News digest: Seven recommendations for coping with Omicron during Christmas

The first results of the census show that more women than men live in Slovakia. PM Eduard Heger received a booster shot and encouraged people to get vaccinated.

(Source: SME.sk / Hej,ty)

Good evening. Read the Monday, December 20 edition of Today in Slovakia to catch up on the main news of the day in less than five minutes. We wish you a pleasant read.

PM and health minister refuse to return to regional measures

Hospitalisations have been decreasing gradually in recent days, falling under the limit of 3,000. Some politicians propose that Slovakia return to the regional anti-pandemic measures outlined by the Covid automat alert system.

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However, the Health Ministry and PM Eduard Heger have decided against it and advise that people remain cautious. The PM said that hospital beds are still overcrowded and with the threat of the fast spread of Omicron and the Christmas holidays ahead, it would not be wise to ease up any measures. The government should meet and reevaluate the measures after New Year's, but the current ones will stay in place until at least January 9, 2022.

With the Christmas holidays approaching, Slovak doctors and scientists united in the advisory body to the Health Ministry and the initiative Science Helps issued several recommendations on how to enjoy safe holidays and prevent the spread of the Omicron variant as much as possible.

The Slovak Spectator answered some frequently asked questions about what is allowed during the Christmas holidays in Slovakia.


More women than men live in Slovakia

The Statistics Office published the first results of the 2021 census. They counted 5,449,270 people living in Slovakia; 49 percent are men and 51 percent are women.

More people live in towns than in the countryside and a positive trend in the census is the increase of university-educated people.

The highest number of university-educated people live in Bratislava Region (31.7 percent) and this region also has the lowest share of inhabitants with only a basic education (11.6 percent).

Around 98.9 percent of permanent residents in Slovakia have Slovak citizenship. The highest share of people with another state citizenship permanently resides in Bratislava Region, the lowest share in Trenčín Region.


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.


More coronavirus and vaccination news

  • 1,224 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 4,713 PCR tests performed on Sunday. The number of people in hospitals is 2,984 people and 54 more deaths were reported on Sunday. The vaccination rate is at 49.48 percent; 2,721,300 people have received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • Amazon donated 40 laptops to regional health authorities. The laptops will be helpful for the work of soldiers from the Armed Forces who assist public health employees in tracing the contacts of people who have tested positive with Covid. “Especially at the time of the omicron variant, these searches may become crucial in preventing the uncontrolled spread of this new coronavirus variant in our country,” the Health Ministry said.
  • The Health Care Surveillance Authority is analysing the movements of five doctors who doubt the severity of Covid-19 or the effectiveness of vaccination. “Following the evaluation of a specific matter, the authority will, within its competence, take measures against such doctors, in the form of termination of cooperation up to proposals for the revocation of their licenses or a submission to the Disciplinary Commission of the Slovak Medical Chamber (SLK),” the authority said. They are monitoring Štefan Hrušovský, Andrej Janco, Ján Lakota, Peter Lipták and Michal Piják.
  • Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský (OĽANO nominee) and the Director of the Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO) for Europe Hans Kluge signed a two-year cooperation agreement between the Slovak Republic and WHO.

Photo of the day

PM Eduard Heger received his booster shot today. Heger emphasised that vaccination with the third dose is important because of the upcoming Omicron variant. “We try to gain as much information as possible on how this variant will behave. We can say with certainty that it will spread really fast.”

He added that it is especially important that older people get a booster shot.

“I am glad that almost 800,000 people have been vaccinated with a booster shot in Slovakia,” he said and added that in the overall vaccination rate, Slovakia lags behind other European countries. He encouraged people to get vaccinated.


Feature story for today

Sitting in his office on Tehelná Street in Zvolen, Jozef Klement, 68, is flanked by a glass case displaying dozens of office stamps and a very old, large storage cabinet.

Born into a Jewish family from Turčianske Teplice, a spa town in the Turiec region, in the early 1950s, Klement is today a well-known figure in Slovakia’s Jewish community, as well as among the general population of Zvolen. For decades, he has been at the heart of initiatives to commemorate the history of local Jewish communities.

Jozef Klement: Helping stamp an identity on central Slovakia's Jewish history Read more 

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In other news

  • Healthcare workers will receive a one-off bonus of €350. The bonus, approved by the government, will be paid in January 2022 together with the December salary.
  • President Zuzana Čaputová granted five pardons this year, to four women and one man. Since becoming president, she has granted 14 pardons, three in 2019 and six in 2020.
  • In the Tatra settlement of Starý Smokovec, the highest-located ice rink in Slovakia was opened. In accordance with anti-pandemic measures, it can be used by eight skaters at a time. The sports premises are open daily from 9:00 and 19:00 for the vaccinated and recovered. Children under 12 years and two months of age do not need to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination or recovery from the disease.
  • Pupils and students of primary and secondary schools are on Christmas holiday as of today. The holiday break, which was originally supposed to start on December 23, was moved forward due to the unfavourable development of the pandemic. Winter holidays will last until January 7; pupils and students should return to school on January 10, 2022.
  • The National Highway Company has started selling electronic vignettes for 2022. All types of vignettes are available – one year, 365-day, 30-day, 10-day. They can be purchased on www.eznamka.sk.
  • The registered unemployment rate in Slovakia decreased in November by 0.15 percentage points to 6.64 percent, Labour and Social Affairs Minister Milan Krajniak (Sme Rodina) reported. The total unemployment rate dropped 0.16 percentage points m-o-m to 7.33 percent. According to the minister, people in Slovakia can find a job even amid the pandemic; 10,900 jobseekers were successful in November.

Do not miss on Spectator.sk today

New buses will soon travel the streets of the capital Read more  How to do a Christmas cookie exchange right (recipes) Read more  Special schools for Roma children were illegal, court rules Read more  How to deal with the shortage of highly qualified workers 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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