News digest: Police intensifies border controls, e-census kicked off

South African strain not confirmed. Warning against low temperatures issued. Slovakia celebrates 30th anniversary of V4.

The police controls on Bratislava-Berg border crossing. (Source: TASR)

This is the Monday, February 15, 2021 edition of Today in Slovakia. Learn about politics, business, and other notable events of the day in Slovakia in less than five minutes. For a deeper insight into current affairs, read Last Week in Slovakia, published earlier today.
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Important witness commits suicide

One of the key witnesses in several corruption cases involving former high-ranked police officers, František Böhm, has committed suicide.

The incident took place in the late-night hours of February 12 in Plavecký Štvrtok (Bratislava Region). Private broadcaster TV JOJ was the first to break the news.

Böhm was a former employee of the Slovak Information Service (SIS) intelligence agency and used to be in the fuel business. He started cooperating with the police and testified against about corruption among high-ranking police officials, including ex-police chief Milan Lučanský, who committed suicide in late December 2020.

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New border regime

Slovakia’s border regime will change. The authorities cite the new strains spreading in Europe as to why Slovakia will tighten rules for people arriving to the country from abroad.

Everybody crossing the borders from Wednesday, February 17, starting at 6:00, will have to register with the eHranica online form and self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

There will be some exceptions for cross-country commuters, and slightly different rules for people working in countries that do not border Slovakia, vaccinated people and people who have recovered from Covid.

Related articleTightened border regime next week: State orders self-isolation and testing for all incomers Read more 

The police already intensified checks at border crossings with Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic and Poland on Monday, February 15.

As a result, there have been several tailbacks since the early morning hours, especially on the borders with Austria, and people had to wait long minutes, said Denisa Bárdyová, spokesperson of the Police Corps Presidium.

Other coronavirus-related developments

  • Altogether 572 out of 2,775 PCR tests carried out on February 14 came back positive, which represents a positivity rate of 20.61 percent. Out of 249,092 antigen tests, 2,392 (or 0.96 percent) were positive.
  • The patient who returned from Egypt and later died in the Nitra hospital did not have the South African coronavirus strain. (MY Nitra)
  • Slovakia has criticised the requirement for truck drivers entering Germany to have negative Covid test no older than 48 hours, and has sent a diplomatic note to the country. Meanwhile, the European Commission has criticised Germany for reintroducing border controls on the frontiers with the Czech Republic and Austria which were, together with Slovakia, declared as coronavirus variant areas at the end of last week.
  • The crematorium in Nové Zámky (Nitra Region) stopped taking bodies due to capacity. The crematoriums in Nitra and Levice also have problems.
  • The Piešťany spa is offering a new treatment procedure focused on the regeneration of the respiratory system. It is designed particularly for people who have recovered from Covid-19.

Picture of the day:

The Visegrad Group (V4) grouping is celebrating 30 years since being established. The Slovak Post has issued a special postage stamp on this occasion, and Bratislava Castle will commemorate the anniversary with special lighting.

Weather forecast

The Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute has warned against low temperatures, which may fall to -18 Celsius degrees tonight in nearly all central and eastern Slovakia.

The warning is in place between 21:00 and 9:00 the next day.

In other news

  • The first electronic census kicked off on February 15. Among the first people to register was President Zuzana Čaputová. The first part of the census, which is compulsory, will take place until March 31. The Slovak Spectator will bring you more information in its news coverage.
  • 2,550 schools opened on February 15, welcoming 168,000 pupils. The schools in central Slovakia (Trenčín Region, Žilina Region and Banská Bystrica Region) have spring holidays.
  • Special Prosecutor Daniel Lipšic was sworn into office by Speaker of Parliament Boris Kollár (Sme Rodina). His seven-year term has officially begun.
  • The Foreign Affairs Ministry has summoned the Belgian ambassador to Slovakia in the case involving the death of Slovak national Jozef Chovanec, after an incident at Charleroi airport back in 2018. The ministry is questioning the length of the investigation and hopes that the responsibility will be drawn soon.
  • The inspection of the regional prosecutor’s office in Banská Bystrica has not revealed any negligence of duties by the members of the Prison and Court Guard Service in the attempted suicide of ex-state secretary Monika Jankovská.
  • The Health Ministry has issued a new ordinance that health insurers will no longer reimburse the abortion of women older than 40 years, which it first introduced last summer. It will come into force on March 1, 2021. The step has been criticised by SaS MP Jana Bittó Cigániková and also the non-parliamentary Progressive Slovakia party.
  • Due to a decrease in regulated prices for network industries and the lower increase of food prices in January 2021, the annual inflation rate accounted for 0.7 percent, the lowest value in the past four years. In monthly terms, prices went up by 0.3 percent.
  • The EuroCity trains EC 172/173 Hungaria from Budapest to Hamburg, which stop in Bratislava, will not go further than Prague and back.
  • The People in Need Slovakia non-governmental organisation has won the Civil Solidarity Prize as the best Slovak project. It focused on aid to Roma community during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Slovak skier Petra Vlhová won her first medal at the 2021 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. She placed second in the women's Alpine Combined held on February 15, losing by 0.86 seconds to the winner, US skier Mikaela Shiffrin.


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