News digest: More people in hospital and vaccination halted

Kurzarbeit to become a permanent tool. Sulík offers himself for health minister. Slovakia gets another protected regional specialty.

Richard Sulik said he is ready to serve as health minister. (Source: TASR)

This is your overview of news from Slovakia on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. This is a free-of-charge service for our readers. If you want to support us, become a subscriber and gain access to more detailed news and interesting feature stories from Slovakia. Thank you for being our reader.

Coronavirus situation worsens again

The situation in terms of the number of new cases and hospitalised patients has deteriorated again in Slovakia. As of next Monday, more districts will be placed in the black tier and six districts will be marked as red.

Health Minister Marek Krajčí sees no room for lifting measures.

Slovakia's hospitals have been collapsing under the strain of Covid-19 patients for several weeks. Doctors say they are forced to choose which of their coronavirus patients they will hook up to artificial ventilation.

PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) convened a roundtable of experts on the Covid pandemic on Tuesday. The talks continued on Wednesday.

The Sme daily asked several of these experts and the largest hospitals what can be done to stop the increase in Covid patients in hospitals. The daily presented 10 pieces of advice resulting from the survey.

How to stop Covid overload in hospitals Read more 

Kurzarbeit to be permanent

The government approved a proposal concerning the permanent kurzarbeit scheme proposed by the Labour Ministry.

The state would, through the labour offices, compensate employees' salaries when an employer cannot assign enough work to the originally-agreed extent.

The amendment has to be approved by parliament first. If approved, it will be valid from next year, the SITA newswire reported.

Government greenlighted permanent kurzarbeit, self-employed not included Read more 

Coronavirus travel advice:

As of Saturday, people arriving in Poland from Slovakia and Czechia will have to go into quarantine unless they can show a negative Covid test result or proof that they have been inoculated with two Covid vaccine doses, the Polish authorities informed the public. (ČTK)

In other news:

Quote of the day

“I am offering my services to the prime minister. I am ready to take over the complicated health care department.”

Deputy PM and Economy Minister Richard Sulík (SaS) proposed he could replace Marek Krajčí (OĽaNO) as health minister. Krajčí has been facing calls for resignation, including from his own coalition partners SaS and Za Ľudí. PM Igor Matovič declined Sulík’s offer. In reaction, Sulík said that from now on, he is not going to share the responsibility for the course of the pandemic.

The Za Ľudí party offered Matovič an expert who could lead the Health Ministry in the autumn, but he declined the offer, the party leader Veronika Remišová said.

Opinion for today

The negative antigen test certificate is – contrary to every sound epidemiological practice – treated as a kind of all-purpose get-out-jail-free card. We are licensed to roam, just not very far.

At least, in theory, movement should still be limited to shopping and exercise. Cabin fever being what it is, the pavements are full of pedestrians and the roads are thronged with traffic. But some are travelling much further, writes James Thomson.

Surviving, so far as we can tell Read more 

Picture of the day

After more than five years of effort, Liptovské droby, a specialty of the Liptov region, has been added to the list of Slovakia's protected regional specialties.

Do not miss on today:

The man who took the 'alien' out of the Foreigners' Police's name appointed its director Read more  EU Aid Volunteers acquire on-the-job training abroad Read more  Manufacturing companies top the list of biggest receivers of direct pandemic aid Read more 

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