News summary: life in Slovakia will be closer to normal sooner than expected

The first restrictions end on Saturday. No pressure yet on the border with Ukraine. Slovakia sends a diplomatic note to the Russian Embassy.

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Good evening. Welcome to the Wednesday, February 23, 2022 edition of Today in Slovakia, which features the main news of the day in less than five minutes.

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Most of the measures lifted on Saturday

From Saturday, February 26, there will no longer be special entry regimes in shops, services, restaurants or other places. This means that everyone will be allowed to enter, without the need to present proof of vaccination, recovery or negative test. Opening hours will be extended until midnight.

Still, there will remain some capacity limits for mass events or entry to fitness centers, with the Health Ministry saying this should prevent infection of at-risk groups.

The rules are also changing for schools. An entire class will no longer be required to self-quarantine after a student has been identified as Covid-positive, although that student will be required to self-isolate and then wear an FFP2 respirator for five days after self-isolation ends -isolation. Additionally, students will no longer be required to wear masks while in class, except for those who have ended their self-isolation. A mask outside the classroom will still be mandatory.

The second phase is scheduled to start on March 26, with capacity limits, quarantine of close contacts and restrictions on opening hours set to be removed entirely. The rules for wearing masks and respirators are yet to be discussed.

Moreover, the ministry said it would monitor the development of the pandemic in March and admitted that some measures could be lifted even earlier if the situation allows.

Learn more about coronavirus and vaccination

  • 19,075 people were newly diagnosed with Covid out of 33,688 PCR tests performed on February 22. Number of people in hospitals is 2,701; and 35 more deaths were reported on Tuesday. The vaccination rate is 51.21 percent, 2,816,574 people having received the first dose of the vaccine. More statistics on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • The pandemic situation in Slovakia seems to be improving, with the number of people testing positive dwindling across the country; currently, an average of about 17,400 new cases are reported each day. The number of new positive cases increased in 18 districts, while 48 districts reported a drop of more than 10 percent, according to data presented by the Ministry of Health. On the other hand, the number of hospitalizations and deaths increased slightly compared to last week.
  • All soldiers helping in hospitals will be withdrawn by Friday, said Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský (OĽaNO), adding that the situation there is stable. In addition to the hospital staff, nearly 600 students help. At the same time, the triage tents erected in front of the hospital buildings will be gradually dismantled next week.

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Slovakia has plans for the influx of refugees ready

Senior state officials gathered during the Security Council session held on February 22 afternoon, to discuss the Kremlin’s decision to recognize two breakaway republics in eastern Ukraine , Donetsk and Luhansk.

Participants discussed the preparedness of ministries and systems to deal with the situation, and a significant growth in disinformation that has been observed in Slovakia.

Even if Slovakia does not face a direct military threat today, if it escalates further, it will have to deal with a wave of migration of Ukrainian citizens fleeing the war in their country, President Zuzana Čaputová said after the session .

Such a situation does not exist on the Slovak border with Ukraine at the moment, as confirmed by Defense Minister Jaroslav Naï and Interior Minister Roman Mikulec (both OĽaNO).

Yet the conflict in eastern Ukraine may indirectly impact people living near the border, as well as travel to Ukraine and Russia. If the conflict escalates further, petrol prices could rise or Ukrainian refugees could start coming to Slovakia. The daily Sme took a closer look at the potential effects.

To prepare for the influx of people fleeing Ukraine, the Ministry of the Interior today presented the plans counting on several scenarios to the members of the parliamentary committee on defense and security. At the same time, the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Defense announced stricter controls in order to protect certain strategic objects.

Meanwhile, the Slovak Foreign Ministry delivered a protest note to the Russian Embassy in Bratislava, in which it formally rejected Vladimir Putin’s decision to recognize the independence of the separatist territories in eastern Russia. ‘Ukraine.

Picture of the day

The week-long spring school holidays for pupils in the Košice region and the Prešov region started on Monday. Many decided to take advantage of the good skiing conditions and visited ski resorts in other regions, such as Donovaly. In the next two weeks, school children in the western regions of Slovakia (Bratislava, Trnava and Nitra) and then in the central regions of Slovakia (Trenčín, Žilina and Banská Bystrica) will have school holidays.

Report for today

The sorted and composted kitchen waste from less than a hundred households in Bratislava would be enough to fertilize the land to produce 30 tons of watermelons or 40 to 70 tons of carrots. This calculation is based on the statistic that an average Bratislavian generates 120 kg of biodegradable waste from his kitchen every year. The capital is now gradually implementing its kitchen waste sorting system to reduce its production of greenhouse gases and find a practical recovery for kitchen waste.

After a successful pilot project in Lamač, the authorities will extend the collection of kitchen waste to other districts: Záhorská Bystrica, Karlova Ves and Dúbravka, all located in the west of the city, will join the program in March and April.

How Bratislava plans to use its kitchen waste Read more

In other news

  • The total number of deaths in Slovakia has returned to pre-pandemic levels despite the Omicron wave, according to the Bureau of Statistics. More … than 5,300 people died in January 2022, which was the lowest since September 2021; the number of excess deaths was only 4% higher than the five-year average before the start of the pandemic.
  • The appeal trial with former special prosecutor Dušan Kováčik must take place on 1st of March. Kováčik was sentenced by the Specialized Criminal Court to 14 years in prison without conditions for corruption, among other crimes, last September.
  • The State does not have to pay €34.6 million to Interblue, implicated in the 2008 emissions quota scandal, announced the Ministry of the Economy. The ministry referred to the decision of the regional court in Bratislava, which would have upheld the previous verdict issued by the district court in December 2020.
  • The communication application developed by the Slovak startup Simplicity will be used by 22 cities in the United States, which means it will be available to approximately 1 million people. The creators of the application are also negotiating cooperation with the city of Miami. (TASR)
  • The price of older apartments in Bratislava increased by 21.1% per year in the last quarter of 2021, their average price amounting to €3,287 per square meter. This is the largest increase since 2008, according to Bencont Investments.
  • Even the pandemic did not help to increase the share of Slovak food in stores; it came down to 40.17% last year, while in 2019 it was 40.74%. This stems from a survey conducted by the Slovak Chamber of Agriculture and Food at the end of 2021.

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