Czech weekend news in brief: Top headlines for October 24, 2021

Covid-19 R number hits 12-month high, MEP Kateřina Konečná elected new leader of Czech Communist Party, and more top headlines from this weekend.

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 24.10.2021 09:56 (updated on 24.10.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Czech Covid-19 reproduction number hits 1.96, highest in twelve months

The Covid-19 reproduction number (R number), which shows how fast the epidemic is spreading, rose to 1.96 in the Czech Republic on Saturday, which is the highest the number has been in over 12 months, the Health Ministry has announced in a press release. Data on the reproduction number has been available on the ministry’s website since October 1, 2020.

On Friday, the reproduction number was 1.79 in the Czech Republic, which was the highest figure among EU countries for that day, according to data from the National Agency for Communication and Information Technologies. The reproduction number has been above 1.0 in the Czech Republic since late August, which indicates that the epidemic is accelerating.

MEP Kateřina Konečná elected new leader of Czech Communist Party

Kateřina Konečná has been elected the new chair of the Czech Communist Party, after dedeating rival candidates at the Party's extraordinary congress in Prague on Saturday. Konečná won 175 votes, while the minimum was 160. Her rivals Josef Skála and Hana Aulická Jírovcová received 70 and 63 votes, respectively. Vojtěch Filip, who was the party chairman for the last 16 years, recommended Aulická Jírovcová for the post before the vote.

Konečná said people can look forward to a new communist manifest, and a new style of communication and work. "Our goal is to again make the Communist Party a predictable party that will not be a disappointment," she said. She called on supporters of the left wing to join in an attempt to reconstruct the left in the country. She said the left should have a place in parliament again. Konečná said she would like to keep her current post in European Parliament, as she will have more possibilities to represent the Communist Party in the media.

General Pavel to address emerging Czech government over crisis management

General Petr Pavel, a former NATO Military Committee chairman who is considered a possible candidate to become the next Czech president, will address the parties of the emerging coalition government with proposals to improve the reaction by the state when it is dealing with a crisis, he told CTK. He said he believes the politicians will include them into the government policy statement and put them into practice.

"If we don’t do it, there is the threat that we will make the same mistakes during the next crisis, which may cause great material damage or even losses of lives," he said. Pavel became involved in crisis management after the coronavirus pandemic burst out in early 2020. He co-founded the Together Stronger initiative, which focused on financial and material aid. "When I saw there was no attempt to learn a lesson from the first wave on the state level, make self-reflection and adopt some collective measures, I connected with a few people who worked in the crisis management area on various levels," he said.

Czech hospitals treating more infants with respiratory infections

There has been an increase in the number of hospitalizations of infants due to bronchiolitis, which can be dangerous for babies especially in the first months of their life, the National Institute of Public Health said in its latest report on the flu season. Brohchiolitis is most often caused by the RSV virus, whose season starts in October and ends in December or January. It is an illness connected with the beginning of school after the summer holidays and increased contact among children in interior spaces.

There is no effective vaccine against RSV and this virus quickly spreads in schools and households, the Institute said. Some Czech hospitals have had to treat more babies with respiratory viral infections over the last few weeks. The Prague-Bulovka and Prague-Motol teaching hospitals have confirmed this increase.

Fifty judges waiting to be named by Czech President

At least 50 judges are waiting to be named by President Miloš Zeman, who is currently hospitalized with an unclear prognosis. Zeman should name them by the end of the year, Czech Judges Union head Libor Vávra said after the 31st assembly of the Union ended on Saturday.

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Vavra said these judges are already missing from Czech courts. He said the Union has called on the Justice Ministry to try to solve the situation. Vavra said if one or two judges are missing from small courts, it has considerable impact on dealing with regular cases.

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