Czech weekend news in brief: top stories for May 2, 2021

New Covid-19 cases continue to decline, Czech firefighters called to 91 fires on Witches' Night, and more headlines from this weekend.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 02.05.2021 09:34 (updated on 02.05.2021)

New Covid-19 cases continue to decline in the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic reported 1,169 new confirmed coronavirus cases on May 1, 137 fewer than last Saturday, according to data posted by the Health Ministry this morning. 21,650 people were vaccinated on May 1, 1,000 fewer than a week ago. This week's workday average was more than 65,000 vaccine doses administered.

The reproduction R number, which shows how many people are infected by one Covid-19-positive person, slightly increased from 0.85 to 0.88. It has been under 1.00, which indicates that the epidemic is slowing down, for the 18 days in a row.

Czech firefighters called to 91 fires on Witches' Night

Firefighters had to assist in 91 fires during Witches' Night on April 30, about 20 more than last year, Czech Fire Corps spokeswoman Nicole Studena told CTK. The evening is traditionally celebrated in the Czech Republic with bonfires and "burning of witches."

The long-term average number of incidents on April 30 is 48 fires, while the record high was three years ago, at 136. Like last year, mass public events with bonfires could not be staged due to anti-coronavirus restrictions; however, firefighters warn that small, private uncontrolled fires can be more dangerous. Only one fire caused serious injury. It was in Prusice, Central Bohemia, where a man had to be hospitalized with burns.

Czech rise in senior citizens ended in 2020

The annual rise in the number of senior citizens in Czech Republic collecting pension stopped last year, according to statistical data from the Czech Social Security Administration (CSSZ). The number had previously risen each year over the past two decades, but dropped in 2020 due to a higher death rate during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The CSSZ paid 2.4 million pensions at the end of December 2020, roughly 14,400 fewer than the year before. The last time the number of old-age pensioners dropped was in 2002. The death toll considerably rose last autumn amid the second wave of the coronavirus epidemic, and most of its victims were the elderly.

300 people evacuated in Opava area after discovery of unexploded WWII bomb

About 300 people were evacuated from their houses in the village of Sosnova, near Opava, after a man with a metal detector found an unexploded bomb from WWII on Saturday. They were able to return home a few hours later as a police expert disposed of the bomb on the spot, the police have tweeted.

The wartime bomb of German origin weighed 250 kilograms, and the evacuation was ordered in the 1.5-kilometre perimeter around it, covering about 120 family houses. Most inhabitants left the area on their own and integrated rescue system members evacuated about 50 people, the police said.

Hundreds of people attend anti-government May 1 demonstrations in Prague

About 250 people took part in a protest organized by unaffiliated MP Lubomír Volný on Střelecký Island in the center of Prague on Saturday. Several hundred people also attended other May Day protests against the Czech Republic's anti-coronavirus restrictions in Letná afterwards.

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Most of the participants did not wear respirators or face masks. Police were monitoring the event, reminding people of the face mask requirement and checking the identity of some protesters. The demonstration on Střelecký island started at about 11:00. Many participants carried Czech flags.