News digest: Christmas curfew starts this Saturday

The first hospital for COVID-19 patients only opened. The cabinet passes new security and defence strategy.

Cabinet members Marek Krajčí (l), Štefan Holý (centre) and Ivan Korčok (r) announce new restrictions for Christmastime during the December 16 press conference. (Source: SITA)

This is your overview of news from Slovakia that happened on Wednesday, December 16, 2020. This is a free-of-charge service for our readers. If you want to support us, become a subscriber and get access to more detailed news and interesting feature stories from Slovakia.

Curfew with exceptions

Starting on Saturday, December 19 at 5:00, Slovakia will undergo curfew again.

This means all shops will close except for essential ones (like groceries, chemist’s, pharmacies, etc.). Moreover, there will be several exceptions to the curfew, like going to work, the doctor, to testing, to nature, but also medical facilities or churches. See the full list here.

Although the government is not banning travelling to your family during Christmas, they recommend creating “a bubble”, meaning that one household should meet with no more than one other household.

At the same time, the cabinet approved the Health Ministry’s plan for managing the measures. It is officially called the Alert System for the Monitoring of the Pandemic Development and Taking Measures Against SARS-CoV-2, to be known as the COVID automat.

Related articleChristmas in small bubbles. Cabinet introduces rules for curfew Read more 

Other coronavirus-related developments

  • 3,565 of more than 16,700 PCR tests carried out on December 15 came back positive. Slovakia has seen a record in the daily number of new deaths, where 58 people died.
  • The government has published a new vaccination plan. People will have to register with the website, while there should be first 25 and then 79 vaccination centres. To get a shot, people will require aa negative antigen test result no older than 24 hours.
  • The first hospital for COVID-19 patients opened in Nové Mesto nad Váhom (Trenčín Region), with 60 hospital beds available.
  • The town of Trenčín will organise a mass antigen testing on the upcoming weekend. There will be 30 testing sites for the inhabitants of the town and surrounding villages. It will be voluntary and free of charge.
  • The state has paid out €658 million to companies and entrepreneurs within the first aid projects. The sum includes money provided for March-September.

Pavol Rusko of promissory notes case ends up in custody

Pavol Rusko, who failed to show up at the appellate proceeding in the promissory notes case on December 15, has ended up in handcuffs.

Rusko and mobster Marian Kočner are threatened with 19 years in prison for forging promissory notes, which Kočner used to obtain €69 million from the current owner of the private broadcaster TV Markíza in 2016.

He was detained by the police on Tuesday afternoon and spent the night in a jail, as his lawyer confirmed to the media.

The Supreme Court then decided on December 16 to take him into custody as there is a fear he might have tried to escape. Rusko has challenged the ruling.

Related articlePolice detained Pavol Rusko of the promissory notes case Read more 

Picture of the day:

In other news

  • The cabinet approved new security and defence strategies, which openly mention the behaviour of Russia in Ukraine, and focus on hybrid threats, i.e. the combination of propaganda, cyber attacks and support of paramilitary groups. The previous government failed to adopt new strategies despite being prepared, mostly due to the refusal of then junior coalition party SNS.
  • Former politician and ex-interior minister, lawyer Daniel Lipšic, has confirmed his candidacy for the special prosecutor post. He will be nominated by the Faculty of Law of Comenius University in Bratislava.
  • The police have raided the headquarters of the indebted Arca company on December 16. The operation is related to the criminal complaints submitted by its founder and former co-owner Pavol Krúpa, who has said that his signatures on Arca’s promissory notes were falsified, that the company preferred some creditors, and that it unlawfully transferred its property.
  • The Constitutional Court has agreed with the proposal to take Kajetán Kičura into custody, judge of the Čadca District Court. The former head of the Administration of State Material Reserves was detained in September.
  • The National Bank of Slovakia expects the economy to drop by 5.7 percent this year, while it should increase by 5.6 percent in 2021 and by 4.8 percent in 2022. Employment will recover only in the second half of 2021.
  • Slovakia has the most jobs endangered by the automation of 28 developed countries. This stems from the 2020 Global Competitiveness Report issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
  • Sliač airport in central Slovakia will stop civilian operation, scrapping 26 jobs.
  • As many as 70 percent of people in Slovakia are concerned with the environment, according to a survey conducted by the Institute of Sociology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences.

Also on today:

Related articlePeople in Slovakia would prefer a lockdown to mass testing Read more 

Related articleWho are the biggest polluters in Slovakia? Read more 

Related articleHouse of grandpa from Slovak bedtime story underwent reconstruction Read more 

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