News digest: PM silent about his next steps, coalition still in crisis

Some people cancelled their vaccination appointment after a public-service broadcaster's report. Guinea pigs and mice vaccinated with Sputnik V are fine.

PM Igor Matovič meets with President Zuzana Čaputová. (Source: TASR)

This is your overview of news from Slovakia on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. This digest 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.

OĽaNO wants Matovič to stay

The Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) movement does not support the calls of several other coalition parties that want PM Igor Matovič to step down from his position. Za Ľudí and Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) have recently conditioned their stay in the coalition with Matovič's departure.

Some coalition partners mention Finance Minister Eduard Heger as Matovič's replacement.

OĽaNO considers the resignation of their health minister, Marek Krajčí, sufficient in terms of the parties' demands for cabinet reshuffles.

Matovič has not commented on the demands of his coalition partners. He met with President Zuzana Čaputová in the Presidential Palace on March 16. The meeting lasted about 45 minutes, but he left while avoiding journalists. Sulík and Education Minister Branislav Gröhling also met with the president on Tuesday.

OĽaNO says replacing Matovič is no go. Partners would not mind the finance minister Read more 

Public-service broadcaster aired a controversial report

The report of the public-service broadcaster RTVS linked the death of a teacher and her vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine. It aired on March 12, resulting in several mixed reactions.

Some say that the statements of the teacher, who spoke with the broadcaster on the phone shortly after she had received a jab, were manipulated. The links between the vaccine and the death were particularly mentioned by the father of the deceased teacher. It also turned out that one of the reporters was the teacher's friend.

Several health authorities have said the death cannot be linked with the vaccination, and pointed to the fact that the autopsy results have not been published yet. The report will be investigated, for example, by the parliamentary media committee.

Slovakia continues using AstraZeneca vaccines, although several countries have halted its use due to some reported health complications. Some people in Slovakia have cancelled their appointment for the AstraZeneca vaccination.

Vaccination and coronavirus news

  • Of 9,820 PCR tests carried out on March 15, 1,578 were positive, which represents 16.07 percent. Regarding antigen tests, 1,820 out of 188,444 (or 0.97 percent) were positive.
  • Mice and guinea pigs that received a jab of the non-registered Sputnik V vaccine survived the test, said Miroslav Ryzner of the Imuna Pharm lab.
  • The potential extension of the national emergency, which ends on March 19, will be discussed by the cabinet at its next session.
  • The Human Rights League published a summary of basic information about vaccination for foreigners living in Slovakia.

Picture of the day

Feature story for today

Organisations working with foreigners living in Slovakia have highlighted the lack of accessible information for foreigners in languages they can understand during the pandemic. But they say it is actually a problem that pre-dates the coronavirus crisis and hampers many non-Slovaks simply looking for general information related to their lives in the country. The groups behind the KapaCity project say so-called cultural mediators should be used to aid integration.

Cultural mediators building bridges between Slovak authorities and expat communities Read more 

In other news

  • International investigative team Tenycape revealed an organised group that reportedly participated in human trafficking for forced labour in the UK. Eight Slovaks from Krompachy were arrested and charged.
  • Alena Zsuzsová, charged with preparing the murders of three prosecutors, will remain in custody, a judge of the Specialised Criminal Court ruled.
  • General Prosecutor Maroš Žilinka was invited to a non-scheduled, closed session of the parliamentary defence and security committee to answer questions about the investigation in the case of the abduction of a Vietnamese citizen, Trinh Xuan Thanh, from the summer of 2017. He avoided journalists when leaving.
  • The Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo can push out smaller shareholders of VÚB bank. Following the approval of the National Bank of Slovakia, it will be able to buy their shares for €151.41. (Denník N)
  • The Žilina-based carmaker Kia Motors Slovakia will suspend production on March 19 for one day. The reason is not the recent problem with a scarcity of semiconductors reported by Trnava-based Stellantis, but an "unstable situation in the automotive market."
  • Slovakia has received €330 million in the form of loans from the SURE instrument, a new temporary solidarity instrument of the EU to support jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.

Do not miss on today:

In Memoriam – Russel Lunday Read more 

The myth of vocational education Read more 

Winegrowers have growing concerns as vineyards decrease in size Read more 

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