News digest: Security Council will meet to discuss nationwide testing

Overview of news from Monday, October 19, 2020.

PM Igor Matovič announcing some details about nationwide testing on October 18.PM Igor Matovič announcing some details about nationwide testing on October 18. (Source: SITA)

This is your overview of news in Slovakia on Monday, October 19, 2020. For a more analytical look at current affairs, read Last Week in Slovakia, published earlier today.
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The Security Council will discuss nationwide testing

PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) will convene the session of the Security Council for October 20.

His decision came after President Zuzana Čaputová proposed earlier today that the council should meet to discuss proposed nationwide testing. She mostly wants to ask whether the testing can be held without a negative impact on providing health care to patients.

The president also considers the fact that she was not informed about the plan to test all people in Slovakia earlier. As the head of state and the chief commander of the Armed Forces, she should have been informed earlier than the prime minister of another EU country, she opined. She referred to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who learned about the plan during a meeting with Matovič in Brussels.

“I say it only as a fact, without any consequent personal damage,” Čaputová said after visiting a hospital in Martin, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “A constructive approach instead of personal disputes is now important.”

She hopes she will clear matters with the prime minister. She also does not think the testing should be compulsory.

I definitely don't support mandatory testing, let alone under the threat of sanctions.

President Zuzana Čaputová

Matovič apologised to the president on Facebook. He explained that he informed Merkel mostly because during the summit he learned about the purchase of necessary tests on Friday, October 16.

“I did not tell the president about the plan before mostly because I followed her advice that the government should inform about such things only after they are 100-percent sure,” Matovič wrote, adding that he wanted the president to have some relaxation during the weekend.

Related articleUPDATED: Nationwide testing will be secured by the army Read more 

Teachers believe disinformation media outlets

Nearly one-third of teachers think that vaccination against the coronavirus is a preparation for chips being implanted in people.

This option was picked by 31 percent of respondents in a recent poll carried out by the Focus agency for the non-parliamentary Spolu party and the European People’s Party (EPP) among teachers of primary school grades five to nine.

At the same time, 62 percent of teachers think the government has failed to handle the current coronavirus situation, while one-half said the government is not providing true information about the pandemic.

The poll showed that many teachers search for information on disinformation websites.

Related articleTeachers trust conspiracy media, they think the government is not handling the pandemic well Read more 

Other coronavirus-related developments

  • Altogether 860 people tested positive for the coronavirus on October 18, with the most cases occurring in Košice (57). Slovakia now has nearly 30,700 identified cases.
  • The police have identified children and adults who participated in the October 17 unauthorised protest in Bratislava thanks to a call published on Facebook. The adults have been suspected of threatening the moral education of youth.
  • A group of assistants and coordinators will spread awareness of the coronavirus disease in Roma communities, according to the Korona Te Merel national project approved by the Interior Ministry.
  • The Irish low-cost airline Ryanair will temporarily suspend flights between Košice and Prague due to the coronavirus pandemic. The last flight was scheduled for Monday, October 19.

Feature story for today:

When Ambassador Henk Cor van der Kwast was to name his preferred postings as a Dutch diplomat, the Slovak capital was high on his list.

“Bratislava was one of the centres of classical music,” the Dutch Ambassador said on the podcast. Van der Kwast played the piano and the organ as a child, and is learning to play the alto recorder today. He started playing it in Geneva, but the "best lessons" are in Bratislava, he said.

Listen to our latest podcast.

Related articleThe best concert I have ever heard was in Bratislava, says Dutch ambassador Read more 

Picture of the day

A crowd of some 400-500 people, mostly those who call themselves “ultras” and supporters of the far-right Kotlebovci – People’s Party Our Slovakia, came to the Government’s Office on October 17, insulting PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) and criticising the measures imposed to contain the coronavirus disease. Some were throwing stones, bottles and firecrackers at the police officers who oversaw the demonstration.

In other news

  • The Climate Needs You petition, which calls on politicians to declare a climate emergency, has been signed by 100,000 people.
  • The registered unemployment rate in Slovakia dropped 0.17 percentage points month-on-month to 7.43 percent in September, but rose 2.39 percent in annual terms. The total unemployment rate fell from 8.37 percent in August to 8.18 percent in September.
  • Slovakia borrowed €478 million on the financial markets, mostly with a negative yield.
  • Next year all large banks should offer the Payme service to clients, which enables asking for money through chat or email.
  • The tram on the track between Dúbravka and Karlova Ves in Bratislava will be put back into operation on October 26.
  • The town of Kremnica (Banská Bystrica Region) has closed all the ferrata routes at the Skalka resort until further notice.
  • The gorges in Slovenský Raj will reopen to the public on Tuesday, October 20.
  • The Pontis Foundation has launched the For Nice Mondays campaign, to increase awareness of topics like diversity and non-discrimination in the workplace.

If you have suggestions on how this news overview can be improved, you can reach us at editorial@spectator.sk.

Also on Spectator.sk:

Related articleMatovič keeps falling. The effect of the dispute with its coalition partner is hard to guess Read more 

Related articleOmbudswoman, summer festival and a scientist. The awards for sustainable development have been granted Read more 

Related articleTourist finds ancient silver coins under an uprooted tree Read more 

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