News digest: Complaints about coronavirus restrictions and raid against corruption

The overview of news from Slovakia from September 14, 2020.

Police raid targeted judges of Žilina courts in relation to corruption.Police raid targeted judges of Žilina courts in relation to corruption. (Source: TASR)

Here is the overview of news that happened in Slovakia during the weekend and on Monday, September 14, 2020. Today’s digest takes only less than 5 minutes of reading.
For a more analytical weekly overview of the most important news, please read Last Week in Slovakia published earlier today, and don’t forget to scroll down to our tips for interesting reads.
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Police targets corruption at Žilina courts

Altogether 13 people have been charged and five have been detained after the police raid in Žilina.

The National Criminal Agency (NAKA) launched the Plevel (Weeds) Operation on September 14, targeting corruption activities.

Several media outlets soon reported that the raid is aimed against judges from Žilina courts and people who have bribed them.

New restrictions in place stir criticism

The Bratislava Region has introduced tougher measures aimed to contain the coronavirus disease, which came into force on Monday, September 14. These concern mass events, including ceremonies in churches. It also bans visits to hospitals and nursing homes.

The measures apply not only to Bratislava and its districts, but also the districts of Senec, Pezinok and Malacky.

Meanwhile, 15 coalition MPs and 22 lawyers called on the chief hygienist and Bratislava regional hygienist to re-assess the limits to the number of participants to mass events, claiming that such a restriction interferes with several rights.

Moreover, notable personalities of Slovakia’s culture expressed anger and disappointment on social networks and in the media over the weekend. They believe the imposed limits are going to devastate them, following a summer where events were not allowed to take place as usual.

Other coronavirus-related developments

  • The September 13 testing revealed 48 new cases, increasing the total number of positively tested people to 5,580. One more person was confirmed to have died of the coronavirus during the weekend. See more detailed statistics here.
  • The tests revealed that a patient who died of pneumonia in Svidník hospital was positive with the coronavirus. The hospital tested 30 medical workers who could have been in touch with him. They all tested negative.
  • The district of Michalovce has extended the stricter anti-coronavirus measures introduced on September 1 due to the surge in the number of positive cases. The measures were originally expected to expire on Sunday, September 13. (TASR)
  • Foreign students will not be able to spend isolation in the dormitories of Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra. Instead, they have been offered spaces in Gabčíkovo (Trnava Region). Meanwhile, Comenius University in Bratislava has confirmed that two students accommodated at its dormitories tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Police have received 9,855 coronavirus-related motions on potential violations of the law since the coronavirus outbreak. Of them, 3,687 have been confirmed, with people breaching rules related to isolation, the duty to wear masks or the ban on having a shop open. The most violations were revealed in the Košice Region (711).
  • People in Slovakia are less willing to wear masks than in spring. More than 35 percent of respondents in the recent Focus poll carried out for the private broadcaster TV Markíza said that they oppose the masks, while more than 62 percent said they still want to wear them. Back in April, 87.1 percent of respondents said they were willing to wear masks, while only about 11 percent opposed it.

In other news

  • The police investigator released former head of NAKA’s anti-corruption unit Róbert Krajmer, detained on September 11. The reasons for his detention expired and no charges have been brought against him, said Denisa Bárdyová, spokesperson of the Police Corps Presidium.
  • Andrej Danko was confirmed as the chair of the non-parliamentary Slovak National Party (SNS) at its September 12 congress.
  • Prior to the launch of a discussion about changes to the abortion law, the representatives of several non-governmental organisations plan to point to the threats of the proposed amendment. They are calling on the participants to take out wooden spoons and write on them messages expressing their own feelings about the planned changes. The protest takes place between September 14 and 16, mostly in virtual form.
  • The annual increase in consumer prices in Slovakia hit a three-year minimum when it slowed down from 1.7 percent in July to 1.4 percent in August. The tempo decelerated for the sixth month in a row, with prices falling by 0.1 percent in monthly terms. The August inflation was influenced mostly by a significant decrease in the price of seasonal foodstuff, which fell from 2.1 percent to 1 percent year-on-year, said Ľubomír Koršňák, analyst with UniCredit Bank Czech Republic and Slovakia.
  • Industrial production approached last year’s volume in July 2020, when after significant declines in previous months, it was only by 3.6 percent lower year-on-year. The manufacture of transport equipment already exceeded last year’s value, with the automotive sector being in the black for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak, as Eva Sadovská, analyst with WOOD & Company, commented. However, most industrial production sectors are still lagging behind 2019.

Please note that September 15 is a state holiday and most shops will be closed. The country will celebrate Our Lady of Seven Sorrows, the country’s patroness. The traditional pilgrimage to Šaštín held on this occasion will take place only in a limited manner.

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