News digest: Summer holiday brings new travelling and testing rules

Vaccination the decisive factor for self-isolation. State will focus on PCR tests. Children start summer holiday.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. Check out the main news of the day in less than five minutes in the Wednesday, June 30, 2021 edition of Today in Slovakia. We wish you a pleasant read.

New rules for travelling

The rules for travelling and self-isolation for incomers based on the countries they are coming from are changing slightly over a month after becoming effective.

As only a few more than 17,000 people registered with the official online form between May 20 and June 20, 2021, the Health Ministry deemed the travelling traffic light system ineffective.

The new system applied from July 9 should benefit vaccinated incomers. Everybody (including the vaccinated) can avoid self-isolation. Vaccinated incomers will be required to show a confirmation of vaccination when crossing the borders. Those not vaccinated will have to register and then self-isolate. They can take a PCR test no sooner than on the 5th day after arrival, and then end the self-isolation if the result is negative.

Exceptions will be scrapped in the case of people who recovered from Covid and are not vaccinated with at least one vaccine shot.

The rules for cross-border commuters and children aged 12-18 (who are now entitled to the vaccination against Covid in Slovakia) will change. There will be a transitional period between July 9 and August 9, but after August 9, they will be required to self-isolate if they are not vaccinated.

Police and soldiers patrolling the borders will have their own alert system, meaning that the intensity of border checks will depend on the tier Slovakia is in.

State focuses on PCR tests

The beginning of summer also brings the closure of hundreds of mobile testing sites where people could take a free-of-charge antigen test.

Instead, the Health Ministry wants to focus on PCR testing. There will be 120 mobile PCR testing sites around Slovakia with the capacity to perform 30,000 tests as of July 1.

The state will reimburse all tests that it used to pay for in the past, including tests taken after coming from abroad (if people are not vaccinated), tests for people who have symptoms (if the doctor recommends the test), tests for those who come in contact with Covid-positive people, and tests for summer camp participants.

Other PCR tests (if they are required for a mass event, for example) will be paid from people's own pockets.

Those who are fully vaccinated will not be required to get tested.

Other Covid and vaccination developments

  • 33 out of nearly 6,000 PCR tests carried out on June 29 were positive, and so were 19 of 26,509 antigen tests performed the same day. 120 people with Covid are currently hospitalised, and no more people died of Covid.
  • Slovakia’s districts will follow only very mild measures from next Monday. As many as 46 districts will be in the green tier and the remaining 33 in the yellow tier.
  • The GreenPass app is now available for download. It can be used to save the Digital Covid EU Certificate with the user's confirmation of vaccination, Covid test results or proof of recovery from Covid. Here is how you can obtain your certificate when vaccinated in Slovakia.
  • The Veda Pomáha (Science Helps) initiative has pointed out that the symptoms of a person infected with the Delta variant are slightly different than those of other variants. They are similar to an ordinary cold, meaning that people have headaches, a higher body temperature and mucus in their nose.
  • People should prepare for more intensive border checks in the coming days. On Thursday (July 1), authorities will patrol on the Holíč-Hodonín border crossing, and on Friday (July 2) they will check the Petržalka-Berg border crossing and the Skalica-Sudoměřice border crossing.

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Picture of the day

The school year officially ended on June 30, with more than 700,000 children from primary and secondary schools receiving their final school reports. They will return to school on September 2.

Feature story for today

While Slovakia boasts of its rich folklore traditions, music in particular, some feel the country falls behind when it comes to keeping Slovak folk music alive across North America. Until the early 1990s, and despite communism, folk music exchange between Slovaks living overseas and their homeland flourished.

Folk ensembles in North America have been on the decline since, though, and the existing ones are struggling.

Due to poor assistance, Slovak folk music might vanish from North America Read more 

In other news

  • The 20-percent VAT on FFP2 and FFP3 respirators will be reintroduced on July 1. The government originally imposed a zero tax on them in mid-March to make them more available to the public.
  • The cabinet gave a green light to two changes submitted by Deputy PM Štefan Holý (Sme Rodina): the amendment to the law on public procurement and the creation of the Office for Spatial Planning and Construction that should take the powers of the construction offices and some competences from the Transport Ministry. The changes still need to be approved by the parliament.
  • Air companies operating the international airports in Slovakia (in Bratislava, Košice and Poprad) should receive €7.979 million in total as partial compensation for their costs related to the operation of the airports when air transport was stopped due to the pandemic, the cabinet decided at its June 30 session.
  • The district court in Bratislava sentenced a 32-year-old Czech to five years in prison for throwing stones at police officers, injuring one, during last year’s demonstration in Bratislava against pandemic restrictions. As the person pleaded guilty, the ruling is valid.
  • Private carrier RegioJet will dispatch its trains to Croatia every day from July 1 until the end of the summer holidays. Currently, they run three times a week.
  • Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Slovakia Natasha Franceschi, British Ambassador to Slovakia Nigel Baker, State Secretary of the Defence Ministry Marian Majer and Polomka Mayor Ján Lihan paid tribute to US and British agents who participated in the Slovak National Uprising (SNP) that broke out during WWII. The soldiers arrived in Slovakia in 1944 to coordinate material help for the resistance fighters and protect their pilots, who were shot down by the Nazis.

More on today:

MP stopped two legislation proposals on abortion Read more 

Every inhabitant of Slovakia produces a hundred kilos of biowaste a year Read more 

Pandemic greatly increased demand on free legal advice sector Read more 

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