News digest: Pilot testing deemed successful

Coronavirus affects bus connections, gastronomy businesses send an open letter to the prime minister. Take a look at the latest in our news digest.

PM Igor Matovič presents the results of the pilot nationwide testing on October 26.PM Igor Matovič presents the results of the pilot nationwide testing on October 26. (Source: TASR)

This is your overview of news from Slovakia that happened on Monday, October 26, 2020. For a deeper insight into what is currently going on, take a look at our Last Week in Slovakia, published earlier today.
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The pilot set a pace for nationwide testing

Altogether 140,945 people participated in the pilot phase of the nationwide testing that took place in the four hardest-hit districts in Slovakia on October 23-25.

This represents about 91 percent of the expected participation. Originally, the Defence Ministry was talking about 180,000 people to be tested, but it later modified the number to 155,000, excluding the patients of nursing homes that were not required to attend.

Of those tested, 5,594 people (or 3.97 percent) were positive. The highest share of positive results was revealed in the Tvrdošín district (4.85 percent), followed by the Námestovo district (4.77 percent), the Bardejov district (3.25 percent), and the Dolný Kubín district (3.12 percent).

Ministers involved in the testing have praised the results.

“It can be a turning point in the currently negative trend,” chief hygienist Ján Mikas commented.

Related articleWe’re satisfied with pilot testing, politicians sayRead more 

Coronavirus impacts travelling

The second pandemic wave is affecting travelling from Slovakia again.

For example, airlines operating flights from the international airports in Bratislava and Košice have already cut the offer in the winter schedules. Unlike 29 regular flights in the previous winter season, there will be only four departing from Bratislava, mostly to the British Isles. Other flights are expected to be added in December, but everything will depend on the pandemic's development.

Košice has seen several flights cut from the schedule.

Related articleHere's where you can fly from Slovakia during the pandemic Read more 

Meanwhile, several carriers have cancelled the buses between Bratislava and Vienna, referring to the current pandemic development and dropping number of passengers.

Related articleCoronavirus cancels buses to ViennaRead more 

Other coronavirus-related developments

  • Businesses active in gastronomy have sent an open letter to PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO), explaining the difficult situation they are facing, including the threat to some two-thirds of firms closing without aid from the state.
  • The Louis Pasteur University Hospital in Košice is ready to take legal steps after one mother-to-be refused to wear a mask and take a COVID-19 test after consulting with one lawyer who is said to spread disinformation about the disease. The staff eventually approached her in protective clothing, and the birth was without complications. The police was called to document the case.
  • The International Association of Physicians has called on doctors and other health-care professionals in Slovakia to register to help with the nationwide testing.
  • The University Hospital in Bratislava will suspend the planned hospitalisations and surgeries from Tuesday, October 27 to November 9. It will continue providing urgent health care.
  • The October parliamentary session will probably not start this week, after several members of the junior coalition party Sme Rodina and the opposition Smer party tested positive for COVID-19.

Picture of the day:

Feature story for today:

“Pity the nation that acclaims the bully as hero,” wrote Kahlil Gibran. Observing the predicament now faced by US voters, pity is the only sympathetic response.

For all the pretense at deliberation, the world’s greatest democracy has been reduced to holding not a battle of ideas but a referendum on the truth. Read the recent Nice Driveway! column by James Thomson on how Americans’ choice of president on November 3 will affect Slovaks.

Related articlePity the nation Read more 

In other news

  • The Specialised Criminal Court took Special Prosecutor Dušan Kováčik and former top police official Norbert Pakši, both charged with corruption- and organised crime-related crimes, into custody.
  • President Zuzana Čaputová has challenged the provision from the recently adopted law on the protection, support and development of public health at the Constitutional Court, complaining about the decision to exclude the right to compensation and lost profit.
  • The warmer weather in late October has broken several records. It became evident particularly at the higher altitudes, according to the Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute.

If you have suggestions on how this news overview can be improved, you can reach us at

Also on today:

Related articleEconomy Minister Sulík is the most trustworthy cabinet member Read more 

Related articleVolunteering in developing countries is an adventure from beginning to end Read more 

Related articleOld and new: Starhrad and Strečno Read more 

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