Czech morning news in brief: top stories for March 3, 2021

Rohlík to expand into Europe, Smartwings will require negative test, Prague police report 9,000 violations of anti-COVID measures last month.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 03.03.2021 09:26 (updated on 03.03.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

RETAIL: Rohlík secures €190 million to fund European expansion

Prague-based online supermarket and delivery service Rohlík secures €190 million to fund European expansion. The company announced that it plans to grow its business in existing markets such as Hungary and Austria where it has 75,000 customers, and also expand into new ones, particularly in Germany. The financing round was led by Partech, joined by Index Ventures, with participation from EBRD, J&T Banka, Quadrille Capital, R2G, and existing investor Enern. "We expect that our activities will kick-start the market and force all players in the retail industry to accelerate. We are not focused on delivering a small basket very quickly like other players in the market, but fulfilling real needs of families in Europe,” said Rohlík CEO Tomáš Čupr who founded the company in 2014.

TRAVEL: Smartwings and CSA will require a negative test from passengers

From Friday, March 5, Smartwings and Czech Airlines will require passengers to confirm confirmation of a negative coronavirus test on all their routes. They will accept antigen tests up to 24 hours old and PCR tests performed up to 72 hours before the flight. Without it, passengers will not be allowed on the plane, the Smartwings Group announced today. Carriers will also expand testing among their employees. Exceptions to mandatory testing will be children under the age of five, as well as passengers with a medical certificate that they have no clinical signs of COVID-19 and have suffered the disease in the last 90 days. In addition, passengers must meet the conditions for entry to the destination country. Smartwings now fly from Prague to Malaga, the Canary Islands of Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Mallorca, Madeira, and the Egyptian resorts of Hurghada and Marsa Alam. Czech Airlines currently flies to Paris, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Kyiv, and Moscow.

EDUCATION: Foreign students at Czech universities on the rise

The total number of foreign students enrolled in degree programs in the Czech Republic increased by 8.1% in 2020. Students from Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus recorded more than 10% growth. The highest year-on-year increase was among students from Russia, India, and Iran. The latest data from the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports for 2020 shows that the number of students with non-Czech citizenship rose from 46,351 students in 2019 to 50,121 students last year. Currently, there are nearly 300,000 students at Czech public, state, and private higher education institutions; international students in degree programs make up over 17% of the student body. A drop in the number of short-term exchange students was recorded, likely due to travel restrictions. Compared to 15,813 short-term students in 2019, there were only 9,740 in the Czech Republic in 2020.

CRIME: Prague police report 9,000 violations of anti-epidemic measures last month

Prague City Police are reporting that 9,000 violations of anti-COVID measures have taken place in the Czech capital over the past month. "For these violations, police officers imposed 625 fines in the total amount of CZK 224,900, reported 362 violations to the administrative body, and others were resolved by agreement," said director of MP Prague Eduard Šuster. The most common violations were failure to wear a mask, while more than 7,000 people were intoxicated without a veil, and 556 people were fined for drinking alcohol in public. The ban on gathering and going out after 9 pm, was violated by 1,038 people and police also uncovered fifty unruly bars and restaurants.

POLL: Forty percent of Czech Internet users trust COVID hoaxes

Two-fifths of Czech Internet users believe misinformation about coronavirus, with half believing the virus was produced in a laboratory, a STEM agency poll has shown. About 40 percent of the polled said they believe that the epidemic serves the government as a pretext to supervise people, and 10 percent believe that the aim of the COVID vaccination is to gain control of the population by means of microchips. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they ceased to trust government information during the pandemic, and about 20 percent said they have lost their trust in the media. At present, 29 percent of Internet users trust government representatives as a source of information about the epidemic and the serious threat it poses. The most trusted sources, mentioned for 70 percent of respondents, are immunologists, general practitioners, doctors, and nurses from the hospitals treating COVID-19 patients. People's disinformation and mistrust in official information determine their willingness to observe basic anti-epidemic measures.

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