Czech morning news in brief: top stories for Jan. 26, 2021

Czech leaders resign over party attendance, 300 artillery mines from WWII discovered by police, those in quarantine may get bonus pay. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 26.01.2021 09:17:00 (updated on 26.01.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

POLITICS: Sport commissioner resigns over presence at hotel party

Czech government sport commissioner Milan Hnilička will give up his position as MP for the senior government ANO party due to his participation in a birthday party in a hotel in Teplice, north Bohemia, on Saturday amid the coronavirus lockdown. He said that he would decide about his continuation as the commissioner for sports according to the sports circles' stance on the situation. Tabloid photos showed Hnilička attending the birthday party of Teplice entrepreneur and former influential Social Democrat politician Petr Benda in his hotel.

The behaviour of the participants in the party amounts to unacceptable bigwig manners and violates the government coronavirus restrictions, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš told the press.

TRAVEL: Bavarian Minister President insists on COVID tests for Czechs

Bavarian Minister President Markus Söder spoke over the phone with Czech PM Andrej Babiš and reiterated Bavaria insists on mandatory tests for COVID-19 for people coming from the Czech Republic, German DPA agency has reported, referring to Söder's spokesman. Babiš said that the Bavarian Minister President promised to review the measures when the epidemic situation in Czechia improved. "Therefore I asked him at least for further reinforcement of testing capacities for Czech cross-border workers and ongoing free testing," Babiš tweeted. Bavaria requires tests that are not older than 48 hours, while only two tests per week are necessary for cross-border workers in Saxony.

REGIONS: Over 300 WW2 artillery mines found in east Bohemian forest

The police uncovered 338 WWII artillery mines in a forest near the east Bohemian center Pardubice on Sunday, after being alerted by treasure hunters with metal detectors. If they had exploded in an inhabited area, the ammunition could have destroyed several houses. Called in and cutting tree trunks and roots, bomb disposal experts found the ammunition buried in several layers on the area of four square metres and 1.5 metres underground. A lorry had to arrive to take all the dangerous mines away for safe destruction.

SICK PAY: Social dems propose extra pay for people in quarantine

The Social Democrats (CSSD) will propose to the government Tuesday that people in coronavirus quarantine receive a 250-CZK daily bonus along with the compensation of 60 percent of their base pay for ten days. The bonus would be paid by employers who would then deduct the sum from the obligatory social insurance they pay for employees. This bonus should be paid to the people with health insurance in the Czech Republic. It would amount to CZK 2,500 as COVID quarantine officially lasts ten days. The ministers have already debated a "special COVID sick pay," but have not agreed on its particular form.

VACCINES: Czech Republic falls below EU average for vaccinations

A month ago, the first Czechs received a vaccine against COVID-19, on the same day as other residents of the European Union (EU). A month later, it is 15th place out of 27 EU members according to MF DNES. Data shows that 1.75% of the population is vaccinated just below the Union average of 1.8%. According to the Minister of Health Jan Blatný, the numbers are comparable to neighboring Germany and Austria. Malta and Denmark lead the EU in vaccination where about 4% of the population have received the vaccine. At the bottom of the ranking is Bulgaria, where only 0.38% of people have received the vaccine. The outlook for the next few days is not positive, doses to the EU will be reduced, so vaccination will slow down compared to plans.

Pic of the day

CULTURE: Loos in Pilsen exhibition opened in Czech Centre in New York

The multimedia touring exhibition "Loos in Pilsen" focusing on the work of Czech-born architect Adolf Loos (1870-1933) in Plzen town, was opened in the gallery of the Czech Centre in New York last week. The display, which shows off several of Loos-designed interiors, was prepared in cooperation of the Czech centres and the West Bohemian Gallery in Plzen with the town of Plzen and the Plzen-TURISMUS agency as its partners. It was previously successfully exhibited in Tel Aviv. Its author is Petr Domanicky, the curator of the museum's architecture collection, who has long dealt with Loos's work. After New York, the exhibition will be held in Paris, Tokyo, Brussels, Berlin, Munich and Vienna.

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