News digest: Slovakia hits critical number in hospitals, lockdown starts tomorrow

Cabinet approves lockdown and curfew. Slovakia breaks another record in Covid daily caseload. Cabinet apologises for forced sterilisation of women.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. Catch up on the main news of the day in less than five minutes with the Wednesday, November 24, 2021 edition of Today in Slovakia. We wish you a pleasant read.

Cabinet approves two-week lockdown for everybody

Starting on November 25 at midnight, Slovakia will enter a strict two-week lockdown.

At the same time, the cabinet decided to declare a national emergency (also starting at midnight), which will make it possible to introduce night curfew between 20:00 and 5:00 5:00 and 1:00 the next day . For now, curfew should also stay in place for two weeks.

There will be certain exemptions, like travel to and from work as well as to and from kindergartens and schools (all of which should stay open), visits to the doctor and medical facilities, or essential shopping. People will also be allowed to go out into nature, but only within the district they live in.

The cabinet is ready to reassess the effect of these restrictions after 10 days, and decide on their prolongation or the relaxation of some measures, but only for those vaccinated against Covid or those who recovered from the disease within the past 180 days.

“If such a strict lockdown doesn’t work, it’d be a world phenomenon,” PM Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) said.

At the same time, the cabinet agreed that the new rules for entering the workplace, which counts on employees either having a confirmation of vaccination, or recovery from Covid, or a negative test result, should be applied from next Monday, November 29 until the end of the year.

Those not fully vaccinated against Covid or those who recovered from the disease more than 180 days ago will have to present a negative antigen self-test that cannot be older than seven days. Employers will have to purchase these tests, but the state promises to repay them in January. The price of one antigen self-test should not exceed €5 with VAT.

Even though Heger said that the cabinet followed the recommendations of experts, the fact is that experts wanted a three-week lockdown for everybody, and keep only the kindergartens and first four grades of primary schools open. Yet, the latter was vetoed by the junior coalition party SaS, which wanted all schools to remain open.

Veronika Remišová of Za Ľudí, who serves as investments minister, did not vote for the new restrictions at all.

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More coronavirus and vaccination news

  • 10,315 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 30,175 PCR tests performed on November 23, which is the highest number since the pandemic broke out last March. The number of people in hospitals has increased to 3,200 people, which has been labelled as a critical level. Seventy-one more deaths were reported on Tuesday. The vaccination rate is at 47.33 percent, 2,603,391 people having received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • The cabinet gave a green light to the deployment of 1,000 soldiers a day to help fight the pandemic. At the same time, it approved the purchase of 10 million antigen tests for testing in companies.
  • The state will increase the financial assistance for businesses affected by the pandemic for November and December 2021, so that they equal the sums allocated by the state at the end of last year. Yet, businesses will not be able to ask for the state contribution on employees based on a drop in their revenues.
  • As much as 82.7 percent of schoolchildren currently attend in-person education, and 17.3 percent switched to remote education, the Education Ministry stated.
  • A supporter of groups of people rejecting vaccination against Covid and refusing to wear masks, who have organised several protests in retail stores, has died of Covid. Miroslav K. was streaming several protests, including the one held before the house of Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský (OĽaNO), and even attended some protest gatherings.
  • Altogether 11 new military doctors from the Armed Forces Academy in Liptovský Mikuláš were deployed to help in hospitals across Slovakia. Currently, all military doctors available are serving in medical facilities, with 35 directly in hospitals and three in outpatient departments.

Picture of the day

The US-based Universities Space Research Association picked a picture by Slovak photographer Tomáš Slovinský as its Earth Science Picture of the Day for November 24. Titled Northern Lights Over the Norwegian Sea, it was taken in Tromso, Norway, in October 2021.

Feature story for today

Robot waiters, automatic wine dispenser machines and mobile apps have started penetrating the food and beverages sector in Slovakia. Restaurants, wine shops and other gastronomic outlets are coping with the shortage of professionals and the impact of the pandemic, all the while making their business special and more convenient for clients.

Robots as waiters or online winetasting. Innovations slowly making their way to Slovak restaurants Read more 

In other news

  • The Slovak cabinet has apologised for the sterilisation of women under the communist regime and in the years that followed. It adopted the respective resolution on November 24.
  • Slovakia has dropped in the Global Corruption Index (GCI) from 40th position to the 42nd. It is the fifth-worst country in the EU, ahead of Croatia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.
  • The Specialised Criminal Court issued the first conviction verdict in an investigation of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO). The former mayor of a municipality in eastern Slovakia pled guilty for committing an attempted offence against the financial interest of the EU, based on the fact that he falsified documents in order to illegally obtain financial support from the European Social Fund for the co-financing of local services; the total damage that could have been caused was more than €93,000. The court imposed a conditional imprisonment of three years with a probation period and disqualification from a position in public office for five years. (EPPO)
  • The European Court of Human Rights awarded Branislav Adamčo, the gangland boss from eastern Slovakia, and Jozef Balogh, both accused in the case of the case of a double murder in Most pri Bratislave in 2004, a compensation of €9,000 for the excessive duration of criminal proceedings pending against them before the Bratislava I District Court.
  • The Grosan holding owned by Czech entrepreneur Luděk Kostka completed the acquisition of construction company Váhostav – SK, previously belonging to tycoon and alleged sponsor of the opposition Smer party, Juraj Široký. The holding will control 100-percent stock via Geosan Construction SK.
  • The number of visitors to hotels and boarding houses in Slovakia in September 2021 was by nearly 17 percent higher than a year before, but still one quarter lower than before the pandemic. Nearly 441,000 people visited the accommodation facilities in Slovakia, the data of the Statistics Office showed.
  • Slovakia commemorates the 55th anniversary of one of the biggest air disasters on its territory. The plane of Bulgarian company TABSO crashed on Sakrakopec near Bratislava on November 24, 1966, killing 82 people.

More on today:

Willingness to get vaccinated increases with higher salary, poll shows Read more 

A singer was to pay her manager a fee, the court stopped it Read more 

Red Hot Chili Peppers to play Bratislava next summer Read more 

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