News digest: Convicted mobster Kočner is tried again, this time for trying to influence witnesses

Rapid tests in hospitals to cost €5. Slovak firefighters arrive in Greece. Half a million people apply to vaccination lottery.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. Your Today in Slovakia daily news digest on Tuesday, August 10, 2021, is ready. Get an overview of the most important news of the day in a less than five-minute read.

Convict Kočner faces another trial

The trial in the case of notes bearing secret instructions sent by controversial businessman and convict Marian Kočner from prison started today. He reportedly wanted to contact people who would provide a false testimony in other cases in which he faced charges.

Kočner, convicted for forging promissory notes and currently serving 19 years in prison, was detained in June 2018. Several months later, his former friend, ex-journalist turned spy Peter Tóth, handed a bunch of secret notes with instructions he had received from Kočner to police.

Tóth took the witness stand on Tuesday, describing his relation to Kočner and his alleged attempts to find witnesses proving the existence of promissory notes. Kočner, who denied the plea bargain at the beginning of the trial, has refuted the claims. The court is set to continue on Wednesday.

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Coronavirus and vaccination news

  • 101 PCR tests out of 8,193 completed on August 9 came back positive, and two more people have died. The number of patients hospitalised with Covid increased to 73.
  • The cabinet is scheduled to discuss the changes to the Covid automat alert system at its session scheduled to start on August 10 at 17:00. If approved, the new tier system should take into account the rate of vaccinated people in regions.
  • The transitional period for incomers aged 12-18 expired on August 9. This means that they can avoid self-isolation after coming from abroad only if they have been fully vaccinated against Covid.
  • The Union of Towns of Slovakia launched a website showing the current vaccination rate in the towns and villages.
  • About 19 percent of minors aged 12-17 have been vaccinated against Covid so far. The call of Education Minister Branislav Gröhling (SaS) asking young people to get a jab before the new school year starts has been joined by youth organisations.
  • 183.7 tonnes of biological waste from the nationwide Covid testing has been safely eliminated, the Defence Ministry said.
  • Sixty-eight hospitals across Slovakia will soon offer antigen testing for €5; the number of tests will not be limited. Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský (OĽaNO nominee) said that commercial testing is still available, but these testing sites set the price themselves.
  • About 500,000 people, which represents about one quarter of those vaccinated against Covid, have signed up for the vaccination lottery so far. There are about 52 percent of men and 48 percent of women participating.

Travel news

  • Finland put Slovakia on the list of risky countries on August 9. This means that to enter the country, it is necessary to have a certificate on full vaccination (i.e. two weeks must pass after receiving the second dose) or a certificate of recovering from Covid in the past six months.

Picture of the day

Slovak firefighters arrived in the Greek island of Evia at 1:00 in the morning on August 10. The first group comprised of 31 firefighters started helping at about 8:00.

Feature story for today

The good news is that amid unpredictability caused by the more contagious Delta variant, there are still things within our control. Along with getting vaccinated, we can spend a few minutes less each day on our phones and a few more shaving, showering and brushing our teeth. It’s not just for you, it’s for your friends and neighbours.

There are still things within our control Read more 

In other news

  • 691 people crossed Slovakia's border illegally in the first six months of 2021, up by 210 people compared with the same period last year.
  • Industrial production in Slovakia was boosted by 13.7 percent year-on-year in June, while its growth rate decelerated by one third compared to the previous month. Nevertheless, production managed to exceed the level of June 2019 by 4.1 percent, according to the Statistics Office.
  • Slovakia's construction output increased by 3 percent y-o-y to €476.3 million in June 2021. Compared to the same month in the pre-pandemic year of 2019, it lagged behind by 15 percent. After seasonal adjustment, the construction output was 6.5 percent lower than in the previous month, the Statistics Office reported.
  • The Pivovary Šariš brewery invested €860,000 in its malthouse this year. The company belonging to the Japanese group called Asahi modernises the machines and equipment used in the germination and drying of barley.
  • The Defence Ministry plans to purchase seventy-six 8 x 8 vehicles for €332 million in the first phase; the costs include logistic support, ammunition and infrastructure. This should be procured in a government – government system.

Do not miss on today:

Labour market situation improves, 18,000 job ads were published in July Read more  When the Hungarian royals were crowned in Bratislava. The city will return to the coronation times Read more  2021 sees a rapid increase in heart failure due to Covid Read more 

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