Slovakia starts lifting its coronavirus measures (news digest)

Testing continued in retirement homes and in Roma settlements, a major shoe producer restarted production. Your overview of news from April 21.

Empty streets of Bratislava.Empty streets of Bratislava. (Source: TASR)

This is your overview of news from April 21.
For all news about the coronavirus in Slovakia click here.
Read more about the measures currently in place in Slovakia. The first phase of lifting the measures will start on Wednesday, April 21. Take a look here at what it means.

Coronavirus in Slovakia (statistics)

- 26 more people were positively diagnosed with the coronavirus disease in Slovakia on April 20, increasing the total number to 1,199. Two people died. Take a look at the detailed statistics here.

- Three people working in the kitchen of the Nové Zámky hospital tested positive for COVID-19. They are currently in quarantine after four medical staff from the internal medicine department tested positive last week.

- All the tests conducted in the Bratislava Staré Mesto Seniorcentrum facility for seniors were negative. (Sme)

- All the employees of the social care facilities running under the Trnava municipality and members of the municipal police have been tested for COVID-19. All tests so far returned negative results. The Trnava Town Hall plans to repeat the testing every week. The results of the tests are included in the daily stats.

- An employee of the facility for seniors in Prievidza who accompanied clients to hospital for medical checks tested positive for the coronavirus. (Sme)

How Slovakia is coping with the coronavirus

- The Central Crisis Staff approved the plan of lifting coronavirus measures that PM Igor Matovič and his council of epidemiologists presented on Monday. Several kinds of smaller shops, outdoor sports grounds, and other facilities will open as of Wednesday, April 22.

The development in neighbouring countries also shows that it is possible to fight the pandemic, but at the same time we need to get used to the fact that we will live here with the virus much longer than we might have thought when it started. We will need to adjust our health care, our economy, our habits, our work, and our personal lives.

President Zuzana Čaputová commented on the plan to lift measures

- Open-air market places in Bratislava - Staré Mesto will prepare to open this week thanks to the lifted measures. They will have to maintain strict rules: the one-way movement of buyers, and one door for entrance and one for exit, so that people do not walk opposite each other. (Sme)

- The question of compulsory tests for cross-border workers has not been resolved yet. PM Igor Matovič said on Tuesday people should wait until Monday before they start getting coronavirus tests. Slovakia has yet to decide whether the negative test confirmation will be compulsory for these people to be allowed into the country.

- Interest in repatriations has declined, Foreign Affairs Ministry State Secretary Martin Klus said. "We are pondering renewing it with the further development of the pandemic situation in countries where we have Slovaks," he said. Slovakia has repatriated 550 citizens in cooperation with other member states and currently has about 2,000 requests, most of which, about 1,200, are from Slovaks in the UK. (SITA)

- The first COVID-19 positive people and their relatives were re-tested in the settlement of Bystrany in eastern Slovakia on Tuesday. Bystrany is one of the quarantined settlements. The mass testing is planned to take place there on Wednesday. The results of the testing will decide whether the quarantine will be lifted or adjusted. (Korzár)

- Amnesty International criticises Slovak and Bulgarian authorities for quarantining Roma neighbourhoods and settlements. They are concerned about the violation of human rights.

News from business

- The pandemic has slowed down the railroad reconstruction between Púchov and Považská Teplá. The closed borders complicate the import of technologies and workers from the Czech Republic. (Sme)

- The Gabor shoemaking company based in Banovce nad Bebravou in western Slovakia relaunched production under strict hygienic measures. The company currently employs 1,300 people. (SITA)

Politics in Slovakia

- Police have searched the house of former head of material reserves Kajetán Kučura. The action is linked to suspected machinations during a public procurement, including during the coronavirus crisis.

- Parliamentary committees debated the programme statement of the Matovič government on Tuesday. Most recommended it be passed. (TASR)

- Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) MP Jana Cigániková, who heads the health care committee in parliament, will not support the governments programme statement during the confidence vote. She pointed out that the programme statement counts on the introduction of a unitary system of health insurance (one health insurer).

- President Zuzana Čaptová is the most trusted politician in Slovakia, poll shows.

- Ombudswoman Mária Patakyová asked Health Minister Marek Krajčí to take measures to secure the safe access to abortion for women in the time of the corona crisis. She did so based on reports from the NGOs showing that doctors in some health care facilities refused to perform abortions due to the current situation. (SITA)

Also on today:

Related articleMovement increased in Slovakia before Easter. Apple tool shows their movements Read more  Related articleElderly people keep calm and obey measures, survey shows Read more  Related articleSlovakia slightly improved its press freedom ranking Read more 

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