TODAY IN SLOVAKIA

News digest: Vaccination now available two weeks after surviving Covid

Heger cabinet gains parliament's approval. Ministry plans to involve general practitioners in Covid vaccination programme. President bestows award on members of armed forces.

PM Eduard Heger (right), Deputy PM Veronika Remišová (Za Ľudí) and Deputy PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO). (Source: TASR)

This is the Tuesday, May 4, 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.

MPs give green light to Heger government

The parliament approved the programme statement of Eduard Heger's cabinet with a majority of 89 of the 150 votes in the house.

The programme statement is an updated version of the previous cabinet that was led by Igor Matovič, now finance minister, and which collapsed in late March following a month-long coalition crisis.

The Heger cabinet was installed on April 1. The leaders of the four coalition parties now all declared the trust that they received from the parliament was a chance for a new start.

Vaccination after Covid now requires shorter wait

With the warning signs of looming low vaccination uptake across age groups, particularly among the most vulnerable people, who are older than 60, the Health Ministry is beefing up the vaccination promotion campaign.

Involving general practitioners in administering the vaccine to their patients is reportedly part of the plan, and as a trial version, 50 GPs around Slovakia should start vaccinating their patients. The trust that the patients have in their doctors could help overcome their vaccine skepticism, but also practical obstacles some face in registering and getting to the vaccination centre for their jabs.

The ministry also informed that in two weeks' time, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the only one-dose vaccine of the four vaccines currently registered in the EU and rolling out in Slovakia, should be put to use in the country. The ministry expects 46,500 doses to be supplied to Slovakia throughout May.

People who have had the Covid will also have easier access to the vaccine: they can get their jab 14 days after they have survived Covid. Until now, they had needed to wait three months after recovering.

Picture of the day

President Zuzana Čaputová awarded the state award For Bravery to eight members of the Armed Forces, in recognition of their frontline work during the first and second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The awarded members of the armed forces are Marek Sovský, Juraj Černota, Patrícia Kuchárová, Ivana Kováčová, Pavol Janešík, Ladislav Dovhun, and Peter Pápež.

Feature story for today

Anti-Covid measures and the second pandemic wave continued to affect several sectors of Slovakia’s economy, though not as much as in the first month of the year. Revenues in the retail and hospitality sectors were still hitting lows, as was the construction sector. Foreign trade again helped the Slovak economy.

Find out more about the current developments in our latest overview of selected economic statistics published in April 2021.

Related articleRevenue and construction sector still suffer from pandemic Read more 

In other news

  • Austria is ready to close a bilateral agreement on free travelling between countries with Slovakia, the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said after his meeting with Slovak PM Eduard Heger, who visited Austria on Tuesday.
  • The Za Ľudí junior coalition party will propose that the cabinet scrap the curfew as well as the ban on gathering. The cabinet will also re-consider the national emergency, which still applies in the country.
  • The census has entered into its second stage. It is no longer possible to participate online, but participation in the census is still possible with the assistance of local authorities.
  • The Fitch Ratings agency has confirmed Slovakia's A rating with a negative outlook, unchanged since November 2020. Slovakia is expected to be the fastest-growing economy in the Central and Eastern European region.
  • The Black Swan 2021 international military training kicked off with the participation of the Slovak armed forces. The training is scheduled to last until May 14.
  • Prosecutor filed an indictment against former general prosecutor Dobroslav Trnka for abuse of powers of a public official, in connection with the Gorilla recording.
  • Marian Kočner is facing another criminal case in court. He has been formally charged over the messages he was illegally sending from prison to his then-aide Peter Tóth. (TV Markíza)
  • Norbert Bödör has been charged with money laundering in the Dobytkár (Cattle Breeder) case. The investigator found more than 50 new bribes worth about one million euros, which Bödör reportedly received from former representative of the Agricultural Paying Agency, Ľubomír Partika. (Aktuality.sk)
  • Head of the National Health Information Centre (NCZI), Róbert Suja, is finishing at the post at which he had been temporarily assigned in March. He will be replaced in the top post at NCZI by Pavol Capek, also responsible for Covid vaccination registration.
  • The revitalisation of the Medical Garden in central Bratislava is starting on Wednesday. The paving, furniture and the fountain will be reconstructed. The work will be finished by the end of June.

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