News digest: Lockdown for unvaccinated starts on Monday

Bratislava wants more powers, Prior department store marks its 53rd anniversary and more primeval forests will enjoy the highest protection.

(Source: SME.sk / Hej,ty)

For weekend tips and reads, check out ourSpectacular Slovakia weekly roundup. This week, Peter Dlhopolec is writing about a wine weekend in the Bratislava Region, the late illustrator Miroslav Cipár and the Japanese ambassador's recognition of anime.


The Prior department store was opened on November 20, 1968. At that time it was the first department store of its kind on the territory of today’s Slovakia. Apart from the new shopping style, which offered all kinds of goods in one place, buyers also had to get used to another novelty – escalators.


Feature story for today

Anyone hiking up Zámok hill near the villages of Kuchyňa and Rohožník in the Small Carpathian mountain range might be forgiven for thinking they had stepped into a scene from The Lord of the Rings.

Old oaks, with trunks twisted into bizarre shapes, some already dead while their fallen branches lie decaying on the ground, mingle with younger trees and create the impression that one is walking through a magical forest.

Zámok is one of 76 primeval forests in Slovakia that, as of December 1, 2021, will be given level 5 – the highest – environmental protection.

“Primeval forests are a bit like Noah’s Arks – islands of original biodiversity surrounded by a sea of forests more or less affected by man,” Marián Jasík, a conservation expert from the non-profit organisation OZ Prales, told The Slovak Spectator. “Each one deserves our protection.”

“Now, as much as 95 percent of primeval forests are protected in Slovakia,” added Jasík. “However, our goal is not only the protection of these forests, but also their subsequent, meaningful use for research and sustainable tourism.”

Related articleMore primeval forests get top level of protection Read more 

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Coronavirus and vaccination news

  • With nearly 3,000 people in hospitals, 80 percent of whom are not vaccinated against Covid, the cabinet has approved stricter anti-pandemic measures that will come into force next Monday, November 22.
  • 7,418 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 23,440 PCR tests performed on November 18. The number of people in hospitals has increased to 2,945 people and 56 more deaths were reported on November 18. The vaccination rate is at 46.63 percent; 2,564,688 people have received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • Hospitals abroad are ready to help Slovakia cope with the onslaught of coronavirus admissions, Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský said during a talk show on Radio Expres. He added that the current 6,000-7,000 coronavirus infections, which are detected daily by PCR tests, will be seen in hospitals in two weeks.
  • The police will launch intensive inspections for compliance with epidemiological measures as of Monday, November 22, according to their post on a social network.
  • The Košice Self-governing Region (KSK) has launched a website with benefits for those vaccinated against Covid-19. On www.preodmenu.sk, people can find information in which outlets and for which goods or services in the region they can receive a discount, discounted entry or gift for purchase. 60 local retailers and service providers will offer various benefits. People can save €700 on average, KSK chairman Rastislav Trnka said.
  • The opposition party Smer will turn to the Constitutional Court on Monday, November 22, to annul the latest ordinances of the Public Health Authority concerning the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, party leader Robert Fico announced. The reason is to prevent segregation, which is based on different measures for vaccinated people, those who have overcome Covid-19 and those who have a negative test result.
  • Testing twice a week is not actually being implemented in large companies with thousands of employees and a continuous operation, said the Klub 500 organisation clustering the biggest employers in Slovakia. It claims that employee testing is a medical procedure and should be organised and funded by the state.
  • Residents of the Liptov region over the age of 50 that will have been vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of November will be rewarded with a daily ski pass to Jasná winter resort or a free ticket to one of Liptov’s two water parks.

Other news

  • The registered unemployment rate decreased by 0.3 percentage points to 6.79 percent in October. The last time unemployment was below 7 percent was in April 2020 when it amounted to 6.57 percent, the Central Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family (ÚPSVaR) announced.
  • Bratislava’s Old Town borough will not organise its traditional Christmas market on Hviezdoslavovo Square due to the worsening pandemic. The city council still plans to hold its Christmas market on Main Square.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic did not affect the construction of new residential real estate in Bratislava last year. The number of completed housing units totalled 2,793, approximately the same number completed in the previous three years (2017-2019), the Slovak Statistics Office reported. Housing units built in the capital made up 13 percent of all residential real estate built in Slovakia in 2020.

More on Spectator.sk:


A Trabant, a milk truck and hitchhiking. People who made it across the Iron Curtain Read more  Archaeologists unearthed a Germanic tomb 15 years ago. When will it be exhibited? Read more  Forget James Dean. Slovakia’s religious rebel had a 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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