News digest: Prime-ministerial swap is on. Matovič out, Heger in

Rules for travelling to Austria will be harder for cross-border commuters. The epidemic situation in Slovakia keeps improving.

President Zuzana Čaputová accepted a resignation of PM Igor Matovič and assigned Eduard Heger with forming new cabinet. (Source: TASR)

This is your overview of news from Slovakia on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. The Today in Slovakia 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.

Igor Matovič steps down after a year and nine days

PM Igor Matovič stepped down on March 30. President Zuzana Čaputová accepted his resignation and assigned Finance Minister Eduard Heger to form the next ruling cabinet for Slovakia. The president is involved in the process.

The act of resignation was short and President Čaputová did not deliver any speech as she typically did when other ministers resigned.

"It was only one year but I feel like it was ten," said outgoing PM Igor Matovič in his speech after resigning. "I ask your forgiveness for all the mistakes I have committed. Don't worry, all will be well and you can trust Edo," he added, referring to Eduard Heger.

Chief hygienist asks for discipline during Easter

The most recent data about the epidemic situation in Slovakia gives reason for cautious optimism, Chief Hygienist Ján Mikas wrote in his open letter to the people of Slovakia ahead the Easter holidays.

“We have a chance of a change for the better,” Mikas wrote in a letter. “It is uplifting for us after a long and difficult time. But to confirm this positive trend, we have to stick together and be disciplined.” He and other experts advise against meeting during Easter holidays.

The situation in the country keeps improving. Ten of Slovakia's districts will remain in the black (the highest alert) tier, 52 districts are entering the dark red tier and 17 districts will be in the red tier from next Monday.

The Health Ministry is also positive about vaccine supplies to Slovakia, which are reportedly to significantly increase in April. The millionth jab will be delivered during the Easter holidays.

Vaccination and coronavirus news

  • PCR tests confirmed 1,215 new coronavirus infections in Slovakia on Monday; laboratories tested 8,705 samples. The number of deaths from Covid-19 increased by 82.
  • Altogether 680,983 people have received their first Covid vaccine shot, and 257,105 have been vaccinated with the second shot as of March 29.
  • Austria will make rules for cross-border commuters stricter. People from 12 EU states, including Slovakia, will be obliged to show the negative result of PCR or antigen test not older than 72 hours. The measure will be valid from Thursday midnight.
  • Hungary is prolonging border checks until April 8, Foreign Affairs Ministry informed.

Photo of the day

President Zuzana Čaputová welcomed the best Slovak skier, Petra Vlhová, to the Presidential Palace. Vlhová won the Large Crystal Globe earlier this month.

Feature story for today

Parents who would like to homeschool their children older than ten do not have to enrol them in the Czech Republic anymore. A recently approved amendment has made homeschooling legal for older pupils of primary schools.

New homeschooling law gives parents more choice Read more 

Other news

  • Acting Health Minister Eduard Heger promised to the Conference of Bishops of Slovakia that he will submit a proposal to guarantee individual religious care in churches despite the curfew. Heger also reportedly declared that he will try to find the solution to restart masses with the participation of believers under strict hygienic measures as soon as possible.
  • In March, economic sentiment in Slovakia was significantly more optimistic than last month. The seasonally adjusted economic sentiment indicator (ESI) increased by 7.9 points to 85.6.
  • Branches of the Slovak post office will be closed between April 2 and 5, but Saturday press will be delivered.
  • In Slovakia, a lack of precipitation is highlighted in March. In some southern areas of the country, they have already experienced so little precipitation that the monthly totals were close to the record low values for this month.
  • Employers and the self-employed may request help from the First Aid+ project for January 2021 only until the end of March. It is possible to submit requests for February by April 30, 2021.

Do not miss on today:

Should Slovakia shorten the workweek like Spain? Expert is hesitant Read more  The oldest church and oldest preserved edifice in Košice Read more  Thousands of people in Slovakia struggle with so-called long Covid Read more  Blog: A volunteer's actions are a drop in the ocean Read more  Slovakia lacks general practitioners, particularly in the countryside Read more 

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