will undergo a PCR test for COVID-19 on the fifth to the seventh day following their arrival. If the test is negative, their quarantine will end. If they test positive, their isolation at home will last 10 days.

On Saturday, British government experts said that a new strain of the novel coronavirus, detected in southern England, may spread faster than others.

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Coronavirus update: A third of those tested on Sunday were positive

Tests on Sunday revealed 3,364 positive cases of coronavirus in the Czech Republic, almost 1,400 more than last Sunday, the highest Sunday number in six weeks. The PES risk score remains at 76 points on the fourth day, at the worst fifth level. The Czech government will discuss the possibility of tightening anti-coronavirus measures in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, prior to Christmas. On Tuesday, the government coalition will seek a prolongation in the state of emergency. The death toll in the Czech Republic is currently at 10,411 and there are 82,426 active cases.

Self-employed people can apply for nursing allowance from Dec. 21

Self-employed people can apply for the nursing allowance for November from today. The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT) will start receiving applications at 9 a.m., until January 21. Self-employed persons (OSVC) who had to limit their business activities due to caring for a child under 10 years of age or a disabled person due to the closure of schools and social facilities are entitled to CZK 400 for each day. They can combine support with a compensation bonus. CZK 250 million are set aside for the program.

Zeman will get vaccinated but not on TV

A vaccine is evidently the only way out of the coronavirus crisis, Czech President Miloš Zeman said on TV Prima. He added that the will be vaccinated, but not in front of TV cameras.

He also thanked the government for combating the pandemic, though, he said, he has reservations about the confusion accompanying its efforts.

“The light at the end of the tunnel is probably only the vaccine. If the vaccine proves effective next year, we will be out of the woods,” Zeman said. “When people learn that the president has been vaccinated, the information is important,.”

He said he would wait until after healthcare staff and integrated rescue system staff are vaccinated, and he will join with the rest of the population.

According to Zeman, the main cause of the country’s delayed preparation for the vaccination is the frequent replacements of the health ministers. “The delay can be remedied. There is no problem with the vaccine but with vaccination centers. I think they have not been prepared yet and this is a mistake,” he said.

Christmas Eve brings rain and warm weather, then frost and snow

The beginning of Christmas week in the Czech Republic will be overcast and rainy, but also significantly warmer than usual. Temperatures will rise to 10°C, with a Wednesday high of 13°C. On Christmas Day, meteorologists are forecasting temperatures of around 8°C with possible showers and thunderstorms followed by a cooling to zero and snow. Temperatures could be freezing by the weekend.

New artwork installed in Prague by the National Museum

Perforated Brick (Tvárnice) by Miloš Zet.
Perforated Brick (Tvárnice) by Miloš Zet. (photo: Raymond Johnston)

A 35 ton concrete block called Perforated Brick (Tvárnice), by sculptor Martin Zet, was installed in the oasis between the new and the historical buildings of the National Museum on the unused tram tracks leading to Wenceslas Square. The block will be there for two years. The massive cube was inspired by a block created in the 1970s for a decorative wall at a housing development in Prague’s Pankrác district by Martin Zet's father, sculptor Miloš Zet.

The large block is meant to be reminiscent of both the Brussels style of architecture, popular in Czech construction in the 1970s, and Czech Cubism from the 1930s. Perforated Brick was originally shown in Brno in 2019. In 2022 the block will be moved to its permanent location in Pankrác near the wall that inspired it.