Czech weekend news in brief: top stories for April 4, 2021

New Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations on the decline, three young men drown in Moravia, and more headlines from this Easter weekend

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 04.04.2021 09:26 (updated on 04.04.2021)

Number of new Covid-19 cases and hospitalized patients decreasing

Tests found Covid-19 in 2,149 people on Saturday, which was the second-lowest daily total since the start of the year, according to data released by the Czech Health Ministry today. The lowest number of new Covid-19 cases, 1,742, was recorded last Sunday. One day before, tests uncovered almost 4,000 cases, roughly 1,800 more than this Saturday. On Saturday, there were 6,384 Covid-19 patients in hospital, 1,446 of them in serious condition. The number of hospitalized patients is now the lowest since February 21.

Also Saturday, 13,657 doses of Covid-19 vaccines were administered, 725 more than a week ago. Since the start of this week, the daily average has been approximately 36,600 doses. In mid-March, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said that after Easter, the capacity of Covid-19 vaccination would rise to 100,000 doses daily. Since December, almost 1.8 million doses have been administered, with 567,359 people receiving both doses.

Health Ministry responds to Prime Minister's letters of objection

The use of Covid-19 drugs is a medical, not political issue, the Czech Health Ministry said on Saturday in response to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš' letters of objection. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has sent at least four letters of objection to Health Minister Jan Blatný over the last two weeks, according to Deník N.

In the latest letter, Babiš reprimanded Blatný for strict conditions over the administration of the experimental drug bamlanivimab. Babiš also criticized Blatný for giving meager support for new Covid-19 drugs, for his steps taken in a tender for Covid-19 tests for schools, and the strategy of the fight against cancer. Blatný said on Saturday that conditions for the administration of the drugs have been discussed by experts.

Three youths drown in river near Ostrava

Three young men drowned in the Ostravice River on Friday, Moravia-Silesia police spokesperson Pavla Jiroušková has said about an incident in which the bodies of two of the men were found just after they drowned and a third was found by divers on Saturday.

The police were looking for the third man until Saturday morning. Jiroušková said that one of the men had gone swimming in a weir. He started drowning and two of his friends, younger than him, jumped into the water to help him and also drowned. It is not clear whether alcohol may have played a role in the incident. The police said this would be apparent after the autopsies.

Czechs with old identity cards unable to enter online census

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People with old identity cards cannot submit their data in the online population and housing census, according to a report released on the portal of the Czech Government Office today. The census started a week ago.

The Czech Statistical Office (CSU) asked on Friday for a change in the guidelines for the census that would allow access to the online system for those with the old documents. The problem relates to the "books," CSU spokesman Jan Cieslar said. In reality, some people over 85 may have them if they did not change their old documents during the past 20 years.

Czech artillery unit to protect EU mission in Mali

An artillery unit from Jince, Central Bohemia, will serve in a training mission in Mali where it will be in charge of the protection of the European Union Training Mission (EUTM) and escort of VIPs, the Czech military states on its website. The unit will replace heavy artillery machinery with light armored personnel carriers.

In recent days, Czech Defense Minister Lubomír Metnar visited the Czech troops in Mali along with his French and Estonian counterparts. The EUTM will help the Malian army so that it is able to face terrorist attacks in the future. The Czech troops are in charge of the seat of the mission, situated in a hotel in Bamako. They also help protect military instructors. During the second half of 2020, they were commanding the mission.