TODAY IN SLOVAKIA

Slovakia sends humanitarian assistance to Italy (news digest)

Bratislava Region launches testing in social care facilities, several universities initiate online final exams. Read the overview of news from April 20.

Slovak Foreign Affairs Minister Ivan Korčok (r) and Italian Ambassador to Slovakia Gabrielle Meucci while dispatching the humanitarian aid to Italy on April 20.Slovak Foreign Affairs Minister Ivan Korčok (r) and Italian Ambassador to Slovakia Gabrielle Meucci while dispatching the humanitarian aid to Italy on April 20. (Source: TASR)

This is your overview of news from April 20.
For all news about the coronavirus in Slovakia click here.
Read more about the measures currently in place in Slovakia.
For your overview of last week’s events, read Last Week in Slovakia.

Coronavirus in Slovakia (updates)

- The number of people infected with the coronavirus in Slovakia has increased to 1,173, while more than 45,000 have been negative. One more person died of the coronavirus. See detailed statistics here.

- Slovakia has sent humanitarian assistance, including 300,000 masks and 500 litres of a concentrate to produce disinfectants, to Italy via a special governmental plane. Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Luigi Di Maio thanked Slovakia on Twitter.

- Altogether 3,723 Slovaks have returned from abroad so far. At the same time, Slovakia is helping other EU member states with repatriations. Thanks to Slovak diplomacy, 550 people have returned home.

- The tests of 167 clients and employees of a retirement home in Martin have been negative. One employee tested positive for COVID-19 last week. (TASR)

- The Bratislava Self-Governing Region has launched across-the-board testing of employees at social care facilities. The very first to be tested were people from the Sibírka retirement home in the Nové Mesto borough. No other employee or client of the Seniorcentrum retirement home in the Old Town borough has tested positive for the coronavirus. The tests in the facility were carried out after the infection of one of its employees was confirmed last week. (TASR)

- All 117 samplings taken from the village of Vŕbnica in the Michalovce district (Košice Region) on April 18 were negative. Some 400-500 inhabitants are currently in mandatory home quarantine.

How Slovakia is fighting the coronavirus (measures)

- PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) introduced four phases for lifting the measures adopted to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. The first phase is expected to start on Wednesday, April 22.

We’ll be living with masks for a long time. I hope that together, we’ll manage this responsibility.

PM Igor Matovič on releasing some coronavirus measures.

- The Public Health Authority (ÚVZ) has modified the rules for wearing masks, starting on April 21 midnight, introducing several exceptions. The new measure will be in force until further notice.

- Several faculties of Slovak universities have held their very first online final exams. This includes the Faculty of Medicine of Comenius University in Bratislava and the Faculty of Architecture of the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava.

- Police detained a 39-year-old man from Prešov who violated the quarantine rules in Gabčíkovo (Trnava Region). He is under custody until he receives his coronavirus test results. Apart from encouraging others to violate rules, he left his room without wearing a mask and tried to leave the facility. The man has been accused of violating duties in a crisis situation, and is threatened with two years in prison. (TASR)

- The Operating Centre of the Emergency Rescue Service has launched a campaign encouraging people not to misuse the 155 emergency phone number. The aim of the billboard campaign is to educate the public and inform them that the phone number should be used when one’s life is in danger, and it cannot be blocked by trivial problems. (TASR)

- The quarantine of Roma communities in Slovakia and Bulgaria is stigmatising, according to Amnesty International Slovakia. It claims that until the governments of both countries prove that the rules are in compliance with the laws, that they follow a certain goal, are adequate and do not discriminate against the Roma, such measures are in breach of fundamental human rights.

- The Zostaň Zdravý application is now available via phones using both Android and iOS operational systems. It has limited operation for now, while still lacking the promised verification via facial biometrics.

Coronavirus in business

- Volkswagen Slovakia has launched production several weeks after suspending its operation. The Bratislava-based plant launched one of its segments producing SUV vehicles in single-shift operation and under strict measures. The carmaker suspended its operation on March 17. (TASR)

- Nitra-based carmaker Jaguar Land Rover does not plan to restore its operation, suspended on March 20.

Other news from Slovakia

- Two polls released on April 20 see the party of ex-president Andrej Kiska, Za Ľudí, outside the parliament. Both Focus and AKO pollsters suggest its support falling to some 3 percent.

- About 17 percent of university students from Slovakia decided to study abroad, which is 15 percent more than the OECD average. This is one of the reasons why governmental analysts want to find ways to improve the quality of Slovak university education. (SITA)

- The registered unemployment rate in Slovakia amounted to 5.19 percent in March 2020. It rose by a 0.16 percentage point compared with March 2019, and by a 0.14 percentage point compared with February 2020.

- The Debt and Liquidity Management Agency (ARDAL) sold government bonds worth €512.6 million in four auctions. The total demand in these auctions amounted to nearly €1 billion. The auctions will continue on Tuesday with a non-auction part where investors will be offered bonds for more than €100 million.

- The number of people saving their money within the second, private pension pillar scheme increased by nearly 77,000 last year. This stems from the analysis of the financial sector in Slovakia in 2019 by the National Bank of Slovakia. The increase in 2019 was the highest in the history of the second pension pillar.

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