News digest: New travel rules become effective, more foreigners can sign up for vaccination

The appellate proceeding in the Kuciak murder case starts tomorrow. Travel map changes. Registration for Covid vaccine now open to more foreigners.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. The Monday, June 14, 2021 edition of Today in Slovakia is ready with the main news of the day in less than five minutes. We wish you a pleasant read.

For a more in-depth view of the week’s events, check out the latest Last Week in Slovakia overview published earlier today. You can also sign up for the weekly newsletter with one click here.

Appellate proceeding in the Kuciak murder case starts tomorrow

The Supreme Court will decide on the prosecutor’s appeal in the case of the murders of journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová tomorrow, June 15.

The prosecutor challenged the verdict that acquitted Marian Kočner, whom the prosecutor believes to be the mastermind behind the murders, and Alena Zsuzsová of the charges in the case in early September 2020.

Zsuzsová and Kočner have since been convicted for different crimes: Kočner for 19 years in the promissory notes case and Zsuzsová for 21 years in another murder case.

The prosecutor has prepared new evidence in the meantime, including messages between Zsuzsová and her daughter, previously unpublished videos from the illegal surveillance of journalists, USB drives found in Kočner’s house, and even the recorded heartbeat of Zsuzsová. There is also a new expert opinion, intended to convince the court that text messages sent via the Threema app contained hidden meanings.

The Supreme Court senate can either confirm the verdict of the first-instance court or return the case to the senate of the Specialised Criminal Court to consider the new evidence and take into account the legal opinion of the appellate court.

Read more on the Kuciak murder case here.

New travel rules come into force

A new travel map with countries divided in green, red or black tiers came into force on Monday, June 14.

Each tier follows different rules, making incomers to register online and self-isolate for 14 days unless they receive a negative test result.

Exceptions apply mostly to incomers coming from green, or safe countries. The biggest changes coming into force on Monday relate to vaccination. The new instructions issued by hygienists now state that a person is considered vaccinated if at least 21 days have passed since receiving the first vaccine shot.

These people are not required to show a negative test result when returning to the country.

New rules also apply to mass events, capacity limits and the operation of restaurants or cafés.

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Other Covid and vaccination related news

  • Only 12 out of 1,093 PCR tests carried out on June 13 came back positive, and of 42,966 antigen tests 43 were positive. Two more people died of Covid, increasing the total number to 12,441.
  • People are now required to wear FFP2 or KN-95 respirators inside the buildings in only two red-tier districts (Kysucké Nové Mesto and Myjava) and three light red-tier districts (Banská Štiavnica, Skalica and Trenčín) from today. Another 19 districts switched to the orange tier, 49 to the yellow tier and six to the green tier with the mildest restrictions on Monday.
  • Altogether 10,046 people aged 12-16 are currently awaiting their Covid vaccine jab. As for the unregistered Sputnik V vaccine, there are 4,725 people waiting for the shot, most of them in the age group of 40-45 years.
  • The Health Ministry has expanded the group of people entitled for a Covid vaccine by foreigners who do not have public health insurance in Slovakia.
  • Vaccination against Covid-19 on the premises of employers was officially launched on Monday. Altogether 18 employers, including Volkswagen Slovakia, Schaeffler and U.S. Steel Košice, have joined the project so far.
  • General practitioners and paediatricians might start administering Covid vaccines from July 1. The Health Ministry plans to launch a call for general practitioners by the end of this week.
  • The State Institute for Drug Control recorded five cases of heart muscle inflammation (myocardium) after vaccination as of Friday, June 11.
  • People from Slovakia can now travel to Slovenia without any restrictions. They only need to show a confirmation that the incomer spent the last five days in a green-tier country (which includes Slovakia), then they are not required to show a negative PCR/antigen test or fill in some form. Also, incomers bearing a national certificate of vaccination or a confirmation of recovery from Covid in the previous six months or a negative test result no older than 48 hours will be allowed to enter, according to the Foreign Affairs Ministry website.

Picture of the day

The summer reading corner in Medická Záhrada Park in downtown Bratislava opened on June 14.

Feature story for today

Working from home was among the first responses to the coronavirus outbreak in the spring of 2020. When the second pandemic wave unfolded in the autumn, home office was even mandatory in Slovakia for any work that can be done from home, for both private companies and the public sector.

What changes have employers in the public sphere or critical infrastructure adopted to prepare for the new working challenges? Do they plan to stick to some kind of remote work once the pandemic is over?

Home office will be preserved in some form in the future Read more 

In other news

  • The opposition party Smer has reported the best result since last summer, when a group led by Peter Pellegrini left. On the other hand, the ruling parties OĽaNO and Za Ľudí keep falling, as stems from a June poll by Focus.
  • The General Prosecutor’s Office has dropped charges against Branislav Zurian, former head of the National Criminal Agency (NAKA), who has been accused of abusing the power of a public official and endangering a confidential and reserved fact.
  • Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová attended the NATO Summit in Brussels on June 14. In her speech, she expressed hope that besides unity and coherence, the Allies will continue strengthening the collective defence and will have enough skills, determination and sources to protect their people. “Our strength starts at home where lie our democratic institutions, strong rule of law and our values,” Čaputová said. “It is not accidental that the greatest threats come from those who do not share our values. We need to stand up when there is an attack on democracy and order based on rules, both at home and abroad.”
  • The cabinet disagrees with a proposal to oust Interior Minister Roman Mikulec (OĽaNO) from his post, considering the proposal part of a political conflict and a serious attack on the rule of law principles. PM Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) said that the cabinet expressed unanimous support for Mikulec at its June 14 meeting.
  • The Supreme Court has taken Adrián Szabó, head of the Interior Ministry’s police inspection service, into custody. The Court thus dismissed an earlier decision of the Specialised Criminal Court that did not want to take him into detention.
  • The Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute (SHMÚ) expects that the first heat wave this year may hit Slovakia in the coming days.
  • Slovak astrobiologist Michaela Musilová has been granted the Ambassador’s Medal & Award by the Slovak Ambassador to the United States of America.

Read more on today

Presidents, prime ministers and even the pope. The world is coming to Bratislava again Read more 

Pandemic has cut both job and salary offers. Labour market adapts to new trends Read more 

Amended Labour Code reflects the pandemic Read more 

Honey bees do not always sting. Sometimes they can be friends Read more 

If you have suggestions on how this news overview can be improved, you can reach us at

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