TODAY IN SLOVAKIA

News digest: Krajčí considers lockdown measures insufficient, wants to toughen it up

Ex-state secretary Jankovská in hospital. COVID automat to be launched.

Health Minister Marek Krajčí (Source: TASR)

This is the overview of news that happened in Slovakia on Monday, February 1, 2021. For a deeper insight into current affairs, see our Last Week in Slovakia, published earlier today.
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Jankovská in hospital

Former state secretary of the Justice Ministry, Monika Jankovská, had to be transported to the hospital after taking medicaments in the Banská Bystrica prison, where she is currently being held in custody.

“The guards in the Banská Bystrica prison noticed during a routine check on Sunday that she was not communicating in her ordinary way,” said Peter Bubla, spokesperson of the Justice Ministry, as quoted by the Sme daily.

The Justice Ministry registers the case as suicide attempt for preventive reasons, although Jankovská has said that she did not have any suicidal thoughts, according to Justice Minister Mária Kolíková (Za Ľudí).

Meanwhile, Jankovská was transported to Trenčín where she is under monitoring.

The special commission of the Justice Ministry and the regional prosecutor’s office in Banská Bystrica will look into the case.

Ex-state secretary Jankovská transported to hospital Read more 

Vaccination campaign is on

The Health Ministry has officially launched a campaign to support vaccination in Slovakia.

The Vaccination is Freedom campaign is depicted by two fingers forming a "V" as a symbol of victory. Health Minister Marek Krajčí (OĽaNO) said this symbol connects people during difficult, historic moments.

First AstraZeneca vaccines to arrive by the end of the week Read more 

At the same time, the ministry launched the new website Slovenskoproticovidu.sk, where people can find information about vaccinations, vaccines and their side effects, as well as frequent hoaxes. Currently, it is only in Slovak.

The campaign has been supported by several personalities, including President Zuzana Čaputová, epidemiologist Vladimír Krčméry (who was the first person in Slovakia to receive the jab), doctor and rescuer Viliam Dobiáš, and several actors, writers and athletes (including Olympic winner in race walking, Matej Tóth, and football player Marek Hamšík).

Some marketing and advertisement experts say the campaign has come too late and is reminiscent of projects from the 1990s.

Vaccination campaign finally launched, supported by president and Olympians Read more 

COVID automat to be finally launched

Slovakia will start following its Covid automat warning system as of February 8. The system is designed to provide guidance on what, how, and under what circumstances will businesses close or open.

PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) confirmed this information on January 31 on a Markíza television political talk show.

The Covid automat is meant to change frequent changes in measures and bans that arose during the second pandemic wave. It is designed to follow the numbers of infected and hospitalised people, as well as the estimated reproduction number of the virus.

Related articleCovid automat arrives in a week. How will the measures change? Read more 

Other coronavirus-related developments

  • 444 tests out of 2,127 carried out on January 31 came back positive, representing 19.39 percent. At the same time, 204,733 rapid tests were performed, and 2,127 (or 1.04 percent) were positive.
  • The cabinet officially approved the list of 36 districts that do not have to attend the second round of mass testing. However, if somebody from a “better” district will want to travel to the district in a worse situation after February 3, he/she will need a new antigen test.
  • Lockdown measures are not very efficient and the situation is getting worse, according to Health Minister Marek Krajčí (OĽaNO). He will discuss the stricter measures at the meeting of the pandemic commission supposed to meet tomorrow.
  • The Public Health Authority (ÚVZ) received the first tests able to reveal the British Covid variant. The Authority will use the them to check the Monday tests as well as 115 samples from January, which confirmed the positive status of people coming from the UK.
  • The ÚVZ is considering changing the provisions related to the operation of spas, after an incident that saw several influencers and a Czech MMA fighter staying in a Rajecké Teplice spa.

Picture of the day

Petra Vlhová came second in the women’s World Cup super-G race held in the German ski resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen on February 1, coming only 0.28 seconds behind the winning Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland. It was her first stage in this discipline.

Feature story for today

Many witnesses exist and some of the charged persons are cooperating with the investigators. It is not true that the latter are enjoying their stolen wealth.

The prosecutors of the Special Prosecutor's Office have thus reacted to the various speculations around the investigation of cases, which point to the activities of the mafia in the police.

The investigation of police officials was mainly questioned by the now opposition Smer party, which has had ties with several of the people who have been detained.

Read more in the story by Roman Cuprik.

Investigation of mafia in the police resulted in detention of a million in cash Read more 

In other news

  • The Specialised Criminal Court took into custody four people detained on Friday, January 29, charged with corruption-related crimes. This includes former head of Financial Administration František Imrecze; ex-head of IT section of the Financial Administration Milan Grega; the authorised representative of the IT company Allexis Jana Rovčaninová; and Peter Brhel, brother of tycoon Jozef Brhel. Jozef Brhel, who also faces charges, is currently abroad.
  • The Constitutional Court turned down the complaint of Jozef Majský as unfounded. Majský objected to the steps of the Supreme Court, which confirmed a nine-year prison sentence for him in the case of embezzling non-banking companies.
  • The Medirex labs will start offering a new examination that will reveal antibodies after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine. Vaccinated people will thus be able to check how their bodies responded to the vaccine.
  • More than 20 non-governmental organisations are asking for preference to the reopening of schools, when deciding on lifting the pandemic measures. They have sent an open letter to President Zuzana Čaputová, PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO), Speaker of Parliament Boris Kollár (Sme Rodina), and Education Minister Branislav Gröhling (SaS).
  • The validity of annual e-highway stickers expired on January 31. Drivers can purchase a new one via the Eznamka.sk website, as well as petrol stations and border crossings.

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