Here's a summary of news from Slovakia for August 21, 2020. Do not miss our tips for weekend reading.
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Most COVID-19 cases since outbreak
The August 21 testing revealed 123 new coronavirus cases in Slovakia, which is the highest daily increase since the pandemic outbreak in March. The most cases were revealed in the districts of Bratislava (34), Trnava (17), and Trenčín (13).
“The epidemiologic situation we’re monitoring and evaluating on a daily basis is under control,” the Public Health Authority (ÚVZ) wrote on Facebook.
Hygienists expected the surge in the number of new cases as it results from the active and proper search for the contacts of the already revealed cases in the outbreak localities and their subsequent testing in the past few days. Some of those who tested positive imported the disease from abroad.
The high number of cases in the Trnava district is related to a family gathering. Some of those who have tested positive work in local McDonald’s branches, the Tvnoviny.sk reported.
The employees who were in contact with them have been isolated and await testing.
Two employees of the nuclear power plant in Jaslovské Bohunice also tested positive. All spaces have been disinfected and the company adopted strict measures, said Oľga Baková, spokesperson of Slovenské Elektrárne, which operates the plant. They are now testing everybody who could be in touch with the infected workers, the MY Trnava local newspaper reported.
The first case was confirmed also in Volkswagen Slovakia and ice-hockey club HC Slovan Bratislava.
Other coronavirus-related news
- The Foreigners’ Police department in Dunajská Streda will be working in a limited regime and with a limited number of police officers between August 24 and 28, dealing only with clients who booked their appointment. This comes after several employees tested positive for the coronavirus.
- Slovak football players from Slovan Bratislava were scheduled to play in a match in the Faroe Islands as part of the first qualifying round of the Champion League. However, the local media have reported that one member of the second team that arrived in the islands on August 20 tested positive for the coronavirus. The match was eventually cancelled.
Slovakia commemorates the 1968 invasion
“Democracy and freedom are not a matter of course,” Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová said on August 21 on the occasion of the 52nd anniversary of the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact armies (minus Romania). “More than half a century ago, our sovereignty was brutally trampled on. We know very well why something like this must never happen again.”
State sovereignty is not a value that should be taken for granted, the Slovak president underlined. Instead, it is a value that requires to be defended by public officials and state authorities. Those who do not recognise the people as the only source of state power are committing a crime, Čaputová added.
The August 1968 events are a symbol of betrayal, said PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) who also attended the ceremony. Speaker of Parliament Boris Kollár (Sme Rodina) noted it is important to remember the past and always put dialogue first.
Slovakia asks for proper investigation
Slovakia has asked Belgium for a proper investigation of a police action after which Slovak Jozef Chovanec died two years ago.
Recently, several Belgian media outlets published pictures from prison cameras capturing one police officer giving a Nazi salute while others were laughing. Moreover, another police officer was kneeling on Chovanec’s chest for about 16 minutes. His family now says he fell victim to police violence.
“Such practices are unacceptable; they have no place in a democratic society,” Slovak Foreign Affairs Minister Ivan Korčok (SaS nominee) said about the incident.
In other news
- The Slovak Hydrometeorologic Institute (SHMÚ) has issued a first-level warning against high temperatures in southwestern districts for Saturday, August 22, where temperatures could be as high as 33 degrees Celsius. It will be in place between 14:00 and 17:00. It also issued a first-level warning against storms that could hit the western and northwestern districts on the same day between 18:00 and 24:00.
- The ruling coalition is preparing extensive changes in the pensions system through constitutional law. It, among other things, should prevent the cancellation of the second, private pension pillar through an ordinary law and change the retirement age so that it depends on the average life expectancy again. (Denník N)
- The National Criminal Agency (NAKA) will investigate the bust of communist-era leader Vasil Biľak in Krajná Bystrá (Prešov Region). The prosecutor of the Special Prosecutor’s Office has tasked the police to check whether the bust promotes extremist ideology.
21. Aug 2020 at 15:18 (modified at 21. Aug 2020 at 16:53) | Compiled by Spectator staff