Czech morning news in brief: top stories for Jan. 6, 2021

New saliva-based COVID test on the way, Three Kings celebrations go online, and a Czech space photo that's out of this world!

Tom Lane

Written by Tom Lane
Published on 06.01.2021 08:55 (updated on 06.01.2021)

New COVID test made from saliva to be available this month

A new type of test for COVID-19, which uses saliva instead of nasal swab used by PCR tests, has been developed by the Czech firm Diana Biotechnologies and will be available this month, the firm's representative Vaclav Navratil has told CTK.

He said the new option has been tested by the firm in cooperation with the Prague-Bulovka hospital. Its sensitivity is comparable with PCR tests, as is its price, which, will be definitively set by the testing laboratories and insurers. See the full story here.

Number of people in overcrowded housing in Czech Republic decreases

Around a sixth of people living in the Czech Republic live in an overcrowded household according to new data from Eurostat. 

That number is decreasing compared to previous years, with the Czech Republic having fewer people in overcrowded housing than the EU average. The data shows in 2019, 15.4 percent of the Czech population lived in such housing, which is the lowest in the entire history of monitoring. Read more here.

Three Kings won't be parading in the Czech Republic today

The usual three kings parade that takes place to mark the end of the Christmas season, won't be taking place this year due to COVID restrictions. Today is the feast of the Three Kings - Kaspar, Melichar and Baltazar, but traditional collections have moved online.

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The Feast of the Three Kings refers to the three sages who, after the shepherds, came to Bethlehem to worship the baby Jesus. The royal crowns and names were added to them many hundreds of years later. Today in the Czech Republic the tradition is accompanied by a fund-raising campaign. Make a donation at www.trikralovasbirka.cz.

NASA publishes Czech Opava University's snap

NASA has published a photo made by Petr Horalek and Josef Kujal during the Opava University team's December trip to the total solar eclipse in Chile, Horalek told CTK today. "The snap shows the deep field around the South celestial pole dominated by three galaxies - a Milky Way section and two satellite galaxies known as Magellanic Clouds," he said.

GALAXIES OF SOUTH POLE: Surrounding the #celestial #southpole is truly impressive. The #MilkyWay, our #Galaxy, is full...

Posted by Petr Horálek Photography on Monday, 28 December 2020

In spite of many logistic problems and obstacles largely caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Czech expedition reached Chile, where, however, the adverse weather thwarted its plan to photograph the solar eclipse. Read more here.

Verbal evaluation to replace grades for half-yearly report card

The Ministry of Education announced yesterday that it is recommending a verbal evaluation in lieu of a traditional report card, but marks will also be possible. With regards to distance learning, evaluations should focus on children's responsibility for their own learning, working with time, and fulfilling responsibilities. The certificate for the first half of the current school year will be available later unless schools reopen by the end of January. However, schools must communicate the contents of the report card to students by Jan. 28.