News digest: Slovakia to spend three Advent weekends with testing. President wants it to be voluntary

Seven candidates for the general prosecutor post approved. Acting general prosecutor steps down.

Installation of Christmas tree in Trnava (Source: TASR)

This is your overview of news from Slovakia on Tuesday, November 24, 2020. This is a free-of-charge service for our readers. If you want to support us, become a subscriber and gain access to more detailed news and interesting feature stories from Slovakia.

Testing for normal Christmas

PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) has unveiled a plan to repeat the nationwide testing before Christmas.

The first round should take place on the first weekend of December and it will include all Slovakia. Another two rounds should take place the following two weekends, but only in towns and villages with higher infection rates.

We cannot afford to play around with people's trust again.

President Zuzana Čaputová on more rounds of nationwide testing

“Various state bodies helping to plan [the testing] should prepare a proposal on how to conduct eight million tests over the course of three weekends in December by Wednesday,” Matovič said.

President Zuzana Čaputová meanwhile met with Matovič on November 24. In her opinion, it should be voluntary.

Read more:Three rounds of testing should take place before Christmas Read more 

Other coronavirus-related news:

  • 1,021 tests out of 6,545 carried out on November 23 were positive. On the other hand, 2,805 people have recovered from the disease.
  • The Public Health Authority will change the definition of outdoor terraces at restaurants and cafés. Chief hygienist Ján Mikas said that the new order should forbid using tents with completely covered walls, while owners have to ensure air circulation.
  • The Health Ministry will send remuneration for working in the first line or red zone also to health-care workers of non-state facilities. The hourly bonus is €0.99.
  • The experts consulting the government has introduced its own pandemic plan. At the same time, they are ready to discuss the measures introduced by Economy Minister Richard Sulík, and are ready for cooperation.

Acting general prosecutor leaves

Acting general prosecutor Viera Kováčiková has announced her resignation from the post.

She mentioned personal attacks as her reason. Earlier in November, she came to her office despite testing positive for the coronavirus. Kováčiková has explained that she did it to hand over her agenda. The police are supposed to investigate the case, as she breached isolation.

Related articleActing general prosecutor steps down after coming to work COVID-19 positive Read more 

UK nationals have a month to settle documents

To the 1,075 nationals living in Slovakia the UK government has sent a letter with advice on the actions they need to take to prepare for the end of the UK's transition period following Brexit on December 31.

These may include applying or registering for residency, or changing their EU Residence Card (“Pobytový preukaz občana EÚ”) for a non-EU one (“Povolenie na pobyt”), checking or registering for health care, exchanging a UK driving licence and checking passport validity.

UK nationals can find the most up-to-date information on actions they may need to take in the ‘Living in Guide’ for Slovakia at

Read more:UK nationals in Slovakia advised to take action as end of transition period nears Read more 

Picture of the day:

Several towns across Slovakia are preparing for Christmas.

Feature story for today:

How a Catholic charity became a voice for migrants in Slovakia

In his seven years of living in Slovakia, Frenchman Nicolas Giroux, a campaign coordinator at the Catholic charity Caritas Slovakia, says he has never faced any prejudice as a migrant.

“People have always been welcoming, adapting to me more so while I tried my best to adapt to them,” he said.

However, through his work with Project MIND (Migration. Interconnection. Development) at Caritas Slovakia, he has come across more than a few widespread myths regarding migrants in Slovakia.

Read a story on how religious organisations have added leverage in changing perceptions of foreigners and migrants.

In other news:

  • The parliamentary constitutional and legal affairs committee approved all seven candidates for general prosecutor. The parliament should choose one of seven candidates on Wednesday or Thursday.
  • A second degree terrorist threat applies in Slovakia after the recent attacks in Vienna, the Interior Ministry confirmed. Although a terror attack is unlikely, it cannot be ruled out.
  • The National Criminal Agency (NAKA) has arrested the former head of counterintelligence of the Slovak Information Service (SIS) intelligence agency, Ľubomír Arpáš. He is suspected in the case linked to Ľudovít Makó, but he is also being investigated for suspicion of selling the Gorilla recording to the Penta financial group.
  • Russian Ambassador Alexey Fedotov is leaving Slovakia after six years, and will be replaced by Igor Bratchikov. During his time in Slovakia, the Russian Embassy has been involved in several conflicts with Slovak state bodies. (Denník N)
  • There were 35 percent fewer visitors in hotels in September than last year. The drop was due to fewer visits by international guests, which dropped 66.3 percent in September. (Statistics Office)

Disclaimer: The Penta financial group has a minority share in Petit Press, the publisher of the Sme daily and the co-owner of The Slovak Spectator.

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