News digest: Second round testing open to all, some positive trends appear

Igor Matovič tested negative just in time for the second round of mass testing, starting in some districts Saturday morning. Slovakia not aligned with the idea of an alternative rule of law institute.

Testing in Lubina, western Slovakia. (Source: SITA)

This is your overview of news that happened in Slovakia on Friday, November 6, 2020. Today in Slovakia digests are free-of-charge 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.

Some good news for Slovakia

Three weeks after stricter measures were applied in Slovakia and two weeks after the curfew was imposed and the pilot phase of the nationwide testing took place, Slovakia is seeing some positive trends in the development of the epidemic in the country.

Slovakia is no longer facing the steep epidemic curve that the neighbouring Czech Republic is experiencing, Health Minister Marek Krajčí (OĽaNO) told journalists during the regular Friday press conference giving the latest updates about the coronavirus pandemic in Slovakia.

Related articleGood news for Slovakia after the testing, "Czech road" averted for nowRead more 

Another weekend, another round of swabs

The second round of the nationwide testing that started in Slovakia last weekend will take place this Saturday and Sunday, from 8:00 until 20:00 each day. Testing only takes place in districts where a coronavirus infection prevalence of at least 0.7 percent was detected in the first round.

Contrary to the original interpretation of the rules for the second round, the people who did not get tested last weekend are allowed to attend the testing this time around, as an exception from the strict curfew they are required to observe.

Testing sites will be set up also in some areas where the second round is not taking place on a mass level. The city of Košice has announced they will have three such sites over the weekend: Výmenník Važecká, parking lot at the shopping centre Napájadlá 1/D and at the city hall. The costs will be covered by the municipality.

The testing also takes place in the Dunajská Streda district, near Bratislava. The mayor of Dunajská Streda has asked people from other districts not to overwhelm the testing sites in the district, and said that those with permanent or temporary residence, or with a business based in the district, will be given preference.

What you need to know:

Slovak ministers reject V4 rule of law institute

Speaking in reaction to a statement from Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga about the V4 deal on the so-called "Professional Network, a Junior Program", Justice Minister Mária Kolíková (Za Ľudí) and Foreign Minister Ivan Korčok (SaS nominee) said they do not see any sense in creating alternative views of the rule of law principle within the V4 that contradicts the understanding of the principle across the EU.

They have thus distanced themselves from the rule of law institute that Hungary and Poland, two of the four partners in the Visegrad Group (V4) - a regional political grouping that has been central to Slovakia’s relations with its neighbours since the fall of the communist regime in 1989 - have announced they would set up.

Related articleSlovakia does not buy into defining an alternative to the rule of law with Hungary Read more 

In other news:

  • PM Igor Matovič and Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď both tested negative for COVID-19. They were both in home isolation after they had contact with an infected person on November 1.
  • Flights from Bratislava to Hurghada, Egypt, will start on December 18. Regular flights for the Air Cairo airline are planned until March 26, 2021, every Friday.
  • Slovnaft refinery plans to build a new hydrogen production plant at its premises. The works are expected to start in the last quarter of 2021, the plant could start working in the first half of 2023. The investment is not projected to bring changes to the number of employees. (SITA)

Opinion for today:

Joe Biden will win the US presidential election, and it’s not nearly as close as it looks. In a normal election year, Biden would have been declared winner around midnight New York time on election night — just after he won the vote in the midwest state of Wisconsin. Instead, the coronavirus crisis and America’s chaotic election system turned this into Trump’s final reality show, writes Ben Cunningham.

Trump’s final reality show Read more 

Stories from this week you should not miss:

Mass testing eases growing tensions Read more  Drugs sold right in front of cameras. Bratislava’s Pentagon concerns both inhabitants and police Read more  Smarter than the lockdown? Slovakia tries to outwit the coronavirus Read more  Five tips for outings in Bratislava during the lockdown Read more  Bratislava feels similar to what I’m used to here, says New York-based Slovak filmmaker Read more 

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