News digest: Delta variant changes conditions for travelling

Vaccinated people will enjoy more freedoms when crossing borders. Registration for Johnson&Johnson vaccine launched. Slovakia’s recovery plan approved.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. The Monday, June 21, 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.

Crossing borders will be limited, but not for the vaccinated

Portugal has dropped from the list of safe countries. From Monday, June 21, it is considered a black-tier country, meaning that the incomers need to self-isolate after their arrival until they receive a negative Covid test result.

The decision was adopted given the current situation in the country, impacted by the Delta variant first identified in India. The variant will soon affect the situation in Slovakia as well.

This is why the central crisis staff organised two meetings, on June 18 and 21, to discuss the new border regime.

Although they do not plan to limit travelling, there will be certain restrictions for people returning from abroad, unless they are vaccinated. While there are currently some exceptions for cross-border commuters and people who have recovered from Covid, these should not be in place anymore, as Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský (OĽaNO nominee) said.

The new rules are set to be specified in an ordinance that will be written by the Public Health Authority (ÚVZ).

For now, it remains unclear when the new rules will come into force. It is clear, though, that the state plans to check registration in the eHranica online system at the borders and that there should be no mandatory state quarantine. Instead, the state plans to launch the eKarantena app to monitor the incomers.

More Covid and vaccination developments

  • Only one out of 896 PCR tests carried out in Slovakia on June 20 came back positive, while antigen tests identified 32 positive cases out of 31,616 tests. Four more people have died, increasing the total number of Covid deaths to 12,496, and there are 158 hospitalised patients with confirmed Covid.
  • The Health Ministry has launched the registration for the single-shot Janssen vaccine by Johnson & Johnson for everybody older than 18 years. The vaccine becomes effective against the virus after 14 days since being administered. The vaccination will be open for three weeks or until stocks run out.
  • Some 412,000 people are waiting for the first or second Covid vaccine jab in the online waiting room. Altogether 4,825 people are waiting for the first dose of the uncertified Sputnik V vaccine, and 6,788 for the second dose.
  • 118 homeless people and people from vulnerable communities were vaccinated against Covid-19 at the end of last week in Bratislava.
  • Slovaks living abroad can also be vaccinated against Covid in Slovakia. If they are insured in another EU country, the vaccination costs will be covered by the Slovak health insurance company.
  • The police will monitor the observance of quarantine duties on the Medveďov- Vámosszabadi (Hungary) border crossing on June 22. On June 23, they will check the border crossing between Moravský Svätý Ján and Hohenau (Austria).
  • People from Slovakia can now travel to Croatia without any limitations as the country has switched to the green tier on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) map. They only need their ID card or passport, though they are still recommended to fill in a form prior to their arrival to speed up border checks.

Green light for Slovakia’s recovery plan

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen came to Bratislava in person on June 21 to confirm that the EC has approved Slovakia’s recovery plan.

If approved by the Council of the EU, the country should receive €6.3 billion to carry out reforms and investments in fields like education, health care, environment, innovations, digitalisation, infrastructure and effective public administration.

During a press conference, von der Leyen appreciated the fact that Slovakia was among the first countries to submit the plans and emphasised a great collaboration with the country.

She also said that it meets criteria set by the Council of the EU, which needs to give its final approval to the plan, and is also ambitious.

“It’s an important milestone in Slovakia’s history,” said PM Eduard Heger. “Our future depends to a great extent on the recovery plan.”

If you like what we are doing and want to support good journalism, buy our online subscription. Thank you.

Picture of the day

Slovakia is commemorating the 30th anniversary of the departure of the last transport with Soviet soldiers on June 21. Originally, the Soviet troops had arrived to the former Czechoslovakia during the night between August 20 and 21, 1968 for temporary occupation. In the end, they spent 23 years in the country.

Feature story for today

The legislative changes on remote work are widely discussed, but not the only ones that came into force the past year in response to the new situation the pandemic created in the labour market. The Slovak Spectator spoke with lawyers from selected law firms dealing with labour legislation about these changes, and the most frequent problems of their clients.

Home office regulation is a wasted opportunity Read more 

In other news

Weather warnings for June 21-23, 2021. Weather warnings for June 21-23, 2021. (Source: SHMÚ)
  • Ján Herák is remaining in parliament despite facing suspicions of sexually abusing minors. After suspending his membership in OĽaNO he has promised to give up his mandate, but no sooner than June 30, 2021 given the huge number of projects he is currently working on, as he explained. (TASR)
  • After receiving thousands of comments on the draft construction legislation, the Office of Deputy PM Štefan Holý is reportedly planning to submit construction laws for interdepartmental review again. The first to announce this decision was the Via Iuris non-governmental organisation, which considers it a good step given the wide criticism of the proposals.
  • 25 non-governmental organisations have launched a petition called Osloboďme Národné Parky (Liberate the National Parks), calling for the reform of national parks and systemic changes to nature protection.
  • The registered unemployment rate, calculated from the number of jobless people ready to take a job immediately, amounted 7.92 percent in May 2021, down 0.08 percentage points month-on-month, while the total unemployment rate stood at 8.47 percent, down from April’s 8.55 percent. The total number of vacancies amounted to more than 70,000, according to the Central Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family (ÚPSVaR).
  • Slovak cyclist Peter Sagan won his seventh title as the Slovak champion in road cycling.

More on today

Austerity policies proved quantifiably deadly Read more 

Change is good: Topoľčany Castle Read more 

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

Top stories

News digest: It's an Olympic gold day for most in Slovakia, protest day for some

Trap shooter Rehák Štefečeková wins her first Olympic gold. Anti-vaxxers block traffic in downtown Bratislava. Slovakia has sold its unused Sputnik V doses.

1 h

Adjustments on local level may make all the difference in coping with climate change

You can’t fix the problem if you don’t know what the problem is.

2 h
Zuzana Rehák Štefečeková won Slovakia's first medal at 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Golden Zuzana hits nearly anything that moves

Read the story of trap shooter Zuzana Rehák Štefečeková, who won her first Olympic gold in Tokyo.

9 h
Protesters blocked the roads near Hodžovo Square on July 29, 2021.

Protesters cause a traffic collapse in downtown Bratislava

Police recommend drivers to avoid Hodžovo Square, if possible.

6 h