News digest: The week starts with a ministerial resignation, more expected

Za Ľudí will comment on their next steps in the coalition only tomorrow. The European Medicines Agency does not recommend ivermectin for Covid-19 treatment.

SaS chair Richard Sulík announced his resignation from economy minister post on March 22. (Source: TASR)

This is your overview of news from Slovakia on Monday, March 22, 2021. For a deeper insight into current affairs, read our Last Week in Slovakia, published earlier today.
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Richard Sulík quits the cabinet

Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) chair Richard Sulík will step down from his post of economy minister. President Zuzana Čaputová will accept the resignation on Tuesday morning, and will assign another cabinet member to temporarily lead the ministry.

Sulík is already the third minister to leave the current cabinet in the past two weeks, following Marek Krajčí and Milan Krajniak.

“I believe this step will contribute to making the government functional again,” Sulík told the March 22 press conference.

I expected information that will lead to an agreement, and not new conditions.

President Zuzana Čaputová on current developments in the ruling coalition.

His decision came one day after PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) presented his conditions for leaving the prime ministerial seat. Apart from Sulík stepping down from the post, he demanded the resignation of Justice Minister Mária Kolíková of Za Ľudí, and the departure of Juraj Šeliga of Za Ľudí from the post of deputy speaker of parliament, and Jana Bittó Cigániková of SaS from the post of the parliamentary health committee’s chair.

Za Ľudí chair Veronika Remišová did not reveal much on their next steps, saying that they will hold a press conference tomorrow.

The coalition partners are not the only ones critical of the Igor Matovič government. A group of political analysts has recently pointed to several negative tendencies of the government, particularly regarding the quality of ruling, and in a recent poll by Median SK, most respondents said the government has failed to meet their expectations.

Matovič got personal, says SaS. It does not accept the PM’s conditions Read more 

School leaving exams scrapped

Similarly to last year, graduates from secondary schools will not take the final exams, known as “maturita” in Slovak.

After the Education Ministry scrapped the external part of the exams early in 2021, it now said that the internal part will be cancelled as well.

Instead, the final grade on their maturita report will be calculated as an average of the school year’s end grade from all previous years, and a half year’s grade from the last two years in a respective subject, or a group of subjects. Those dissatisfied with the final evaluation will be allowed to take the oral exam.

No leaving exams for secondary school graduates Read more 

New rules come into force

The map of Slovakia’s districts that became valid on March 22 looks slightly better than in the previous weeks. There are only 20 districts in the black tier (down from 35 last week), 55 in the dark red tier and four in the red tier.

At the same time, open-air marketplaces can be open from today, while the rules on borders have become tighter again.

Other Covid and vaccination related news

  • 401 PCR tests out of 3,861 carried out on March 21 were positive, which represents 10.39 percent. At the same time, 1,791 antigen tests out of 299,978 were positive (or 0.60 percent).
  • Altogether 518,694 people have received their first Covid vaccine shot, and 237,873 have been vaccinated with the second shot. To achieve herd immunity in Slovakia, at least 3.3 million people have to be vaccinated.
  • More than 600 outpatient departments will receive 3,100 pulse oximeters to check Covid-positive patients in home treatment from online sellers, said President Zuzana Čaputová after meeting with representatives of online shops.
  • The opposition Smer party has turned to the Constitutional Court, questioning the prolongation of the national emergency by another 40 days.
  • The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has advised against the use of ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of Covid-19 outside randomised clinical trials. The medicine ivermectin is not authorised for Covid-19 in the EU, and the EMA has not received any application for such use.

Picture of the day

Feature story for today

Despite the advantages of online education, universities admit that face-to-face interaction between students and teachers is irreplaceable. They plan to resume in-person education after the pandemic is over while retaining proven innovations in the learning processes. “We will continue to use online and remote learning methods after the pandemic, but only where it is justified and where they offer benefits,” said Ervin Lumnitzer, vice-rector for education at the Technical University of Košice (TUKE).

Online education cannot fully replace in-person teaching at universities Read more 

In other news

  • Police officers involved in the June 2020 attack on a school in Vrútky (Žilina Region) proceeded in compliance with the law. The inspection service stopped their criminal prosecution in late February.
  • The employees of public transport companies in Bratislava, Košice and Prešov will declare a strike alert on Tuesday, March 23, to protest against the lack of state assistance to moderate Covid-19 impacts. It should have no effect on passengers.
  • Former head of the Anti-Corruption Unit of the National Criminal Agency (NAKA), Róbert Krajmer, was escorted to the NAKA building on the morning of March 22, to reportedly testify on corruption in the police corps. (Noviny.sk)
  • The number of foreigners working in Slovakia amounted to 67,300 in February 2021, down from 69,000 at the end of last year. The highest number of foreign workers come from Ukraine (18,600).
  • The Slovak version of Google remembers 100 years since the birth of Elena Lacková, the first Roma female writer, and the first Roma woman in Slovakia and the Czech Republic to graduate from university.

More on Spectator.sk today:

General prosecutor enjoys more trust than new special prosecutor and police chief Read more 

How to eliminate Covid within two years Read more 

Twelve churches could receive the European Heritage Label Read more 

If you have suggestions on how this news overview can be improved, you can reach us at editorial@spectator.sk.

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