News digest: New rules for mass events come into force on Thursday

The overview of news from Slovakia from September 9, 2020.

A new mobile sampling site opened in Banská Bystrica.A new mobile sampling site opened in Banská Bystrica. (Source: TASR)

This is the overview of news that happened in Slovakia on Wednesday, September 9, 2020. Don’t forget to scroll down to find our tips for reads.
Today in Slovakia is prepared at the end of every weekday to give you a summary of the most important news that happen across the country. If you want to support our work, consider buying our online subscription. Thank you.

Slovakia remembers the Jewish Code adoption

The Holocaust remains a tragic chapter not only in the history of Jews, but also the whole of Slovakia, said President Zuzana Čaputová on the occasion of the Memorial Day for Victims of the Holocaust and Racial Violence.

Every year on September 9, Slovakia remembers the so-called Jewish Code adopted by the wartime Slovak state back in 1941, which limited the fundamental rights of Jews.

Apart from Čaputová, other politicians paid tribute to the victims, stressing the need not to forget these crimes.

Vážny ends in social insurer

Ľubomír Vážny, who served in two Smer-led governments, has ended his post as the head of the state-run social security provider Sociálna Poisťovňa.

The cabinet unexpectedly recalled him from the post at its September 9 session, with the proposal being submitted by Labour Minister Milan Krajniak (Sme Rodina) who pointed to several wrongdoings.

Vážny will be replaced by Juraj Káčer, the TASR newswire reported.

No border closure for now

Although Slovakia is aware of the rising numbers of coronavirus infections in its neighbouring countries, mainly the Czech Republic and Austria, closing the borders like the country during the first wave of the pandemic in the spring is an extreme solution, Foreign Affairs Minister Ivan Korčok (SaS nominee) believes.

Speaking to journalists ahead of the cabinet session on September 9, Korčok said there are alternative solutions to border closures. Currently, the only neighbours with closed borders are Ukraine and Hungary.

As for the latter, one more border crossing will be opened on September 10, situated close to Bratislava, in the village of Rajka, but only in the morning between 6:00 and 8:00 and in the afternoon between 15:00 and 17:00.

Coronavirus developments in Slovakia

  • Altogether 161 new coronavirus cases were revealed in September 8 testing, increasing the total number to 4,888. See more detailed statistics here.
  • Slovakia should prepare for new rules for mass cultural, sports or social events starting on September 10. The measure recently issued by the Public Health Authority (ÚVZ) bans the organisation of exterior events with more than 1,000 participants and the interior events with more than 500 participants. The only exception is when all participants have a negative COVID-19 test no older than 12 hours.
  • Health Minister Marek Krajčí (OĽaNO) and chief hygienist Ján Mikas tested negative for the coronavirus. They both stayed in preventive self-isolation after one member of the group of experts tested positive.
  • Two people infected with the coronavirus died on Wednesday: a 16-year-old girl in the Nitra hospital and a 78-year-old man in the Central Military Hospital in Ružomberok. The real cause of their death should be confirmed by the autopsy.
  • The Central Military Hospital in Ružomberok forbids all visits to its wards in response to the increased number of both the positive coronavirus cases and hospitalised patients. The ban is in place until further notice.
  • The hospital in Banská Bystrica opened the large-capacity mobile COVID-19 sampling site. The establishment of the site cost €3,500, while its operation will cost €750 a month.
  • The sum allocated as a bonus for first-line workers will increase from €50 million to €77 million, with the individual rewards amounting to €300-€500.

In other news

  • President Zuzana Čaputová again refused to sign an amendment to the law on electronic communications. The MPs overrode her veto last week and approved the legislation once again. On the other hand, the president signed an amendment proposing to increase the number of medical workers during the pandemic.
  • The Bratislava Regional Court once again found former deputy assistant Filip Rybanič guilty for violating the bank secrecy. It confirmed the three-year conditional punishment. Rybanič, a former Tatra Banka employee, was punished for looking into the bank account of ex-interior minister Robert Kaliňák (Smer) in 2016.
  • The Slovak economy contracted less than the economy in the eurozone and the entire EU in the second quarter of 2020, both in quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year comparison. In quarterly terms, the Slovak economy dropped by 8.3 percent, while that of the eurozone went down by 11.8 percent, and in the EU by 11.4 percent. In annual terms, Slovak GDP decreased 12.1 percent, while in the eurozone the year-on-year fall represented 14.7 percent, and in the EU 13.3 percent. (Eurostat)
  • 120 new jobs will be created in Liptovský Hrádok (Žilina Region) by the electronics producer Eltek. The company belonging to the Taiwanese group Delta plans to invest in the extension of its plant and has already submitted the project for the environmental impact assessment process.
  • The state-run railway company ŽSR ordered the modernisation of the track from Devínska Nová Ves to Czech borders. The agreement worth nearly €275 million was given to the Italian-Slovak consortium ICM – Váhostav.

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