TODAY IN SLOVAKIA

News digest: Schools remain closed, hygienists broke the law

Slovakia has updated its Defence and Security strategies. Sampling points will be established in Nitra and Bratislava during the upcoming weekend, even though testing there is not obligatory.

(Source: TASR)

This is the Thursday, January 28, 2021 edition of Today in Slovakia. Learn about politics, business, and other notable events of the day in Slovakia in less than five minutes. If you like what we are doing and want to support good journalism, buy our online subscription. Thank you.

Two ordinances issued by hygienists against law

General Prosecutor Maroš Žilinka said that two ordinances issued by the Public Health Authority (ÚVZ) broke the law.

One was issued at the end of 2020, granting MPs infected by coronavirus an exemption to the quarantine rules so they could attend parliament in order that the government would have enough votes to pass the prolongation of the state of emergency. Social distancing and other protective measures were put in place.

The second ordinance was an exemption issued for Deputy Prime Minister Štefan Holý, who was criticised for travelling to the UK and back to Slovakia without the obligation to quarantine or isolate himself.

The Public Health Authority (ÚVZ) has issued two illegal ordinances claims General ProsecutorRead more 

Security and Defence Strategies updated after 16 years

The Slovak parliament approved the new wording of the Defence and Security Strategies. The last time these documents were approved in the parliament was in 2005.

The main aim of the country's defence policy is to keep its sovereignty, territorial integrity and the inviolability of its borders, the new strategy reads. Slovakia also considers NATO collective defence to be the most effective method of defence.

Slovakia will also develop capacities to offer support to foreign armed forces in accordance with international agreements and the Slovak constitution. Preparedness for defence in cyberspace should also increase.

Minister Ivan Korčok said that new security concerns include disinformation and he said he is sorry that some MPs are involved in its spread. The security strategy is a message to all sections of the state dealing with cyber security or the fight against hybrid threats, that they have to act in this sense.

Slovakia has new defence and security strategy after 16 yearsRead more 

Registration for vaccination not available in many towns

Registration for vaccination was opened to people older than 75 on January 26 but many vaccination centres are booked up. Seniors can face problems registering, especially in western Slovakia.

Possible dates for registration are open for the upcoming week but many dates are "closed" or "occupied". A telephone line has been established by the Health Ministry for people who do not have internet or have trouble using it, but this too has been overloaded.

The ministry appreciates the huge interest in the vaccinations and is asking for patience. They claim that the pace of the vaccination program is dependant on the supply of vaccine.

Seniors may now apply for vaccinations but many dates are booked outRead more 

Coronavirus-related news:

  • The coalition movement Sme Rodina will not support another round of mass testing, said its chair Boris Kollár. He added that they support implementing the COVID automat in Slovakia starting on February 8. (Radio Expres)
  • Nitra will establish 20 sampling points during the upcoming weekend, where interested people could take a rapid test for coronavirus. The municipality will do so despite the fact that a fourth round of the testing will not take place in the town.
  • Several boroughs in Bratislava will also open testing points despite the fact that testing will not be obligatory in Bratislava during the weekend. Karlova Ves, Ružinov and the Old Town announced the opening of testing points.
  • 104-year-old Bratislava inhabitant Mrs Vilma was vaccinated in University Hospital in Bratislava. “The vaccination was without problems and Mrs Vilma felt very good afterwards,” said hospital spokesperson Eva Kliská.

Feature story of the day:

Candidates for the top Special Prosecutor's Office job are required to have top-secret security clearance to apply. While the prosecutors who are running for the post can rely on the General Prosecutor’s Office to submit the application for clearance for them, well known lawyer and favourite, Daniel Lipšic, has no such option. The law does not allow him to do it for himself, the Sme daily reported.

Lipšic, who previously served as justice minister , interior minister and as a lawyer representing the Kuciak family in the Jan Kuciak murder case, obtained clearance anyway. Labour Minister Milan Krajniak helped.

“The circumstances of how lawyer Daniel Lipšic gained his clearance have raised doubts about the interest of the candidate in acting transparently under every circumstance,” Katarína Batková, director of the non-governmental transparency and judiciary fairness watchdog Via Iuris said, as quoted by TASR.

Lipšic and his security clearance raise eyebrows as special prosecutor vote nears Read more 

Photo of the day:

Other news:

  • Schools will not open on February 1, as Education Minister Branislav Gröhling had previously hoped. Epidemiologists recommended staying in the current state next week. Only parents from critical infrastructure and those who cannot work from home can bring children to kindergartens or school clubs.
  • PM Igor Matovič testified at the National Criminal Agency (NAKA) that he has been followed.
  • The Education Ministry also announced that schools could voluntarily organise so-called spring schools, similar to summer schools, to assess the level of knowledge of children.
  • Norbert Bödör and Peter Kuba will remain in custody during the Dobytkár (Stock Farmer) case, decided the senate of the Supreme Court. They will remain so until April 1, 2021.
  • Economic sentiment in Slovakia in January worsened compared with the previous month. The seasonally-adjusted economic sentiment indicator decreased by 4.8 points to 80.6 points. It hit its lowest since June last year and was well below its levels before the outburst of the pandemic.
  • President Zuzana Čaputová as commander-in-chief of the Slovak Armed Forces on Thursday promoted three senior army officers to the various general officer ranks and appointed a further five to the highest ranking grade of general.
  • The Slovak Environment Agency (SAŽP) will not offer a grant to former advisor of PM Igor Matovič Pavol Kalinský and his citizens’ association. The SAŽP decided to withdraw from the contract because Kalinský did not fulfil his duty to inform the of a potential conflict of interest.
  • About 1,400 people lost a job in tourism in the regions of the High Tatras and Liptov due to the pandemic. At least more than 200 work positions are endangered, showed a poll organised by tourist organisations in the given regions.
  • MiddleCap, the real estate-focused investment group, announced today that its Southworks development in London has been awarded a Platinum Smart Building Certification. The 70,000 sq ft office scheme, which completes later this year, is the first in the UK to achieve the certification.

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