News digest: Slovakia to prepare for a reform autumn

First money from the recovery plan to arrive soon. Business centres hired people despite pandemic. Travel conditions to Czechia, Norway and the UK change.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. Catch up on the main news of the day in less than five minutes with the Monday, October 4, 2021 edition of Today in Slovakia. We wish you a pleasant read.

First money from EU mechanism allocated for hospitals, courts and universities

The European Commission will receive an agreement on financing the project, signed last Friday and amounting to €822 million, based on which Slovakia should get money for projects carried out by the ministries of health, education and justice, cabinet ministers reported during the media briefing on October 4.

“A reform autumn is ahead of us,” said PM Eduard Heger (OĽaNO), adding that the country will have to meet the first milestones and goals set by its recovery plan.

The money is expected to arrive in the coming weeks, to be used for three main areas: health care, judiciary and education.

The implementation of reforms will require the engagement of respective ministries. The priorities set in the plan can be slowed only by political will, stressed Heger.

Hybrid work model will be applied, business centres say

The situation in the shared and business services sector seems to be quite good despite the pandemic.

Business centres continued operating without any significant disruption to their productivity, with more than a quarter of companies even increasing their productivity. Only less than one fifth asked for state assistance during the pandemic.

At the same time, the sector, which is the third largest in Slovakia, managed to hire new employees, increasing their number by 5.5 percent compared to 2020, and more than one half of companies plan to continue in recruitments.

The business centres also expect that the hybrid work model, combining work from home and work from the office, will be applied in the future.

This stems from a survey carried out by the Business Service Center Forum (BSCF), running under the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Slovakia, among its 34 members employing about 36,000 employees between January 1 and August 31, 2021.

There are still challenges the centres have to deal with, including some legislative obstacles or the decision of some centres to relocate some processes to another country.

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.

Coronavirus and vaccination news

  • 267 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 2,223 PCR tests performed on October 3. The number of people in hospitals remains unchanged at 606. Eight more deaths were reported on October 3. The vaccination rate is at 44.69 percent, 2,457,689 people have received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • Slovakia has no green district as of today. According to the currently valid alert system, known as the Covid automat, 27 districts are in the orange tier, 39 in the red tier, and 13 in the dark-red tier with the strictest rules. People in dark red districts cannot enter restaurants (neither indoor spaces nor the outdoor terraces) without a confirmation of being fully vaccinated, having a negative test or recovering from Covid, while FFP2/KN95 respirators are required inside buildings.
  • Nearly 57 percent of people support the mandatory vaccination of doctors and nurses, while 56 percent support the vaccination of employees in nursing homes, and 52 percent the vaccination of teachers. This stems from the recent poll carried out by Focus for the Na Telo political talk show broadcast by TV Markíza between September 1 and 7 on 1,002 respondents.
  • The Health Ministry will secure antigen tests for testing in outpatient facilities, said the Association of Outpatient Providers. With this provision, the ministry is responding to an earlier directive on the testing of patients and employees in hospitals and outpatient departments.

Travel information

Norway and the Czech Republic classified Slovakia as a red country, i.e. a country with a high risk of infection, on October 4. As for the latter, it means that unvaccinated incomers will have to take a PCR test after arriving to the country and undergo self-isolation. Everybody still needs to fill in the Passenger Locator Form. When travelling to Norway, unvaccinated incomers must fill in the registration form for entry, take a test upon arrival and self-isolate.

The United Kingdom scrapped its traffic light system of red, amber and green countries on October 4, and replaced it with a single red list. Testing rules have been eased for people travelling from non-red list destinations who have been vaccinated in the UK, the EU, the US, or any of 18 other recognised countries. Slovakia is not on the red list.

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Picture of the day

Reuben Kiprop Kerio of Kenya dominated the International Peace Marathon in Košice. He won its 98th edition after completing the race in 2:07:18 hours. The fastest woman to cross the finish line was Ayuntu Kumela Tadesse of Ethiopia in 2:24:35 hours.

Feature story for today

Developers of logistics real estate as well as transport companies implement innovations that make their operation more environmentally friendly. “This trend of establishing environmentally-friendly and sustainable company set-ups will clearly define which companies will be successful in the future and which will not,” said Peter Jánoši, executive director of P3 Logistic Parks.

Read more about the green solutions implemented by them in a report by Jana Liptáková.

Logistics getting greener Read more 

In other news

  • Forty Slovaks and 48 companies with links to Slovakia appeared in the Pandora Papers, including a wanted criminal, real estate developers and people on the USA sanction list. Neither the details nor the names have been revealed, though. (Denník N)
  • The Specialised Criminal Court accepted a plea bargain made by former head of the police inspection service Adrián Szabó, who confessed to accept bribes at €20,000, an expensive television and mobile phones in exchange for sensitive information. He received three-year prison sentence with five-year suspension, and a fine at €25,000.
  • Two more sections of the Bratislava ring road project were opened during the last weekend: on October 2, a 6.3-kilometre stretch between Bratislava-South and Bratislava-Nivy intersections, and on October 3, a 2.2-kilometre stretch between Bratislava-Jarovce and Bratislava-Petržalka intersections. Yet, some Bratislava boroughs report a deterioration in traffic situation after the sections were open, and Bratislava Mayor Matúš Vallo is ready to discuss this situation with Transport Minister Andrej Doležal (Sme Rodina) and Bratislava Region Governor Juraj Droba.
  • Labour Minister Milan Krajniak (Sme Rodina) and Executive Director of the European Labour Authority (ELA) Cosmin Boiangiu signed an agreement on the ELA headquarters in Bratislava. The agreement, approved by the cabinet in August, still needs consent from the parliament.
  • Private carrier RegioJet has restored the operation of trains between Žilina, Bratislava and Prague.

More on

Flat prices will keep increasing until supply catches up with demand Read more 

Archaeologists came to survey the chapel remains. They dug up a horse skeleton Read more 

Asteroid now bears Slovak dissident’s name, but he will never know Read more 

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