News digest: More freedom for vaccinated travellers

Summer season with new travelling rules. Free choice of vaccines to be available from early June.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. This is the Wednesday, May 26, 2021 edition of Today in Slovakia.

Rules for travelling change

Rules for travelling across borders to Slovakia will change ahead of the summer season. Although the rules approved by the cabinet at its May 26 session suggest people will still be required to fill in the online eHranica form and then go into self-isolation, the rules will differ based on which country travellers are coming from.

As of next Monday, countries will be divided into three colour-coded categories:

  • green: EU member states plus countries with a very good epidemiological situation
  • red: countries with an unfavourable epidemiological situation and those where the British variant is spreading
  • black: countries where variants other than the British one are spreading or those providing unreliable data

The specific rules for self-isolation are yet to be issued by the Public Health Authority (ÚVZ). It is already clear, though, that people returning from green countries who have been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid will enjoy some benefits.

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More Covid and vaccination developments:

  • 190 PCR tests out of 6,155 conducted on May 25 were positive (3.09 percent), and so were 196 out of 53,894 antigen tests (0.36 percent). 11 new Covid deaths were confirmed, increasing the total to 12,312.
  • More than 60 districts in Slovakia, including all of Bratislava, will switch to the low-risk yellow or orange tiers next Monday, May 31. This brings more relaxed measures. People will not be required to wear respirators inside (though they are still recommended for public transport) and it will be possible to eat inside restaurants.
  • People will be able to pick their preferred vaccine, including the unregistered Russian vaccine Sputnik V, up until June 8 at the latest, said Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský (OĽaNO). The ministry wants AstraZeneca to return to the vaccination strategy, depending on the supplies.
  • The cancellation of flights between Slovakia and the United Kingdom due to Covid concerns is the last resort, said Martin Klus, state secretary (deputy minister) of the Foreign Affairs Ministry. It is much easier to keep the flights in operation as it is simpler to check whether passengers coming to Slovakia go into self-isolation.

Parliament suspends session on SIS meeting

MPs have suspended the closed special session related to the recent visit of top officials at the premises of the Slovak Information Service (SIS) intelligence agency.

They proposed bringing Vladimír Pčolinský, the former SIS head who is currently in custody on corruption charges, to the session, and the plan was even supported by the MPs of opposition Smer and Hlas parties, as well as the coalition parties Sme Rodina and OĽaNO.

Parliament's Speaker Boris Kollár of Sme Rodina, whose party actually nominated Pčolinský for the SIS post, voted in favour, although he later called it an absurd notion.

The prosecutor of the Special Prosecutor's Office, however, turned down the request.

Picture of the day

Nedbalka Gallery in downtown Bratislava has opened its Umbrella Street for the fourth time. This year, it is inspired by the 1963 piece Abstract Composition by Milan Dobeš.

Feature story for today

Historian Tomáš Klubert was asked by the National Criminal Agency (NAKA) to give his expert opinion on the symbols sold by musician Jaroslav Pagáč, who is closely linked to the far-right political party ĽSNS. The artist faces criminal charges for spreading extremist materials.

In an interview with the Sme daily, he said that symbols having nothing to do with history have become popular with the followers of ancient Slavism. At the same time, neo-Nazis like using them instead of the well-known swastikas.

The idea of Slavs being swastikaphiles is nonsense Read more 

In other news

  • Slovakia will close its airspace to Belarusian airlines from May 27 at midnight until further notice. It is a response to the forced landing of a civilian plane in Belarus, after which journalist Roman Protasevich was detained, Transport Minister Andrej Doležal announced.
  • Former state secretary of the Justice Ministry, Monika Jankovská, was released from custody. She was detained in March 2020 during the Búrka (Storm) police operation.
  • The ban on publishing election polls 50 days before the elections is not in compliance with the Slovak Constitution, the Constitutional Court decided on Wednesday.
  • OĽaNO MP Ján Herák temporarily suspended his membership in the deputy caucus, following the suspicions of abusing a minor. He plans to keep it suspended until the investigation is over.
  • The cabinet approved two draft laws expected to help with the transformation of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV) into a public research institution.
  • Bratislava and the Canary Islands will be connected with new direct flights operated by flytoCanarias in cooperation with the Galistair carrier. They are expected to be launched in late June.

More on

Rules clearing deliveries worth less than €150 through customs should be easier Read more 

Caves in Slovakia reopen to visitors Read more 

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