Longest-serving bookseller among 25,000 Czech virus victims
Bookseller Jaromir Vytopil, left, appoints the youngest schoolchildren to the order of readers at a library in Pelhrimov, Czech Republic, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2020. Some 25,000 have been killed by COVID-19 in the hard-hit Czech Republic. On March 22, 2020 and for some days to come, the Czech Republic reported daily COVID-19 deaths in the single digits. But it's not just grim statistics that have torn the fabric of Czech life. AdAccording to Johns Hopkins University, the Czech Republic has 240.7 cumulative deaths per 100,000 people, the world’s second-highest mortality rate after the microstate of San Marino.
Czech state orders students to help at struggling hospitals
Healthcare workers move a patient to the infectious ward of the Bulovka hospital in Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. “The more infectious variant of the coronavirus, the British one, has been spreading across all our regions and has become dominant in the Czech Republic,” Blatny said. AdDaily confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 14,554 on Thursday with 8,153 COVID-19 patients needing hospitalization - some 300 cases shy of Tuesday's record. “It’s more about mental exhaustion than physical fatigue.”The country has activated a plan for dozens of Czech patients to be treated in Germany, Poland and Switzerland. AdThe Czech Republic has by far the biggest 14-day infection rate per 100,000 inhabitants in the EU, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
Czechs send 30,000 police, soldiers to enforce travel limits
Police officers check cars on a road between the towns, Ceske Budejovice and Cesky Krumlov, near Kosov, Czech Republic, Monday, March 1, 2021. Limits for free movement of people are set in place in the Czech Republic. As of Monday, people in the Czech Republic who go out for exercise should not leave their municipality. Babis said 1 million vaccine shots were expected to arrive through an EU program in March and another 2.6 million in April. In a sign of solidarity, three states in neighboring Germany have sent the Czech Republic 15,000 dozes of the AstraZeneca vaccine to try to control contagion at the border.
Diplomatic doses: Israel shares vaccines with allied nations
While Israel does not produce vaccines, Netanyahu has moved aggressively to secure enough vaccines for Israel’s 9.3 million people in deals with Pfizer and Moderna. Ad“Our supply is beyond what is needed by the citizens of Israel,” Netanyahu told reporters Tuesday. In Prague, the Czech prime minister, Andrej Babis, said Israel was donating 5,000 doses to his country after a request for assistance. He said the vaccines were in response to requests from friendly countries, and not in exchange for any diplomatic favors. Israel this month delivered 2,000 doses of Moderna vaccines to the Palestinian Authority for frontline medical workers in the West Bank, and it has pledged to share a total of 5,000 doses.
Central European leaders push for faster vaccine deliveries
(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)WARSAW – Central European leaders pushed Wednesday for faster deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines from every reliable manufacturer to speed up inoculations which they said is the way to conquer the pandemic and jump-start Europe’s economic recovery. The leaders of Hungary, Slovakia and Poland said they support purchasing vaccines from manufacturers regardless of “geopolitics” provided they are safe and effective. Hungary is the European Union's first and so far only member state to administer Russia's Sputnik V vaccine without waiting for approval from the European Medicines Agency. “There is no Eastern or Western vaccine, there is only a good or a bad vaccine,” Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban told a news conference in Krakow, Poland. European Council President Charles Michel, who attended the celebrations, said EU leaders will discuss next week ways of increasing vaccine production and of speeding up inoculations.
Czechs re-declare state of emergency to keep restrictions
Medical workers move a covid-19 patient at a hospital overrun by the covid pandemic in Cheb, Czech Republic, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)PRAGUE – The Czech government on Sunday re-declared a state of emergency for next two weeks to tackle the coronavirus pandemic in one of the European Union's hardest-hit nations. The Czech Republic, a nation of 10.7 million, has had more than 1 million confirmed cases, with 18,143 deaths. AdDespite the dire situation, some lawyers and politicians, including Milos Vystrcil, the Senate speaker, say the government’s move violates the country’s Constitution. The government could use other legal options to reimpose some coronavirus restrictions but not all of them.
Czechs in chaos with political infighting amid virus surge
Policemen stop a car to check documents of a driver near the city of Sokolov, Czech Republic, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)PRAGUE – With a new, highly contagious coronavirus variant gaining force, the already hard-hit Czech Republic was in chaos on Friday after lawmakers deprived the government of a powerful tool to tackle the pandemic. Some of the regional leaders suggested they would like to ask the government to declare the state of emergency again. Local hospitals have reached their limits and COVID-19 patients have to be transported to hospitals in other parts of the Czech Republic. In reaction to the surge across the border, Germany decided to temporarily reinstate border controls with the Czech Republic and Austria on Sunday due to their high number of variant coronavirus cases.
Czech PM views Serbia's mass vaccination campaign
Czech leader Andrej Babis has been seeking vaccines outside the EU’s common program after deliveries from EU-approved Western drug companies have been delayed. With a team of experts, Babis last week also visited Hungary, which has been the first EU country to give a green light to the Russian vaccine. Thanks to the Chinese and Russian vaccines, Serbia is currently second in Europe after Britain in the rate of the vaccination rollout per capita. “We should abandon politics and talk about people's health, because the (virus) situation in the Czech Republic is not good.”The Czech Republic, a country of 10 million, has recorded over 1 million infections and seen more than 17,600 confirmed virus deaths. Brnabic said the country's experience with all three vaccines has been “excellent.”Babis's visit included a tour of a mass inoculation center in Belgrade.
The Latest: Jump in cases worries S. Korea as holiday starts
(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported 504 new coronavirus cases for the latest 24-hour period. Although coronavirus cases stayed relatively low in Japan last year compared to the United States and Europe, infections have been climbing recently. Kate Brown says outdoor contact sports, including high school football, can resume this week amid a decline in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. On Wednesday, Germany’s Robert Koch Institute reported 8,072 new virus cases and 813 deaths in 24 hours. ___MADRID — Spain’s official 14-day rate of coronavirus cases has fallen to 584, from a peak of 900 two weeks ago.
The Latest: Sri Lankan officials say vaccinations advancing
FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2021, file photo, Sri Lankan nursing staff administer COVID-19 vaccines to front-line health workers in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Reynolds issued the earlier restrictions in November when hospitals were struggling to care for a surge of coronavirus patients. Officials say it could help up to four COVID-19 patients. ___LISBON, Portugal — Portugal has set a new daily record for COVID-19 patients requiring intensive care with 904 patients on Friday. AdThe Austrian government offered to take in five COVID-19 patients and five non-COVID patients to relieve Portuguese hospitals.
Hard-hit Czech Republic reaches 1 million confirmed cases
FILE - In this file photo dated Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, healthcare workers move a COVID-19 patient to the Motol hospital in Prague, Czech Republic. Reaching a milestone of one million confirmed cases, the battle against the pandemic is far from over in the Czech Republic. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, FILE)PRAGUE – The Czech Republic has reached 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases, health authorities said Wednesday. The Czech Republic is by far the smallest of the 21 countries to surpass the milestone, with the U.S. leading the global table with more than 26 million confirmed cases. Another European Union country, the Netherlands, reached the 1 million mark of confirmed cases on Wednesday.
Czech court ruling on electoral law to help small parties
On Wednesday Feb. 3, 2021, the Czech Republic's highest court ruled to cancel several provisions of the country's electoral law as discriminatory for small parties. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek/File)PRAGUE – The Czech Republic’s highest court ruled Wednesday to cancel several provisions of the country’s electoral law as discriminatory for small parties. To gain parliamentary seats, any party needs to reach a 5% threshold of the popular vote. Interior Minister Jan Hamacek said he respected the ruling and invited the representatives of parliamentary parties to discuss the possible options they have. AdBoth chambers of Parliament need to agree on necessary changes to amend the electoral law in line with the court’s verdict.
The Latest: Texas COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to fall
State health officials Monday reported fewer than 13,000 people were being treated for the virus in Texas hospitals, marking the seventh consecutive day of declining patient loads. Some hospitals and clinics have reported having to cancel immunization appointments because they didn’t have enough vaccine doses to distribute. A little more than half of Ochsner employees have yet to get the vaccine, officials said at a news conference Monday. Tessa Walker Linderman, co-lead of Alaska’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, told reporters the state expects to learn soon what its vaccine allocation will be for February. Health officials are also worried about variants that were first reported in the United Kingdom and South Africa.
Delay in Pfizer vaccine shipments frustrate Europe, Canada
People recieve their Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination inside Salisbury Cathedral in Salisbury, England, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)BRUSSELS – Frustration is mounting from Europe to North America over reduced shipments of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine while the U.S. pharmaceutical company increases production capacity at its Belgian plant. Overall, the EU is slated to get up to 600 million doses from Pfizer. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was the first vaccine authorized for use in the U.K. the EU and the United States. “I would not stop until we get these vaccines.”The European Union is likely to pursue Pfizer with a different weapon but equal fervor.
'Believe in science': EU kicks off COVID-19 vaccine campaign
But it was also a public chance for them to urge Europe's 450 million people to get the shots amid continued vaccine and virus skepticism. The Los Olmos home suffered two confirmed COVID-19 deaths and another 11 deaths among residents with symptoms who were never tested. After he got his shot, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis declared Sunday “a great day for science and the European Union." Germany’s BioNTech has said it’s confident that its vaccine works against the new U.K. variant, but added that further studies are needed. The European Medicines Agency on Jan. 6 will consider approving another vaccine made by Moderna, which is already being used in the United States.
The Latest: Coronavirus cases keep rising in South Korea
(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has added 1,092 new coronavirus cases in a resurgence that is erasing hard-won epidemiological gains and eroding public confidence in the government’s ability to handle the outbreak. It would deliver long-sought cash to businesses and individuals and resources to vaccinate a nation confronting a frightening surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths. Preliminary data on U.S. deaths show the coronavirus pandemic contributing to a 15% or more increase in deaths over last year. ___MEXICO CITY — Mexican officials have reported a new daily high in confirmed coronavirus cases as the country awaits its first shipment of vaccine. ___WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The Navajo Nation is reporting 151 new coronavirus cases and seven more deaths related to COVID-19.
Short of medics as virus surges, central Europe sounds alarm
Health care workers transport a COVID-19 patient from an intensive care unit (ICU) at a hospital in Kyjov to hospital in Brno, Czech Republic, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. With cases surging in central Europe, some countries are calling in soldiers, firefighters, students and retired doctors to help shore up buckling health care systems. With cases surging in many central European countries, firefighters, students and retired doctors are being asked to help shore up buckling health care systems. Now, with the virus ripping through their hospitals, many health workers have been sickened, compounding the shortfall. With one of the highest infection rates in Europe, the Czech Republic's hospitals are desperately looking for volunteers.
Czech health minister breaks virus rules, asked to resign
PRAGUE – The Czech Republic’s prime minister called on his health minister to resign or be fired after he broke strict government restrictions to slow a record surge of coronavirus infections and visited a Prague restaurant. Prime Minister Andrej Babis said Friday he will meet with the country’s president later in the day to discuss a possible replacement of the minister, Roman Prymula. “If we want the people to abide by the rules ... it is us who have to set an example,” Babis said. Before he became health minister, Prymula was a deputy health minister who led the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic for a time in the spring. Prymula became health minister on Sept. 12, and he imposed a series of tough regulations in attempts to slow the steep rise of infections.
Europe faces more curfews, restrictions as virus cases swell
Prime Minister Andrej Babis says those measures should prevent the collapse of the health system in early November. The nation of 67 million jumped closer to the 1 million infections mark, with 999,043 confirmed cases by Thursday evening. Health Minister Jens Spahn, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, was quarantined at home. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced a three-tier alert system last week for England. Cyprus made mask wearing mandatory for anyone older than 12 in outdoor public spaces after daily infections hit record numbers in the last two weeks.
Despite pledges, Czechs face 2nd lockdown as system totters
FILE - In this March 16, 2020 file photo a young man wearing a face mask walks across an empty Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic. But amid a record surge of coronavirus infections that's threatening the entire health system with collapse, the Czech Republic is adopting on Thursday exactly the same massive restrictions it slapped on citizens in the spring. Prime Minister Andrej Babis had repeatedly said these measures would never be repeated. But amid a record surge of coronavirus infections that's threatening the entire health system with collapse, the Czech Republic is adopting on Thursday exactly the same massive restrictions it slapped on citizens in the spring. Prime Minister Andrej Babis had repeatedly said these measures would never return.
The Latest: UN chief urges G20 to unite on coronavirus fight
The Texas Department of State Health Services and the Texas Division of Emergency Management will provide more medical personnel and equipment this week. The move comes during the same week that El Paso County reported 3,750 new coronavirus infections, including 1,161 on Thursday. The announcement came Thursday as the state reported 932 newly confirmed coronavirus cases. Wednesday marked another record day for daily confirmed cases, with 827, and state health officials reported an additional 669 cases Thursday. Florida reported more than 5,500 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, raising the seven-day average in daily reported cases to about 3,300.
Czechs impose more restrictions as virus cases surge
A woman wearing a face mask walks in Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. Facing a record surge of coronavirus infections, the Czech Republic returns to a recipe that was believed to work well to contain the pandemic in the spring. “The surge (of new cases) is enormous.”The restrictions will become affective on Thursday and will last until at least Nov 3. The 7-day rolling average of daily new cases in the Czech Republic has risen over the past two weeks from 29.59 new cases per 100,000 people on Oct. 6 to 85.64 new cases per 100,000 people on Tuesday. Since the start of the pandemic, the Czech Republic has registered 193,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, about one third of them in the last seven days.
EU chief self-isolates as virus makes its mark at a summit
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, left, greets Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, right, with an elbow bump during a round table meeting at an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. European Union leaders are meeting in person for a two-day summit amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic to discuss topics ranging from Brexit to climate and relations with Africa. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen left the summit venue in Brussels shortly after the meeting began because one of her close staffers tested positive for COVID-19. Since the pandemic first surfaced in Europe in February, EU leaders have held several summits via videoconference. Parliament President David Sassoli said the virus has already infected a number of EU lawmakers, staffers and their associates.
The Latest: 3 million tested for coronavirus in Chinese city
The National Health Commission numbers released Tuesday reported a total of 30 new virus cases in the previous 24 hours nationwide. ___AUSTIN, Texas -- An ongoing wave of COVID-19 cases in the El Paso area prompted Gov. Since Friday, the state added 2,055 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases, an increase of 3.1%, to bring the total for the pandemic to 67,862. Conley says in a fresh update released Monday that Trump tested negative for COVID-19 on consecutive days using a newer 15-minute test. The project will produce 50 million swabs per month and is funded by a $51.2 million coronavirus relief grant announced by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins in August.
The Latest: Brazil's virus death toll surpasses 150,000
Women peel potatoes outside a snack bar amid the new coronavirus pandemic in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. — Queen Elizabeth II honored the work of doctors and nurses, delivery drivers, fundraisers and volunteers during the coronavirus pandemic. ___PHOENIX -- A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says coronavirus cases in Arizona dropped 75% following the implementation of mask mandates. Arizona’s stay-at-home order expired on May 15 and two weeks later the daily average number of coronavirus cases climbed 151%. ___PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The University of Rhode Island has issued a two-week shelter-in-place order for fraternity and sorority houses because of a high number of coronavirus cases.
Under virus strain, Europe's leaders plead at UN for unity
“This emergency has, more than a thousand treaties or speeches, made us suddenly realize that we are part of one single world,” said Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. In times of global crisis, Europe’s rich governments are often looked to for financial and material aid for poorer ones. As infections tick up, EU countries are again imposing quarantines on visitors from neighboring nations. “In every corner of the world today, there is a young man, a young woman, looking at their cell phone screen. “If we’re truly going to defeat this virus we’ll have to do even more to enhance international cooperation,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.
Czechs replace health minister amid record infection surge
Prymula will be the new Czech Health Minister, replacing Adam Vojtech (for ANO), who announced his resignation on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020. (AP Photo via CTK/Ondrej Deml)PRAGUE – The Czech government moved Monday to appoint an epidemiologist as the new health minister as the country struggles with a surge of new coronavirus infections. The outgoing minister, Adam Vojtech, resigned from his post on Monday, saying his departure was meant to create space for a possible different approach to the pandemic. As deputy health minister, Prymula led the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic for a time in the spring. Babis said he was sorry about Vojtech's resignation, calling the outgoing minister “the best” the country ever had.
Central European leaders discuss Belarus, fighting COVID-19
In preparation for European Union summit this month, the meeting is to discuss situation in Belarus, ties with Russia and fighting COVID-19. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)WARSAW – The prime ministers of four central European countries said Friday that a new election should be held in Belarus to allow the country's voters to decide the course of its future. Belarus has seen a month of street protests against the results of the country’s Aug. 9 presidential election, which is widely believed to have been rigged. Orban said that fast-growing central Europe could be an engine of a pickup in the economy. Poland, the largest of the four and aspiring to take a leadership, currently holds the rotating presidency of the so-called Visegrad 4, central Europe's political and economic cooperation group.
Pompeo urges Europe's young democracies to embrace freedoms
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wears a face mask during a joint press conference as part of a meeting with the Prime Minister of Czech Republic Andrej Babis in Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Czech Republic at the start of a four-nation tour of Europe. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, Pool)PRAGUE U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday called upon the young democracies of central and Eastern Europe to embrace their hard-won freedoms as they face threats from Russia, China and others while seeing backsliding closer to home, including in Belarus. In his remarks, Pompeo took particularly hard aim at China, which he said was an even bigger threat to democracy than Russia. The Senate president plans to visit Taipei later this month despite China's objections, a move that Pompeo applauded.
Pompeo opens anti-China, anti-Russia tour in Czech Republic
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives at the airport in Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Czech Republic at the start of a four-nation tour of Europe. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, Pool)PRAGUE U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the Czech Republic at the start of a four-nation tour of central and eastern Europe expected to focus on threats to the region posed by Russia and China. Two of Pompeo's other three destinations the Czech Republic and Austria also share a border with Germany, while Slovakia borders Austria, the Czech Republic and Poland. In Warsaw, Poland, Pompeo plans talks with President Andrzej Duda, who recently won a narrow reelection after a bitter campaign that concerned human rights advocates and others.
Central, Eastern Europe on Pompeo's itinerary for next trip
WASHINGTON Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to central and Eastern Europe next week to discuss efforts to counter Russian and Chinese influence in the region and talk about U.S. troop deployments on the continent. The State Department said Thursday that Pompeo will visit the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Austria and Poland on a weeklong trip that is only his third overseas since the coronavirus outbreak. The shift has raised significant concerns in Europe and elsewhere as the Trump administration has given conflicting reasons for it, ranging from antipathy toward Germany's leadership to strategic planning. In Vienna, Pompeo will meet Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to review trade relations and regional security. In Warsaw, Poland, Pompeo plans talks with President Andrzej Duda, who recently won a narrow reelection after a bitter campaign that concerned human rights advocates and others.
EU leaders resume 'grumpy' summit on budget, virus fund
German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Saturday, July 18, 2020. Leaders from 27 European Union nations meet face-to-face for a second day of an EU summit to assess an overall budget and recovery package spread over seven years estimated at some 1.75 trillion to 1.85 trillion euros. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys, Pool)BRUSSELS European Union leaders were hunting for compromises Saturday as a summit to reach a deal on an unprecedented 1.85 trillion euro ($2.1 trillion) EU budget and coronavirus recovery fund entered its second day with tensions running high. The atmosphere was grumpier this evening than this afternoon, Dutch Prime Minister Rutte told Dutch reporters after Fridays marathon talks. That comes on top of the seven-year 1-trillion-euro EU budget that leaders were fighting over when COVID-19 slammed their continent.