News digest: Firefighters came to help with testing sites, Matovič praises the mass testing

Pilot testing on the borders with Ukraine launched. Disney+ is supposed to come to Slovakia soon. Read our latest digest.

A new mobile testing site on Antolská Street in Bratislava. (Source: TASR)

This is your overview of news that happened in Slovakia on Monday, November 9, 2020. For a more detailed overview of the current affairs, check out our Last Week in Slovakia commentary, published earlier today.
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Over 2 million tested in the second round

Altogether 2,044,855 people got tested in the second round of the mass testing with antigen tests, which took place in 45 Slovak districts on November 7-8, with 13,509 people or 0.66 percent receiving a positive result.

The second round took place only in the districts where the share of positive tests was higher than 0.7 percent.

While some cabinet representatives praise the results of the three testing rounds (one pilot and two mass testings across the country), chief hygiest Ján Mikas adds that it will take some time to assess the impact. He calls on people to continue to be careful and follow basic hygienic rules.

Related articleMore than 2 million people tested in the second round of mass testing Read more 

Testing sites late

Despite earlier promises, mobile testing sites were not open on time in all 25 districts and the cities of Bratislava and Košice. They are supposed to be offering free antigen tests in the areas that did not take place in the second round of mass testing held on November 7 and 8.

The Health Ministry explains some legal problems with opening the sites, but promises to solve this as soon as possible. It has also promised to keep updating the list of sites where the testing is available. The testing is possible only at specific hours.

Related articleMobile testing sites not opened as planned Read more 

Although PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) has criticised his party colleague and Health Minister Marek Krajčí, whose department is responsible for opening the sites, he does not plan to recall him from the post.

“Naming specific failures doesn’t automatically mean a loss of trust,” Matovič said, as quoted by the Denník N daily.

Meanwhile, firefighters came to help, opening the testing sites in 25 district capitals, with most of them situated at fire stations. They will be available between 12:00 and 20:00.

Related articleFirefighters offer a helping hand with antigen testing Read more 

Other coronavirus-related developments

  • 577 people of nearly 5,000 tested on November 8 were diagnosed with the coronavirus disease, increasing the total number to 76,072. 15 more people died, while there are 1,526 people in hospitals.
  • Bojnice hospital managed to stabilise the situation with lack of medical staff after it published a call for help on Facebook last week.
  • The Czech Republic has listed Slovakia as a risky country since Monday, November 9. Before entering the country, it is necessary to fill in a form, and either show a negative PCR test result no older than 72 hours or go into isolation.

Volkswagen said to receive big investment

German carmaker Volkswagen will reportedly move the production of its Passat vehicle and the premium model Škoda Superb to its plant in Bratislava. Moreover, the investment, originally expected to amount to €500 million, should be as high as €1 billion.

The plan has been revealed by Herbert Diess, chair of the board of management of Volkswagen Group, in an interview with the Automobilwoche magazine.

The representatives of Volkswagen Slovakia have not commented on the information yet, as the supervisory board of Volkswagen will discuss the investment only on Friday, as the Denník N daily reported.

Related articleNew car models for Bratislava. Volkswagen will reportedly make a big investment in Slovakia Read more 

Picture of the day

The pilot testing with antigen tests has been launched on the borders with Ukraine on November 9. Starting today, people coming from Ukraine can use only the border crossing in Vyšné Nemecké that will be open between 7:00 and 19:00.

Feature story for today:

Slovakia needs a proper regional support scheme

Businesses have welcomed reduced bureaucracy, but there is still room for improvement. More systematic support in the regions is one example, says Igor Vranka, who leads a branch of the Soukeník – Štrpka law firm in eastern Slovakia.

Read an interview with Vranka who says how the pandemic changed the work of lawyers, which of the anti-COVID measures affected clients the most, and what would make Slovakia attractive for foreign investors.

In other news

  • The Specialised Criminal Court approved the custody of several former top police officials detained on November 5, including former police corps president Tibor Gašpar.
  • The Fitch agency confirmed Slovakia’s A rating, but changed the outlook from stable to negative. It reflects the economic situation Slovakia has occurred in due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Finance Ministry explained. (TASR)
  • The plots under U.S. Steel Košice belong to the cadastre of the village of Sokoľany, and not the city of Košice, the Supreme Court ruled. It thus confirmed an earlier verdict of the Košice district court issued in 2013. (TASR)
  • The 3.5-kilometre stretch between the Podunajské Biskupice and Vrakuňa junctions that are part of the D4 zero bypass were put to use on November 8.
  • IKEA will open two new dispensing points in central Slovakia this month: on November 11 in Žilina and on November 20 in Banská Bystrica.
  • New Peugeot e-208 model manufactured in Trnava received the Electric Car Award 2020 in the Electric Small Car category, granted by the British magazine What Car?.
  • The Disney+ streaming service will soon arrive in Slovakia, as the company informed on its new YouTube channel. It will cost €6.99 a month or €69.99 a year. (Techbox)

Also on today:

Related articleSecond wave culminates, the worst month yet to come for hospitals Read more 

Related articleWind of Change: Tematín Read more 

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