News digest: Three more Omicron cases confirmed in Slovakia

Rules for returning to schools will be fine-tuned during the holidays. People arriving in Slovakia from certain countries are asked to register for a PCR test.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. Read the Tuesday, December 21 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.

Slovak and Czech MFAs commented on the US and Russia development

The Slovak MFA Ivan Korčok commented on the latest development concerning Russia during his joint press conference with the newly-appointed Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský.

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The two ministers agreed that the latest development between Russia and the US deeply impacts Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Addressing the latest talks between Russia and the US, and the proposed treaties, Korčok said that it is important that countries in the neighbourhood of the Russian Federation are free to decide on their foreign policy orientation, including where they seek security assurances.

"Therefore, the result of this dialogue must not be the drawing of red lines or new spheres of influence," Korčok said.

It is essential for Slovakia that the result of this dialogue is not questioning the very existence of NATO.

About million people in Slovakia do not have antibodies

More than half of the population of people unvaccinated against Covid do not have antibodies. When counting vaccinated people too, there are about a million people in Slovakia who do not have antibodies either from recovery from the disease or vaccination.

This stems from the first-ever research conducted on antibodies against Covid in Slovakia. In November and December, Slovak scientists looked into how many people have antibodies ahead of the Omicron wave in Slovakia, even though they admit that antibodies are not everything when it comes to protection against the virus.

The results in countries where similar studies have been conducted were better, according to the scientists.

Another poll showed that support for a vaccine mandate in Slovakia has increased slightly in December. People tend to support the mandatory vaccination of certain groups of the population more than mandatory vaccination for everyone who can get vaccinated.

A vaccine mandate for chosen groups of the population was also more popular among respondents than a lockdown.

More coronavirus and vaccination news

  • 3,683 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 14,742 PCR tests performed on Monday. The number of people in hospitals is 2,967 people and 61 more deaths were reported on Monday. The vaccination rate is at 49.55 percent; 2,725,050 people have received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • Slovakia will receive 340,000 doses of the Nuvaxovid from Novavax vaccine, which was approved following conditional registration by European Medicines Agency on Monday. Slovakia should receive them in the first half of 2022. "Several experts recommend using this vaccine as the third dose of the vaccine; a protein vaccine is also recommended for autoimmune diseases," the health ministry said.
  • There were three other Omicron cases confirmed in Slovakia, bringing the total up to seven in Slovakia so far. Two people were vaccinated with two doses, one was unvaccinated. The first vaccinated person was infected in a common household with people who were infected with the Omicron variant. The second vaccinated person had not travelled abroad, but the third unvaccinated person returned to Slovakia from Africa.
  • People arriving in Slovakia from the UK, Denmark and Norway are asked to register for a PCR test, even if they are fully vaccinated. It will be paid by the state.

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Photo of the day

After five years, the Golgotha sculpture, which is a national cultural monument, has returned to the Calvary in Trnava. Stone crosses and pedestals, as well as metal statues of Christ, the Virgin Mary, St. John the Evangelist and two criminals, have recently undergone restoration funded by the city. The work, which is about 120 years old, was mechanically damaged, said restorer Tomáš Kucman.

Feature story for today

High-skilled workers ready to take up jobs may be hard to come by in Slovakia. This is particularly true for IT professionals, the biggest Slovak job search website reports.

How to deal with the shortage of highly qualified workers Read more 

In other news

  • The Prosecutor of the Special Prosecutor's Office filed a charge against 11 accused persons out of a total of 20 offenses in the Očistec (Purgatory) case through the Specialised Criminal Court. Last year, the National Criminal Agency (NAKA) detained several police officers as part of the Purgatory operation, including former police president Tibor Gašpar, who was released from custody on November 4, almost a year later. The group allegedly operated around Nitra businessman Norbert Bödör.
  • The newly created LearningLab educational laboratory, which opened at the Community Center in Luník IX in Košice, will serve to increase digital, functional and information literacy, as well as the use of innovative approaches and digital technologies. The aim is to improve the skills, competencies and general conditions of the Roma community.
  • The Education Ministry will update the rules for returning to schools and inform the public about possible changes in the school Covid automat alert system after the Christmas holidays. Minister Branislav Gröhling (SaS) explained that the rules for returning to schools will be fine-tuned during the holidays. According to the plan, pupils and students should thus return to schools on January 10, 2022.
  • The former head of the Constitutional Court Ivetta Macejková has stepped down as a judge of the Supreme Court. "Judge of the Supreme Court Ivetta Macejková has informed the President of the Supreme Court that on November 25, 2021, she asked the Justice Minister to suspend her office according to the Law on Judges, as of December 31, 2021," said the spokesperson for the court. Macejková was at the helm of the Constitutional Court between 2007 and 2019.
  • The National Bank of Slovakia (NBS) estimates the public finance deficit at 7.4 percent of GDP in 2021, which is 1.9 points more than last year. According to the central bank, the economic recovery should have a positive effect on the public sector's performance.
  • In November this year, 5,704 new passenger cars were sold in Slovakia, down 17.6 percent y-o-y. Škoda was the best-selling brand again. Last month, 644 small commercial vehicles were registered, down 9.7 percent compared to the same month last year. The most popular brand was Opel, according to data disclosed by the Automotive Industry Association.

Do not miss on today

Slovakia has vaccines for children but registration has not been launched Read more  German construction manager confused for one of Slovakia’s greatest writers Read more 

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