News digest: Bratislava has a world-class bus station, mayor says

Half of the country's hospitalised Covid patients are in eastern Slovakia. The largest alternative energy supplier is leaving Slovakia.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. Catch up on the main news of the day in less than five minutes with the Thursday, September 30 edition of Today in Slovakia. We wish you a pleasant read.

Capital gets new bus station

The new Nivy bus station in Bratislava was officially opened to the public, redirecting all lines that had hitherto stopped at the temporary Bottova station.

"I am looking forward to having one of the two stations in Bratislava at the world level," said Mayor Matúš Vallo at today's opening.

Along with the new station, an underground roundabout leading to an underground car park and an automated bicycle tower that can house 118 bicycles were opened.

Slovakia gears up for healthcare reform

The hospital sector is gearing up for major reform. These medical facilities should be divided in five categories, each one offering several treatments. Some will not be permitted to perform surgeries and will instead transform into aftercare and rehabilitation institutions.

The reform still needs to be approved by the parliament. If MPs give it the green light, the reform will come into force next year. The first changes will be visible only in 2024.

Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský has the support of PM Eduard Heger for such a reform; however, coalition members have differing opinions on the matter.

Coronavirus and vaccination news

  • 1,427 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 11,174 PCR tests performed on Wednesday. The number of people in hospitals dropped to 513 people. The vaccination rate is at 44.51 percent; 2,448,010 people have received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • The new coronavirus strain was present in all of the most recent wastewater samples. Monitoring of the viral load in wastewater, which has been carried out for 38 weeks now, shows a high increase in several regions.
  • The Regional Public Health Authority decided to put the Bratislava district in the orange tier despite the fact that it met the criteria for green. Hygienists reasoned the switch with the deteriorating situation across Slovakia and the significant interconnection of the district.
  • The districts of Trnava, Galanta and Šaľa have surpassed a 65-percent vaccination rate in the over 50 age group. This means that in the Covid automat system, they can be classified in one tier better than they should be based on other factors. The Žilina district will probably reach this milestone next week.
  • Almost half of hospitalised Covid patients in Slovakia are in Košice or Prešov, the Health Ministry reported.

Photo of the day

During his visit to Greece, Slovak PM Eduard Heger pats Peanut, his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis' dog, catching the attention of the Associated Press.

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Feature story for today

She lost her relatives and family before she was able to meet them. In her book The Love I Lost, she recounts what it is like to be a part of the second generation of people falling victim to Nazi atrocities and the pain and loss that followed in their wake.

She never met her grandparents, but knows how much love she lost in the concentration camps Read more 

In other news

  • The Museum of the Slovak National Uprising in Banská Bystrica will be transferred from the authority of the Culture Ministry to the authority of the Defence Ministry, the ministers decided at a governmental session. The Culture Ministry proposes the legislation becomes valid in January 2022. Marian Uhrin was appointed the new general director of the museum. He will act as director until one is chosen in the selection procedure.
  • In connection with the purchase of tracked equipment and armored combat vehicles 8x8, the Defence Ministry addressed a request for offers from 33 countries. It will accept offers for 8x8s until the end of the year, for tracked technology until the end of January. The estimated price of 152 pieces of tracked equipment is €1.739 billion with VAT and for 76 pieces of combat armored vehicles it is €332 million.
  • The Regional Court in Bratislava has upheld the health insurance company Dôvera in a dispute with the Health Ministry, which concerned the incorrect calculation of the number of reimbursements for medicines for insurance companies. According to the insurer's calculation, it loses €72 million a year from public health insurance in this way. In September, the court decided "on the annulment of the decision of the health minister, returning the matter to the health ministry for further proceedings".
  • The largest alternative energy supplier, Slovakia Energy, requested that the Office for the Regulation of Network Industries (ÚRSO) revoke its licenses to trade in electricity and natural gas.
  • Pupils from socially disadvantaged backgrounds felt a higher degree of isolation during distance learning compared to other pupils. At the same time, they also had a higher need for contact with a teacher, school psychologist or educational counselor. (NÚCEM)
  • One of the largest metallurgical companies in Slovakia, Slovalco (based in Žiar nad Hronom), has started to gradually reduce the production of aluminum. It shut down another 11 furnaces, which will be gradually added to the already shut down 14 furnaces out of a total of 226 furnaces. The reason for the unfavorable situation is the rapid growth of baseload electricity prices, the record prices of emission allowances, as well as insufficient compensation from the state through the Environmental Fund.
  • Banks in Slovakia posted a net profit of €511.4 million as of the end of August. This is a significant y-o-y increase, as the country's banks netted €254.3 million as of late August last year. Lower provisioning, related to the pandemic situation, was behind the profit growth. (National Bank of Slovakia)

Do not miss on today

Hospitals awaiting big changes. Some may lose their current status Read more  What's more viral than a Slovak Instagram star facing drug dealing charges? Read more  2020 was a roller coaster ride Read more  Pandemic measures increases bureaucratic burden Read more 

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