News digest: Mass testing may be over before the summer

A pile of rubbish at Bratislava’s Orthodox Jewish cemetery obscured precious gravestones.

Hlohovec castle, whose part has been already reconstructed, is one of monuments re-opening its gates for visitors.Hlohovec castle, whose part has been already reconstructed, is one of monuments re-opening its gates for visitors. (Source: TASR)

This is the Friday, April 23, 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.

Check out the Spectacular Slovakia roundup for weekend reading tips

Three Slovak castles recommended to royalty fans worldwide Read more 

Covid jabs for all who want them before the summer holidays. Health insurance still matters

Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský revealed some of his pandemic management plans for the near future during his press briefing:

  • the requirement for a negative antigen test that effectively keeps mass testing running across the country may be scrapped within two or three weeks,
  • in preparation for the next wave of the pandemic, the minister wants to focus on monitoring wastewater combined with massive PCR testing in places where wastewater testing reveals local coronavirus outbreaks,
  • the registration with the virtual vaccination waiting room should be available to everyone over 18 years of age within two to three weeks (meaning there won’t be a separate opening for people aged 35+ in the next round),
  • it should also be possible to pick one's preferred vaccine,
  • everyone willing to get vaccinated should be able to get their first jab by the end of June, depending on the stability and speed of the supplies from various vaccine producers

The availability of the Covid vaccine is, however, still linked to public health insurance in Slovakia. Even though the ministry recently passed a law that specifies the conditions for vaccination of foreigners living in the country, it has not resolved the situation The Slovak Spectator pointed to earlier this year - that foreigners who for various reasons cannot be part of the public health insurance system are effectively barred from access to the vaccine.

The law, however, clarified the rules for those who are residents in Slovakia but have public health insurance in another EU member state. They may face additional red tape in the process. Nina Hrabovská Francelová reports on how to go about it.

Applying for the S1 document for vaccination? Insurer will need proof of residence Read more 

Hunting of wild boars permitted in Bratislava’s Karlova Ves

Regional authorities will permit the hunting of the wild boars which inhabit the forests of the Karlova Ves borough in the Little Carpathians. Due to sufficient food and lack of a natural predator, wild boars are overpopulated in the forests neighbouring Bratislava.

"The goal is not hunting for hunting's sake, but to reduce the excessive number of wild boars which are causing damage, especially to property and gardens,” said Marek Páva from the Bratislava forest company Mestské Lesy v Bratislave.

Picture of the day

Feature story of today

Maintenance work to clear a pile of rubbish in the capital’s Orthodox Jewish cemetery has resulted in the exceptional discovery of around 450 historical gravestones dating back to the 18th century and first third of the 19th century. They were believed lost after the wartime destruction of the historic Jewish cemetery above the Danube embankment.

Among the rediscovered gravestones are those of the companions of prominent Rabbi and scholar Chatam Sofer, and aristocratic families in the city which at the time was known as Pressburg.

“The value of the tombstones that have been found is incalculable simply because we thought they no longer existed,” Tomáš Stern, chairman of Bratislava’s Jewish Community (ŽNO Bratislava) told The Slovak Spectator.

Tombstones thought lost after wartime destruction of historic Jewish cemetery found again Read more 

Other news

  • One of the three Russian diplomats who were posted to Bratislava and have recently been expelled is the alleged head of the Bratislava cell of the GRU.
  • In the first year of the pandemic the award for the best retailer in Slovakia went for the first time in its history to a toy retailer, Dráčik.
  • Commuter buses of the Slovak Lines company will resume their standard schedule in the Bratislava Region as of Monday, April 26.
  • The average annual temperature in Slovakia has increased by two degrees Celsius and is similar to that of the Mediterranean in the last century, said climatologist Jozef Pecho.
  • The number of bikes in Bratislava's streets has increased by as much as five times compared with January, metres installed in capital's streets have shown.
  • Closed ski resorts and strict anti-coronavirus measures slashed the number of guests in hotels, guesthouses and other accommodation facilities to a mere 29,000 people in February according to the Statistics Office

Do not miss on today

Location of coronations of the Hungarian Kingdom Read more  Tram line in new downtown stirs emotions among Bratislavans Read more  Every school should be school of democracy. Slovakia lags behind Read more 

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