E-quarantine now possible via Apple phones (news digest)

Court proceeding over controversial cheques postponed and the police reportedly detained the head of the Bratislava ring-road constructor. Roundup of news from May 29.

The primary school in Prešov is preparing for reopening on June 1.The primary school in Prešov is preparing for reopening on June 1. (Source: TASR)

This is your overview of news from Friday, May 29.

Coronavirus in Slovakia

  • Out of the 1,848 tests carried out on May 28, no one was positively diagnosed with COVID-19. The number of recovered patients increased by six to 1,338.
  • Apple has officially approved the eKarantena app required for spending the mandatory quarantine at home. This information was confirmed by both the Interior Ministry and PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO).
  • The Žilina hospital has closed its so-called red zone for coronavirus-positive patients. They continue checking patients who enter the hospital though. (TASR)
  • Greece will allow tourists from 29 countries to enter its territory from June 15, including Slovakia.

Political news

  • The Bratislava Region’s councillors have cancelled donations for culture, sport, youth and tourism, amounting to €1.2 million in total, as part of their austerity measures. The proposal was supported by 33 councillors, while five were against it and seven abstained from the vote.
  • As many as 68 percent of parents, particularly those with higher education, want to send their children back to schools. This stems from a poll carried out by Mnforce, Seesame and the Slovak Academy of Sciences, which maps the current opinions of people during the coronavirus crisis. It was conducted between May 25 and 28 on 1,000 respondents. (SITA)

Updates from the judiciary and courts

  • The May 29 proceeding over controversial cheques worth €1,488 ended with the testimony of an expert on political extremism Matej Medvecký. During the past two days, prosecutor of the Special Prosecutor’s Office Tomáš Honz read some previous rulings, including the one from 2006 when Slovenská Pospolitosť (Slovak Togetherness), the first party run by Marian Kotleba who faces charges in the case, was dissolved. In Medvecký’s expert opinion, he described the symbolism of the numbers 14 and 88 in neo-Nazi ideology. Kotleba, who faces four to eight years in prison, still says that the event at which the cheques were handed to families was of a charitable character. Ružena Sabová, chair of the Specialised Criminal Court senate, adjourned the proceeding until June 8.
  • The police detained a person on the morning of May 29 in connection with the construction of the Bratislava ring road, citing the crime of threatening and damaging the environment. The private broadcaster TV Markíza reported that this person is the head of the D4R7 Construction, identified only as M. H.

News from the media

  • Jaroslav Rezník, head of the public-service broadcaster RTVS, has recalled head of the TV news desk Hana Lyons and head of the domestic news desk Miroslav Frindt. The decision came after several disputes in the newsroom, launched by Frindt’s protest letter against chief newscast editor Vahram Chuguryan.

Economy and business news

  • The Slovak economy is expected to drop by 11 percent in the second quarter, as stems from the May short-term prognosis of the Council for Budget Responsibility. According to the flash estimate published by the Statistics Office, Slovakia’s GDP fell by 4.1 percent year-on-year in the first three months of this year. If the prognosis is confirmed, the council claims the GDP decrease in the first half of the year may be as high as 7.6 percent.

The bottom will be hit at the turn of first and second quarter, and the restoration will be slow.

The Council for Budget Responsibility on the recent prediction for Slovakia’s GDP.

  • Nitra-based Agrokomplex National Exhibition Centre is the very first state-run company to ask for protection from bankruptcy. It is struggling due to exhibitions that had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis, and the problems of its former head.
  • U.S. Steel Košice will continue with shortened working hours in June and July. Employees who are forced to stay home will receive wage compensation of 80 percent of their salary.
  • Companies Strabag and Eurovia won the second biggest tender in the history of railways. They are expected to build the railway junction in Žilina for €323 million. The failed bidders can still appeal the decision, so the date for starting the construction is unclear. (Denník N)

Sports news

  • The Slovak Football Association did not grant a licence for UEFA and Fortuna League competitions for 2020/2021 season to FC Nitra and MŠK Žilina football clubs, explaining they failed to meet the minimal financial conditions. They have until June 12 to appeal the decision.

Some weekend read:

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Related articleRoundup: Čaputová’s honey bees and hiking tips for the last weekend of May Read more 

Related articleCoronavirus may ruin Slovakia's music clubs for good Read more 

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