Good afternoon. The weekend is coming and we have prepared a quick summary of the main news of the day in our Friday, January 21, 2022 edition of Today in Slovakia. We wish you a pleasant read.
For weekend tips and reads, check out ourSpectacular Slovakia weekly roundup. This week, Peter Dlhopolec is writing about a display on the history of the Tatras mountains and a pre-WWII viaduct. You can also read an interview with the new Slovak Philharmonic head.
Bratislava gets a new nature reserve
A significant chunk of the forests above Bratislava, in the Small Carpathians, will soon get better nature protection. The Vydrica Nature Reserve, to be established on February 1, will spread around the popular tourist spots of Spariská, Malý Slavín and Biely Kríž. The cabinet approved the launch of the new reserve at its session on January 19.
“After 15 years of efforts by nature conservationists, Bratislava will get another nature reserve, in which nature conservation will come first, but at the same time Bratislava residents and visitors can still go there to relax, as they are accustomed to,” said Bratislava Mayor Matúš Vallo, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
There will be a specific regime combining nature protection and intensive recreational use.
“This can become an example for other protected areas in Slovakia,” said Matej Dobšovič, director of the municipal forest company Mestské Lesy v Bratislave (MLB), as quoted by the TASR newswire.
Coronavirus and vaccination news
- 7,035 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 19,274 PCR tests performed on January 19. The number of people in hospitals is 1,566 and 57 more deaths were reported on January 19. The vaccination rate is 50.66 percent; 2,771,096 people have received a first vaccine dose. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia are available here.
- The Bratislava Self-governing Region (BSK) is continuing to vaccinate adults and children against Covid-19 at the National Football Stadium in Bratislava; the vaccine being administered there is Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech). Apart from today, vaccinations will take place on Saturday, January 22 as well as on Monday, January 24.
- In Slovakia, another 155 cases of the Omicron variant were confirmed. The total number of cases confirmed by sequencing is thus 282, the Public Health Office (ÚVZ) reported. In the samples submitted for sequencing on January 17 and 18, Omicron accounted for 59 percent of the successfully sequenced samples.
- The Košice-based Children’s University Hospital (DFN) is one of the international centres for monitoring side effects in children who have received a Covid-19 vaccine.
- Those interested in a third dose of a Covid-19 vaccine can choose from three vaccines in Slovakia: Comirnaty from the Pfizer/BioNTech consortium, Spikevax from Moderna, or Janssen from Johnson & Johnson.
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Anniversary of the Week
Slovakia marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of the legendary Czechoslovak pilot Otto Smik on Thursday, January 20. Smik was the most successful Slovak fighter pilot in the ranks of Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF) during WWII.
Feature story for today
In August 2021, as countries in Europe and beyond continued to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic and accompanying travel restrictions, 19-year-old pilot Zara Rutherford made full use of her gap year between school and university and set off on a record-breaking trip. On January 20, 2022, the British-Belgian landed her Slovak-manufactured Shark Aero aircraft, made in Senica, at Kortrijk-Wevelgem airport, where she began her journey, and officially entered the Guinness Book of World Records.
In other news
- Contactless payments are gaining popularity among Slovaks. Nearly 60 percent of payments in Slovakia are cashless, a figure that would increase to three-quarters of all payments if customers did not encounter merchants who do not accept payment cards, Mastercard's general manager for Czech Republic and Slovakia, Michal Čarný, said.
- Economy Minister Richard Sulík prompted a scandal after he said that Russia "will not return Crimea" to Ukraine and described sanctions that the EU has imposed on Russia as "unfortunate".
- Slovakia will be represented by 50 athletes at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, with the Slovak Olympic and Sport Committee approving a complete list on Friday. The Slovak team will feature 25 ice-hockey players, ten skiers, including star athlete Petra Vlhova, eight biathletes, five sledders and one snowboarder. In addition, Slovakia will have a female bobsledder for the first time.
- Hotels, guest houses and other accommodation facilities in Slovakia posted a four-fold year-on-year increase in the number of foreign tourists in November 2021, while the number of domestic guests grew by only one third, the Statistics Office reported on Friday, adding that the figures are still only one quarter of those seen before the pandemic, however.
- Alternative energy supplier Twinlogy has quit the natural gas supply market. The utility Slovenský Plynarenský Priemysel (SPP), as the statutory supplier of last resort, will take over Twinlogy's clients.
- Owners of ecological cars can park free of charge in the official parking areas in Demänovská Dolina, a popular tourist resort in the Liptov region. The municipality wants to assist residents and visitors who prefer green transport. They also added two more electric buses from the village to the ski resort.
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