TODAY IN SLOVAKIA

News digest: Slovakia wins an unexpected medal during the weekend

Slovakia has three Olympic medals so far. People can register for vaccination lottery. Police ask for videos from last week's protest.

(Source: SME.sk / Hej,ty)

Good evening. The Monday, August 2, 2021 edition of Today in Slovakia with the main news of the day is ready for you. Catch up with the most recent developments in less than five minutes. We wish you a pleasant read.

Slovakia’s golf medal surprise

The weekend Olympic competitions brought an unexpected medal to Slovakia.

Though not being a favourite, Rory Sabbatini played a fantastic final round of 61, which secured him a silver medal with a final score of 17-under. He even set a new Olympic record with his final round and lost by just one strike to Xander Schauffele of the USA.

“I can’t believe it, it’s amazing,” Sabbatini told the public-service broadcaster RTVS after he won.

Sabbatini was born and raised in South Africa. Two years ago, he was granted Slovak citizenship. He married a Slovak, Martina Štofaníková, also known as a former partner of Parliament's Speaker Boris Kollár. Štofaníková and Kollar share a son, Šimon Heliodor. Read more about his journey to the silver medal in the story by the Sme daily.

Meanwhile, Slovakia is awaiting another medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics. Peter Gelle advanced to the semi-finals of the men’s K-1 1,000 metres in canoe sprint, which takes place on August 3.

Emma Zapletalová, who has recently become an under-23 European champion in the 400 m hurdles, did not make it to the finals, and neither did sport shooter Patrik Jány in the 50 m rifle 3 positions men event. Hammer thrower Marcel Lomnický did not reach the following rounds after placing 24th in the qualification.


For a deeper insight into current affairs, read out Last Week in Slovakia, published earlier today. You can sign up for the newsletter here.


Slovakia commemorates the Roma Holocaust

Several politicians, Roma activists, artists and athletes paid tribute to the Roma killed on the night between August 2 and 3, 1944, in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp on the occasion of the Roma Holocaust Memorial Day.

Though it officially falls on August 2, some commemorative events were held on Sunday, August 1, including the one at the SNP Museum in Banská Bystrica.

PM Eduard Heger, who attended it, stressed that “the politics of the hidden Holocaust in us” should come to an end, using very similar words as his predecessor Igor Matovič during last year’s ceremony. He went on to say that his government wants to offer equal opportunities to everyone living at the edge of society, including the Roma, and that they want to invest money into educating young Roma to give them the chance to succeed.

President Zuzana Čaputová said that the statistics of the Holocaust are comprised of thousands of individual human tragedies, each deserving special attention and special mention. She also called to reduce space for hatred, and warned that some Roma still face humiliation as well as verbal and physical attacks for their ethnicity.

Other events, including an exhibition in the Holocaust Museum in Sereď devoted to the persecution of Roma in the period of the Nazi-allied Slovak state, took place on August 2.


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Coronavirus and vaccination news

  • Six out of 1,205 PCR tests completed on August 1 were positive, while out of 3,536 new antigen tests, 10 were positive. No person died, meaning that Slovakia is currently reporting altogether 12,540 Covid deaths.
  • Selected hospitals start vaccinating people without registration today (find the list here). They need to bring an ID and a health insurance card.
  • People can now register for the vaccination lottery and win cash prizes ranging from €1,000 to €100,000. The Finance Ministry launched registration through the Bytzdravyjevyhra.sk website on the evening of August 1, with some 160,000 people registered by 15:00 on August 2.
  • A third Covid vaccine shot will be necessary, but it would be premature to start administering it now, said epidemiologist Martin Pavelka, explaining that the vaccine can last nine to 12 months. The National Health Information Centre (NCZI) said that it is working on registration for the third shot.
  • The last appointments for the first shot of the Sputnik V vaccine will be assigned this week.
  • The Poprad-Tatry airport and the research team of the Jessenius Faculty of Medicine of Comenius University, based in Martin, agreed on testing its employees and incomers from abroad to detect the coronavirus and its variants from saliva. The first passengers who volunteered for testing came from Bulgaria.
  • The large capacity vaccination centre situated at the National Football Stadium in Bratislava will close after Saturday, August 7, and will reopen only if necessary. In August, the Bratislava Region wants to vaccinate people in the field. Meanwhile, the Košice Region will vaccinate people near the bus stations in Košice and Michalovce on Tuesday (August 3) and Wednesday (August 4) with a single-dose vaccine by Johnson & Johnson, while the Banská Bystrica Region plans to vaccinate people without registration in Banská Bystrica, Zvolen, Lučenec, Revúca and Žiar nad Hronom this week.

Travelling in times of Covid

  • Anyone coming to the UK from green and amber countries (including Slovakia) who has been fully vaccinated against Covid does not have to quaratine. Yet, they need to fill in the Passenger Locator Form, complete a pre-departure test before arrival into England, alongside a PCR test on or before day 2 after arrival.
  • People travelling from Slovakia to Germany do not have to self-isolate after their arrival. Incomers are not required to have permanent or registered residence in Germany, but need to fill in an online form and show a negative test result or a certificate of vaccination or a confirmation of recovering from Covid.

Detailed information about travelling to and from Slovakia during the pandemic here.


Picture of the day

Not even bad weather discourages some people from hiking in the High Tatras. In the picture, a group of tourists admire the view from the second highest peak in the mountains, Lomnický Štít.


Feature story for today

Though higher education institutions handled their studies well during the pandemic, students lacked social contact, traineeship and more practical education. This stems from the “Quarter to Quality Education” survey carried out between late April and late May 2021 by the Slovak Accreditation Agency for Higher Education (SAAHE), which asked nearly 20,000 university students about their experiences during the pandemic.

Universities passed pandemic test, but students suffered from lack of contact, massive survey finds Read more 

In other news

  • Eva Kurrayová will become new head of the National Criminal Agency (NAKA), starting on August 1. She will replace Branislav Zurian, who left in mid-May.
  • The police are asking people for videos from the July 29 protest in Bratislava for an analysis of potential crimes and offences. They are also asking for more information on a man who harassed the driver of a white BMW car.
  • The Health Ministry should return €14 million allocated for the purchase of medical technologies, reconstructions and hiring new staff for state-run hospitals and institutes until Thursday, August 5.
  • The damages caused by economic crime in Slovakia in 2020 amounted to more than €235 million. It was nearly €185 million less than in 2019, according to the police.
  • The village of Valaská Belá was stricken by a second flash flood in a week's time on August 1. The village declared an emergency situation.

More on Spectator.sk today:

Slovakia and Greece will cooperate on migration-related issues Read more 

A nation in love with conspiracy theories? Read more 

Under this mediaeval Slovak town lies many ancient cellars Read more 

If you have suggestions on how this news overview can be improved, you can reach us at editorial@spectator.sk.

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