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Former Czech President Vaclav Klaus tests positive for COVID-19

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Prague, Czech Republic – Former Czech President Vaclav Klaus has tested positive for COVID-19, the spokesman of his think tank Petr Macinka told Czech Radio on Tuesday.

Klaus, 79, has received medical treatment at Prague’s Central Military Hospital, and is now reportedly recovering at home.

According to reports, Klaus felt ill during a lecture for students from the University of Economics, and subsequently went for a COVID-19 test, which turned out to be positive.

Vaclav Klaus served as Prime Minister (1992-1998) and President of the Czech Republic (2003-2013). Now retired and a somewhat marginal figure in Czech politics, he continues to weigh in on public debate and domestic politics via his think tank, the Klaus Institute, and through often controversial public appearances.

Known for being a strong opponent of anti-coronavirus measures and restrictions, he was fined 10,000 Kc for making a speech without wearing a face mask during a demonstration in front of Prague’s Municipal House.

This wasn’t the first time he appeared in public without respecting the government’s mask and social distancing guidelines – a choice he recently described as a conscious act of “civil disobedience” after visiting a restaurant despite restrictions in place.

Klaus, who also declared he would not get vaccinated against COVID-19, presented his views on the matter in two books published last year: Karanténa (Quarantine) and Karanténa 2.0 (Quarantine 2.0).

Current head of state Milos Zeman, who had previously urged Klaus to get vaccinated considering his age, wished him “a speedy recovery”, his spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said.

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