Czech weekend news in brief: top stories for April 25, 2021

Daily rate of new Covid-19 cases continues to decline, Czech President to speak about rift with Russia, and more top headlines from this weekend

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 25.04.2021 09:33 (updated on 25.04.2021)

Covid-19 spread continues to slow down in the Czech Republic

There were 1,059 Covid-19 cases in the Czech Republic on Saturday, about 1,500 fewer than yesterday and 480 fewer than last Saturday, Health Ministry spokeswoman Jana Schillerová told journalists this morning. The reproduction number, which represents the average number of people are infected by one positive person, remains at 0.82.

The number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients is also decreasing. On Saturday, there were 3,158 Covid-19 patients in hospitals, 742 of whom are in serious condition. The number of hospitalized patients is now the lowest since mid-October. On Saturday, 21,481 doses of Covid-19 vaccines were administered, about 3,900 fewer than a week ago.

Czech President Miloš Zeman to speak about blast that caused Czech-Russian rift

President Miloš Zeman will deliver a 12-minute speech on the 2014 Vrbětice blast incident that caused a diplomatic rift with Russia on TV station Prima television today. Zeman spokesman Jiří Ovčáček has stated that this will be an exceptional speech, and that Zeman will adopt a position on the incident that caused expulsion of diplomats from the Czech Republic and Russia on Sunday.

Critics say Zeman has been silent on the diplomatic rift with Russia, which started a week ago, for too long. Prima and CNN Prima News will broadcast the speech from 11:00 this morning.

EC conclusions on Babiš' conflict of interest are final, say Czech MPs

The report from the European Commission audit saying Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is in conflict of interest in connection with EU subsidies for companies from the Agrofert holding is final and there is no appeal against it, Czech members of parliament told journalists on Saturday.

The EC told the German news agency DPA that it had decided to publish the report due to the "passed deadline and large public interest." According to the audit, the Czech Republic should return subsidies that Agrofert has received unlawfully. Now, the Czech Republic can only dispute the audit at an EU court.

Poll: Babiš should ask for vote of confidence in government, say 47% of Czechs

About 47 percent of Czechs believe that Prime Minister Andrej Babiš should ask the Chamber of Deputies for a vote of confidence in the government's cabinet comprised of ANO and the Social Democrat parties, according to a poll conducted by the Median agency at the beginning of the week.

Babiš was asked to do so by the opposition coalition Together, comprised of the Civic Democratic Party, the Christian Democrats, and TOP 09. The opposite view was held by 43 percent of those polled, while 10 percent did not have an opinion. The poll was conducted on a sample of 1,000 Czechs over 18.

Czech story is part of anti-Russian psychosis, says Russian ambassador to the EU

The expulsion of Russian diplomats from the Czech Republic and the efforts to make the EU and NATO join the diplomatic rift is part of the "anti-Russian psychosis of the West," Russian ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizhov said on Saturday. He added that the EU knows how Russia has reacted and will react in similar cases.

"The EU and its internal activities service have said the question of the diplomats' expulsion is solely within the remit of member countries. I want to believe that they learned a lesson from the political blunder they made in 2018," Chizhov told the Russian news agency TASS. In 2018, Russian diplomats had to leave their EU posts en masse after the poisoning of former Russian secret agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury. The UK blamed Russian agents for the incident.

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