News digest: President says conditional yes to US-Slovak defence agreement

Quarantine in Slovakia could be cut. Slovak median salary at €1,288 gross in 2021.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. The Thursday, January 20 edition of Today in Slovakia is ready, giving the main news of the day in less than five minutes.

President gives conditional support to DCA

President Zuzana Čaputová supports concluding the Slovak-US Defence Cooperation Agreement.

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However, she said she is aware that opinion about the DCA differ in society and has therefore put a condition on its ratification that the agreement must include an interpretation clause. This will be part of her approval for a member of the government to sign the DCA on Slovakia's behalf.

The interpretation clause will, among others, state that the agreement will be implemented in a way that does not pose a threat to the Slovak Republic.

The president noted that the US does not have to sign the interpretation clause but that if the US refused it, Slovakia will not sign the DCA.

PM Eduard Heger has said he welcomes the President's stance, but the opposition Hlas party has described it as "the most serious failure of the President in relation to Slovak citizens so far."

Infectious people may be soon going to work

The Health Ministry is ready to shorten the compulsory isolation period for people who test positive for Covid. This is the plan after the onset of the latest Omicron wave of infections in Slovakia, during which tens of thousands of people are expected to be infected per day.

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The current quarantine period is ten days, but this could be cut to five if employee shortages become so severe because workers will need to quarantine that essential services will be under threat.

People in the shortened quarantine will have to remain at home for five days, and then in the five days after that quarantine period, will be able to conduct only essential activities, such as go only to work and buy groceries.

“It is clearly a pragmatic decision for a time when there will be large shortages of staff in various areas,” Health Ministry analyst Matej Mišík said.

Shortening quarantine is a step that some other countries have taken, including neighbouring Austria and the Czech Republic. Analysts expect Slovakia could be in such a situation in a matter of weeks.

More coronavirus and vaccination news

  • 6,011 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 17,803 PCR tests performed on Wednesday. The number of people in hospital is 1,606. 61 more deaths were reported on Wednesday. The vaccination rate is 50.60 percent, 2,783,230 people have received a first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • Most positive PCR tests on Wednesday were in the districts of Bratislava (539), Dunajská Streda (330), Žilina (261), Košice (257) and Námestovo (207), according to the National Centre for Health Information.
  • Omicron accounted for 61 percent of samples, according to Unilabs Slovakia, a network of laboratories sequencing positive samples from the end of last week. The remainder is the Delta variant. The laboratories sequenced 384 positive samples from across Slovakia.
  • Legal analysis of mandatory vaccination by the Justice and Health Ministries is ready. After presenting it to PM Eduard Heger and other involved people and subjects, the ministries will inform the public of their findings.

Photo of the day

A difficult hike to Veľký Choč, a mountain peak near Ružomberok in central Slovakia, is rewarded with a beautiful view of the surrounding wilderness.

Feature story for today

Until now, the state, while considering and occasionally granting claims of asylum, has taken little formal responsibility for those actually granted protection here. Instead, the job of helping them to integrate – not to mention the costs – has fallen mostly to NGOs. That now looks set to change.

State reconsiders its duty towards asylum seekers Read more 

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In other news

  • The program of cooperation between the Slovak and Russian General Prosecutor's Offices includes two round tables, workshops and a professional meeting in 2022 and 2023. This is according to a document published on the website of the General Prosecutor's Office. The document was added to the website by the prosecutor's office after it refused to make it available to the Sme daily.
  • InoBat Auto has entered into a joint development agreement with the International Finance Corporation which belongs to the World Bank Group. According to the Slovak company, the goal of the partnership is to build a gigaplant for batteries for electric cars in Central and Southeastern Europe.
  • The median salary in Slovakia was €1,288 gross in 2021. This means that 50 percent of people working in the country had a lower basic salary, according to a recent analysis of the website, which runs under the Profesia recruitment company.
  • More than 10,000 beverage packagings were collected since the system of returning packaging on deposit was launched. Currently, there are about 2,000 collecting sites in Slovakia.
  • Trnava-based carmaker Stellantis wants to hire more than 300 employees as part of an ongoing recruitment programme. According to the company's spokesperson, Peter Švec, the factory wants to return to its original production pace from February due to the improving situation with the supply of semiconductors.
  • The number of passengers at Poprad airport fell 36 percent y-o-y in 2021, due to restrictions associated with the spread of coronavirus variants. According to Peter Dujava, the director of the airport, behind this unfavorable development are the reduction of flights and rotation on the Poprad - London - Luton route to once a week, weak ticket and holiday sales last summer, as well as the completely canceled winter season.

Do not miss on today

Slovak charged with killing an Irish teacher Read more  Bratislava zoo mourns the loss of its oldest giraffe Read more  People have waited decades to visit the Cave of Peace. They must wait longer Read more 

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