News digest: Crowd blocks entrance to parliament ahead of vaccine-related vote

The youngest member of the Slovak Olympic team kicks off the games with a personal record. Extensive reconstruction of Bratislava's Michael's Tower launched.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. Catch up on the main news of the day in less than five minutes with the Friday, July 23 edition of Today in Slovakia . We wish you a pleasant read.

Protesters attempted to enter parliament, police intervened with tear gas

Hundreds of people protested in front of the parliament on Friday, July 23, due to the expected vote on new anti-Covid measures later that day or Saturday.

The protesters, who reject Covid vaccination, object to the proposed amendment that will allow the government to draft different measures for people who have been vaccinated against Covid and the unvaccinated.

Inside the parliament, MPs are holding an extraordinary session on the Health Ministry's proposal to use the EU Digital Covid Pass as an alternative in the national Covid automat alert system. The vote is expected on Friday or Saturday.

The protesters blocked the building's entrance and demanded to be let in. Many of them were not wearing any masks or face coverings. The police used tear gas when the crowd attempted to enter the parliament, the Sme daily reported.

One police officer has been injured, the Denník N daily wrote, and was treated on the spot.

Parliament's Speaker Boris Kollár, whose party Sme Rodina has been against dividing people based on their vaccination status, labelled the situation a "fatal failure" of the police and its president, Peter Kovařík.

Actors and singers join President Čaputová in announcing public transport stops

The Bratislava city transport company has invited well-known personalities to join President Zuzana Čaputová in announcing the names of selected public transport stops in the Slovak capital. The municipal company wants to boost the morale among passengers.

“Last year, we approached President Zuzana Čaputová to record the announcement of the Hodžovo Square stop,” said Dopravný Podnik Bratislava (DPB) as cited by the TASR. “After positive responses, we resolved to revive the project and add new voices.”

Actors, writers, hosts and singers lent their voices to a total of 29 stop announcements for passengers on public transport.

Actor Tatiana Pauhofová announces the Zochova stop, actor Robert Roth announces the Patrónka stop and singer Richard Müller announces the Blumentál stop.

Coronavirus and vaccination development

  • The State Institute for Drug Control (ŠÚKL) has recorded 7,651 suspected adverse reactions to vaccines against Covid-19 as of July 21. Of these, 702 (9.3 percent) were evaluated as serious. (ŠÚKL)
  • The mobile vaccination unit VakciZuzka launched to increase the vaccination rate in the Žilina Self-Governing Region (ŽSK) reports interest exceeding its capacities.
  • Education Minister Branislav Gröhling (SaS) has called on teachers and employees of the education sector to get vaccinated against Covid-19 before the start of the new school year.
  • The new ordinance of the Public Health Authority (ÚVZ) valid as of Monday, July 26 states that sports stadiums in green regions can be filled up to 50 percent of their capacity. Attendance is limited to 2,000 spectators in regions that are not green. According to the ordinance, children under the age of 12 are not obliged to show a negative test result. The validity of negative PCR or LAMP test results has also been extended from 12 to 24 hours prior to mass events exceeding the allowed maximum of attendants.

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Photo of the day

Archer Denisa Baránková was the first Slovak to perform at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. In the first round, which took place before the opening ceremony, she achieved a personal record of 655 points and finished in 12th place.

Feature story for today

Researchers are readying themselves to unlock secrets held inside an 18th-century statue as recently-started restoration work on one of Bratislava’s best-known tourist sites, Michael’s Tower, gives them the chance to open it after more than 170 years.

Michael’s Tower is one of the most popular historical sites in Bratislava - both because it offers insight into the history of the city’s fortifications and because of its balcony, which provides a great view of Old Town.

But the copper sculpture of St Michael the Archangel on its very top – which is being restored as part of the tower’s reconstruction works - is literally filled with historical and religious artefacts dating back centuries.

“Finding and researching the artifacts and documents that should be hidden inside of the body of St Michael’s statue will be an interesting part of expert work [during the reconstruction],” Patrik Baxa, an architect and expert on historical architecture who has written about Bratislava’s major sites, told The Slovak Spectator.

Famous statue ready to reveal its treasures as reconstruction of Michael’s Tower in Bratislava gets underway Read more 

In other news

  • The Vydrica project, one of the most anticipated development projects in Bratislava, has received construction permission for the first of its three phases. It should be complete in 2024.
  • The number of foreigners working in Slovakia slightly increased again in June. In the sixth month of this year, 68,300 foreigners were working in Slovakia, which is 350 more than in May. (SITA)

  • The Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family has paid €1.94 billion in contributions to support the retention of jobs, according to the latest data of the Social Policy Institute.

  • NS MHD Petržalka has won the public tender to build the extension of the tram line in Petržalka, from Bosákova Street to Janíkov Dvor. It will complete the project for €74.586 million without VAT.

Do not miss today

Pope's visit to Slovakia a miracle, says church analyst Read more 
Scattered around Kysuce, quaint hilltop villages work their magic Read more  Slovakia will open a new institute, this time in Jerusalem Read more  One language for work, one for home. What bilingualism means for Hungarians in Slovakia Read more  Štefánik was a gifted networker. He would have enjoyed social media Read more 

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