This is your overview of news from Slovakia on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. This is a free-of-charge service for our readers. If you want to support us, become a subscriber and get access to more detailed news and interesting feature stories from Slovakia. Thank you.
The number of resignations by cabinet ministers is piling up and the end of the coalition crisis is nowhere in sight.
The remaining two ministers nominated by the Freedom and Solidarity Party (SaS), Branislav Gröhling and Ivan Korčok, who were at the helm of the education and foreign affairs departments, announced their resignations on Wednesday.
President Zuzana Čaputová is expected to receive the two at the Presidential Palace on March 25 at 11:00.
During her visit to Žilina, she said the current situation does not please her, claiming that the best ministers are leaving the cabinet. She stressed it is time to move on and solve the crisis.
Several media outlets have meanwhile reported that the negotiations over the reshuffle are stuck, with Za Ľudí chair Veronika Remišová claiming that there are disputes over whether Matovič and the SaS chair Richard Sulík should sit in the new cabinet.
Slovakia may be unable to vaccinate half of its population by June. The documents obtained by the Czech daily Hospodářské Noviny and the Euractiv website suggest that the distribution key is likely to change, with vaccine manufactures delivering more vaccines to the EU member states that have ordered larger numbers of doses.
As a result, Slovakia may only be able to vaccinate 39 percent of its population, which is the third lowest share in the EU, after Croatia and Bulgaria.
Altogether 564,458 people have received their first jab as of March 24 in Slovakia, and 246,884 have been vaccinated with the second shot. To achieve herd immunity, about 3.3 million people should be fully vaccinated.
Starting on March 25, exceptions related to going out into the countryside for individual sports during the evening curfew (between 20:00 and 1:00) will be scrapped. This means that people will now only be able to visit nature in their residential district between 5:00 and 20:00 (with several conditions if the district is in the black tier), or unconditionally between 1:00 and 5:00 when the curfew is not applied.
At the same time, the cabinet has extended the ban on travel abroad for the purpose of holidays to include the hours between 1:00 and 5:00, effectively banning all holiday travel until further notice or until April 28 when the national emergency is supposed to end. This measure also comes into force tomorrow.
Other Covid and vaccination-related developments
- 1,977 PCR tests out of 11,378 carried out on March 23 came back positive, representing 17.38 percent. At the same time, of the 136,759 antigen tests, 1,239 (or 0.91 percent) were positive.
- People travelling to Ukraine from red-zone countries are required to show a negative PCR test result no older than 72 hours from March 24 midnight. There will be no exception for people who have recovered from Covid-19 or have been vaccinated, the Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry wrote on its website.
- Although 20,000 Covid tests have been given an exception for home use, it remains unclear when and how they will be used. The Health Ministry is currently working on the details, said its spokesperson Zuzana Eliášová.
Picture of the day
Feature story for today
Foreign visitors to the capital are sometimes surprised or even shocked at the mass of advertising, often glaringly gaudy or shockingly eye-catching, along the streets and main roads and outside or above shops. This should now change.
“Visual smog has long had a devastating [effect on] the quality of the experience of our city’s public spaces,” said Bratislava Mayor Matúš Vallo, whose team on the Bratislava city council has been working to reduce outdoor advertising in the city since he took office in late 2018.
In other news
- 63 percent of people believe in Slovakia’s armed forces, while 20 percent distrust them. This stems from a Median SK poll carried out between March 12 and 18 on more than 1,000 respondents, the results of which were published by Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď.
- Slovakia will receive €24 million from the REACT-EU (Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe) package. The money will be directed to the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD).
- Slovak oil refinery Slovnaft will take control over 16 Lukoil petrol stations in the country. The transaction needs to be approved by the antimonopoly authority.
- People in Slovakia bought 5,535 new passenger cars in February 2021, down by 23.34 percent annually. The drop might have been caused by the closed shops, according to the Slovak Automotive Industry Association (ZAP).
- Martin Dzama will become the new CEO of the Trnava-based carmaker Stellantis, replacing Stéphan Bonhommeau. He will be the first Slovak to hold the post.
Also on Spectator.sk
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