TODAY IN SLOVAKIA

Jaguar Land Rover should restore production in mid-May (news digest)

No oral part to the maturita exam, increase in the number of Bojnice hospital employees infected with the coronavirus. Read the overview of news from April 23.

Education Minister Branislav Gröhling announced the traditional oral part of the maturita exam will not take place this year.Education Minister Branislav Gröhling announced the traditional oral part of the maturita exam will not take place this year. (Source: TASR)

This is your overview of news from April 23.
For all news about the coronavirus in Slovakia click here.
Read more about the measures currently in place in Slovakia.

Coronavirus in Slovakia (statistics)

- The number of people testing positively with the coronavirus rose to 1,325. While four people recovered from the illness, one more person died of the infection. At the same time, laboratories have carried out a record number of tests. Check out the detailed statistics here.

- All employees and clients of nursing homes in Slovakia will be tested with rapid tests. This concerns 42,149 clients of these facilities and 36,680 employees, plus another 790 employees of day care centres. Moreover, a representative of nursing homes should become a member of the central crisis staff, Labour Minister Milan Krajniak (Sme Rodina) said. (TASR)

- The Bojnice hospital records 16 employees infected with the coronavirus. The hospital claims that they did not have any COVID-19 symptoms, but they underwent testing since they were in touch with a patient from the neurology department who tested positive for the coronavirus.

- The town of Pezinok opened a mobile site to take samples for coronavirus testing, situated at the premises of the primary school on Fándlyho Street.

Coronavirus measures in Slovakia

- There will be no traditional oral part of the secondary school leaving exams (maturita in Slovak). Instead, grades will be averaged, said Education Minister Branislav Gröhling (SaS).

- Health-care providers in Slovakia are seeing their expenses related to protective equipment rise during the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, they are performing fewer interventions, resulting in a drop in their revenues. Outpatient departments, laboratories, small x-ray workplaces, day nursing care agencies and rehabilitation facilities report about 20 percent of their last year’s revenues after one month. They have thus asked the state for additional finances to the health sector, otherwise they warn of a collapse in the following days.

- The town of Nitra has established a quarantine site for homeless people, situated close to the amphitheatre. “Homeless people have nowhere to go,” said Martin Horák, chief of Nitra’s municipal authority, adding they belong to the most endangered groups during the pandemic. “By protecting this minority group, we also protect the other inhabitants of Nitra and the public health services from the infection being spread in the town.”

- Ombudswoman Mária Patakyová has criticized the recent measures of the Public Health Authority that concern the across-the-board ban of shopping for seniors outside the hours set by the crisis staff. She thus asked the government for changes. (SITA)

Coronavirus in business

- Nitra-based carmaker Jaguar Land Rover plans to resume its production on May 18. It was suspended on March 20.

- The coronavirus pandemic has already impacted job offers. Employers now mention a home office more often, and the coronavirus pandemic may even broaden this benefit, the analysis of the Profesia.sk and Platy.sk websites suggests.

- Labour offices will start sending the first money to the accounts of people who have asked for assistance. They have already paid more than €2.5 million to 4,636 applicants. (SITA)

- Also single-person limited liability companies and the self-employed without income can now ask for the state assistance. The application forms have been published on the Labour Ministry website.

- More banks have signed an agreement over providing advantageous loans to small and medium-sized enterprises with the state-run Slovak Investment Holding. Slovenská Sporiteľňa was joined by VÚB and the Slovak branch of the Austrian BKS Bank.

- There will be moratorium on paying rent valid from April 1 to June 30, 2020. This means that people who cannot pay their rent during this period may pay it from July until the end of the year, Labour Minister Milan Krajniak (Sme Rodina) explained on Facebook.

Other news from Slovakia

- The Institute for Financial Policy (IFP), running under the Finance Ministry, has revised its prognosis for the collection of taxes and payroll levies for this year. It expects it to drop by 6.9 percent, or €3.1 billion.

- The Specialised Criminal Court has accepted custody for Kajetán Kičura, ex-head of the state-run Administration of State Material Reserves. He has been charged with accepting bribes and legalising incomes from criminal activities.

- The National Criminal Agency laid charges of corruption against the former head of the Agricultural Payment Agency Juraj Kožuch and financier Martin Kvietik. The bribes have reportedly amounted to nearly €1 million.

- Marian Kočner who has been charged, among other things, with the interference with the independence of courts, has been interrogated at the National Criminal Agency (NAKA) office in Nitra on April 23 for several hours. The hearing pertained to the case where several judges and lawyers suspected of corruption-related crimes were detained during the Búrka (Storm) operation.

- New top Interior Ministry official might take a lie detector test. Anna Bilecová faces suspicions of involvement in a carousel VAT fraud in eastern Slovakia. The interior minister nominated by OĽaNO and his deputy stand behind her.

- MPs have elected three new members of the Judicial Council. Andrej Majerník received 93 votes, Ján Mazák 92, and Alena Svetlovská 83.

- Five former MPs will lose half of their April salaries for blocking the speaker’s desk. This concerns Martin Poliačik, Jozef Mihál, Simona Petrík, Viera Dubačová and Alan Suchánek. The decision was made by Speaker of Parliament Boris Kollár (Sme Rodina).

- Trams will stop traversing Bratislava’s Dúbravka borough again. The reason is the launch of construction works on the third phase of the reconstruction of the track between Dúbravka and Karlova Ves. The works are expected to start on May 2 and finished in September. (TASR)

- The departures of reporters from the Trend weekly continue. This includes long-time reporter and Deputy Editor-in-Chief Igor Matloň and reporter Tomáš Zemko. Originally, Ľuboslav Kačalka was said to have come to the weekly to work as the deputy editor-in-chief, but he eventually decided to stay at the Hospodárske Noviny daily. (Omediach.com)

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