News digest: New infections highest since the end of the second wave

Lottery was not meant to increase vaccination uptake, according to Matovič. Teachers expect chaos at the start of the new school year. First medal for Slovakia at the Tokyo Paralympics.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. This is the Thursday, August 26, 2021 edition of your Today in Slovakia overview. Learn about the main news of the day in a less-than-five-minute read. Here it is:

Vaccination slowing, Matovič stands by the lottery

When the number of people willing to get vaccinated in Slovakia started to stagnate, the Finance Ministry proposed two tools – the referral reward programme and a lottery for the vaccinated.

After two lottery drawings that were broadcast on the public-service television RTVS on the last two Sundays, Finance Minister Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) claims that its aim was to reward vaccinated people rather than promote vaccination among those who have not yet received their jab.

"It is a peculiar salto mortale," said the deputy chair of the RTVS Council Martin Kákoš in reaction to Matovič's statements.

There has been controversy linked to the lottery since it was first broadcast on RTVS, which prompted the organisers to change the rules.

More on coronavirus and vaccination in Slovakia:

  • 161 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 5,931 PCR tests performed on Wednesday. The number of people in hospitals remains unchanged at 71 people. The vaccination rate is at 42.96 percent; 3,619 people have received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • Education Minister Branislav Grohling has once again called on teachers to get vaccinated before the school year starts.

Featured story for today

When Slovakia's schools re-open after the summer holidays next week, pupils will still carry a mask in their school bags. They will be required to disinfect their hands when arriving at school and most of them will likely experience at least one quarantine at some point this autumn.

Even after several Covid months in the 2019/2020 school year and nearly a year of remote education in 2020/2021, teachers admit that they cannot imagine what the upcoming school year will really be like.

Ready for hybrid teaching? Schools will be switching between online and in-person education Read more 

Slovaks in Tokyo

Slovakia won its first medal at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo on the second day of the competition. Jozef Metelka won a bronze medal in the 1,000-metre track cycling with a fixed kilometre at the velodrome in Izu.

In other news

  • The former head of the Financial Administration, František Imrecze, who faces corruption charges, was interrogated by the police. Imrecze is cooperating with the investigator; he has testified about corruption in the Mýtnik (Toll Collector) case.
  • Parliament's Speaker Boris Kollár (Sme Rodina) convened two unscheduled parliamentary sessions to take place on Monday, August 30. Both were initiated by the opposition Smer. The MPs are to deal with the rising energy prices and Slovakia's stance on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, after which they will debate with Interior Minister Roman Mikulec (OĽaNO).
  • Only 43 percent of inhabitants of Slovakia went on holiday in 2020. People who used to travel several times a year before the pandemic have limited their number of trips and have opted mostly for Slovak destinations. (Statistics Office)
  • Fewer people went to their dentist for an annual check-up last year due to the pandemic.
  • Dozens of breeders in Slovakia will be directly impacted by the ban on the breeding of exotic animals and felines, said Environment Minister Ján Budaj.
  • Greek Ambassador to Slovakia Georgios Dimitriadis welcomed representatives of the fire rescue forces who helped to fight the fires on the Greek island of Evia and thanked them for their service.

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