News digest: Coalition has yet to decide on prolonging national emergency

The Health Ministry will give preference to chronically ill patients. ZSSK plans to restore international trains.

Restaurant terraces in Bratislava (Source: TASR)

This is the Monday, April 26, 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.

For a deeper insight into current affairs, read our Last Week in Slovakia, published earlier today.

Heger cabinet rediscovers government’s lost compass, expels three Russian diplomats Read more 

Coalition to discuss national emergency

The national emergency is set to end on Wednesday, April 28.

While the pandemic commission recommends that the cabinet prolong it by a further 30 days, there are some opposing voices, also from the coalition. Sme Rodina chair and Speaker of Parliament Boris Kollár, and the Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party led by Economy Minister Richard Sulík, have already said that they disagree with extending the national emergency, but admitted that they might be convinced with good arguments.

The last coalition partner, Za Ľudí led by Veronika Remišová, wants to follow the instructions of the pandemic commission and the health minister.

PM Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) said on Sunday that the coalition had agreed on prolonging the national emergency, but changed his statement a day later, claiming that they should make a final decision later on Monday.

Meanwhile, several new rules came into force. The outdoor terraces of restaurants as well as fitness centres have reopened, following strict hygienic rules, while hygienists modified some rules for travelling across borders, related to cross-border workers and exemptions from self-isolation. At the same time, schools started following the district tier system, meaning that in five districts with the best situation, all pupils and students could return to their school desks.

Slovakia is gradually opening up. What measures are in place after April 26? Read more 

More on the virus and vaccination

  • Only 99 PCR tests out of 10,622 carried out on April 25 came back positive, which represents 0.93 percent. At the same time, 484 of 287,331 antigen tests (or 0.17 percent) were positive.
  • The number of people who have received the first Covid vaccine shot has exceeded 1 million. The current statistics show that altogether 1,024,688 received the first jab as of April 25, and 419,596 were vaccinated with the second dose.
  • The Health Ministry will change its vaccination strategy again, giving preference to patients suffering from chronic diseases. The amendment, which also proposes allowing the vaccination of people who accompany people older than 70 years, may come into force on May 1, but has not been finalized.
  • The Russian producer of the Sputnik V vaccine tweeted during the weekend that it has no objection to publishing the deal between Russia and Slovakia.
  • The Moje ezdravie app will not be working during the night between April 26 and 27, specifically from 21:00 to 4:00. This means that people will not be able to register for Covid testing or fill in the eHranica form.

Volkswagen suspends SUV production

Bratislava-based carmaker Volkswagen Slovakia has confirmed that it will suspend the production of its SUV vehicles due to the shortage of semiconductor components. The production lines will be halted from this Thursday, April 29, until next Friday, May 7.

Its representatives confirmed the suspension of production already last week.

The company claims that its production of small city cars will continue to follow plans.

Volkswagen in Bratislava will suspend production of SUV modelsRead more 

Picture of the day

The outdoor terraces of restaurants as well as fitness centres reopened on April 26, as part of a further lifting of Covid-measures.

Feature story for today

The world remembers the 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl explosion. The tragedy was described to a more contemporary audience through the HBO series that aired two years ago. Read the review in one of our archive materials.

From our archives:Power, politics and catastrophe: HBO’s Chernobyl is explosively real Read more 

In other news

  • The prime ministers of the Visegrad Group (V4) grouping, i.e. Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary, have expressed their solidarity with Czechia and condemned the inappropriate Russian response to the former’s decision to expel Russian diplomats.
  • About one third of people in Slovakia think the Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) government will last only a few months, and about one quarter say it will stick together until the end of the current election term, according to the recent Focus poll.
  • The state-run railway passenger carrier ZSSK will gradually restore select international trains. Trains to the Czech Republic will be restored in late April and trains to Hungary in early May.
  • As many as 50 percent of Slovaks trust the EU, the highest percentage in 10 years. The latest Eurobarometer data shows that Slovakia is the country whose inhabitants are the third-least satisfied with the governmental solutions to the pandemic. (Euractiv)

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