Czech president returns to hospital after testing positive for COVID-19
PRAGUE (AP) – Czech President Miloš Zeman was readmitted to hospital on Thursday evening after testing positive for COVID-19, just hours after his release after more than a month of treatment for an unspecified illness.
The presidential office said Zeman was tested after arriving at his official residence in Lany, west of Prague, in the afternoon. His official schedule was postponed and it was not clear whether Zeman would be able to swear in the country’s new prime minister as scheduled on Friday – a process already long delayed due to his previous hospitalization.
“Zeman was due to be sworn in to Petr Fiala, the leader of a coalition that won elections early last month, as the country’s new prime minister.“
He had been released from the military hospital in Prague earlier in the day.
Zeman, 77, was rushed to hospital on October 10, a day after the elections to the lower house of parliament, for treatment in an intensive care unit. His condition was attributed to an unspecified chronic illness.
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The hospital said Thursday it would have preferred Zeman to remain hospitalized but accepted his decision to leave due to a “significant improvement” in his condition.
The president had planned to recover from Lany.
Zeman is a heavy smoker and drinker who suffers from diabetes. He has difficulty walking and uses a wheelchair.
As president, Zeman has a key role in establishing a new government after the election. On Friday, he was to take the oath to Petr Fiala, the leader of a coalition that won the elections, as the country’s new prime minister.
A liberal-conservative tripartite coalition known as the Ensemble, made up of the Civic Democratic Party, the Christian Democrats and the TOP 09 party, won the election with 27.8% of the vote.
Together, they teamed up with a liberal coalition made up of the Pirate Party and STAN – a group of mayors and independent candidates – which came in third place with 15.6%.
The new partnership will hold 108 seats in the 200-seat lower house of the Czech parliament, relegating populist Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and his centrist movement ANO, or Yes, to the opposition.
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The five parties signed an agreement to rule together. It was not immediately clear when Zeman could appoint Fiala and his entire government.