This is the Friday, November 20, 2020 edition of our Today in Slovakia daily news overview. Scroll down for our weekend reading tips. If you find it useful and want to help us to continue bringing news from Slovakia you can trust, buy our online subscription. Thank you.
Slovakia's epidemic stats good but expected to worsen
If Slovakia does not take some further measures, the situation in the country is expected to worsen, Health Minister Marek Krajčí said during his regular Friday press briefing about the epidemic in Slovakia.
"It is not apparent from the curve yet, but if we do nothing, it will break again and worsen," he said.
Nationwide testing, which PM Igor Matovič mentioned earlier this week, could be such a measure, according to Krajčí.
For now, Slovakia is looking at several improving indicators - the number of hospitalisations is not growing and is oscillating around 1,800.
The 14-day incidence is on the decrease for now: from 526 to 409 in the data from PCR testing, and from 640 to 484 in the antigen testing.
Data from the antigen testing, available at approximately 130 testing sites around Slovakia, are now being published parallel to the PCR testing.
The ministry analysts set the current R0 number at 0.9. Krajčí, however, said that the R0 number is likely to grow with the slightly eased measures which have been in place since Monday.
On the other hand, the 7-day test positive rate (TPR) increased from 16 to 19 percent in PCR testing.
Easier travel for those who had COVID
People who have been infected and recovered from COVID-19 do not pose an epidemiological risk to other people for three months after their infection has been confirmed.
The public health authorities will thus make cross-border travel easier for them. The directive is expected to be issued next week.
Foreign Ministry State Secretary Martin Klus (SaS) said that people who have had COVID no earlier than 90 days ago will be able to show confirmation from a doctor based in Slovakia when crossing the borders, instead of taking the otherwise required COVID test and giving a negative result.
There will be a form for this medical confirmation, to be issued by the public health authorities.
The measure should make the return of Slovak citizens from EU and EEA countries, the UK and Switzerland, easier, Klus said as reported by the TASR newswire.
More coronavirus-related news from Slovakia:
- The National Centre for Health Information (NCZI) is warning about fake e-mails concerning PCR test results, sent by unknown perpetrators from the e-mail address email@example.com. The original COVID-19 passes and results of tests are only sent from firstname.lastname@example.org. (NCZI)
- If another round of nationwide testing takes place and is not optional, the opposition Smer party will turn to the Constitutional Court. (TASR)
In other news
- Hearings of candidates for the post of general prosecutor took place in parliament on Thursday and Friday. Six prosecutors and one judge are running for the post. The parliament is expected to hold the general prosecutor election on Wednesday, November 25. It is by default a public vote, but can be held as a secret vote if at least 15 MPs initiate such a change and get it passed by parliament. The leader of the Hlas party Peter Pellegrini said on Radio Expres on Friday that his party was going to try such an initiative.
- The Culture Ministry launched a new support scheme for those who were not eligible for help before, namely technical and support professions in the culture and creative industry. They will receive €540 a month for March to September.
- Education Minister Branislav Gröhling (SaS) insists that pupils need to return to school as soon as possible and is determined to discuss this with coalition partners. "Pupils may end up the biggest losers of this crisis," the minister warned. (TASR) Read more about the problems with distance learning in this story from yesterday.
- Two accidents happened on Friday in the public port on the Danube in Bratislava. The first accident happened around noon, when a vessel sunk leaving two crew members injured and transported to hospital. The second accident occurred during the repair of the vessel Bavaria, which started burning during welding work, however, there was no injury.
- The African swine flu has spread to another district of Slovakia. Affected so far are the eastern districts of Trebišov, Michalovce, Košice-okolie, Košice-mesto, Rožňava, Rimavská Sobota, Vranov nad Topľou, Prešov, Bardejov, and now also Sabinov.
- The Slovak company Chirana Medical has joined forces with the IPM Group and is starting the production of lung ventilators in the USA. Ventilator Aura V has recently gained ANVISA emergency approval in Brazil. The company expects to produce at least 300 Aura V ventilators by the end of this year. (IPM Chirana)
- The registered unemployment rate in Slovakia fell for the third month in a row. In October of this year, it had decreased by 0.08 percentage point compared to September, to 7.35 percent. (SITA)