News digest: Team Slovakia qualifies for Euro 2020 and some more good news

GDP is doing better than expected and there is a break in the epidemic curve. Measures will slightly ease as of Monday, and Slovakia will observe European classification of risky countries.

The Slovak national team won against Northern Ireland 2:1 in Belfast and advanced to the European Championship. (Source: AP/TASR)

This is Today in Slovakia, your daily overview of news from Slovakia on Friday, November 13, 2020. For weekend reading tips, take a look at our Spectacular Slovakia weekly roundup. If you enjoy this free-of-charge service and want to support our work, buy our online subscription. Thank you.

GDP estimate indicates recovery is on

Slovakia's economy was more efficient than expected in the third quarter of the pandemic-stricken year 2020.

The flash estimate of GDP indicates a year-on-year drop by 2.4 percent at constant prices. After seasonal adjustment, GDP decreased by 2.2 percent compared to the third quarter of 2019 and increased by 11.7 percent in comparison with the previous quarter, the Statistics' Office reported on November 13.

Ľubomír Koršňák, an analyst for the UniCredit Bank Czech Republic and Slovakia, sees the economic recovery in the third quarter as a "very pleasant surprise", but noted that the Slovak economy has yet to return to pre-crisis levels.

Related articleEconomic growth a pleasant surprise to analysts Read more 

A break in the curve and some easing

Health Minister Marek Krajčí (OĽaNO) reported what he anticipated the day before as very good news. The epidemic curve broke on November 3, the minister reported to journalists during the regular Friday press briefing. The reproduction number of the coronavirus has been calculated at just under 1, which the minister labelled as positive news.

He ascribed the positive development to the combination of mass testing and the lockdown measures that have been in place in Slovakia since mid-October.

The Pandemic Commission agreed with the proposal to open theatres, cinemas and churches, with the limit of 50 percent of capacity, and fitness centres and swimming pools for one person per 15 sq meters, but no more than six people, as of Monday, November 16.

Slovakia will present its own traffic light system for containing the epidemic next week, but will only put it in place when two indicators drop under certain values.

More about the coronavirus in Slovakia:

  • We have updated our daily stats, take a look at the recent numbers.
  • Slovakia will adopt the European (ECDC) methodology to deem countries risky and less risky as of Monday. This will make Hungary, Austria and Poland red countries. People coming from red countries need a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours and cross-border workers can show negative antigen test no older than two weeks.
  • Free antigen testing organised by the fire forces will continue on Saturday but not on Sunday. There are 25 testing sites around Slovakia, open from 12:00 to 20:00 until further notice.

Word of the day: The vaccine

Slovakia expects to receive the first batch of vaccines in January, the general public should get access to the coronavirus vaccination around mid-2021. Read a story by the Sme daily in which infectologists also reveal their preference for which shot they would opt to have.

Related articleThe beginning of the pandemic's end? Vaccine expected in Slovakia in January Read more 

Video of the day:

The Slovak national team won against Northern Ireland 2:1 in Belfast and advanced to the European Championship. Slovakia will be taking part for only the second time in history.

In other news:

  • The Security Council and the General Assembly of the UN elected Peter Tomka as a judge of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the UN top court, for the third time. He will serve his this term until 2030.

  • Files for criminal cases from 2004 and 2005 have been found during the search of the office of Dušan Kováčik who is in pre-trial custody and who resigned as Special Prosecutor yesterday. There were altogether 111 files that he kept in the dark. Prosecutors of the Special Prosecutors Office will now divide the files between them for investigation. (TASR)
  • Education Minister Branislav Gröhling presented his school reforms, 12 measures he wants to complete by the end of his term in office. They are aimed at opening up the market in textbooks, removing red tape, and optimising the school network.
  • Volkswagen Slovakia has won the new project, the assignment of which was being decided by the board of the concern on Friday. The Bratislava plant will thus produce the next generations of Volkswagen Passat and Škoda Superb. More details will be revealed on Monday. (Volkswagen)
  • Matador Automotive Vráble has bought its first factory in Germany, the producer of automotive parts Braun Car Tec. This strengthens their production capacities to meet the conditions of new contracts for supplies for Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche and Tesla.
  • Slovakia does not need to pay more than 30 million to the Cyprus-based shell company that originally held shares of the failed European Health Insurer. The Bratislava Regional Court cancelled the verdict of Bratislava V. District Court in which the company sued the state for damages for a marred investment.

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Theme: Coronavirus

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