This is a special pre-New Year edition of the Today in Slovakia daily news digest, which The Slovak Spectator brings to its readers free of charge every working day. Scroll down for some interesting roundups our team has prepared.
We wish you all the best for 2021. Thank you for being our readers.
New restrictions come into place
Following the dramatic deterioration of the situation in Slovakia, the cabinet has adopted several restrictions that will come into force already on January 1 at 5:00, and will remain in place until January 24.
The cabinet members agreed on abolishing several exceptions in the curfew. They are also calling on people to restrict meeting with others not living in the same household.
“Given that the critical epidemiological situation in Slovakia and the measures adopted on December 12 have not had sufficient effect, I’m glad that the cabinet unanimously agreed on stricter measures,” Health Minister Marek Krajčí (OĽaNO) told the December 31 press conference.
The cabinet members agreed on closing ski centres, hotels and churches, while there will be a stricter curfew with only few exceptions (like going to a shop, nature, doctor, post office, etc.)
Situation getting worse
The restrictions were adopted after the situation in Slovakia worsened before the year’s end.
The number of new daily coronavirus-positive cases has broken a new record, as PCR testing has revealed 6,315 positive cases (out of nearly 22,000 tests), and antigen tests 5,954 positive cases (out of more than 74,600 tests) on December 30.
The situation in Nitra became so serious that its Mayor Marek Hattas announced on December 30 that they do not have enough cooling boxes in cemeteries, so they have had to order a cooling trailer for dead bodies.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry ordered selected university, faculty and district hospitals to provide only urgent health care until January 31, 2021. It pointed to the rising number of COVID-19 patients, which will soon pass the 3,000 threshold.
The rescue service called on people to apply personal lockdown following a great overload on the 155 emergency line.
Other coronavirus-related news
- The new antigen tests will be supplied by the Trnava-based Eurolab Lambda company, which also secured the tests for the nationwide testing. The delivery of 2.6 million tests is expected on January 7.
- Slovakia should have 150,000 vaccination doses at its disposal in January. The next delivery is scheduled for January 4, and then once a week.
- The vaccination in the Žilina hospital will begin on January 5.
- Nitra is preparing mass testing, which should be held on January 8-10. The city of Košice also wants to hold a voluntary mass testing.
- Schools continue preparing the testing of pupils and its employees in order to open in January, despite the call for a stricter lockdown. Yet it is not clear whether children will return to schools in early January. (Denník N)
In other news
- Slovakia will send humanitarian aid to Croatia, which was hit by an earthquake on December 29. It includes sleeping bags and electric heaters.
- Following the death of ex-police chief Milan Lučanský, it is possible that the criminal prosecution against him will be stopped. Meanwhile, the events preceding his suicide raises several questions, according to the Sme daily report.
- Facebook has permanently cancelled two Facebook pages of the conspiracy magazine Zem a Vek (Earth and Age), due to the repeated violation of rules. The editorial can still appeal the decision. (Denník N)
- New conditions will apply to British citizens who would like to enter Slovakia after January 1, 2021, the Police Corps Presidium said. They will be treated like other citizens of non-EU (or third) countries.
- Police had to close the road to the Skalka resort near Kremnica (Banská Bystrica Region) after it was flooded with tourists. The line of vehicles was more than 1km long.
- Slovak ice hockey player Zdeno Chára is leaving Boston Bruins after 14 years. In the next season, he will play for the Washington Capitals.
Do not forget that January 1 is a national holiday in Slovakia. Nearly all shops will be closed.