News digest: More vaccinated people may bring further changes to the tier alert system

Temporary vaccination certificates to be issued from Saturday. Nick Cave is expected to attend the Pohoda summer festival in 2022.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

This is your overview of news from Slovakia on Wednesday, May 19, 2021. Learn more about politics, business, and other notable events of the day in Slovakia in less than five minutes. This service is free-of-charge 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. Thank you.

Vaccination certificates to be issued starting this weekend

The Health Ministry has confirmed that everybody who gets the Covid vaccine jab from this Saturday on will receive a uniform certificate in two languages.

Those who have already been vaccinated can ask for a certificate from the following Monday (May 24) on The ministry plans to add a feature that will send the confirmation directly to a person’s email.

This should solve the problem with the different vaccine confirmations, which several media outlets reported earlier this week. The solution is temporary, as the certificates should be substituted with digital green passes in late June.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry scrapped the age limits for the vaccines by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna completely. This means that the former vaccine can now be administered to anybody aged 16+, and the latter to everybody aged 18+ who registers for the appointment.

New map of districts, new alert system

The situation seems to be improving in most Slovak districts.

From Monday, May 24, the first two districts will be placed in the yellow tier, while another 17 districts will be in the orange tier, 47 in the light red tier and 11 in the red tier. Two districts will remain in the dark red tier.

The Health Ministry has praised the speed of vaccination, too. About 30 percent of people older than 16 have been vaccinated so far, according to the statistics, and another 200,000 are registered and waiting for an appointment.

Vaccinated people will enjoy more benefits in the future, Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský (OĽaNO nominee) said when talking about new adjustments to the Covid automat alert system.

The last big changes to the system were made last week.

More Covid and vaccine developments

  • 246 out of 5,836 PCR tests carried out on May 18 came back positive (4.22 percent) and of 56,846 antigen tests, 180 were positive (0.32 percent). 14 more people died of Covid, increasing the total number to 12,262.
  • The cabinet gave a green light to some economic mobility measures related to the state of emergency to fight Covid-19. This includes the organisation of production and services, the securing health care and transport, the organisation of postal services, the use of state material reserves, the securing of broadcasting time to inform the public about the crisis situation and related measures, and ensuring that this information is available in sign language.
  • The cabinet approved the deferral of the already postponed due date for insurance premiums for the self-employed and employers, from late June 2021 to September 20, 2021-September 30, 2023. The decision concerns the pandemic months of 2020 and 2021.

Budget expenditures bring another coalition dispute

The discussions about increasing the state budget expenditures by €3.4 billion have ignited another dispute in the coalition.

Although the draft amendment was approved by the cabinet, the parliamentary discussion about it had to be postponed. The coalition party Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) wants to use this time to discuss the proposal so that the expenditures do not have to be raised too much.

Finance Minister Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) was critical of this approach and has accused his coalition partner of taking hostages. He even presented some proposals to reduce the financial assistance, submitted by SaS.

The party responded by saying that instead of constructive dialogue, the finance minister is searching for an enemy again and called some of his claims misleading.

Picture of the day

The Košice Zoo has welcomed a baby porcupine, a first in Slovakia: the cub named Hugo who was born in April. The zoo also cares for a rare species of hornbill.

Feature story for today

The cancellation of the national emergency brought an end to the ban on travelling abroad for holidays. People intending to spend their holidays in foreign countries should check the conditions before entering their final destination. The Slovak Spectator has put together rules for entering a selection of countries, both in Europe and overseas.

Ban on holidays abroad has been lifted. Problems may still occur Read more 

In other news

  • The Media Freedom Rapid Response, which is monitoring, tracking and responding to violations of media freedom across Europe, pointed to a recent attempt of the Russian sovereign wealth fund to threaten the Denník N daily with legal action over an article on the Sputnik V vaccine.
  • President Zuzana Čaputová signed the draft introducing the permanent short-time model, kurzarbeit, into law.
  • The prosecutor of the Special Prosecutor’s Office filed charges with the Specialised Criminal Court against two people detained during the Judas police operation: former head of the counterintelligence unit of the Slovak Information Service (SIS) intelligence agency Peter Gašparovič and ex-police officer Ladislav Vičan.
  • Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair will launch two new flights from Slovakia. Both will depart from Košice airport, one heading to Warsaw Modlin and the other to Liverpool.
  • Slovenské Elektrárne is the only Slovak company on Europe’s Climate Leaders list published by the Financial Times. It managed to reduce its core emissions by 6.9 percent between the years 2014 and 2019, aligned with revenue growth.
  • Slovakia will have four more protected areas from June 1: Hradná Dolina, Rimava, Temešská Skala and Kulháň. Záhradská will be declared a nature reserve, and Brezovská Dolina will become a natural monument.
  • Australian musician Nick Cave will be attending the Pohoda summer festival in 2022. He will be accompanied by The Bad Seeds band.

More on today

Ageing will be costly for Slovakia, experts call for timely reforms Read more 

Making the connections between work and life Read more 

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