Czech morning news in brief: top stories for Feb. 2, 2021

Czech Republic condemns Myanmar coup, section of Berlin wall could go on display in Žižkov, anti-PES party builds European support.

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 02.02.2021 09:47:00 (updated on 02.02.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

COVID: New system would allow 'people to live permanently with COVID'

The Czech Health Ministry will wait to update its PES epidemic risk-and-alert system due to the British mutation of COVID and overburdened hospitals, Minister Jan Blatný said. The revised system, which included the introduction of a negative antigen test for people to attend mass events, was originally to take effect on Feb. 1. "At present, it cannot be softened because it is not clear how fast the British mutation will spread, and hospital capacities remain overburdened. I think it would be irresponsible to present the [modified] PES system and arouse people's hope without setting any relevant date," Blatný said, adding that the new system would enable people to live permanently with COVID and permit some activities the current system has ruled out. The opposition has criticized the ministry for keeping restrictions at the fifth, highest level despite the fact that the country has remained at the fourth, second-highest degree since Jan. 14.

WORLD: Czech Republic condemns coup in Myanmar

The Czech Republic condemns the military coup in Myanmar, in which the military declared a state of emergency after having arrested Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint, and other senior elected officials, the Czech Foreign Ministry said Monday. The Foreign Ministry also expressed support for Myanmar's legitimate leaders and called for the immediate release of the detained and respect for the results of the November parliamentary election. Myanmar's military maintains that the democratic election of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi was fraudulent. "We have always supported the transition to democracy in the country and the efforts to implement permanent peace, freedom, human rights, and prosperity for Myanmar's all population," the ministry stated.

PROTESTS: Nationwide protests against anti-COVID measures planned for Feb. 14

Founders of the Chcipl PES (PES/DOG Croaked) group and emerging political movement will hold a two-week series of meetings across the Czech Republic, planning rallies on Feb.14, the organizers said Monday. The protest marches will lead to places of historical significance across the country. The movement plans to run in the October general election. The group said it wants to communicate the message that the government's actions are wrong. The next march will take place on Prague's Petřín hill and 30 other landmark locations throughout the Czech Republic. Organizers say the event will be coordinated on a European level and with like-minded groups in Britain, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Poland, and Slovakia.

REGIONS: Cheb hospital demands transfer of patients to Germany

Signatories of a petition to open the border to ambulances was signed by some 1,700 people and warns of the worsening situation in the Czech town of Cheb. The appeal demands that health officials enable the transfer of COVID patients to German hospitals. The Cheb facilities currently lack vacancies, leaving health personnel to select patients. Its coronavirus patients have been transferred to other hospitals in Karlovy Vary and other regions, which have also begun to run out of space.

"We are prepared to admit patients from the Czech Republic. We have many Czech colleagues here who wish themselves that the Czech government accept this aid," Saxony Minister President Michael Kretschmer told CNN Prima News last week. As of Monday, Health Minister Blatný said he would send a team to Cheb to evaluate the situation.

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STATS: Last year's rise in Czech mortality 'exceptional'

The Czech Republic saw a roughly 15 percent rise in mortality in 2020, according to the data on the Czech Statistical Office (CSU) website, which is an exceptionally high difference in interannual comparison in the country's history after 1950, CSU head Marek Rojicek has said. The preliminary data show 129,100 deaths in the country last year, which is almost 17,000 more than in 2019. Statisticians do not state the reasons for the death rate rise, but it was likely due the COVID-19 epidemic. According to the Health Ministry's data, 11,872 people with the confirmed novel coronavirus infection died in the Czech Republic last year. The highest mortality was last November and mainly in the age category of 75 to 84 years. More men than women died.

PRAGUE: Parts of Berlin Wall may go on display in Žižkov

The Czech Military History Institute (VHU) is set to receive four sections of the Berlin Wall, the concrete barrier dividing East and West Berlin during the Cold War from 1961-1989. The VHU will receive the artifacts from a Berlin association that operates a Cold War Museum. The institute would like to transport the sections, weighing two tons each, to the Czech Republic in February. The VHU said it will also add two anti-tank obstacles from Berlin to its collections. The institute intends to display the sections of the Berlin Wall, the penultimate symbol of the collapse of communism in Europe, at its museum in Lešany Central Bohemia; the other one could be placed at an exhibition in Prague-Žižkov.

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