News digest: Ministry should soon specify whether it will publish Sputnik V contract

Slovakia should receive thousands of additional Pfizer vaccines. A Slovak made it to the shortlist of the dearMoon project.

Cabinet discussed at its April 14 session the Sputnik V vaccines, among other things. (Source: TASR)

This is the Wednesday, April 14, 2021 edition of Today in Slovakia. Learn about politics, business, and other notable events of the day in Slovakia in less than five minutes. If you like what we are doing and want to support good journalism, buy our online subscription. Thank you.

Sputnik V contract to be analysed

The Health Ministry will send the contract on the purchase of Russian Sputnik V vaccines for legal analysis to find out whether it could possibly be published. The agreement remains undisclosed for now, as its potential publication is conditioned with the consent of the second contract party.

Justice Minister Mária Kolíková (Za Ľudí) and Deputy PM for Legislation Štefan Holý (Sme Rodina) are expected to help with the analysis, Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský (OĽaNO nominee) said after the April 14 cabinet session.

The ministers discussed the recent trips of Finance Minister Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) to Moscow and Budapest, about which he had not notified the cabinet. In this respect, Foreign Affairs Minister Ivan Korčok (SaS nominee) plans to submit a manual for preparing and approving the foreign trips of cabinet members. He also called on his colleagues to respect the rules and asked them to trust Slovak diplomacy.

In the future, only Health Minister Lengvarský should negotiate about vaccines in the future, as he told journalists.

Another cabinet member, Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď (OĽaNO) reported that Russia has asked Slovakia to take another batch of the Sputnik V vaccines it had contracted.

Russia has reportedly asked Slovakia to accept another delivery of Sputnik V Read more 

Vaccination for foreigners specified

The Health Ministry has specified who will be entitled to the Covid vaccine.

Apart from people who do not pay for their health insurance, like the homeless, and those with debts on their health insurance payments, the vaccination will be available for several groups of foreigners.

This includes foreigners with subsidiary protection, foreigners studying medicine in Slovakia, foreigners who pay public health insurance in Slovakia, and the citizens of other EU countries without any residence in Slovakia who will have their S1 form registered.

The amendment, which came into force this week, still excludes third-country nationals who do not have public health insurance in Slovakia, though.

Health Ministry makes vaccination against Covid-19 accessible to some groups of foreigners Read more 

Coronavirus and vaccination-related developments

  • 1,069 PCR tests out of 8,593 carried out on April 14 were positive, which represents 12.44 percent. Also, 627 out of 145,553 antigen tests were positive, representing 0.43 percent.
  • The British variant is still prevalent in Slovakia; it was confirmed in 94.9 percent of the samples sequenced in March 2021. This represents 1,240 people of 1,307 who tested positive for Covid. The South African variant was confirmed in the case of 12 people, while there has not been any Brazilian strain confirmed yet, the data from the Public Health Authority showed.
  • Changes to curfew rules related to the upcoming lifting of measures on April 19 will be discussed on Friday, April 16, said Defence Minister Naď.
  • Pfizer will speed up the delivery of its vaccines to the EU, with an additional 50 million doses being delivered in the second quarter of the year. Slovakia should receive 610,000 doses from the package.
  • The delivery of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines to Europe will be postponed due to the reported cases of blood clots that occurred after the vaccination in the US, the vaccine producer announced.
  • People in Slovakia tend to limit their social contact, as stems from the recent poll of MNFORCE, Seesame and the Slovak Academy of Sciences. The group of people who do not limit their contact is much lower than the one in the Czech Republic.

Gallery of the day

The beloved ground squirrels from the Biele Vody locality in the National Park Muránska Planina are gradually waking up and ready to mate. Still, the cool start of spring is slowing down their awakening.

Feature story for today

“Until now it’s been smouldering, and I’ve been waiting for the eruption to come. Now it has. One year after the first restrictions, the lockdown honeymoon is over,” psychiatrist Michal Patarák wrote in a Facebook post in mid-March, referring to what his patients have been through in the pandemic.

In an interview with The Slovak Spectator, Patarák reveals the effect the global coronavirus outbreak has had on the lives of people suffering from severe psychiatric illnesses, and exactly when society as a whole reached “breaking point” and lost what unity it had to fight the spread of the virus.

We are serving fiction to children as if it was the real world Read more 

In other news

  • Finance Minister Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) will take over several posts after his predecessor, Eduard Heger. He will represent Slovakia on the boards of governors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, the World Bank, and the International Investment Bank, following cabinet approval on April 14.
  • The system of financing and managing schools should change. While it is currently split between the two ministries (education and interior), it should soon belong only to the education department, as stems from a proposal approved by the cabinet.
  • The boss of the Takáčovci organised crime group, Ľubomír Kudlička, will spend 25 years in prison after the Supreme Court turned down his complaint. The original verdict was issued by the Specialised Criminal Court last November.
  • The annual inflation rate increased to 1.4 percent, impacted mainly by the fuels and tobacco products that have become more expensive after the increase in excise tax. (Statistics Office)
  • Slovak astrobiologist Michaela Musilová has made it to the shortlist of the dearMoon project with the aim to circle around the Moon. Financed by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, the mission with an eight-member crew is scheduled for 2023.

Do not miss on

German architects design the new look of Bratislava's three central squares Read more 

The number of deaths continues breaking long-term averages Read more 

Shops will reopen after four months and should not be in need of customers Read more 

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