News digest: September ends with record numbers of tests - and infections

Read your overview of news from Slovakia on Thursday, October 1, 2020.

(Source: Sme - Jozef Jakubčo)

This is your overview of news from Slovakia on Thursday, October 1, 2020. This is a free-of-charge service for our readers. If you want to support us, become a sububscriber and get access to more detailed news and interesting feature stories from Slovakia.

EC criticises judiciary as reform arrives

Slovakia has problems with corruption and the state of its judiciary.

“The justice system is characterised by a very low level of perceived judicial independence among both the general public and businesses,” the report on the state of the rule of law in all 27 EU member states, published by the European Commission and presented by EC Vice President for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová, reads about Slovkaia.

Efforts have been undertaken in recent years to improve the quality and efficiency of the Slovak justice system and have started to show some promising results, according to the report.

To address these and other concerns, Justice Minister Mária Kolíková (Za Ľudí) put forward a thorough reform of the judiciary, which also involves some changes to the constitution. The ruling cabinet greenlighted her proposal on Wednesday and it is now on its way to the parliament. Here is what the justice minister proposes.

Coronavirus: Many more tests, many more infected

New measures, which mainly mean limitations to mass events and stricter rules for wearing masks in public, are in place in Slovakia as of Thursday. They are expected to help the country contain the second wave of the pandemic, currently in full swing with the numbers rising steeply by the day.

The number of performed tests was higher than ever before, over 9,000, but the ratio of positive tests (797) still remains higher than 5 percent, which the World Health Organisation does not consider satisfactory. It urges countries like Slovakia to test more.

Hygienists say most of the newly infected were found through the tracing of contacts of people who had been infected previously.

How contact tracing works in SlovakiaSome people hang up when contact tracers introduce themselves Read more 

Picture of the day:

In other news:

  • U.S.Steel Košice reports 35 confirmed coronavirus cases in its production plant. (SITA)
  • Hungary has prolonged the checks on its borders by another month, until the end of October. (SITA)
  • The situation at student dorms in Bratislava keeps worsening, new COVID-19 cases have been reported again. The Comenius University ponders closing the dormitories completely and advises students to look for alternatives as of October 5.
  • The police detained a high-ranking public official in Bratislava. The TASR newswire reported that it is the mayor of the Bratislava - Nové Mesto borough, Rudolf Kusý. He faces charges of actions "against the order of public affairs".
  • All caves that fall under the administration of the State Nature Protection offices will remain closed due to the pandemic as of Friday, October 2, until further notice.
  • The opposition Smer party is planning to submit a proposal to convene an extraordinary session of the parliament, where ministers would be required to explain how they want to save their departments after the pandemic. Smer also wants the government to call off the national emergency that is in place as of Thursday, and declare it again, with detailed specification of which human rights would be limited.
  • Although the business environment in Slovakia worsened again in the first half of the year, the drop was milder than in the past. This stems from the recent Business Environment Index published by the Business Alliance of Slovakia (PAS).

Do not miss on today:

New head of fiscal council: Public finances have disintegrated Read more 

Slovak all-female relay swimmers make history crossing the Channel Read more 

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