TODAY IN SLOVAKIA

News digest: President condemns attacks against medical staff and calls for stability

President met with coalition and opposition leaders. Slovak pavilion at Expo faces problems. Temporary bus station in Bratislava closes permanently.

(Source: SME.sk / Hej,ty)

Good evening. Catch up on the main news of the day in less than five minutes with the Wednesday, September 29, 2021 edition of Today in Slovakia. We wish you a pleasant read.

President calls for stability and solutions

The current atmosphere in society, the situation within the security forces and the referendum on early elections were among the topics discussed by President Zuzana Čaputová and selected coalition and opposition leaders in the previous few days.

“I wanted them to share their point of view and information not presented at press conferences and present my own opinion,” Čaputová told the September 29 press conference.

She met with PM Eduard Heger (OĽaNO), Speaker of Parliament Boris Kollár (Sme Rodina), Smer chair Robert Fico and Hlas leader Peter Pellegrini.

One thing she stressed to the coalition was the need to remain stable as “every country needs a stable government,” pointing to the fact it is not good if some partners threaten to leave the ruling coalition on a weekly basis. With the opposition, she also mentioned how hatred can have a negative impact on society.

In this respect, she condemned the attacks on various in-field medical workers, such as the employees of testing sites and the Public Health Authority and its regional branches, as well as doctors and nurses.

The attacks and continual threats forced infectologist Vladimír Krčméry, the first Slovak to get vaccinated against Covid and the face of the vaccination campaign, to seek refuge abroad. Several attacks of radical anti-vaxxer groups have occurred in the country in the past few month, with some even going to the homes of experts supporting vaccination efforts.


Covid and vaccination developments

  • 1,459 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 11,698 PCR tests performed on September 28. The number of people in hospitals has increased to 531. The vaccination rate is at 44.46 percent; 2,445,528 people have received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • No district in Slovakia will be in the green tier (with the least strict anti-pandemic measures) from next Monday, October 4. As many as 27 districts will be in the orange tier, 39 in the red tier, and 13 in the dark red tier. In the dark red tier, people are required to wear FFP2/KN95 respirators inside buildings and masks outside, while there are extensive restrictions for entry regimes when it comes to letting people who are not vaccinated in.
  • The last appointments for the administration of the second dose of the Covid vaccine by AstraZeneca are scheduled for October 6. People have been contacted by phone or through a text message notification, and the dates for appointments are also published on the website of the Health Ministry.
  • Altogether 62,089 children younger than 17 years have been vaccinated against Covid so far. At the same time, 285 such children who registered via the virtual waiting room system are currently expecting the first shot, and 4,010 the second shot.
  • 3.8 percent of schoolchildren are learning through distance education, with 2.9 percent having online classes and 0.9 percent offline classes. The number was calculated from the data provided by 77 percent of schools in Slovakia, said State Secretary of the Education Ministry Svetlana Síthová.

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Slovak pavilion at Expo faces problems

Even though the Expo 2020 Dubai starts this Friday, October 21 1 , the Slovak pavilion has not been finished yet.

The Economy Ministry and the general commissioner have confirmed the delay. The commissioner said that the pavilion will be opened only in the first half of October.

Yet, at the beginning of September, Economy Minister Richard Sulík said at a press conference that Slovakia is well-prepared for Expo Dubai 2020.

Meanwhile, PM Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) has asked Economy Minister Richard Sulík (SaS) to explain why the work on the Slovak pavilion at the Expo Dubai 2020 exhibition has been delayed.


Picture of the day

Linesmen relocated a stork nest in the village of Chocholná-Velčice (Trenčín Region), moving it from the wires of the power line pole to a much safer concrete column.


Feature story for today

Many know her as Les, which means forest in Slovak. Olesia Paskarenko planned on becoming a landscape architect. Her plans changed a few years ago.

Although Slovakia was not a place she wanted to be sent away to by her parents, six years on the Ukrainian tattoo artist calls it her home even though she feels like an immigrant here sometimes.

Read about her beginnings in the new country and how she became a tattooist.

Bratislava Castle as a tattoo is a cliché, a Ukrainian tattooist says Read more 

In other news

  • The cabinet greenlighted the health care reform the reform of hospitals , which the Health Ministry calls the largest reform in 17 years. It, among other things, proposes to divide hospitals in Slovakia into various groups. The first real changes are expected to become effective in 2024.
  • The cabinet approved the agreement with the European Commission, based on which the country will receive money from the EU recovery plan. The government approved the Slovak plan with a price tag of €6.3 billion in June, while in July, it received a green light from the EU institutions.
  • The Constitutional Court did not accept a motion submitted by the opposition MPs and the General Prosecutor’s Office, who challenged the possibility of candidates who are not prosecutors to run for the general prosecutor post.
  • The General Court of the European Union in Luxembourg turned down a lawsuit submitted by mobster Marian Kočner against Europol in connection with the investigation of the murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak, in which he sought €100,000 in compensation.
  • The court proceedings with Štefan Agh in the case of forged promissory notes for private broadcaster TV Markíza ended with the closing speeches. The prosecutor in the case, Ján Šanta, proposed to sentence him to 14 years in prison, while Agh insisted he is not guilty. The Specialised Criminal Court will deliver its verdict on October 12.
  • The loss on tax incomes in 2020 was €42 million, not €2 billion as originally predicted, as stems from the recent tax prognosis of the Finance Ministry. It also expects the tax incomes to grow at some 5 percent in 2021.

One last note:

The new bus station in Bratislava opens its doors tomorrow. This means that the temporary bus station on Bottova Street will be closed. The cash desks and call centre stopped operating on Wednesday at 16:00, while the station will close permanently on September 29 at 23:59. The last bus leaves the temporary station on September 30 at 2:30 (towards Prague), while the first bus leaving the new station is scheduled for September 30 at 3:00 (to the Vienna airport).


More on Spectator.sk today

Ministry wants to make Slovakia part of the Silk Road. A new scheme should lure trains from China Read more 

2021 is set to be a good vintage Read more 

Counterfeit coins were the least surprising find unearthed at the Zvolen castle ruins 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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