News digest: Slovakia does not plan to close its borders, neither Austria or Czechia

Overview of news from Slovakia on August 31, 2020.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: TASR)

This is your overview of news from Slovakia that happened on Monday, August 31, 2020. Don’t miss our tips for reads that you can find at the end of the digest, and also our weekly summary of the most important events, Last Week in Slovakia, which returned after two-week absence.

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Russia responds to expulsion of its diplomats

Three Slovak diplomats will have to leave the Slovak Embassy in Moscow. This is a response to Slovakia’s earlier decision to expel three Russian diplomats for violating the Vienna Convention on diplomacy.

Slovakia does not consider the expulsion an “adequate and justified” response, but its Foreign Affairs Ministry expected the response. Slovakia is sending diplomats to Russia whose task is to “try to cultivate bilateral relations,” Foreign Affairs Minister Ivan Korčok said.

Extended office hours at Foreigners’ Police

The Foreigners’ Police in Bratislava has decided to extend its office hours for those foreigners who book their appointment online.

The departments will be open also on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 to 14:00. The change comes into force on September 3 and will be in place until further notice.

New rules come into force

Starting on September 1 and 2, several new measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic will come into force. This includes the wearing of masks in schools, the organisation of mass events, and new rules for employers.

Meanwhile, Hungary decided to close its borders to foreign tourists on September 1. To return to Slovakia, it will be possible to use the following border crossings:

  • Rajka – Čunovo
  • Komárno – Komárom
  • Ostrihom – Štúrovo
  • Parassapuszta – Šahy
  • Kráľ – Banréve
  • Tornyosnémeti – Milhosť

Trains to Hungary will follow their schedules, but the measures can change in the future, the state-run railway passenger carrier ZSSK said.

There are several exceptions for crossing the borders with Hungary, including for those foreigners working in border areas.

Meanwhile, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Austria do not plan to close their borders for now.

Other coronavirus-related developments:

  • The laboratories confirmed 41 new cases in the August 30 testing. All of them are searched contacts or cases that occurred in an already monitored outbreak spot. Read more detailed statistics here.
  • People coming from Slovakia to Latvia and Lithuania will have to undergo 14-day isolation. When arriving in Latvia, travelers are required to fill in a form with contact data, the address where they will spend their isolation, and the list of countries visited in the past 14 days.
  • Slovakia’s Health Ministry wants to open new testing sites. A new big-capacity place should open in Bratislava already on September 2, and others will follow. (TA3)
  • The local authority in Bratislava’s Old Town will adopt stricter measures from September 2, including measuring the body temperatures of all people entering the building, the mandatory wearing of masks indoors, and hand disinfection. One of the reasons is that one of its employees had a positive COVID-19 test.

In other news

  • Slovakia is marking 25 years since a kidnapping that has since become an important event in Slovakia's recent history. The case of the abduction of Michal Kováč Jr, the son of the then president, has still not been closed, and nobody has ever been punished for the incident.
  • Milan Lučanský ended his position as police corps president on August 31. He will be temporarily replaced by Petr Kovařík, who will take the post on September 1.
  • Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď (OĽaNO) assigned Ľubomír Galko to manage the Letecké Opravovne Trenčín aircraft repair company until the proper selection procedure for a new head takes place in six months. Galko will replace Vladimír Šimanský, who currently holds the post, from September 1.
  • The new voting of the candidate for the post at the EU Court of Justice will take place on September 21, with the deadline for submitting the candidates being set for September 11. The deadline was postponed from August 31 based on the request of Justice Minister Mária Kolíková.
  • Slovaks pay more for housing than Czechs, Hungarians or Poles. The annual costs of living amount to some €2,680, as Wood & Company said, referring to Eurostat data from 2019 and the first half of 2020.
  • Public transport in several towns and cities will follow the schedule for school working days from September 2. In the previous months, it usually followed the holiday schedule as older schoolchildren still remained at home.

Please note that September 1 is a public holiday in Slovakia. The country is commemorating Constitution Day. This means that most shops will be closed.

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