Good afternoon. Catch up on the main news of the day and get some tips for the weekend with the October 15 edition of Today in Slovakia. We wish you a pleasant read.
For weekend tips and reads, check out our Spectacular Slovakia weekly roundup. This week, Peter Dlhopolec is writing about lost artworks found in a cellar, a Slovak literary prize winner, and the latest happenings in Bratislava.
Citizens and visitors of Bratislava can look forward to the city's popular Christmas markets this year. Both the Bratislava city council and the Old Town borough have confirmed that they are working on the markets to make them safe for all participants. However, the markets will be held in a restricted format and under valid anti-pandemic measures.
The main Christmas market, organised by the city council on the Main and Franciscan Squares between November 26 and December 22, will be adapted to the epidemic situation, including a limit on the number of visitors. The market will be defined as a mass event with a controlled entrance and will be subject to the regulations valid during the time of its duration.
“Of course, if the situation is very critical, the city council will consider the possibility of not holding the event,” said Katarína Rajčanová, spokesperson of Bratislava, as cited by the TAS newswire. “However, we are currently taking all the steps to prepare it.”
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Coronavirus in Slovakia
- 1,952 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 11,518 PCR tests performed on Thursday, October 14. The number of hospitalisations has increased to 943 people. 25 more deaths were reported on Thursday. The vaccination rate is at 45 percent; 2,477,106 people have received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
- The third booster shot against Covid-19 has been administered to 149 people thus far. (ŠÚKL)
- The National COVID MRK project, designed to help marginalised Roma communities navigate through the Covid-19 pandemic, will continue until the end of January 2022, Government Proxy for Roma Communities Andrea Bučková announced on Friday. Originally, the €5.7 million COVID MRK project was supposed to last a year and end on October 15, 2021.
- Slovaks who got their Covid-19 jabs abroad and are interested in getting the European Union's digital Covid pass should submit their request along with the required vaccination documents to the Health Ministry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Starting on Friday, October 15, the required quarantine period will be shortened. New rules will also be implemented for registration at the border where documents must be shown to prove one’s vaccination status. Those not fully vaccinated against Covid who enter Slovakia from October 15 will have to self-isolate for 10 days (down from the current 14). They can take a PCR test (reimbursed by the state) on the fifth day after arrival.
- The Bratislava Self-governing Region (BSK) will open a new vaccination point in the Aupark shopping mallin Bratislava on Saturday, October 16 at 11:00. This is the first vaccination point of this kind in the region.
Anniversary of the day
Ivan Plander (1928 - 2019), a pioneer of IT sciences in Slovakia, designed the first Slovak electronic component of a computer, a type of amplifier of the analogue computer's calculating unit, on October 15, 1956. The first Slovak computer is exhibited in the Permanent Exhibition of Computing History in Slovakia and is part of the Computing Centre of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV) at Patrónka in Bratislava.
Feature story for today
Cycling could be an easy way to commute to work and run errands in Bratislava, given the size and landscape of the Slovak capital. In some areas, however, it is not the safest.
In many cities, bicycles are an alternative to increasingly unsustainable transport by passenger cars. The Slovak capital has not tapped into the complete potential of this mode of transport. In Vienna, for example, pedestrians and bicycles account for 30 percent of traffic in the city. In Bratislava, the share is estimated at 1 percent, the Bratislava city council writes on its website.
Problematic stretches, like the Danube embankment by the River Park development, or the shopping street running through the very centre, Obchodná Street, discourage people from getting on their bikes more often to travel around the city.
“I don't like to pass Obchodná Street by bike as I don’t know which way I should go,” Simona Koperníková told The Slovak Spectator. She once helped a woman who fell off her bike on this street after the bike’s front wheel got stuck in a tram rail. “I either weave my way around trams, fearing that I might fall on the rails, or around pedestrians on the sidewalk, endangering them even though I'm cycling slowly.”
In other news
- The Agricultural Paying Agency has re-gained full accreditation by the European Commission. The PPA’s accreditation has been conditionally suspended since last October due to corruption scandals.
- The Bratislava city council has signed an agreement on the acquisition of the Salvator Pharmacy's baroque furniture for almost €1 million with its current owner Erik Kovács. Now, the city plans to restore the premises of the pharmacy and reopen it, restoring its original beauty, within several months.
- Finance Minister Igor Matovič will present his income and payroll tax reform within two weeks, Joj TV announced on social media. Originally, Matovič promised to share its details by late May after he announced its three pillars earlier that month.
- The state-owned SPP is offering to take over not only gas clients but also electricity clients of the failed Slovakia Energy alternative energy supplier, saving them from increased energy bills.
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