World Czech PM appointed from behind plexiglass box
Czechs, Slovaks target unvaccinated with new restrictions
PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech and Slovak governments on Thursday approved new coronavirus restrictions that will come into effect next week and specifically target unvaccinated people amid a record surge of infections in both neighboring countries. Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtech said most unvaccinated people will no longer be allowed to show negative coronavirus tests in order to attend public events, go to bars and restaurants, visit hairdressers, museums and similar facilities or use hotels. Only people who are vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 will remain eligible.
Czech President Milos Zeman has appointed opposition leader Petr Fiala as the country's new prime minister.
Mr Zeman - who tested positive for coronavirus last week - made the appointment from inside a plexiglass box in a state room at his residence.
The president was wheeled in by hospital staff in full protective gear. Czech rules require a positive patient to observe two weeks of self-isolation.
He caught Covid just after a spell in intensive care for unrelated problems.
The 77-year-old is a heavy smoker and former heavy drinker who uses a wheelchair and suffers from diabetes.
Czechs, Slovaks target unvaccinated people in step behind Austria
Czechs, Slovaks target unvaccinated people in step behind AustriaThe central European neighbours both adopted the new measures last week, a step behind Austria which first set restrictions on unvaccinated people but went for a full lockdown on Monday as the region experienced the world's latest hotspot.
Under the Czech constitution, the president is a figurehead, but he leads talks on forming a new government.
Last month's vote returned a surprise win for the opposition against Prime Minister Andrej Babis.
Speaking through a microphone inside the sealed box, Mr Zeman said he would spend the next two weeks interviewing nominees for minister, even though the choice of candidates is supposed to be up to the prime minister-designate.
This process will continue until 13 December, at which point the new government as a whole can be appointed to take over from Mr Babis.
Prime Minister Babis and his populist ANO party had sought re-election after four years in power. But they were beaten in the poll by the centre-right coalition Spolu (meaning Together).
The appointment of Mr Fiala comes after weeks of speculation that the president wanted to entrust his ally, the incumbent, with the task of forming a cabinet.
A controversial figure, Mr Zeman is known for making divisive remarks and using strong language. In June he was sharply criticised for calling transgender people "disgusting".
The Czech Republic's president, positive with COVID-19, swore in the country's new prime minister from inside an isolation box .
Miloš Zeman was released from the hospital last Thursday after a month-long stay but was sent back later that night after testing positive for COVID-19.But the ceremony was still a sight to behold, as Czech President Miloš Zeman, who tested positive for COVID-19 late last week, performed his presidential duties from inside a transparent isolation cube at the Lany Manor house, near Prague.