News digest: Health minister ready to discuss vaccine mandates for some

New Covid alert system effective. Planned evacuation of Slovaks from Afghanistan. Sunday a subtropical day.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. The Monday, August 16, 2021 edition of Today in Slovakia is ready with the main news of the day in less than five minutes. We wish you a pleasant read.

New rules for facilities and mass events in place

Starting today, the new alert system known in Slovakia as the Covid automat came into force.

This changes several rules for people, the owners of businesses and organisers of mass events in case the epidemiological situation starts worsening. Apart from the daily caseload, the system will take into consideration the vaccination rate, particularly those in the 50+ age group.

Since the system will function on the basis of regions, some districts (mostly the capital and the surrounding districts) are likely to avoid the strictest measures applied in the black tier.

At the same time, the owners of facilities and organisers of mass events will have a chance to pick one of three entry regimes. They will be able to choose whether they want to allow access to solely vaccinated people; or people with a confirmation of being tested/recovering from Covid/being vaccinated; or everybody. The regime will then set the other restrictions.

The new stricter rules now apply in nine districts that switched to the orange tier on Monday, namely Gelnica, Košice I-IV, Košice-okolie, Poprad, Spišská Nová Ves and Stará Ľubovňa.

Find out more about the new measures here.

More Coronavirus and vaccination news

  • 7 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 1,309 PCR tests performed on August 15. The number of people in hospitals remains unchanged at 52 people. The vaccination rate is at 42.15 percent, 2,318,050 people have received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • More than 66 percent of people in Slovakia support vaccination against Covid, while 11 percent are thinking about it and about one fifth rejects vaccination. More women than men are getting inoculated and support is higher among people with university education, as stems from a recent poll carried out by the AKO agency for the Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party on 1,000 respondents between July 21 and 26.
  • The documents introducing mandatory vaccination for certain professions are ready for discussion, said Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský (OĽaNO nominee). As he repeated, the professions in question include healthcare staff, the critical infrastructure, the employees of nursing homes, and teachers.
  • The Transport Ministry has received 124 applications worth €10 million in total as part of a big assistance scheme for tourism. It is currently paying out €3.5 million in total to 17 applicants. The aid is designed for big businesses, capped with €1 million per applicant.

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

Slovaks in Afghanistan to be evacuated

Several representatives of the government have confirmed that they are working on the evacuation of Slovak citizens from Afghanistan.

“The situation requires a quick response to help those whose lives are in danger,” PM Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) wrote on Facebook, adding that they are cooperating on the plans with Foreign Affairs Minister Ivan Korčok (SaS nominee) and Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď (OĽaNO).

A special army plane should transport not only the Slovak citizens currently in Afghanistan, but also the Afghans cooperating with Slovak bodies.

Heger also said Slovakia is ready to grant asylum to 10 Afghan citizens who have cooperated with EU member states.

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Picture of the day

The mushroom picking season has begun. People discovered quite an amount of summer ceps, for example in the woods near Trenčianske Stankovce in Trenčín Region.

Feature story for today

A wedding without Roma music was quite unimaginable to the ancestors of today’s Slovaks. For centuries music has been the link between the Roma minority and the majority inhabitants of Slovakia, even though in other areas of life negative stereotypes continued to prevail and sustain the gap between the Roma and the non-Roma living side by side in Slovakia. Despite the distance, these cultures have impacted each other more than most people would be ready to admit.

Music is a meeting point for the Roma and Slovaks Read more 

In other news

  • There are most likely no Slovaks among the victims of the Haiti earthquake, the Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry said, adding that it is in touch with local authorities.
  • Former police officers Pavol Vorobjov and Vladimír Bisták, who are said to be members of a criminal group in the police (with the former being investigated for the screening of journalists, including murdered Ján Kuciak, and the latter for illegal surveillance) and face charges in the Očistec (Purgatory) case, are close to making a plea bargain. The investigator set their case for a separate proceeding, the Sme daily reported.
  • Radko Kuruc, former state secretary of the Finance Ministry who was detained during the Mýtnik (Toll Collector) III police operation, will be prosecuted in custody. There is the threat that he might try influence witnesses, said Peter Hatala, chair of the Supreme Court senate.
  • Former head of the Interior Ministry’s inspection service, Adrián Szabó, confessed to taking bribes, and it is possible that he will receive a conditional sentence, the news website reported. Szabó, detained in early June, at first refuted the allegations.
  • Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair will operate two new regular flights from Košice later this year. Flights to Dublin will launch on October 31, and flights to Vienna on November 1.
  • Nine meteorological stations in Slovakia measured temperatures exceeding 35 degrees Celsius on Sunday, which classifies as a subtropical day. The highest temperature, 36.3 degrees Celsius, was reported in the village of Gbelce in the Nitra Region.

A weather warning

People in Slovakia should brace up for some rain and thunder in the coming hours. The Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute (SHMÚ) has issued warnings against storms, which in some locations will remain in place until Tuesday at 6:00 PM. A second-level warning is in place for most of the country, while a first-level warning was issued for the eastern districts.

More on today:

Former representatives of Interior Ministry reportedly active in a gang Read more 

Serious flaw in eHranica form: attackers able to send people into self-isolation Read more 

Period panties and men’s thongs: exploring Slovak underwear fashion history Read more 

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