News digest: Controls on borders and chaos in statistics

The situation keeps deteriorating. More than a quarter of schools launched in-person education.

Illustrative stock photo (Source: TASR)

This is the Wednesday, February 10, 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.

Everybody coming from abroad must register and self-isolate

Due to the rising threat of Covid variants, Slovakia will toughen up conditions for everybody crossing its borders.

Starting on February 15, all incomers (including those coming from safe countries) will have to register with the eHranica form and self-isolate for 14 days, either at home or at a state quarantine facility.

After eight days, incomers can get a PCR test. If they test negative, they can end their quarantine.

There will be exceptions for cross-border commuters, who will need a negative PCR or antigen test result no older than seven days.

More details should be specified in the coming days.

Rules at borders change. Everybody entering Slovakia from abroad must enter quarantine Read more 

Chaos in statistics

Several analysts working with Slovak coronavirus data have recently pointed out that the statistics on recovered patients include not only the number of positive cases identified by PCR tests but also those who have recovered after testing positive with an antigen test.

However, it is not clearly stated in the statistics that the number includes both these categories.

The authorities report the number of new positive cases separately for those identified with PCR tests and those identified with rapid antigen tests conducted at mobile testing sites set up around the country.

As a result, it is not clear now how many active cases there are in Slovakia and the statistics presented on the official website might be distorted, as several analysts have pointed out.

Statistics on active Covid-19 cases in Slovakia might be distorted Read more 

More coronavirus-related developments

  • Slovakia reported more than 3,000 new Covid cases revealed by PCR tests for the first time since mid-January. Of nearly 14,000 PCR tests from February 9, some 3,200 were positive (or 22.74 percent). At the same time, more than 167,500 rapid antigen tests were conducted, and 3,067 were positive (or 1.83 percent).
  • The situation in Slovakia keeps deteriorating, and six more districts will turn black next Monday.
  • People working in black and dark-red regions need a negative test no older than 7 days as of today.
  • Ombudswoman Mária Patakyová has turned to the Constitutional Court, requesting it checks the constitutionality of some interference in people’s rights during the pandemic. This includes the stripping of personal freedom via quarantine or isolation, and insufficient legal and court protection from interference in fundamental rights.

A second satellite to space

The second satellite constructed in Slovakia should start orbiting the Earth this autumn.

Named GRBAlpha, the satellite is an international project. It has a cubic shape measuring 10 x 10 x 10 cm. The satellite is currently in Moscow, awaiting its launch into space. It will be carried onboard a Russian space rocket, which will be launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in March or April.

The main task of the satellite will be to support amateur radio activities. It will also perform a scientific experiment related to gamma rays.

Related articleSlovakia will send a second satellite to space Read more 

Tweet of the day:

Picture of the day:

Feature story for today:

Mobster Marian Kočner used to call him Gambino. He feared the idea that Daniel Lipšic could get into power because the state would then start paying attention to how Kočner and his friend Norbert Bödör earned their millions.

When Robert Fico's government started wobbling after the murder of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová, Kočner conversed about it in the coded Threema app with tax fraudster Ladislav Bašternák.

Today, Kočner is serving a 19-year prison sentence for the forgery of promissory notes. Bašternák is serving five years in prison for tax fraud. Bödör is in pretrial custody regarding the corruption case Dobytkár (Cattle Breeder).

Daniel Lipšic has been elected special prosecutor by MPs of the ruling coalition led by OĽaNO of Igor Matovič.

Read a profile on Lipšic by Sme daily reporter Roman Cuprik.

Related articleAn enemy of Kočner with many friends in politics. Daniel Lipšic is the new special prosecutor Read more 

In other news

  • 1,975 schools have restored in-person classes, which represents some 28 percent of all schools, and 144,000 pupils have returned to school, said Education Minister Branislav Gröhling (SaS). He believes that all school employees will be vaccinated by the end of the current school year and that all schools will reopen in September.
  • The Prague-based court turned down the appeal of Jozef Majský and accepted the Slovak Supreme Court verdict confirming a nine-year prison sentence in the case of embezzling non-banking companies. Majský will serve the rest of his sentence in the Czech Republic.
  • The Specialised Criminal Court decided that financier Martin Kvietik, charged in the Dobytkár (Stock Farmer) case, will remain in custody.
  • The Special Prosecutor’s Office will add three more prosecutors (increasing the number to 38) and five new assistants. At the same time, it will merge the department for the fight against extremism with the department for the fight against organised crime and terrorism.
  • Industrial production in December 2020 rose the most since March 2019, by 6.8 percent year-on-year. The most influential component, the manufacturing of transport equipment, increased 9.9 percent. However, production dropped by 9.1 percent y-o-y in 2020 due to the pandemic. The manufacturing of cars fell by 16.4 percent y-o-y.
  • The year-on-year volume of construction output increased in December 2020 after a nine-month decline, mostly due to the growth of the volume of civil engineering by almost one quarter and the high growth of production abroad. The construction output amounted to €5.3 billion in 2020, which was 11.3 percent less than in 2019.
  • The cabinet approved investment aid totalling €3.2 million in the form of tax relief. The aid will go to two companies, Hydac Electronic and Nestlé Slovensko, which have promised to create a total of 107 new jobs in return.
  • E-payments for goods and services in Slovakia surpassed cash payments for the first time in history. The pandemic teaches people to be more careful when paying, which is why they use cashless payments more, according to Iveta Behúňová of the National Bank of Slovakia.
  • The Slovak Red Cross has launched the 26th year of its Valentine Blood Drop campaign, with the aim to secure enough donated blood despite the pandemic.

More on today:

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