News digest: Death toll higher than the average in previous years, hospital capacity strained

First teachers will be vaccinated over the upcoming weekend, Daniel Lipšic to take oath as Special Prosecutor on February 15.

Covid department in Galanta hospital (Source: Sme)

This is the Thursday, February 11, 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.

Lack of free hospital beds

The number of infections has been on the rise again in the past few days, while the number of hospitalised patients remains alarmingly high. Health Minister Krajčí admitted to the problems concerning many hospitals around the country.

Some report they only have a few ICU beds left for coronavirus patients. Others reported off-record that the situation is worse than the minister described. In the case of Covid patients, they are having to decide who will go on a ventilator and who will not.

Hospitals count the last vacant beds in anesthesiology and resuscitation departments Read more 

The death toll continues rising as well. 127 people died of covid-19 on February 10. Meanwhile, statistics from 2020 show that the overall death toll was much higher than the average in the previous years, in fact the highest since World War II.

In 2020, the overall number of deaths was 59,000, 5,500 more than the annual average of the five years before, or a 10.2 percent increase in mortality.

In 2020, Slovakia suffered its worst death toll since the end of WW2 Read more 

Vaccination strategy sees some changes

Slovakia's vaccination strategy will change again. Teachers younger than 55 will now receive their jab sooner. Their vaccinations will start this Saturday, February 13. They will be vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, while older teachers will receive the Pfizer vaccine.

Currently, vaccination is available for healthcare workers, students of medicine and non-medical specialisations in contact with Covid-19 patients, workers in nursing homes and people older than 75.

The booking system for vaccination and Covid-19 testing on the website has undergone some changes.

The system now allows people to cancel the date of their antigen tests or the date for their first dose of vaccine, said Peter Bielik, head of the National Health Information Centre (NCZI). People can also ask for a new appointment.

Vaccination strategy changes again. Teachers will receive the jab sooner than planned Read more 

Coronavirus-related news:

  • A further 127 people died of covid on February 10. The number of people in hospitals decreased to 3,719 after Tuesday's record. PCR tests showed 2,487 people were infected, with positivity at almost 23 percent.
  • The Regional Office of Public Health in Galanta ordered the inhabitants in the settlement of Jegenyes near Tomášikovo village to isolate. Mayor Zoltán Horváth requested testing for the inhabitants of the settlement. The quarantine applies to eight multi-member households in the settlement, 330 people altogether, according to the mayor.

Photo of the day:

On February 10, a bus crashed in the village of Horná Ves near Kremnica on an icy road, and fell into the stream. There were 11 passengers on the bus and two sustained minor injuries, rescuers said.

Feature story of the day:

Opposition parties are collecting signatures for a petition, based on which a referendum could be organised. Politicians want to ask Slovak citizens, whether they would like to see an early election.

It is not first such referendum in Slovak history but it is still problematic, observers agree. Read the story to find out what controversy surrounds asking people in a referendum about the early election and whether it is likely to be successful:

History repeats. Opposition attempts for early election via referendum Read more 

Other news:

  • The Slovak economy fell by 5.8 percent in 2020, which is less than expected. The Finance Ministry expects growth of 4.3 percent in 2021. In September, the prediction was 5.5 percent.
  • The Specialised Criminal Court has decided to release Kajetán Kičura, former head of the State Material Reservers from custody. The decision must now be confirmed by the Supreme Court.
  • The Review Senate of the Supreme Court denied condemned ex-minister Marian Janušek his right to a hearing without unnecessary delays, decided the third senate of the Constitutional Court and ordered the Supreme Court to decide on Janušek’s review. Janušek who has been condemned to eleven years in prison in the case of the bulletin board tenders, remains in custody without compensation.
  • The Police have announced the search for Michal Suchoba, accused in the Toll Collector case. Interpol will look for him, too. He is also listed in the Schengen Information System.
  • Special Prosecutor - elect, Daniel Lipšic should take his oath of office before the Speaker of Parliament Boris Kollár on February 15 at Bratislava castle.
  • There were about 45,000 women scientists and engineers in 2019. They created 38 percent of the overall number of scientists and engineers in the country, showed Eurostat data. (Sme)

Do not miss on today:

A non-levitating giant ball to become New Synagogue’s next attraction Read more  Slovak film will not compete for Oscars despite being favoured Read more  Left behind. The plight of Roma children under state care in Slovakia Read more 

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