TODAY IN SLOVAKIA

News digest: Fear of Covid vaccines behind low vaccination rate in Slovakia

PM does not expect national emergency to be declared. Romania toughens up rules for incomers from Slovakia. President will present her state of the republic address.

(Source: SME.sk / Hej,ty)

Good evening. Catch up on the main news of the day with the Monday, September 27, 2021 edition of Today in Slovakia. We wish you a pleasant read.

Fear as one factor behind low vaccination rate

While the average share of the adult population living in the EU or the European Economic Area (EEA) who received at least one Covid vaccine dose amounts to 78.8 percent, in Slovakia, it is only 52.4 percent.

This stems from the recent data presented by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The only countries with a lower vaccination rate are Romania (33.9 percent of adults with first dose) and Bulgaria (23.9 percent of adults with first dose).

Responding to these findings, the team from the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV) conducted a research focusing on reasons why people in Slovakia reject the Covid vaccine. The fear of the vaccine and the feeling of being helpless when evaluating its effectiveness stood out, beating even the feeling of solidarity towards the person’s family and friends.

“The most important finding is that the fear of the vaccine and its side effects prevails over the fear of the disease itself and altruistic tendencies,” said Magdalena Adamus, one of the researchers, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

The vaccination campaigns based on solidarity can be effective only if people have enough reliable information and consider the risks related to vaccination low; otherwise emotions, and particularly fear, will prevail, Adamus added.


More Covid and vaccination developments

  • 121 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 1,518 PCR tests performed on September 26. The number of people in hospitals has dropped to 500 people. The vaccination rate is at 44.35 percent, 2,439,418 people have received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • Five districts are in the dark red tier from today, while another 39 are in the red tier, 34 in the orange tier, and only one (Dunajská Streda) in the green tier. Check the selected rules applied in the tiers here.
  • PM Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) opines that Slovakia will not declare a national emergency despite the deteriorating pandemic situation, at least until the end of the year. A national emergency is necessary for declaring curfew, for example, which according to the current valid alert system, known as the Covid automat, should be applied in the dark red tier.

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


Travel info

Romania classified Slovakia as a yellow area, i.e. a medium risk country where the cumulative incidence rate of new Covid cases in the last 14 days is between 1.5 and 3 per 1,000 inhabitants. This means that incomers who are not fully vaccinated, do not have a negative PCR test result no older than 72 hours, or a confirmation of recovering from Covid in the past 180 days have to enter a 14-day self-isolation.


Fico is becoming more trusted

The trustworthiness of Robert Fico, ex-prime minister and chair of the opposition party Smer, has been on the rise since the beginning of the year.

Though he became only the fifth most-trusted politician in Slovakia in the recent poll carried out by the Focus pollster for the Na Telo political talk show, with 29 percent back in January, only 20 percent of voters trusted him.

His result only reflects the rising political preferences of his Smer party, which became second most popular in another June poll by Focus, after Hlas of Peter Pellegrini.

Similarly to Fico, leaders of the far-right report a growth in trust as well.

On the other hand, the trust in coalition leaders keeps falling. President Zuzana Čaputová faces the same trend, with her trustworthiness falling from 64 percent in January to 49 percent in September.


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Picture of the day

The 4.3-kilometre-long stretch of the D4 highway between the intersections Bratislava - Petržalka and Bratislava - Juh, including Lužný Bridge, opened on Sunday, September 26. This is part of the Bratislava ring road project. Though the constructor originally promised to open more stretches on Sunday, the company later admitted that they would be put to use later after receiving necessary permits.


Listen to our podcast

When he announced he would run for councillor in the town of Spišská Nová Ves, eastern Slovakia, local people thought teacher Addy Akram from East London was joking.

“Go for it. You’d be like Ali G Indahouse,” his students teased him in 2006.

His plan worked out and Akram has been serving as the local councillor in Spišská Nová Ves (eastern Slovakia) for several years already. Listen to our podcast where he explains, among other things, why it is important for foreigners to vote and run for councillor positions in municipal and regional elections.

'No one has come to me and spat on my face': Briton on being a councillor in Slovakia Read more 

In other news

  • President Zuzana Čaputová will present her annual state of the republic address in the parliament tomorrow, on September 28 at 11:00. Here is what she said last year. On the same day, the parliament is set to hold an opposition-initiated unscheduled session on energy prices.
  • The Bratislava city council has postponed the start of registration for the whole-city parking policy PAAS in the first three zones, Krasňany in Rača, Tehelné Pole in Nové Mesto, and Dvory 4 in Petržalka, to December 1. The parking regulation will be enforced as of January 1, 2022.
  • Trade unionists struck a deal with the management of U.S. Steel Košice on a new amendment to the collective agreement. The deal includes the increase in tariff salaries and agreement on the potential prolongation of working hours.
  • Entrepreneur Štefan Žiga, related to Peter Žiga, former environment and economy minister under Smer, was detained last Thursday, September 23, for bribery. The court decided on Saturday that he will be prosecuted while in custody, but the decision is not valid yet.
  • More than 600 out of 1,131 prosecutors have voiced their support for General Prosecutor Maroš Žilinka in a statement that claims that they, the prosecutors, “have not and will not issue decisions under the pressure of politicians, public opinions and media, and will follow the criteria of legality, professionalism and impartiality.” Žilinka was recently criticised for applying paragraph 363, giving him special powers, in a corruption case.
  • The Financial Administration seized more than 12 tonnes of illegal tobacco, with an estimated loss on excise tax of more than €1 million, in the Kuriér (Courier) Operation. At the same time, three people of Moldovan, Romanian and Ukrainian nationality were detained.
  • Slovak slalom canoeist Alexander Slafkovský won the silver medal in the C1 event at the world championships in Čunovo on September 26, losing only 0.15 seconds to the winning Václav Chaloupka from the Czech Republic. The championship marked the end of the sports career of several water slalom legends.

And the last note: The Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute has issued warnings against floods in the districts of Malacky and Bratislava due to persistent rain.


More on Spectator.sk:

Green pass is not enough. Some people will need to take a test when going to hospitals Read more 

Illusion and bravery of the White deer: Trenčianske Teplice loop Read more 

Award-winning Slovak director who filmed with murderesses: I no longer have quick answers Read more 

If you have suggestions on how this news overview can be improved, you can reach us at editorial@spectator.sk.

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