TODAY IN SLOVAKIA

More medical workers under quarantine as virus cases surge to 72 (news digest)

Slovakia reported 11 new COVID-19 cases on March 16.

From left: OĽaNO chair Igor Matovič, outgoing PM Peter Pellegrini (Smer)and President Zuzana Čaputová hold a meeting on March 16, 2020, at the Presidential Palace in Bratislava. From left: OĽaNO chair Igor Matovič, outgoing PM Peter Pellegrini (Smer)and President Zuzana Čaputová hold a meeting on March 16, 2020, at the Presidential Palace in Bratislava. (Source: TASR)

This is your overview of news from Slovakia on March 16.
For all the news about the coronavirus in Slovakia click here.
Read more about the election and post-election coverage.

For your overview of last week's events, read Last Week in Slovakia.

Coronavirus in Slovakia updates

  • Slovakia reported 11 new COVID-19 cases and updated measures in relation to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • A model by state analysts shows that a share of infected people with COVID-19 in Slovakia may be “way below 40 percent” of the population, PM Peter Pellegrini said. He sees it as good news since it can be up to 80 percent in other countries. “It also contains a number of the infected on a daily basis. Those are big figures.” (SME)
  • In connection with the virus, traffic at all border crossing points with Ukraine for international passenger traffic will be suspended except for the transport of persons to ensure the protection of national interests or to fulfill international obligations, as well as representatives of diplomatic institutions and humanitarian missions, the Border and Foreign Police’s branch in Sobrance informed.
Coronavirus: State lacks a plan for at-risk Roma settlements Read more 
  • Hungary has closed its borders and only Hungarian citizens and EEA citizens with a residence permit will be let into the country. The international airport in Budapest is closed as well remains open. (TASR)
  • Slovenská sporiteľňa bank will have its branches open four hours a day from March 16. Some branches will be completely closed for the time being. The bank is regulating the number of clients in its branches. It has begun to distribute masks as well.
  • The Financial Administration (FS SR) has changed its opening hours at its contact centres, which will be open from 8:00 to 11:00. It is calling on people to protect their faces and use other means of communication with the authority, either by e-mail or by phone. People with respiratory symptoms are banned from entering branches of the Financial Administration.
  • The Transport Ministry has adopted other precautions. In the coming fortnight, offices dealing with the emission control, originality control, gas equipment installation and technical services will be closed. Driving schools and similar workplaces will close temporarily too.
  • Train passengers are obliged to wear a mask or other protective items while on a train from March 16. A passenger breaching the measure will be asked to get off the train.
  • The Interior Ministry opened its first quarantine centre in Gabčíkovo, southern Slovakia. People who have returned from abroad but do not want to put their families in danger will stay here during their 14-day self-quarantine. The first occupants have moved in.
  • The Finance Ministry allocated €63 million to Slovakia’s Administration of State Material Reserves (ŠHR) for the purchase of protective equipment.
  • Economy Minister Peter Žiga presented 13 economic measures to help businesses amid the virus outbreak. Banks should defer businesses’ debt repayments, and banks will not have to pay a bank levy in return. The self-employed will have their social and health levies deferred, too. Rules for obtaining a contribution to not cancel a job position should be eased up.
  • Medirex private laboratories are prepared to test SARS-CoV-2 samples for the state, not individuals. (TASR)
Coronavirus: What does home quarantine mean? Read more 
  • Coronavirus tests are being carried out in Bratislava, Banská Bystrica and Košice. By the end of the week, testing should launch in Trenčín. (Denník N)
  • The National Health Information Centre (NCZI) launched a website, www.virus-korona.sk, with up-to-date coronavirus information in Slovakia.
  • Some of the staff at a paediatrics clinic at Trenčín hospital has been placed under quarantine. A mother and her daughter from Nové Mesto nad Váhom, both infected with COVID-19, were hospitalised for four days. (MY Trenčín)
  • A total of 27 medical workers at Kramáre hospital in Bratislava are in quarantine. A doctor, who had carried out a surgery, tested positive. (Denník N)
  • F.D. Roosevelt Hospital in Banská Bystrica closed its department of respiratory medicine because of a 65-year-old patient with confirmed COVID-19. The staff members who came in contact with her are in quarantine for two weeks. (Aktuality.sk)

Coalition

  • The new parliament will meet on Friday, March 20. On the same day, the Peter Pellegrini cabinet will leave office. The President will appoint a new government, led by OĽaNO chair Igor Matovič, on March 21. President Zuzana Čaputová accepted all ministerial proposals put forward by Matovič.
  • The first session of the parliament will be held under strict public health measures. Employees, MPs and members of the government will be let into the building. Each person will have their temperature measured. New MPs will have to disinfect their hands and put a mask and gloves on, which they will not be allowed to take off. (Denník N)

Other news

  • President Zuzana Čaputová criticised judges who defend their charged colleagues.

“We need to be sure that ‘We must help one another.’ can be a motto for our society in hard times, including the coronavirus pandemic, but in no circumstance should this be a motto judges use in the case of their colleagues who failed.”

President Zuzana Čaputová

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