News digest: Third wave is coming. President urges people to get vaccinated

President and the Catholic bishops encourage people to get Covid vaccine. More foreign countries classify Slovakia as green. Cabinet apologises for the infamous Moldava raid.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. The Wednesday, June 23, 2021 edition of Today in Slovakia is ready. Check out the main news of the day in less than five minutes. We wish you a pleasant read.

President steps in, urges people to get vaccine

With the first Delta variant already detected in Slovakia, the urge to get vaccinated will only become more pressing. The media reports from other countries indicate the situation is quite serious as the variant is more contagious. The second Covid vaccine dose is quite crucial in these cases, and even people who recovered from the disease should be inoculated, as the Health Ministry stressed.

In response, President Zuzana Čaputová spoke up on Wednesday, asking people who are hesitant about getting vaccinated to think about the risk and register.

“The only efficient way not to return to restrictions is vaccination,” she stressed.

She also criticised the political opposition for sending messages that discourage people from getting vaccinated and pointed to the very low vaccination rate in Slovakia, which belongs to the lowest in the entire EU.

Earlier on Wednesday, Slovak Catholic Bishops also asked people to get vaccinated, saying that both Pope Francis and his predecessor Benedict XVI have been inoculated.

More Covid and vaccination developments

  • 35 people out of 4,377 tested with PCR tests on June 22 were positively diagnosed with Covid-19, while antigen tests uncovered 23 out of 26,163 tested. No person died of Covid, keeping the total death toll at 12,502.
  • There will be no districts in the red or light red tiers on the map of Slovakia from next Monday, meaning that the restrictions across the country will be quite mild.
  • Slovakia will either sell or donate the unused 160,000 doses of the uncertified Russian vaccine Sputnik V before they expire, the cabinet decided on June 23. The most likely candidates are Argentina and Western Balkan countries.
  • Registration for vaccination against Covid at general practitioner and paediatrician offices was launched on Wednesday.
  • Slovak citizens living near the Hungarian borders can get vaccinated in Hungary from July 1. This includes inhabitants of Bratislava Region, Trnava Region, Nitra Region, Banská Bystrica Region and Košice Region.
  • It is possible that checks on all border controls will be launched next week, said Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský (OĽaNO nominee) during a talk show of private broadcaster TV JOJ. Everybody coming to Slovakia will have to register online, while vaccinated people will enjoy certain liberties.
  • Several countries have re-categorised Slovakia as a green-tier country, dropping many conditions for entry. This includes the Czech Republic and Belgium, while Cyprus will do so on Thursday. For more details on travelling to some selected countries, check out one of our reports.

Cabinet apologised for the Moldava raid

In an unprecedented move, the cabinet apologised for the infamous 2013 police raid in the Roma settlement in Moldava nad Bodvou (Košice Region) and the events that eventually turned the victims into defendants.

The cabinet considers the apology not only a humanitarian gesture towards the victims but also a commitment of the state to avoid similar failures in the future and a signal that law enforcement bodies have an honest interest in winning back the people's trust, as stems from the document submitted by Justice Minister Mária Kolíková (Za Ľudí) and Interior Minister Roman Mikulec (OĽaNO).

Meanwhile, the charges against five of the original six defendants prosecuted for perjury have been dropped, following the September 2020 ruling of the European Court of Human Rights. One person still stands accused.

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Picture of the day

Slovakia is playing its last match in the E group at the UEFA European Football Championship tonight, against Spain. It needs to win at least 1 point to qualify for the Round of 16.

Feature story for today

When a popular Slovak brand selling socks, underwear and casual clothing published a picture of two men holding hands on its social media profile, they were showered with hateful comments. The most polite among them announced that they were done with the brand and would never again purchase anything from Dedoles.

Though it is the first such campaign in Slovakia, it is quite a popular technique abroad.

One euro for every comment. Slovak company turns hate into love on social media Read more 

In other news

  • The court classified the case of sending out instruction notes by Marian Kočner from prison as perjury. Judge Marek Filo scheduled the main trial for August 10 and 11, 2021. (Denník N)
  • Former top communist officials will see their pensions reduced; the years they worked for the totalitarian regime will be deducted. The change, adopted by the cabinet, will concern their widows and widowers too.
  • Keeping dogs on chains in a breeding facility or household will be banned, with an exception for dangerous dogs, service dogs or short-term cases (cleaning the areas, feeding, training), as stems from an amendment to the law on veterinary care adopted by the parliament.
  • The number of visitors to accommodation facilities in Slovakia rose by one third in April compared with the previous month but still lagged behind the pre-pandemic levels. As many as 50,000 people have visited such facilities, which is by 89 percent less than in April 2019, according to the Statistics Office.
  • The cabinet approved €3.9 million in investment aid to support production at the new Schüle Slovakia plant in Levoča (Prešov Region) and the creation of 130 new jobs.
  • Slovakia has the first case of the African swine fever uncovered in a large pig farm. The state veterinaries said they discovered the disease in Boľkovce near Lučenec (Banská Bystrica Region).

More on today

Several antigen testing sites will close in the summer. But tests will still be needed Read more 

Too many comments return the construction legislation to the review process Read more 

North Koreans and Russians. How did hackers target Slovakia? Read more 

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