Lukashenko says he may quit as president
Belarus hits EU with tit-for-tat sanctions
Belarusian police introduce colour-coded torture system for detained protesters
Kremlin publicly condemns Belarusian police brutality in hint of growing frustration with Lukashenko
Russian services PMI rises to 48.2, but remains underwater as recovery continues to slow
Russia to start mass vaccinations on December 7
Azerbaijan’s Aliyev calls on Armenia, Russia, Turkey and Iran to assist in creating Nakhchivan land corridor
FPRI BMB Russia: Sberbank releases a three-year transformation strategy to e-commerce concern
Ukraine’s banking sector continues recovery, but profits still lagging last year
Ukraine’s real wages up over 10% in October but have been stagnant in dollar terms for almost a year
FPRI BMB Ukraine: Public has confused opinions on resolving the Donbas conflict
Western Balkans plus Ukraine subsidised coal with over €900mn in 2018-2019
Estonian parcel robot firm Cleveron eyes €30mn state loan
Estonia’s chief auditor says €1bn in state COVID-19 loans issued haphazardly
Economic sentiment in CEE falls in November as recovery momentum splutters
Estonian animation studio Imepilt to hold IPO
Brighter days ahead: The economic bounce back in 2021
Central, Southeast Europe stock markets jump in anticipation of COVID-free future
VISEGRAD BLOG: An easing of trade tensions but still an uncertain situation for export-oriented Central Europe
Hungary's PM risks isolation as Poland mulls dropping EU budget veto
Poland ready to back down from veto of EU budget
Hungary's ruling party in damage control mode after MEP sex scandal bombshell
Poland’s PMI remains stuck just above the improvement line at 50.8 in November
Czech companies dominate this year’s Deloitte Technology Fast 50 CE
Coronacrisis to get worse before it gets better forecasts wiiw
EU diplomats say no chance of Bulgaria removing veto for Skopje to start EU accession talks
IMF says downside risks to Albanian economy are increasing
EU ministers fail to agree on launch of accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia
Western Balkans commit to green agenda and regional common market at Sofia summit
Bosnia’s opposition ousts nationalist parties in major cities
Bosnia’s main ethnic parties fight to hold onto power in local elections
Southeast Europe’s EU members to get biggest boost from next budget and recovery funds
Bulgaria imposes 3-week lockdown to slow down COVID-19 spread
CEE politicians highlight trade and security ties as they congratulate Biden
Breakaway Transnistria fully under Sheriff’s control as Obnovlenie party sweeps board in parliament election
Moldova’s presidential election is over, now the battle for the parliament begins
Moldova’s foreign policy reset
Russian establishment quick to congratulate Moldova's new president-elect
Rising COVID-19 cases put intense pressure on CEE healthcare systems
MEPs urge European Commission to act against Hungarian media financing in North Macedonia and Slovenia
North Macedonia mulls decriminalising cannabis to boost tourism
Retail surpass pre-crisis peak as Romanians shop instead of holiday
Romania’s stability election
Romanian venture capital firm Catalyst launches new €40mn-50mn fund for TMT
Serbia to tighten restrictions further as coronavirus cases reach new peaks
Slovenian PM Jansa stands alongside Hungary and Poland in EU rule of law row
BEYOND THE BOSPORUS: Turkish number crunchers deliver November inflation surprise of 14%
Erdogan needs to go says analyst assessing Turkey’s economic collapse
Ukraine strikes deal with Turkey to produce killer drones instrumental in Karabakh conflict
In Karabakh deal, as many questions as answers
Protesters flood Yerevan demanding Armenia’s “traitor” PM quit over Nagorno-Karabakh surrender
Who emerge as the real winners from the bloody Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?
Below average 2020 wine production destined for volatile and uncertain global market
Iran calls on Saudis to limit $67bn defence spending to Tehran’s $10bn
Iranian prosecutors pledge to pursue Trump for Soleimani killing even after he leaves White House
No reaction from Kazakh elites as bombshell FT report says Nazarbayev’s son in law siphoned millions from pipeline scheme
UK court freezes $5bn in assets connected to fugitive Kazakh banker Ablyazov
Attack of the Debt Tsunami: global debt soars to a new all-time high
Kyrgyzstan's proposed new constitution provokes widespread revulsion
Kyrgyzstan's China debt: Between crowdfunding and austerity
CFC joins RWC in assessing KAZ Minerals buyout offer as under-valuation
China business briefing: Not happy with Kyrgyzstan
Mongolian coal exports to China paralysed as Beijing demands virus testing of truck drivers
Mongolia fears economic damage as country faces up to its first local transmissions of coronavirus
Mongolia in lockdown after suffering first local coronavirus transmissions
Mongolia’s wrestling culture: From the grasslands to the cage
No surprises in Tajikistan as Rahmon retains presidency with 91% of vote
A Tajikistan poised on verge of economic calamity set for vote
Tajikistan revives on-off dispute with Iran
Turkmenistan: The dammed united
Turkmenistan: Everybody yurts, sometimes
Dirty money investigation reviews identified payments worth $1.4bn linked to Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan unveils extensive privatisation programme
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The Czech government decided to limit free movement of citizens and ordered the closure of most retailers in the country on October 21, as the fastest growth in new coronavirus (COVID-19) infections per citizen in Europe was recorded in the country in recent days.
“The increase [in cases] is huge and, unfortunately, the measures we have taken in recent weeks have not flattened the growth curve. It looks like they are not working yet," said Prime Minister Andrej Babis during the press conference on October 21.
The measures will be in effect from 6am on October 22 until the end of the state of emergency on November 3.
On October 20, the country reported a new daily record in coronavirus cases (11,984). The newly reported deaths increased by 106 to 1,619.
"This is why we have decided to take these measures, for which, of course, I apologise to everyone, because it will make life uncomfortable for businesses, employees and our citizens. I also apologise for having de facto ruled out this possibility in the past. Because I couldn't imagine it happening," Babis noted.
"Unfortunately, it has happened, and we must first and foremost protect the lives of our citizens. This is not just about the lives of those ill with COVID, it's about protecting the lives of all citizens,” he added.
Due to the record growth of infected patients, last Friday the government decided to build the first field hospital in Prague. The government ordered 2,000 hospital beds to be supplied by the Czech manufacturers Linet and Proma Reha and delivered within three weeks.
The first batch of 206 Linet beds arrived at the field hospital built in Letnany in Prague on October 21, and another almost 300 beds are to be delivered by October 23, confirmed the chairman of the State Material Reserves Administration Pavel Svagr.
In recent days the government adopted several subsidy programmes to support businesses and employers in the sectors hit the hardest by the ongoing epidemic. The most significant programmes are Covid-Rent and the employment support programme Antivirus.
Within the Covid-Rent programme companies can apply for a 50% support to pay the rent for the period from July to September. The total amount of subsidy available is €3bn. Within the Antivirus programme (Antivirus Plus) the state will cover the employers´ payroll expenses from 80% to 100%.
On October 19, the government ordered all citizens to wear facemasks outdoors and indoors. According to the findings of the Czech police and a survey by the Czech News Agency from the beginning of the week, this measure has been followed by most Czech citizens so far — but not all. When some were asked why they were not wearing facemasks outdoors, they responded they didn't know it was mandatory, while others said that wearing a facemask in places where they keep their distance from others in the fresh air does not make sense.
According to psychotherapist Adam Suchy, unlike during the first wave of the coronavirus epidemic in the spring when there was a strong sense of solidarity, people now face frustration and stress. They split into two groups, one being responsible and following the measures, the other protesting against all government restrictions and breaking mandatory measures.
Suchy stressed that the frustration is much worse now than it was in the spring. People are more upset, irritable and in a bad mood. The pandemic has been going on for over half a year and opinion on it is very fragmented, both on the part of political authorities and experts.
“All this contributes to the polarisation of society. On the one hand, we hear about dramas about health and numbers of deaths, on the other hand, about people who don't even know anyone infected, and that this issue seems artificially inflated and monotonous. People are getting tired and annoyed,” Suchy said, quoted by daily Aktualne.cz.
“In addition, we do not know whether to tune ourselves to the apocalypse or rather something we can handle. What protects us from stress is predictability and stability. And we don't experience that now,” Suchy added.
Last week, Prague police uncovered a violation of emergency measures at the underground bar in the city centre, with around 35 guests drinking, dancing and using drugs, when measures on closure of restaurants and bars applied. Bar staff had closed and locked the front doors while letting people in through a back entrance.
According to Institute of Health Information and Statistics (UZIS) data, almost 60% of those positively diagnosed were most likely infected at work. "With the growing epidemiological burden on the population, the probability of infection during normal activities of the day also increases, and often the place of infection cannot be clearly proven," said chief hygienist Jarmila Razova on the UZIS data.
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