News digest: Four more Omicron cases confirmed in Slovakia

85-year old Justice Palace used to feature a gallows, the bureaucratic nonsense of 2021 and Petra Vlhová ends second in giant slalom in Lienz, Austria

(Source: SME.sk / Hej,ty)

Good evening. Read the Tuesday, December 28, 2021 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.

Bratislava’s Justice Palace turns 85 years, which can house more than 740 prisoners

The complex of the Justice Palace on Zahradnícka Street is marking 85 years. It houses the Regional Court of Bratislava, the Bratislava I District Court, a prison and a detention facility. In the past, the court served for death penalties.

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The Justice Palace, designed by Slovak architects Alexander Skutecký and Vojtech Holesch, was completed and put into operation on December 31, 1936. The prison began operating on January 15, 1937.

The Justice Palace was the place where death penalties were executed. Slovakia abolished the death penalty in 1990.


The bureaucratic nonsense of the year is reporting accounts to the Financial Administration

The bureaucratic nonsense of the year is the compulsory reporting of corporate bank accounts of VAT payers to the Financial Administration, though banks already do so. This obligation won first place in a list of 56 nominated absurdities. It is similar to the finalist from 2018. Although this obligation was cancelled, it returned in an amended form as of November 2021.

“This year’s bureaucratic nonsense shows how tenacious bureaucracy can be and that the fight against it is an endless process,” said Simona Mištíková, president of the Association of Young Entrepreneurs of Slovakia, as cited by the SITA newswire.

Ján Solík, president of the Association of Entrepreneurs of Slovakia, noted that this year’s winner deserves attention for several reasons.

“The return of the scrapped duty ‘in disguise’ shows that we will not advance in the fight against bureaucracy without systemic instruments,” said Solík.


More Covid and vaccination developments

  • 4,243 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 16,258 PCR tests performed on December 27. The number of people in hospitals is 2,473 people. 41 more deaths were reported on December 27. The vaccination rate is at 49.75 percent, 2,736,128 people having received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • A total of 7,167 people died in Slovakia in November, which is almost 2,500 more than the November average in previous years. The overall excess mortality rate in November stood at 53 percent. After cardiovascular diseases Covid-19 was the second most common cause of death, claiming the lives of 1,443 people. The highest excess mortality rate was observed among the elderly aged 65-74. In terms of regions, the worst situation in November was recorded in the Prešov region, in which the death rate rose by 95 percent compared to previous years.
  • Labs of the Public Health Authority (ÚVZ) confirmed another four Omicron cases. The number of confirmed cases has thus increased to 11, chief hygienist Ján Mikas confirmed. These four people were jabbed with two doses of Covid-19 vaccines.
  • Several patients suffering from Covid-19 do not receive monoclonal antibody treatment in time. The private health insurance company Dôvera pointed out that the main problem is contacting the general practitioner by phone. Therefore, Dôvera uses software that ensures communication directly between laboratories and GPs, which speeds up the process. In Slovakia, each patient over 65 years is entitled to monoclonal antibody treatment. Thanks to the software used by Dôvera, the GP immediately learns about the positive result of the patient’s PCR test and can quickly send him or her to the monoclonal antibody infusion centre. The biggest health insurance company, VšZP, and the second private insurance company, Union, do not interfere with the management of the patient.
  • For nearly a quarter of people it is challenging to obtain the health care of a general practitioner during the pandemic, indicates the survey results by the AKO pollster, conducted for the private TV JOJ between December 7 and December 13 on a sample of 1,000 respondents. Within this group, the main reason was the fact that the DP attends patients only by phone or by e-mail. More than half of the respondents stated that their GP works as usual and so they also can visit him or her during the pandemic without problems. About a fifth did not know how to respond.

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Picture of the day


Feature story for today

When the recently launched trade union organisation at Dell in Slovakia initiated their first collective bargaining with company management, they encountered a ban on communicating with employees via work e-mail. While they see this as significantly limiting their communication with employees, Dell argues that the company needs to protect employees’ private data.

This is a case in point where Slovak legislation does not address in detail how trade unions communicate with employees.

“Neither the Labour Code nor the Law on Collective Bargaining specifically regulate the form of communication between trade unions or other employees’ representatives and employees themselves,” Peter Rusiňák, AmCham senior policy manager and AmCham Business Service Center Forum (BSCF) coordinator, told The Slovak Spectator.

Related article GDPR hampers trade unions' communication with employees, says major employer Read more 

In other news

  • More than half of Slovaks are willing to pay 10 percent more for energy, if it leads to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, with one-third of the people willing to accept energy and heating bills 25 percent higher. This follows from a survey conducted by the AKO agency on behalf of the Slovak Gas and Oil Association (SPNZ). The survey was carried out in October on a sample of 1,000 respondents.
  • The Agriculture Ministry has paid a record-high subsidy of €4,500 per pig to a limited liability company known as Rimanec, which was co-managed by Agriculture Ministry state secretary Milan Kyseľ until June 2021. Rimanec owns a total of six pigs. In line with an agreement published in the Central Contract Register, the state has paid the business a total of €27,026, a sum three times higher than the total of the company’s revenues over the past three years. The opposition party Hlas of Peter Pellegrini calls these pigs the most expensive ones in Slovak history.
  • Sister companies Swan and Swan Mobile will merge at the beginning of next year to create a full-fledged telecommunications operator. The new operator will use the trade name Swan. The offer for individuals and households will be sold under the 4ka brand, which has so far only been used by Swan Mobile. Corporate services remain under the Swan brand.
  • Slovak households will pay more for natural gas next year as the Office for Network Industries (ÚRSO) has definitively approved all components of the gas price. Households that only use gas for cooking will pay extra about 45 cents per month. The payments of households that use gas for heating as well will increase depending on consumption, from €9.43 to €18.69 per month.

More onSpectator.sk:

Three Czech and Slovak Christmas movies to watch on Netflix with English subtitles Read more  Blog: Mindset is the key to successful learning Read more  Making your own beeswax candles is easier than you think 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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