News digest: Bratislava will most likely avoid the strictest pandemic measures

Nearly 75 percent of older people immunised in the capital. Travel conditions to Montenegro and Northern Macedonia will change. Slovak director wins award at international film festival.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. The Monday, August 23, 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 app for checking customers now available

It took nearly two weeks for the state to launch an app necessary for checking green passes, although some owners of facilities and organisers of mass events needed the app last Monday.

At the time, the new alert system, known as the Covid automat, came into effect and the first districts were classified as orange, meaning the rules were stricter than in the rest of the country. For example, there were greater limitations on restaurant owners who wanted to let people into their premises, as only people who are fully vaccinated, have a negative Covid test result or have recovered from Covid can enter their indoor spaces.

To check the confirmation, including the EU Digital Covid Certificates (or green passes), they can now use the OverPass app developed by the state-run Slovensko IT company. First, the company started offering the download on its website last Friday, and then it appeared in the Google Play store during the weekend.

Altogether 12 districts are in the orange tier from today, meaning stricter rules are applied. This includes wearing a mask indoors and also outdoors when attending a mass event, and restrictions on shops, regardless of what they decide to require from customers.

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

Other coronavirus and vaccination news

  • 11 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 943 PCR tests performed on August 22. The number of people in hospitals remains unchanged at 72 people. The vaccination rate is at 42.67 percent, 2,347,118 people having received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • As many as 74 percent of Bratislavans aged 50 years and upwards have received at least the first Covid vaccine shot, Mayor Matúš Vallo said. If the rate achieves 75 percent, the capital with its five districts will be able to move two spots down in the Covid automat alert system, meaning that it will not be worse than the red tier. As a result, the strictest measures will not be applied in Bratislava.
  • Slovakia will donate the Covid vaccines by AstraZeneca to Ukraine and Montenegro, said Foreign Affairs Minister Ivan Korčok (SaS nominee). Ukraine will receive 60,000 vaccine doses and Montenegro 10,000 vaccine doses.
  • The July protests against vaccination in the capital were for the most part initiated by a small contingent of anonymous Facebook sites, but their success would have been impossible without political support. This stems from the findings of the project and the Investigative Centre of Ján Kuciak, which analysed who initiated the protests, what information and misinformation they used, and what goals the participants wanted to achieve.

Travel information

  • Starting on Tuesday, August 24, everybody entering Montenegro from Slovakia has to show a negative Covid test result (PCR no older than 72 hours or antigen no older than 48 hours) or a confirmation of receiving at least the first Covid vaccine shot. Incomers can also show a positive PCR test result older than 14 days but no older than 180 days to prove they recovered from Covid, according to the Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry.
  • People coming to Northern Macedonia from September 1 will have to show a certificate of vaccination or a negative PCR test result no older than 72 hours, or a confirmation of recovering from Covid. If they fail to do so, they will have to self-isolate for 7 days, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

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Picture of the day

When the Berlin Wall – a notorious symbol of German division during the Cold War - was built 60 years ago, it impacted the lives of nations and families for decades to come. To highlight the stories of those families and individuals, a new open-air display organised by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation has been placed on Hviezdoslav Square in Bratislava, until August 31.

Feature story for today

More than 20,000 people have registered for the mid-September visit of Pope Francis in the first week since registration was launched, with nearly half planning to go to Šaštín.

The pope plans to visit the east as well, with one stop being a segregated Roma settlement, the Lunik IX housing estate in Košice. Although some experts on Church matters have said the Pontiff’s choice to visit the estate is unsurprising given his focus on people from marginalised communities, there has been surprise that the head of the Roman Catholic Church will visit a place that many in Slovakia still see as a disgrace.

Luník IX. The infamous, misunderstood housing estate Pope Francis plans to visit Read more 

In other news

  • Slovakia will never recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea, said PM Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) at the inaugural summit of the Crimea Platform on August 23 in Kiev. The country will also support Ukraine in its diplomatic efforts to restore its sovereignty and territorial integrity, he continued, and stressed sanctions against Russia will last until it occupies the peninsula.
  • General Prosecutor Maroš Žilinka submitted a motion to launch a disciplinary proceeding against Special Prosecutor Daniel Lipšic. He is critical of Lipšic’s statements in connection with the recent charges of the Interior Ministry’s inspection service, involving the alleged manipulation of testimonies made by cooperating defendants in several corruption-related cases.
  • Matej Zeman of the Takáčovci underworld clan, who is currently asking for political asylum in Croatia, was released by the local police shortly after being detained, the private broadcaster TV JOJ reported. Zeman faces charges in Slovakia in the case involving the alleged manipulation of some cooperating defendants.
  • The number of foreigners working in Slovakia increased in July for the fifth month in a row. A total of 68,400 foreign workers were reported to work in the country, with most of them coming from Ukraine.
  • Slovak film director Lucia Kašová won the Grand Prize in the Best Feature Documentary category at the Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival, held between August 9 and August 15. The judges said about her documentary, The Sailor: “an intimate and profound portrait, the Sailor serves as a testament to fine documentary filmmaking as it celebrates the dynamic bond between filmmaker and subject.”
  • 16-year-old Slovak representative Zuzana Paňková was successful at the 2021 ECA Junior and U23 Canoe Slalom European Championships in Solkan, Slovenia. She was unbeatable in both junior kayak and canoe finals and also won the bronze medal in extreme slalom.

Weather warning

Several districts in northern Slovakia and nearly the entire east of the country should prepare for heavy rainfall in the coming hours. The first-level warning against rainfall will be in place from 22:00 until 9:00 tomorrow.

At the same time, a first-level warning against floods was issued for five northern districts.

More on today:

AstraZeneca country director: We can now see which countries made the right decisions Read more 

Green means go: to Stará Ľubovňa Castle Read more 

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