News digest: What Jankovská said and Kollár goes home amid scandal

Nationwide testing put on hold. Speaker of parliament received visitors in hospital despite a ban. Foreigners' Police change office hours around Christmas.

Speaker of Parliament Boris Kollár (Source: SITA)

This is the Thursday, November 26 edition of the Today in Slovakia daily news overview. If you appreciate this free-of-charge service and want to support us, buy our online subscription. Thank you.

Hospital scandal over Boris Kollár and his visitors

The nurses complain that the Speaker of Parliament Boris Kollár receives visitors any time of day despite the official ban on hospital visits due to the pandemic, that his girlfriends violate their privacy and demand that they do things that are not part of their job description.

The speaker of parliament was hospitalised in October, after a car crash in Bratislava - Podunajské Biskupice. After his surgery, he was taken to St. Michael's Hospital in early November.

The hospital staff have now told the Sme daily that he receives visits from his numerous girlfriends. When they complained about this, the hospital management allegedly threatened to fire them and as a consequence cut their end of year bonuses. Two staffers of the hospital confirmed this for the Sme daily.

His coalition partners have visited him recently as well, despite the ban on hospital visits.

PM Matovič has apologised for this on his Facebook page, claiming he was led to believe that the ban on visits did not apply in this case.

Following the media reports on November 26, the hospital informed that Boris Kollár will be released to home treatment.

Jankovská mentioned Fico

When she served as state secretary at the justice department, Monika Jankovská denied her contacts with mobster Marian Kočner. After almost eight months in custody after the Operation Storm arrests, Jankovská started testifying.

"I want to confess to what I have done, and describe the measure of my participation in the given deeds in my testimony," she told the investigators on Wednesday.

The minutes from the interrogation show Jankovská testified that she first met Kočner in the summer of 2016 through their mutual friend, and then met him about ten times.

She told the investigators about her involvement in the promissory notes case and also the demands of Marian Kočner that she influence the court to decide against his custody, including going through Smer chairman Robert Fico.

Read more:Jankovská admitted to her relationship with Kočner. She also mentioned Fico Read more 

Mass testing on hold due to capacity

The nationwide testing intended for the first weekend of December will not take place. The reason is that the country does not have enough antigen tests, PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) explained.

Matovič stressed that they still want to conduct eight million tests in December.

“We will try to launch the nationwide testing as soon as possible,” he said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. If the nationwide testing is only voluntary, it would be wasted money, he added.

Slovakia lacks enough antigen tests. The testing intended for the first weekend of December cancelled Read more 

More news on coronavirus in Slovakia:

  • All testing sites operated by the fire forces have closed as of today. They were open for 13 days and have tested 38,321 persons, of whom 858 tested positive (2.2 percent).
  • The government of the UK will provide a grant to the Defence Ministry to purchase material to aid people in the fight against COVID-19. The grant worth €31,300 is for the purchase of germicidal lamps.

Featured story for today

Slovak scientists and researchers are developing a vaccine against COVID-19. It is believed it will especially help older people whose bodies find it difficult to elicit an immune response.

Neuroimmunologist Norbert Žilka, who oversees the development of the vaccine at Axon Neuroscience, explains when the Slovak vaccine could be available and who is financing it.

Developed at home, the production of Slovakia's COVID-19 vaccine will move abroad Read more 

In other news:

  • The European Prosecutor's Office appointed its first 14 prosecutors: 10 from Germany and four from Slovakia. They are Renáta Ontkovičová, Marek Sivák, Milan Cisárik and Katarina Peružeková.
  • The Foreigners' Police have announced a change in office hours around the Christmas holidays. On December 23 and December 31, the departments will be open until 12:00.
  • As of 2021, 13th and 14th month salaries will not be exempt from payroll taxes anymore, according to an amendment on social insurance passed by the parliament on Thursday. The amendment also "freezes" the minimum pension.
  • IBM plans to scrap about 10,000 jobs in Europe, the Bloomberg agency reported, citing sources familiar with the plans of the company. The layoffs are to affect mainly the UK and Germany, but some cuts are planned also for Poland, Slovakia, Italy and Belgium.
  • Almost 170,000 people will change their health insurer as of 2021. The state-run Všeobecná Zdravotná Poisťovňa (VšZP) will lose over 54,000 insurees, while the private Dôvera will gain almost 27,000 insurees and Union almost 28,000.
  • President Zuzana Čaputová received the credentials of the new Russian Ambassador to Slovakia, Igor Bratchikov.
  • Children can send a letter, postcard or painting to Ježiško (Baby Jesus) via the Christmas Mail project until December 17.

Do not miss on today:

Pass a Slovak language dictation so you can work with foreigners Read more  Bratislava airport falls to the bottom, the loss will be enormous Read more  From COVID-19 miracle to apparent resignation to death and dying Read more 

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