News digest: New tests for Slovakia and soldiers deployed

Read your overview of news from Slovakia on Friday, October 9, 2020.

Antigen testing for COVID. Antigen testing for COVID. (Source: Sme - Jozef Jakubčo)

This is your overview of news from Slovakia on Friday, October 9, 2020. This is a free-of-charge service for our readers. If you want to support us, become a subscriber and get access to more detailed news and interesting feature stories from Slovakia.

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Soldiers will help hygienists and hospitals

The armed forces will be deployed again to help contain the coronavirus spread in Slovakia. The infection continues spreading fast. On Friday, public health offices reported 1,184 new positive cases.

The government approved a mandate for 1,500 soldiers to help in hospitals and at public health offices on Friday, upon the request of the Health Ministry.

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For now, Health Minister Marek Krajčí (OĽaNO) requested some 350 soldiers, but the mandate for 1,500 will remain valid until the end of the year for the armed forces to be able to deploy soldiers when needed. For the moment, the army will deploy 267 soldiers to mainly help in the most hit region of Orava, in northern Slovakia.

"We have seen local hotspots emerging and we will use the army to also test with antigen tests," Krajčí told journalists on Friday after the session of the cabinet.

The Prime Minister stressed that there had been a 75 percent increase on the number reported for the same day last week. He also noted that for the first time more than 10,000 people had been tested in one day.

He went on to say that with the worsening epidemiological situation the government might quarantine entire regions that are most hit by the coronavirus. Such a solution has not been decided on, but "it is on the table", PM Igor Matovič said as quoted by the TASR newswire.

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New Slovak tests for state labs

Slovak scientists have developed components for PCR tests for the novel coronavirus that are more sensitive and can detect the disease faster.

Pavol Čekan from the MultiplexDX company, virologist Boris Klempa from the Slovak Academy of Sciences and scientist Richard Mistrík informed about it at their press conference with PM Matovič on Friday afternoon.

"The window to catch positive cases has widened," Čekan said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

MultiplexDX donated 100,000 tests to the state. They have already done so once, during the first wave of the pandemic in the spring.

Travel advice:

  • The coronavirus situation has complicated travelling to Slovakia. There are certain differences for people coming from EU and non-EU countries on the red list. Here are the rules you need to follow.
  • Romania now considers Slovakia a risky country. Slovak citizens are required to quarantine for 14 days upon entering Romania, with several exceptions, including persons who do not spend more than 72 hours in the country and show a negative COVID-19 test not older than 48 hours.

Picture of the day:

While some European countries have scrapped the popular June event of open parks and gardens, in Slovakia it has been postponed to an untraditional autumn date. As many as 60 parks and gardens will reveal their secrets, under strict anti-COVID-19 measures, across Slovakia between October 9 and 11.

Feature story for today:

Bratislava offers river cruise passengers authentic experiences Read more 

Large river cruise ships arrived on the Danube after 1992 when the Main–Danube canal connected the Rhine, Moselle and Dutch routes with the Danube. From then on, the river cruise business on the Danube thrived until the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

In other news:

  • The Office of Border and Foreigners Police together with inspectors from labour offices checked 41 employers, mainly in construction, trade, and industry, checking 615 persons, of whom 236 were foreigners working in Slovakia. They have not detected human trafficking, but they found 39 illegal workers. Human trafficking suspicions can be reported to the helpline 0800 800 818. (TASR)

  • Coalition party Sme Rodina put forward their own proposal for a plan to renew the country after the pandemic using the funds from Next Generation EU. Sme Rodina leader Boris Kollár said nobody consulted him about the official plan. (Sme)

  • The State and Law Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences nominated Supreme Court Judge Juraj Kliment for the post of the general prosecutor, which is to be selected by the parliament at its November session. (TASR)

Do not miss on

Support for PM and ruling OĽaNO party plunging amid pandemic and scandals Read more  Spectacular Slovakia roundup Idiot, Korean Culture Month and a heart of stone Read more  Rents are dropping in Slovakia. Has the Airbnb bubble burst? Read more 

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