This is your overview of news from Slovakia on Monday, December 21, 2020. For a more detailed overview of the current events, read Last Week in Slovakia published earlier today. Today in Slovakia 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.
Virus spreads in the government
After PM Igor Matovič announced he tested positive, other cabinet members that have met with him before he reported COVID positive, including Investment Minister Veronika Remišová, Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď and Deputy PM Štefan Holý.
Several other MPs, mainly of the ruling OĽaNO, are in quarantine because they were in contact with Igor Matovič. This may cause a problem with the national emergency which is about to expire on December 29.
The government wants to push through the constitutional amendment to be able to prolong the national emergency even without the approval of parliament. The last attempt was unsuccessful, as the coalition needs at least 90 votes out of the 95 MPs it has, but many were missing due to health issues.
Now that many of them have ended up in quarantine, it is not clear whether there would be enough MPs. If the national emergency expires earlier than MPs manage to push through the amendment, the government cannot impose a curfew anymore and hospitals could face several problems.
Slovakia halted flights from the UK
Slovakia, like other European countries, halted flights from the UK because of the fear of the new coronavirus strain. The measure is valid from midnight on December 21 for at least 72 hours. Cargo, humanitarian aid and rescue flights are exempt.
On Sunday, the Health Ministry declared all people travelling from the UK must quarantine upon arrival in Slovakia.
More on coronavirus in Slovakia:
- Trenčín underwent mass testing between December 19 and 20. Of the 21,660 people that participated, 560 of them were positive, which translates to a positivity rate of 2.59 percent.
- The operational hours of the mobile sampling spots for antigen testing operated by regional public health authorities will change during the holidays. Check the website.
- The Foreign Affairs Ministry does not recommend travelling abroad because of the current epidemiological situation in the majority of countries caused by the pandemic.
Quote of the day
“Let’s consider each journey outside the household. Without any exaggeration, let’s ask ourselves whether it is vitally important.”„
Picture of the day
15 Slovak artists created a lighting installation: each of them designed their own snowflake. They will be projected on the building of the National Bank of Slovakia between December 20 and 24.
Interview of the day:
Tension around migration has not eased in Slovakia since 2015, says Boris Divinský, an independent migration expert who recently translated a book by Oxford professor Robin Cohen into Slovak, in an interview with The Slovak Spectator.
He also names four areas where improvement could lead to a better life for foreigners in Slovakia.
In other news:
- A series of transactions that lead to the change of shareholders’ structure of the Energetický a průmyslový holding (EPH) company were finished on December 17. Slovak businessman Patrik Tkáč returned to the company that is together with the state and Italian company Enel, the owner of Slovenské elektrárne, Slovakia’s dominant energy generator.
- Supermarket chains prolonged their opening hours before the Christmas holidays.
- Smer MP Anton Stredák testified at NAKA on Monday morning. He was reportedly receiving information from former head of anti-corruption unit NAKA Robert Krajmer. (noviny.sk)
- National Highway Company opened the ring road of Čadca, a road connecting Slovakia with the neighboring Poland. The new part of D3 Čadca, Bukov – Svrčinovec is almost 6-kilometres long and was built by a consortium of companies Strabag, Porr and Hochtief.
- If the parliamentary election took place in December, Pellegrini’s Hlas would win it. Kotleba’s ĽSNS and Kollár’s Sme Rodina are close to the electability threshold.
- Building company Skanska offered the lowest price in the competition to finish the highway D1 tunnel Višňové. They are asking for €255 million to finish the part of the highway near Žilina. The other two participants can appeal.
Also on Spectator.sk today: