News digest: Author of famous anti-war sonnets died 100 years ago

Doctors address open letter to people hesitant to get vaccinated. People refusing to wear masks occupy shops. Universities plan protest against planned reform.

(Source: SME.sk / Hej,ty)

Good evening. Catch up on the main news of the day in less than five minutes with the Monday, November 8, 2021 edition of Today in Slovakia. We wish you a pleasant read.

Will there be local movement restrictions?

There could be no national emergency for the whole country, but only for some selected regions where the epidemic situation is the worst. This was the result of an unscheduled meeting of the crisis staff, held on November 5.

As the meeting was interrupted, more details are expected to be presented this week.

The proposal of the Health Ministry comes at a time when the pandemic situation is quickly deteriorating. The daily caseload exceeds 6,000 and more than 2,000 people have been hospitalised.

Earlier on Friday, the group of experts that advises the ministry proposed their own measures in order to slow down the spread of the infection in Slovakia, such as limits to the movement of unvaccinated people in the black tier districts or the new duty for employees to show a proof of vaccination, a negative Covid test or recovery from Covid when entering a workplace in the red, dark red and black tiers.

Yet, there does not seem to be much political will to pass such measures.

After meeting with healthcare workers and lawmakers on November 8, PM Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) said that it is necessary to act more resolutely.

“Unfortunately, people do not adhere to restrictions,” he said. “The Covid automat alert system is set right, but until it is respected it will be like it does not exist.”

Meanwhile, more than 1,300 medical workers, many of whom are working in Covid departments in hospitals across the country, signed an open letter, addressing people who for some reason are still hesitant about getting vaccinated against Covid.

“The hospitals are being filled by people who should not have been there,” the letter reads, referring to the young patients ending up in hospitals. “Many of them have a very serious course of the disease, are separated from their families for weeks, unsure of when this will end. Quite often, these people are dying and we cannot help them. It is an indescribable feeling of helplessness and despair.”


Maskless people blocking retail chains

Two supermarkets, one in Prievidza (Trenčín Region) and one in Piešťany (Trnava Region), have been recently blocked by a group of people refusing to wear masks.

While in the former case, the group was blocking the shop for about three hours, without police intervening; in the latter case, the police stepped in. After the members of the group refused to cooperate and the conflict became physical, the police were forced to use coercive tools.

Two police officers and one protester were injured, and they were all treated in hospital.

The police arrested altogether three people and one was taken into custody. The remaining two will be prosecuted at large. If they are found guilty, they could be imprisoned for one to five years.

The videos from the intervention started to spread online along with the names of the intervening police officers. The police are checking into threats made against these police officers, who are being labelled aggressive by some people.

Meanwhile, acting Police Corps President Štefan Hamran and Interior Minister Roman Mikulec (OĽaNO) backed the police officers who intervened in Piešťany.


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.


Other coronavirus and vaccination developments

  • 3,015 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 8,986 PCR tests performed on November 7. The number of people in hospitals has increased to 2,108. 40 more deaths were reported on Sunday. The vaccination rate is at 45.84 percent, 2,521,446 people having received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • Altogether 36 districts, i.e. about one half of all the districts in Slovakia, are in the black, the worst tier of the Covid automat from Monday. Another 34 districts are in the dark red tier, and seven are in the red tier. Only two districts (Komárno and Šaľa) are in the orange tier with the least strict restrictions. Check out what measures are applied in the red, dark red and black districts.

Travel info

The United States has opened its borders to vaccinated foreign incomers on November 8. Check out the conditions currently in place for travels to the country, as well as other selected countries.


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On this day in history

Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav, one of the most celebrated Slovak poets, dramatist and translator, died exactly 100 years ago, on November 8, 1921.

He was born on February 2, 1849 in Vyšný Kubín. Originally, he wrote in a traditional style, but later became influenced by parnassism and modernism. He was the leading representative of Slovak literary realism.

His most famous works include the poems Hájnikova žena (The Gamekeeper’s Wife), Ežo Vlkolinský and Gábor Vlkolinský, the anti-war poetry collection Bloody Sonnets, and the drama Herodes and Herodias.

Several events are being held on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Hviezdoslav’s death, including the Homage a Hviezdoslav festival, during which diplomats will read from The Bloody Sonnets in their respective native languages. Meanwhile, the columns situated near his statue in downtown Bratislava are being restored, so that the verses from his poem Letorosty (Growth Rings) will be readable again. His life is being documented by an exhibition held in the Slovak National Library in Martin.

From our archive:How to translate famous anti-war sonnets into English? Read more 


Picture of the day

Firefighters from Humenné started removing barrels containing toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from the piggery situated in the compounds of the former Chemko Strážske chemical company in eastern Slovakia. The toxic waste has been there for decades, but it was confirmed only after the firm went bankrupt and an inspection was carried out.


In other news

  • The trustworthiness of most ministers, especially Economy Minister Richard Sulík (SaS), has been decreasing in the last month, according to a poll conducted by the Focus polling agency for television Markíza between October 20 and 27, 2021, on 1,009 respondents. The most trusted cabinet member is Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský (OĽaNO nominee), but there are still more people who distrust him rather than those trusting him.
  • Comenius University, Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, the Higher Educational Council, and the Student Council for Higher Education will hold a protest march against the planned university reform on November 16 at 13:00, which will start in front of the Comenius University building on Šafárikovo Square. They also launched a petition for maintaining academic independence.
  • The police have reportedly identified a group of people who probably leaked video footage from the hunting lodge featuring the representatives of the opposition party Smer and several people related to corruption cases currently under investigation. Acting Police Corps President Štefan Hamran said that the police officers will undergo a lie detector test, and that their actions will be checked by the police inspection service, the TASR newswire reported.
  • Bus carrier Slovak Lines is reporting problems with some connections in Bratislava Region, particularly around the town of Malacky and in the Záhorie area, due to a lack of drivers. One factor impacting the current situation is the approaching change of the regional bus operator: Slovak Lines will be replaced by Arriva on November 15.
  • The Financial Administration has detected the so-far biggest drug contraband on the eastern border. Customs officers seized 34 kilograms of still unknown narcotics on the Vyšné Nemecké border crossing, smuggled by an Ukrainian truck driver.
  • Altogether 1,007 Slovaks declared personal bankruptcy in October, up by 5.45 percent compared to September (when 955 debtors declared bankruptcy). Compared to the same period in 2020, their number rose by nearly one quarter, according to the data provided by CRIF – the Slovak Credit Bureau.
  • This year’s Christmas market on the Main Square in Bratislava will be open on Friday, November 26; the entry regime will depend on the epidemic situation in the capital. There will be more than 40 stalls offering traditional Christmas specialities and gifts. The markets will be open until December 22.

More on Spectator.sk:

Recovery plan brings changes businesses have been calling for Read more 

The beauty of Lady Midday: Poludnica mountain Read more 

Endangered turtles in Slovakia face threats and we are the cause 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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