Czech morning news in brief: top stories for Feb. 25, 2021

Travel restrictions in place for visiting Poland, new investor for Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and Slavia face crucial European tie. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 25.02.2021 09:11:00 (updated on 25.02.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

TRAVEL: Stricter rules for Czech citizens to enter Poland

Czech and Slovak citizens arriving in Poland must have a negative COVID test or have received two doses of the anti-COVID vaccine or they will have to quarantine on arrival, Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski told a press conference Wednesday. Furthermore, he announced a toughening of the existing anti-epidemic restrictions in the country in reaction to a sharp increase in the novel coronavirus cases. "Any test, be it antigen or PCR, is valid," Niedzielski said, talking probably also about Polish cross-border workers returning from Slovakia and the Czech Republic. "Unfortunately, the situation does not look good. The toughened measures will apply as of Saturday. Possibly even earlier. There is nothing to wait for," he said in a radio interview on Wednesday morning. The Czech Republic has announced travel restrictions for people wishing to travel to various countries in South America and Africa. You can read more about them here.

ECONOMY: Confidence in Czech economy grew in February, but overall picture unclear

Confidence in the Czech economy increased in February after a January decline. The composite indicator increased by 2.4 points to 89.7 points. Confidence among entrepreneurs was higher, while that of consumers fell. This follows from data published today by the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ). Compared to last February, when no anti-epidemic measures have yet been applied, all indicators are at a significantly lower level. ING chief economist Jakub Seidler said the development of recent days suggests that the data published Wednesday may no longer fully reflect the current level of confidence in the economy, which will probably be significantly lower, especially among companies. Confidence among entrepreneurs increased by 3.5 points to 90.6 points in February. It grew in all sectors except trade. 

COVID: Dogs trained to detect COVID could have 90 percent precision

Trained dogs are able to detect the coronavirus infection via sniffing samples with more than 90 percent precision, dog handler Gustav Hotový told ČTK during a simulation of dog testing in a Prague elementary school with tens of pupils taking part in the simulation. Within the Search and Rescue Czech Republic team, Hotový trained dogs to recognize the infected samples and believes the method could be used for instance in schools, retirement homes, and companies, he said. The team has been training with samples from Prague's Thomayer Hospital, the Olomouc Teaching Hospital, and GPs. The project, financed by the private sector, started last April. The most valuable are symptomless patients as the dogs are not misled by other symptoms, such as fever. When put into practice, a positive "dog test" would be confirmed by an ensuing PCR test. Similar projects started last year abroad, too, for instance in Finland, France, and Germany.


CULTURE: New partner for Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (Mezinárodní filmový festival Karlovy Vary), which was postponed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, should be held in the west Bohemian town this year and it has gained a new strategic investor, the Rockaway Capital group, the festival management said in a press release. The 55th international film festival was not held in Karlovy Vary due to the epidemic and a shorter non-competition film event entitled "54 1/2 International Film Festival Karlovy Vary" planned in this spa town last November had to be scrapped, too, amid the surging second wave. However, festival organizers held the Tady Vary event presenting 16 films, originally selected for the international festival's program, which were screened in 96 cinemas across Czechia last July. 

SPORT: Slavia Prague set for tricky trip to former Premier League champions

Slavia Prague faces a difficult task when they travel to Leicester City in the second leg of their Europa League tie this evening. The Czech league leaders were held to a goalless draw last week at the Sinobo Stadium in the first leg of their last-32 tie. Leicester City are currently third in the English Premier League table, having won the title in 2016. Due to the away goals rule being in effect, a score draw or a win would be enough to see the away side progress. Slavia assistant coach Zdeněk Houštecký said before their departure to England, "We are all looking forward to it, players, completely the whole club, our fans. We are going there with a good starting position from the home duel. We will do everything to make it happen."

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