Feb. 8, 2023
COVID Monday sees most Covid cases since mid-Dec.
The number of newly detected Covid-19 cases has been rising in Czechia again, last week saw one-third more cases than the previous week, and Monday’s almost 1,000 cases was the highest daily number since mid-December, the Health Ministry’s data show. There are about currently about 300 Covid patients hospitalized in Czechia and 12 of them are in intensive care units.
Economy Mortgage rates in Czechia rose slightly in February
New data from Fincentrum Hypoindex shows that the average mortgage interest rate rose at the beginning of February to 6.37 percent, a slight increase over January’s 6.34 percent. The index is based on the current average mortgage loan rate for 80 percent of the property’s value. Analysts expect the level of rates to stagnate in the coming period, some property prices have fallen including older apartments or more energy-intensive houses.
JOBS More unemployed people than vacancies in Czechia
Unemployment in the Czech Republic rose to 3.9 percent in January from 3.7 percent in December. In total, the Labor Office reported that there were 283,059 people without work. For the first time since March 2018, there are more than vacancies (281,141 reported at the end of the month). The jump is attributed to employers exhibiting more caution in the face of increased energy and raw materials costs. The number of vacancies decreased by about 7,500 in January and is expected to decline with the arrival of spring. (ÚP ČR)
weather Czech village records temperature of minus 29 degrees Celsius
Meteorologists measured minus 29 degrees Celsius, the lowest temperature in the Czech Republic this morning, at Šumava Kvilda. With an altitude of 1,065 meters, the village is the highest municipality in the Czech Republic and one of the coldest in the country. Severe frosts began in Šumava on Monday. The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute forecasts temperatures to drop below -12 degrees celsius until Wednesday.
CURRENCY Czech National bank issues commemorative banknote today
From today, the Czech National Bank is issuing a special CZK 1,000 banknote to mark the 30th anniversary of the division of the Czechoslovak currency. Those interested can obtain up to five banknotes from 7:30 a.m. at the bank’s cash desks in Prague, České Budějovice, Pilsen, Ústí nad Labem, Hradec Králové, Brno and Ostrava. Queues form in places. Read the full story here.
TRAGEDY Czech firefighters search Turkish town hit by earthquake
The Czech USAR (urban search and rescue) team specialized in searching for people in debris arrived in the Turkish city of Adana Monday night, where they were transported by three military planes to Adiyaman. Material and equipment were transported there Read the full story here.
Police Body found in Polish hotel likely that of wanted Czech man
A body discovered by Polish police in a hotel in Wroclaw was “most likely” a Czech man wanted in connection with a murder committed in the Czech capital, according to the Czech police. Police have been searching for the 42-year-old man since the end of last week on suspicion of murdering a woman in a Prague hotel. (Twitter/Policie ČR).
Feb. 7, 2023
ECONOMY Retail sales drop in 2022
A data release from the Czech Statistical Office shows that retail sales in the country declined by 3.6 percent year on year in 2022.
In 2021, retail sales had risen by 4.4 percent year on year.
Food sales dropped the most, declining by a yearly 5.1 percent, whereas non-food drops fell by almost 3 percent. Record-high inflation constrained household consumption last year, diminishing people’s spending ability.
Jakub Siedler of the Czech Banking Association forecasts that retail sales will decline by 1.5 percent in 2023, ČT24 writes.
DIPLOMACY Czech-Slovak relations as healthy as ever – Slovak president
Czechia and Slovakia are as “close to one another as ever,” Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová said while meeting outgoing Czech President Miloš Zeman this afternoon.
“I believe that very good Czech-Slovak cooperation will continue under my successor,” Čaputová noted. She also said that the countries’ healthy relationship “appears in various types of cooperation, be it economy or culture, and in human relations.”
Both presidents disagreed, however, on environmental activism – with Zeman taking a more skeptical viewpoint. Čaputová before entering politics was an environmental activist.
SPORT Former Slavia Prague captain and manager dies
Well-known former football player and coach František Cipro, who served as the captain of the Slavia Prague football team and was later the team’s coach, has passed away at the age of 75.
He played as a midfielder for Slavia Prague between 1971 and 1980, during which he made 234 appearances and scored 11 league goals. He then had two separate stints as the team’s coach – between 1995 and 1997 and then from 1999 to 2000.
Cipro led his team to the semi-finals of the European UEFA Cup tournament, and also claimed one domestic league title.
“Thank you for everything, captain and coach…honor to your memory,” said the club in a tweet this afternoon.
CRIME Police find car of murder suspect on the loose
Czech police have today announced they found the car of a man on the run and suspected of murder.
The Škoda Scala was discovered in Brno Monday – the man is wanted for the alleged murder of a woman, thought to be his girlfriend or wife, that took place at an undisclosed Prague hotel Saturday.
Police are still searching for the man, 42, who is about 190 centimeters in height. He originates from Liberec. “The wanted man is armed and dangerous, so please do not try to arrest him or contact him in any other way,” Prague police spokesman Jan Rybanský says.
TURKEY EARTHQUAKE Six Czechs in earthquake-struck Turkish region
Six Czechs were present and affected in the area hit by multiple earthquakes in Turkey Monday, ČTK cites Prime Minister Petr Fiala as saying.
He has told the Foreign Ministry that the Czech embassy in Ankara is currently assisting them – there is no information available as to whether they are injured. The embassy is offering free assistance on travel back to Czechia, if needed.
The current official death toll as reported by The Washington Post is approaching 5,000.
DIPLOMACY Zeman starts last-ever foreign trip as president
Outgoing President Miloš Zeman began late afternoon Monday the final foreign visit of his tenure, Novinky.cz reports.
He traveled to Slovakia to meet counterpart Zuzana Čaputová in the High Tatras. It is a recent Czech-Slovak tradition for both countries’ presidents to make their first and last foreign diplomatic visits to each other’s countries.
Speaking of her happiness that Zeman chose the Tatras to make his final visit, Čaputová said: “It is a beautiful and exceptional place that is loved by both Czechs and Slovaks.”
Zeman is to meet Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger tomorrow to discuss Czech-Slovak relations.
WEATHER Freezing temperatures hit Czechia
Temperatures in the Czech Republic dropped to as low as -28.3 degrees Celsius overnight as the country woke up to a freezing morning, data from the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute shows.
Šumava, to the southwest of the country, and the Jizerské mountains both recorded temperatures colder than minus 25 degrees Celsius. Temperatures in Prague were at about minus 9 degrees Celsius in the early morning, and are expected to remain below zero for the entirety of the day.
Temperatures in the capital will rise as the week goes on, reaching a maximum daily temperature of 4 degrees Celcius on Friday.
Feb. 6, 2023
EVENT Senior Czech ministers react to Turkey earthquake tragedy
Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušan and Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský have expressed their condolences after an earthquake struck the southeast of Turkey, near the border with Syria. Over 500 people are reported to have died and many are missing following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake on the Richter scale.
Czechia will send a form of aid to Turkey. “We are able to send a rescue team [the so-called USAR]” said Rakušan.
There is currently no information on whether any Czechs were injured in the quake.
SOCIETY Multiple bomb reports cause Brno evacuations
Multiple reports this morning of bombs at railway stations, inside trains, and at the main post office in Brno have led to several evacuations, Brno police report.
“We are carrying out standard measures and investigations,” said police spokesperson Pavel Šváb. No explosive device has yet been discovered, however, to ensure safety ambulance services are at the scene. This is a developing situation.
POLITICS Zeman will not appoint Constitutional Court head
Current President Miloš Zeman will not appoint a new head of Czechia’s Constitutional Court, ČTK reports today.
Following a meeting between the current Prime Minister Petr Fiala and Zeman Sunday, Fiala asked Zeman to abstain from appointing a new Constitutional Court head.
Zeman had recently announced he was open to the idea of the appointment – this is within his remit, but would be controversial, given that he will leave his post in March. The head of the Constitutional Court serves a 10-year term.
CRIME Police across Czechia search for man after Prague hotel murder
There is currently a manhunt underway in Czechia for a 42-year-old man who is alleged to have murdered his wife in an unnamed Prague hotel Saturday.
A press release from Czech police notes that the man, who is named as Petr K, is “armed and dangerous.” He is said to have driven off in a Škoda Scala with a registration number of 5L7-9685. From Liberec, he is about 190 centimeters tall with a slim build and dark hair.