News digest: Curfew will stay in place for at least another week

The Health Ministry said the age limit for the Pfizer vaccine could change. EC greenlights the state assistance for tourism.

Illustrative stock photo (Source: TASR)

This is your overview of news from Slovakia on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. This is a free-of-charge service for our readers. If you want to support us, become a subscriber and get access to more detailed news and interesting feature stories from Slovakia.

Šeliga resigns after violating curfew rules

Parliament will have a new deputy speaker. Juraj Šeliga of Za Ľudí decided to step down after it was discovered he was out at a café after the curfew.

The pictures of him entering and then leaving a café in downtown Bratislava, where he met with his party colleague Jana Žitňanská and Juraj Droba of SaS, who currently serves as the governor of Bratislava Region, were published by the Plus 7 Dní weekly on May 5.

Droba and later Šeliga explained that they met to discuss work, particularly topics related to social affairs. Still, Šeliga apologised for his actions, saying that “he set a bad example” and that they could have held such a meeting in a more official place.

Apart from Šeliga, Žitňanská decided to leave her post as the chair of the parliamentary social affairs committee. Both will stay in the parliament as ordinary MPs.

The only one not drawing consequences is Droba. Though he has apologised, he sees no reason to resign.

Šeliga leaves the deputy parliament’s speaker post after violating curfew rules Read more 

More measures to be lifted, but curfew remains

Slovakia has passed another threshold and now meets the criteria for switching to the light red tier of the Covid automat on the national level. The representatives of the Health Ministry have said that further measures will be lifted, but they want to reveal more details on Friday, May 7.

What is clear, though, is that the situation will improve in most districts. Only two will remain in the dark red tier starting next Monday, which under the current rules means that there might be a curfew from 5:00 and 1:00. Another 33 will be in the red tier and 44 in the light red tier. The districts in the light red tier can, for example, open all schools.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry reiterated that it expects 1.5 million vaccines to be delivered in May. Minister Vladimír Lengvarský (OĽaNO nominee) even said that the Pfizer vaccine could soon be administered to people aged 50+ (currently, only those older than 60 or younger than 18 can receive it).

Situation improves, but curfew remains in place for now Read more 

More Covid and vaccination developments

  • Of 8,020 PCR tests carried out on May 4, 708 were positive (or 8.83 percent); of 90,229 antigen tests, 501 came back positive (or 0.56 percent). 31 more people died, increasing the total number to 11,886.
  • The Health Ministry will launch the first phase of the national mobilisation Covid-19 vaccination campaign in early May. It plans to target mostly older people.
  • The Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry has recommended Slovak citizens leave India as soon as possible and avoid travelling there due to the worsening pandemic situation.
  • It will no longer be necessary to buy antigen tests for emergency stock, the cabinet decided on May 5.

Permanent kurzarbeit passed

The state will give employers and employees a new permanent instrument to help them survive crises. Starting in 2022, it will cover a portion of employees’ salaries via the kurzarbeit or short-time work scheme when their employer is unable to assign them work within the originally agreed scope.

The change was approved by the parliament on May 4 and was supported by all 132 MPs present.

The tool will be activated when there is an obstacle at work on the side of the employer, in which the employer cannot assign work to at least a third of employees in the scope of at least 10 percent of the weekly working time. Financial assistance for employers, for each employee and each hour of obstacles at work, is to account for 60 percent of the average hourly earnings of the given employee.

Slovakia will have a permanent kurzarbeit scheme as of next year Read more 

Feature story for today

The biggest change related to the accounting and tax duties of entrepreneurs is the gradual increase in parameters for the obligation to verify individual financial statements by the statutory auditor through an amendment of the Accounting Act. The Economy Ministry estimates that this change in size conditions will mean that in 2022, the audit obligation will fall from the current 3 percent to less than 1 percent of accounting units.

While the increase in size parameters under which a company must have its financial statements audited has pleased the business sector, auditors warn that this change may reduce the quality of accounting in individual companies and lead to an increase in tax fraud. Read more in a story by Jana Liptáková.

Auditors can help companies overcome current crisis Read more 

Picture of the day

Greenpeace Slovakia, the Znepokojené Matky initiative and the Cyklokoalícia civic association organised an event in Bratislava following the issuance of a report on sustainable mobility in the capital. In the picture, they measure the speed of cars in the streets.

In other news

  • The Foreign Policy magazine has published a feature story about former PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO), who “lost his job to the pandemic, but his example serves as a warning to other corruption-fighters lacking governing experience.”
  • Former SIS director Vladimír Pčolinský will remain in custody, a judge of the Specialised Criminal Court decided. Pčolinský was detained in mid-March 2021 due to corruption suspicions.
  • Businessman Zoroslav Kollár and former chair of the Bratislava III District Court David Lindtner, who were both arrested during the Víchrica (Gale) operation in late October 2020, will be released from custody after May 28. The Supreme Court has turned down the proposal to extend their detention.
  • Former police officer Norbert Paksi, who testified against ex-police chief Milan Lučanský and leaked information about wiretappings to the mafia, was sentenced to five years in prison and the forfeiture of part of his property. The court accepted the plea bargain, which secured him a lower sentence for cooperating with the police. (Denník N)
  • Slovakia’s general government deficit amounted to 6.2 percent of GDP last year, and the public debt amounted to 60.6 percent of GDP, according to the report approved by the cabinet on May 5.
  • The European Commission has approved the Slovak state assistance scheme at €90 million to support the tourism sector, hit by the pandemic.
  • The Tatry Mountains Resort company bought Austrian company Muttereralm Bergbahnen, which operates the Muttereralm resort near Innsbruck, for €3.25 million.

More on today

Will Slovakia hold another referendum? President has 30 days to decide Read more 

​​​​​Dobrú chuť. Are you going to eat that? Read more 

Visitors to opal mines can explore a renovated trail Read more 

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