This is your overview of news from Slovakia on Wednesday, April 7, 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.
The now-empty post of the labour minister in the Eduard Heger cabinet may be filled as soon as this Friday, April 9.
The Sme Rodina party will nominate Milan Krajniak for the post, the same person who left it in mid-March, in an attempt to bring a close to the coalition crisis.
The information was confirmed by the party’s chair and Speaker of Parliament Boris Kollár, who also told the media that the president wanted a person there who would not need the full 100 days to learn about the situation at the ministry.
It is still not clear whether and when Slovakia will start vaccinating with Sputnik V.
As the vaccine has not been registered by the European Medicines Agency, the Slovak authorities have been testing it so that the Health Ministry can decide on issuing permission for its administration.
However, the State Institute for Drug Control (ŠÚKL) is unable to say whether it is safe to use it, due to the lacking data from its producer and the inability to compare the vaccine batches used in various studies and countries.
Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský (OĽaNO nominee) wants to wait for the complete results of lab tests before making a final decision, as at the time ŠÚKL made its report, the results on only 11 out of 14 parameters were at its disposal. He expects to make this decision at the beginning of next week, the SITA newswire reported.
While all of Slovakia remains in the black tier of the Covid automat alert system, the situation in districts seems to be improving. Starting next Monday, April 12, only two out of the current 10 districts will remain in the black tier, while 36 will be in the dark red tier, 39 in the red tier, and two in the light red tier.
If the situation remains positive and the national parameters do not worsen in the days to come, the country may switch to the dark red tier as soon as April 19, the Health Ministry has confirmed. This means non-essential shops and district borders can reopen. Schools should also reopen for the final grades.
Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský (OĽaNO nominee) confirmed certain changes could be made to the national COVID automat warning system, though they would not be fundamental. The group of epidemiological and immunology experts is scheduled to meet tomorrow (April 8) to discuss not only the warning system but also potential changes to the testing strategy.
Other Covid and vaccination-related news
- The number of people positive with Covid-19 identified by PCR tests increased by 1,161, which is 10.84 percent of 10,707 tests labs carried out on April 6. 1,946 antigen tests out of 250,206 (or 0.78 percent) were also positive.
- As much as 41.8 percent of respondents in the March poll by the Slovak Academy of Sciences, MNFORCE and Seesame would opt for the Covid vaccine, which is the most since April 2020. Respondents preferred the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine the most.
- Slovakia should receive 26,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by the end of April.
Gallery of the day
The Bratislava City Council has introduced the winning project for the reconstruction of the SNP, Kamenné and Velvet Revolution Squares. Designed by the German team of Atelier Loidl Landscape Architects Berlin and BPR Dr. Schäpertons Consul, the project, totaling €20 million in costs, should be complete between 2024-2025.
Feature story for today
One important lesson from the governmental crisis may be that one needs to be able to decide when to speak and when to keep silent, said President Zuzana Čaputová. In an interview for the Sme daily, she talked about what the last straw was for her when she decided to call on Igor Matovič to step down as prime minister and how she handled the emotions the former prime minister provoked in her.
In other news
- The state assistance for gastronomy and tourism sectors will increase by a further €120 million, to €220,000. The businesses active in these sectors will be able to ask for the subsidy at no more than €200,000 under the same conditions (including if their revenues drop by more than 40 percent).
- Slovakia has expressed its concern over the current situation at the Russian-Ukrainian borders and called on restraint and de-escalation of tensions.
- Tax incomes for 2020 should drop by 2 percent, according to the Institute for Financial Policy, running under the Finance Ministry. Originally, they were expected to slump by as much as 6.9 percent, but the result was better than predicted due to Slovakia’s better economic performance.
- The International Monetary Fund has revised its prediction for Slovakia’s economic growth for this year to 4.7 percent of GDP, down from 6.9 percent as forecast last autumn. The growth should slow to 4.4 percent in 2022.
- The organisers of the Pohoda open-air summer festival decided to postpone it again, due to the unfavourable epidemiological situation. Instead, they plan to hold a series of smaller events at Trenčín Airport at the beginning of July 2021, titled Pohoda on the Ground.
- Slovak skier Petra Vlhová has ended cooperation with her Italian coach Livio Magoni after five years. “I am immensely grateful for your time, your infinite energy, perfectionism and the hope you have constantly placed in me,” she wrote on both Facebook and Instagram.
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