News digest: Number of hospitalised patients under 2,000, hospitals unprepared for next wave

Almost 7,000 children in age category between five and 11 were vaccinated against Covid in Slovakia. Supreme Court released Nitra-based businessman Bödör from custody but he was detained again.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. The Thursday, January 13 edition of Today in Slovakia is ready with the main news of the day in less than five minutes. We wish you a pleasant read.

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Changes at top police positions

Interim Police Corps President Štefan Hamran has presented who will take over leading posts at the Police Corps.

Branko Kišš and Damián Imre have been appointed the new vice presidents, while Ľubomír Daňko, who used to be at the helm of the Očistec (Purgatory) team, will manage the National Criminal Agency (NAKA).

In addition, investigator Ján Čurilla, who still faces charges for the alleged manipulation of witness testimonies, will become the deputy head of the NAKA’s Bratislava branch, and Peter Juhász has been appointed deputy head of the NAKA’s West branch.

The former served in the past as head of the Očistec team, and the latter led the Kuciak team, investigating the murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová.

Omicron wave ahead, hospitals not ready

Estimates say that the government has about three weeks to prepare ahead of the Omicron wave. So far, there have been 54 cases of Omicron variant confirmed in Slovakia.

Many Slovak hospitals are more unprepared than ever just before the next pandemic wave. Experienced doctors who departed in disillusionment have been replaced by fresh graduates, and dozens of nurses who resigned are yet to be replaced.

However, the head of the Slovak Chamber of Nurses and Midwives, Iveta Lazorová, claims that hospitals and the government should stop acting as if it is business as usual.

“We have protested for years and warned of the coming disaster that is now upon us. Yes, we have reasons to be worried,” Lazorová stated.

The senior and most experienced nurses are leaving, as are young and frustrated doctors upset with the state of public hospitals.

More coronavirus and vaccination news

  • 2,848 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 11,680 PCR tests performed on Wednesday. The number of people in hospitals is 1,915 people. 47 more deaths were reported on Wednesday. The vaccination rate is at 50.30 percent, 2,766,278 people have received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • Vaccinated people can also be infected with the Omicron variant to a greater extent than with other variants. However, even with Omicron, the vaccine provides a high degree of protection against severe disease and hospitalisation, reported the State Institute for Drug Control. Although the Omicron variant appears to be more infectious than previous SARS-CoV-2 variants, studies from South Africa, the United Kingdom and some European countries also demonstrate a lower risk of hospitalisation: compared to the Delta variant, this risk is one-third to one-half.
  • National Health Information Centre (NCZI) reported that there are 6,936 children in the age category between five and 11 vaccinated against Covid in Slovakia. Another 527 are waiting in the virtual waiting room for an appointment.
  • The Finance Ministry is extending the deadline for rewarding seniors for vaccinations until January 31. "There are still several thousand pensioners who do not have appointments," said Igor Matovič. According to him, people can get vaccinated without an appointment and receive a reward.

Photo of the day

The immediate policy priority for the Slovak Republic is to get more people vaccinated,” OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann said in Bratislava. “Once beyond the crisis, addressing the challenges of population ageing will be critically important."

Feature story for today

The Koch Garden, the only one of its kind in Slovakia, has been inaccessible and lacking proper maintenance for years. Now it is headed towards a better future.

In late December, the Bratislava city council approved a land swap with the Interior Ministry, whose part is the garden at the Koch Sanatorium in the Old Town. The city plans to revitalise the garden and make it accessible again.

Bratislava’s exquisite healing garden goes on the mend Read more 

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In other news

  • The new public administration budget should be compiled on the basis of expenditure limits approved by the parliament. This follows from the draft amendment to the Act on Budgetary Rules, approved by the government. The proposed amendment to the Act on Budgetary Rules follows on from the amendment to the Constitutional Act on Budgetary Responsibility, which, however, has not yet been approved by the parliament.
  • State Secretary of the Agriculture Ministry Milan Kyseľ will resign at the Cabinet session next week. Media reports appeared earlier in January that the Agriculture Ministry allegedly paid a generous subsidy of €4,500 per pig through the National Agricultural and Food Center to the pig farming company Rimanec, with which Kyseľ used to be affiliated as an executive official. The farm is currently managed by his family members.
  • Supreme Court released Nitra-based businessman Norbert Bödör from custody. He was at large only several hours when police detained him again.
  • There are 21,000 more self-employed people in Slovakia in annual terms. Their total number will soon exceed half a million. Currently, 494,235 natural persons are authorised to do business in Slovakia, states Dun & Bradstreet analyst Petra Štepánová in a press release. Despite the current situation affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the number of self-employed has not decreased.
  • Another case of the avian flu confirmed in Záhorie region. The sample was from a dead swan in the recreational area Rudava-Malé Leváre.
  • Slovak diplomat and Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the UN in New York, Michal Mlynár, became one of the vice-presidents of the UNICEF Executive Board for 2022. The Executive Board is UNICEF's highest governing and supervisory body. "It is a great success for Slovakia and our diplomacy, which has attached importance to the support and protection of children's human rights," said the diplomacy department.

Do not miss on today

Changes at police: investigators of corruption cases appointed to top posts Read more  A train without a driver set off from Košice, finally stopping in Hungary Read more 

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