News digest: Slovakia remains green, but new rules for deteriorating situation already being discussed

Draft warning system gives premises a chance to pick entrance rules. Slovak districts remain in the green tier. Summer schools are now open.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. Your Today in Slovakia daily news digest on Monday, August 9, 2021, is ready. Get an overview of the most important news of the day in a less than five-minute read.

New alert tier system drafted

Even if the epidemic situation in Slovakia deteriorates and the daily caseload starts increasing again, it is possible that some districts will not be forced to impose the strictest measures.

The Sme daily reported about the recently drafted changes to the Covid automat warning system which suggest that people in districts with higher vaccination rates among people aged 50 and older will be given certain benefits. Currently, two districts (Bratislava and Dunajská Streda) meet the set vaccination threshold, and another two (Pezinok and Senec) are close to it.

Moreover, the owners of premises and the organisers of mass events will be allowed to decide which entrance conditions they will set.

There will be three options: entrance could be conditioned with a confirmation of vaccination; entrance could be conditioned with proof of vaccination, a negative test or recovery from Covid; or there will be no requirement to show a test result or a certificate of vaccination.

The changes still need to be approved by the cabinet.

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

Coronavirus and vaccination news

  • Slovakia remains in the green tier this week. This means the measures are very mild; however, masks are still required when going inside buildings and travelling on public transport.
  • Laboratories completed 1,881 PCR tests on August 8, 19 of which were positive. Out of 3,329 new antigen tests, 10 were positive. There are 65 patients with Covid in hospitals.
  • The Delta variant was uncovered in 78 out of 81 samples sequenced in the past week. This represents 96.3 percent, the Health Ministry announced.
  • The mobile team of the Košice Self-Governing Region will vaccinate people in front of the shopping centres in Košice, Spišská Nová Ves, Krompachy and Gelnica, as well as bus stations in Košice and Michalovce this week. Registration is not required.
  • The National Health Information Centre will reinforce its call centre. Altogether 20 people from a private company will join 28 operators currently working there.

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Picture of the day

NASA picked a photo taken by Slovak photographer Tomáš Slovinský and Czech Petr Horálek (of the Institute of Physics in Opava), titled Perseus and the Lost Meteors, as its Astronomy Picture of the Day. It is a composite image of last year’s Perseid Meteor Shower. This year, it peaks during the night between August 12 and 13.

Feature story for today

The Fulbright Program, one of the largest international educational exchange programmes in the world, celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. Altogether 362 Slovaks were offered a chance to study and do research in the USA in the 27 years since Slovakia joined the club. The Slovak Spectator spoke to some participants, who called it a life-changing experience. Many of them stay in touch with their colleagues at host universities.

Fulbright is a life-changing experience, say participants Read more 

In other news

  • Ex-deputy head of the Financial Administration, Daniel Čech, confessed to accepting a bribe of €200,000 from his former boss, František Imrecze. He is already the second former representative of the Financial Administration detained during the Mýtnik 3 (Toll Collector 3) operation who has confessed.
  • Summer schools opened today, with classes being held until August 27. The project, which aims to help pupils overcome education gaps caused by the pandemic and prepare for the new school year, is attended by 419 primary and 34 secondary schools.
  • Slovak exports and imports surpassed the pre-Covid level by almost one fifth in June, increasing in annual terms for the fifth consecutive month. Export grew by 16.6 percent year-on-year, while import went up by 28.3 percent annually. Foreign trade was in surplus, amounting to €297 million, according to the Statistics Office.
  • The transformation of national parks will cost €7 million to €11 million. The Environment Ministry wants to use the money from the Environmental Fund, and it should be possible to apply for EU funds later on.
  • The European Commission approved the €10 million scheme to aid professional sport clubs in Slovakia hit by the pandemic. The state is supposed to provide the grants until the end of the year, with one applicant receiving no more than €1.8 million.

More on today:

The second pandemic wave postponed the treatment of many patients Read more 

The biggest auditors, accountants and tax advisors in Slovakia Read more 

Respect, fear, and bravery: Pieniny Read more 

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