TODAY IN SLOVAKIA

News digest: Easter does not seem to prevent the country from lifting measures

Vaccination opened for another age group. The ministerial approval for Sputnik V does not concern vaccines delivered to Slovakia, according to the health minister.

PM Eduard Heger announcing lifting of measures (Source: TASR)

This is your overview of news from Slovakia on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. This 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.

No condition concerning labs specified in the Hungarian contract on Sputnik V

The Sme daily looked into the contract between Hungary and Russia on the purchase of the Sputnik V vaccines, as the agreement signed by Slovakia is not available to the public.

The Hungarian contract does not contain any condition that the vaccine should only be evaluated in a laboratory from the network of certified laboratories in the EU. On the contrary, it stipulates that a relevant authority should evaluate the vaccines.

Still, there is technically no obstacle for using Sputnik V in Slovakia. Shortly after the country received the batch of 200,000 doses in early March, then health minister Marek Krajčí (OĽaNO) approved the therapeutic usage of the vaccine in Slovakia.

However, incumbent Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský (OĽaNO nominee) said on April 13 that the approval issued by Krajčí does not apply to the vaccine Slovakia had actually received. He did not want to provide more details. The State Institute for Drug Control wrote in its statement from late March that the vaccines in Slovakia and those evaluated in the Lancet magazine only share the name.

Sputnik V could have been rolling out in Slovakia for weeks Read more 

Shops, hotels, churches and more open from Monday

Several measures will be lifted from next Monday, April 19, as the country will switch to the dark red tier, as the representatives of the government have confirmed.

Non-essential shops and services will reopen, and so will churches, museums, swimming pools and hotels (but without restaurants). Travelling out to nature outside one's district will be permitted, too.

There will be several conditions and people will need a negative Covid test result no older than 7 days in most cases. The condition to wear FFP2 or KN95 respirators inside buildings and covering one's face outside, as well as curfew rules after 20:00, remain valid.

At the same time, the map of districts will be in the red shades from next Monday as there will be no district in the black tier.

Find everything about the measures here:Measures will be lifted from April 19. What will open? Read more 

Coronavirus and vaccination news

  • 870 out of 8,275 PCR tests carried out on April 12 were positive, which represents 10.51 percent. Out of 193,746 antigen tests, 805 (or 0.42 percent) were positive.
  • People older than 40 years may now register for vaccination. They will be administered the AstraZeneca vaccine.
  • Germany donated 31 lung ventilators worth about €150,000 to Slovakia. They will be used in the Central Military Hospital in Ružomberok.
  • President Zuzana Čaputová has received an undisclosed contract on the supplies of the Sputnik V vaccines to Slovakia at the meeting with Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský.
  • Hungary will test Sputnik V vaccines for Slovakia only after receiving an official request, said Hungarian Foreign Affairs Minister Péter Szijjártó in an interview with the ATV broadcaster. “Another question is whether the official request will be delivered,” he added.

Picture of the day

Zimmermann's pasqueflower is a very rare and endangered flower that grows in the south of Východoslovenská Nížina lowland. Environmentalists monitor the flowers every year.

Feature story for today

Their conditions often vary; most would not be called appealing. Shelters are different from mountain chalets: they are often humbly equipped, overnight stays free and there is no option to book a spot. Regardless of the construction's condition, shelters offer a necessary overnight stay or a haven when bad weather strikes unexpectedly. A group of youngsters has decided to change that, planning a project focusing on a new generation of shelters for hikers, wanting to make them architectonically interesting.

Efforts to build new generation of tourist shelters spark enormous interest Read more 

In other news

  • The second pandemic wave had a significant impact on the number of deaths in Slovakia in February 2021, when a total of 7,555 people died. It is 58.6 percent more than the average for this month in the past five years.
  • The Administration of State Material Reserves has breached the law on public procurement when procuring tanks in 2019, the Public Procurement Office found out. The tender, which resulted in signing a framework agreement worth €3.4 million excluding VAT, was assigned in a discriminatory way.
  • Labour inspectors have revealed 1,641 illegally employed people in 2020, who worked for 567 employers. The Covid-19 pandemic limited business activities in some sectors and also limited activities of control bodies, which led to the number of revealed cases of illegal employment being the lowest in the past four years.
  • President Zuzana Čaputová handed out credentials to two new Slovak ambassadors. Oksana Tomová will lead Slovakia's Permanent Representation to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, and Karla Wursterová will serve as Slovakia's ambassador to Italy, Malta and San Marino, headquartered in Rome.

Do not miss on Spectator.sk today

Discrimination against Roma remained prevalent, Amnesty International says Read more 

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