News digest: Some parts of Slovakia under water, economy remains above zero

Austria requires no quarantine upon arrival, but Belgium imposes it again. Schools to be equipped by digital technologies worth €40 million.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

This is the Tuesday, May 18, 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.

Floods across Slovakia claim one life

Following a heavy rainfall that has hit Slovakia in the past few days, some places are struggling with the deluge.

The worst situation so far occurred in the village of Rudno nad Hronom in central Slovakia, where a water reservoir situated above the village burst. The flooding claimed one victim – a former mayor.

Police, firefighters and soldiers came to help. Even PM Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) visited the place, and has promised financial aid.

Meanwhile, other municipalities across Slovakia, and particularly in central and eastern parts, struggled with floods. Even the operation of a hospital in Banská Bystrica was affected.

Slovak economic growth a pleasant surprise

The gross domestic product (GDP) at constant prices grew by 0.3 percent y-o-y in the first quarter of the year. Seasonally adjusted, it increased by 0.5 percent y-o-y, as the Slovak Statistics Office reported in its GDP flash estimate.

In early May, analysts expected the Slovak economy to decline by some 2 percent y-o-y. In the coming quarters, the economy should gradually rebound.

Ľubomír Koršňák, analyst of UniCredit Bank Czech Republic and Slovakia, considers the flash estimate a pleasant surprise and confirmed better than expected monthly figures, especially in the last month of the quarter (March).

Coronavirus and vaccination news

  • 233 PCR tests carried out on May 17 were positive, out of 7,276 (3.20 percent), and of 70,972 antigen tests, 265 were positive (0.37 percent). 10 more people died, increasing the number to 12,248.
  • More than 220,000 people in Slovakia have signed up for vaccination, in the virtual waiting room. The number of people is gradually growing, as stems from the data published by the Data Without Pathos organisation.
  • The British coronavirus strain is still prevailing in Slovakia, identified in 97.4 percent of cases, according to data of the Public Health Authority (ÚVZ) from April 2021. The South African version has been uncovered in seven samples and the Indian mutation in one sample.
  • People travelling from Slovakia to Austria will not have to self-isolate from May 19. They will be required to show a confirmation on testing, vaccination or recovery from the disease.
  • Belgium will list Slovakia as a red country from May 19. This means that people travelling from Slovakia will have to fill in the Health Passenger Locator Form, show a negative Covid-19 test result no older than 72 hours, and undergo a 10-day quarantine upon their arrival. This can be shortened to seven days if they take another Covid test.

Feature story for today

On the ground, what we see is that the problem is not that there is disinterest in vaccination among the elderly, but transport to vaccination centres, say the people who operate the mobile vaccination teams, which travel to villages to inoculate seniors and immobile people.

More mobile vaccination teams roll out to help elderly get jabs Read more 

Other news

  • President Zuzana Čaputová appointed Pavol Naď as the president of the newly-established Supreme Administrative Court. His tenure is limited to five years.
  • Speaker of Parliament Boris Kollár (Sme Rodina) suspended the ongoing parliamentary session until May 26, 13:00, giving the need to discuss some proposals in the coalition as a reason.
  • The coalition decided on postponing the discussion on changes to collusive custody, submitted by Sme Rodina, to the June session.
  • The Specialised Criminal Court sentenced Juraj Ondrejčák, boss of the Bratislava-based organised criminal group Piťovci, to 23 years in prison for murder, the ordering of a murder and other crimes.
  • The Supreme Court has rejected the complaint of Kajetán Kičura, the accused former head of the Administration of State Material Reserves, against the decision of a Specialised Criminal Court judge not to release him from pre-trial custody.
  • The Education Ministry will invest €40 million in digital technologies for teachers and students. The first pieces of equipment are set to be delivered to schools in early September, said Education Minister Branislav Gröhling (SaS).
  • Trnava-based carmaker Stellantis Slovakia suspended part of its production for all three shifts today as well, with exceptions including a press shop, partly a welding shop and the quality and logistics departments.

Do not miss on today

Lawyer spent more than year and half in custody. Constitutional Court ordered his immediate release Read more 

Unhappy mayors, happy developers. What does the proposed construction law change? Read more 

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