MORNING NEWS HIGHLIGHTS - Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 9 a.m.

31. marca 2020 9:00
TASR brings a quick morning overview of the most important events seen in Slovakia on the previous day (Monday, March 30): BRATISLAVA - The Episcopal Conference of Slovakia (KBS) has decided that Easter will be celebrated this year without people attending masses, which won't be public again until further notice in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus. BRATISLAVA - A survey carried out by Slovakia's central bank (NBS) among commercial bank analysts in March has shown that the country's GDP in fixed prices is expected to fall by 6.1 percent this year, TASR learnt on Monday. However, analysts are more optimistic about next year, when they expect GDP to start growing again. The bank analysts have significantly changed this year's GDP growth estimate from the one made only a month ago, as in February they expected GDP to grow by 2.2 percent. As for next year, they slightly revised their estimate upwards - by 2.6 percentage points (p.p.). of GDP in fixed prices to 4.7 percent. BRATISLAVA - The seven economic measures presented by the Government on Sunday are insufficient, and they won't deliver Slovakia from mass unemployment because they lack an across-the-board application for all companies affected by the coronavirus crisis, Austrian tax expert Wilfried Serles of consulting company Grant Thornton has stated for TASR. According to Serles, paying 80 percent of the salaries of employees in quarantine, which is among the seven measures, is absolutely insufficient. "The same kind of help is needed by companies that have lost contracts and now face mass redundancies. The Government should provide an opportunity for all companies in trouble to vie for this help across the board. Given the threat of mass unemployment, it will make no difference whether people lose their jobs due to a regulation or due to a lack of orders," stated Serles. BRATISLAVA - Head of the Public Procurement Office (UVO) Miroslav Hlivak, who's been diagnosed with COVID-19, hasn't been in personal contact with members of the new Government, as the last time he attended a Government session was on February 27, which was two days before the recent general election, TASR learnt from the Government Office on Monday. BRATISLAVA - A total of 22 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Slovakia on Sunday (March 29), increasing the total tally to 336, Health Ministry spokesperson Zuzana Eliasova informed TASR on Monday. BRATISLAVA - The peak of the new coronavirus pandemic in Slovakia is expected in 110 days, with about 1,000 people needing lung ventilation at that time, and around 7,000 people being hospitalised with more severe symptoms of COVID-19, Health Minister Marek Krajci (OLaNO) stated at a press conference on Monday, adding that such developments are expected if current measures to reduce the spread of the disease are in place. The prediction model of the spread of the new coronavirus in Slovakia is updated every day, says Krajci. "We're recording new data into it and also if the Government takes some measures, they change the curve," he said, adding that the model doesn't need to be seen as a "law" and that things may not develop as it predicts. BRATISLAVA - The European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF) has closed its investigation into the Agricultural Payment Agency (PPA) concerning direct payments, TASR learnt from the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry's press department on Monday. According to the Agriculture Ministry, the EU's supreme authority to fight frauds found that the Slovak agency was acting correctly. The office confirmed that there was no detriment to the EU's financial interests, which some politicians and MEPs talked about in the past. am
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