Good evening. Catch up on the main news of the day in less than five minutes with the Monday, August 30, 2021 edition of Today in Slovakia. We wish you a pleasant read.
More people evacuated from Afghanistan
After Foreign Affairs Minister Ivan Korčok (SaS nominee) announced last Friday that a group of 20 Afghans with relatives in Slovakia did not board a Norwegian plane after failing to pass a checkpoint, the government confirmed that the Slovak military special plane successfully evacuated a group of 28 people.
The plane with mostly women, children and students is set to land in Slovakia on Monday, August 30.
Though the cabinet ministers plan to reveal more details tomorrow, the Government’s Office informed that the plane arrived in Afghanistan on Saturday, and the special unit spent two nights in the country under difficult circumstances. PM Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) thanked the defence and foreign affairs ministers for their help, as well as the US for its help and support on the ground.
It is the second time the special military plane carried people evacuated from Afghanistan. About two weeks ago, the plane transported 20 people, mostly Slovaks, and another four were onboard a Czech plane.
Yet non-governmental organisations called on the government last week to help many more people who are in danger, and even launched a petition.
Coronavirus and vaccination developments
- 14 districts are in the orange tier of the warning system, known as the Covid automat, as of today. The stricter rules are applied in the districts of Banská Štiavnica, Bardejov, Gelnica, Kežmarok, Košice I-IV, Košice-okolie, Levoča, Nové Zámky, Poprad, Vranov nad Topľou, and Žiar nad Hronom.
- 49 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 1,485 PCR tests performed on August 29. The number of people in hospitals remains unchanged at 85 people. The vaccination rate is at 43.14 percent, 2,372,924 people having received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
- Cross-border workers coming to Slovakia who are not fully vaccinated against Covid will not have to undergo self-isolation. According to a new ordinance of the Public Health Authority (ÚVZ) that came into force today, they will have to register with the eHranica online form once a month, present a negative PCR test no older than 7 days as well as proof from their employer when entering the country. For more rules to follow when entering Slovakia click here.
- The decision on opening the winter semester inthe 2021/2022 school year will be fully up to universities and other higher education institutions. At the same time, they should receive more than €15 million in total in the coming days for compensations related to the coronavirus pandemic.
- 22 percent of children aged 12-17 years have been vaccinated against Covid so far, Education Minister Branislav Gröhling (SaS) has said.
- Six people are currently waiting for the second shot of the unlicensed Russian vaccine Sputnik V. Altogether 37,021 doses of the vaccine have been applied in Slovakia so far, with slightly more than 18,500 people receiving them.
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Picture of the day
Slovak ice hockey players have qualified for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. They won the spot in the qualification tournament, after defeating the teams from Austria, Poland and Belarus. This will be the eighth winter Olympics for the Slovak team.
Feature story for today
The history of a pilgrimage site in Šaštín in western Slovakia is closely linked with the legend of making a bad marriage better. Since then, several people who came to pray in Šaštín have reported various miracles, while other factors helped the site rise to fame as well. Now Pope Francis will visit Šaštín during his visit to Slovakia, as the second pontiff since the fall of the communist regime.
In other news
- In Banská Bystrica, a group of protesters disrupted celebrations of the 77th anniversary of the Slovak National Uprising (SNP), one of the largest resistance movements in Europe against the Nazis during World War II. This year, the official celebrations were limited due to the pandemic, with only invited guests (including politicians and diplomats) being present.
- About 46,000 people have registered for events held during the mid-September visit of Pope Francis so far. About 23,000 people have registered for the event in Šaštín that will be held on September 15, which marks the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows and is a national holiday in Slovakia.
- MPs failed to hold two unscheduled parliamentary sessions planned for today. First, they did not approve a programme of the session where the opposition wanted to discuss higher energy prices for next year and the steps following the completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Neither were there enough MPs to open another session where the opposition wanted to oust Interior Minister Roman Mikulec (OĽaNO); the session has been postponed until tomorrow morning.
- Interior Minister Mikulec has filed a criminal complaint against Smer chair Robert Fico for slander.
- Rimavská Sobota Mayor Jozef Šimko is leaving the deputy caucus of far-right Kotlebovci – People’s Party Our Slovakia (ĽSNS), citing diverting opinions from other party members. This includes vaccination against Covid – Šimko has been inoculated, while the party rejects it as a whole. (Aktuality.sk)
- Comenius University in Bratislava is the only university in Slovakia to be listed in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (also known as the Shanghai Ranking), placing 801st-900th.
- For the first time in the past 13 months, the number of deaths reported in July was lower than the five-year average. Moreover, Covid was not among top 10 causes of death, with only 18 people dying from the disease. (Statistics Office)
- The economic mood in Slovakia was again more pessimistic in August 2021 than a month ago, but this time only slightly. The seasonally adjusted economic sentiment indicator (ESI) decreased by 1.6 points to 99.2 and is approximately at the level immediately before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. (Statistics Office)
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30. Aug 2021 at 18:14 | Radka Minarechová