Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovič announced on Thursday evening that the country is introducing a partial lockdown starting Saturday. In four Slovak regions, where the epidemiological situation is the worst, a strict curfew will be in place from Saturday to Nov. 1.
“It will only be possible to go outside the place of residence to the nearest grocery store, pharmacy, to a doctor, or to walk a dog a maximum of 100 meters from the place of residence, take care of a relative or go to a funeral,” the prime minister announced.
“If people want to have freer movement, they must prove it by a PCR test or an antigen test not older than from Oct. 23,” Matovič added. The “reward” for getting people tested in the affected areas will be a permit to go to work, accompany the child to school or kindergarten, go to the post office, to the bank, visit a car service or gas station, or take a trip into nature, but only in within the district.
In the rest of Slovakia, these exceptions are allowed even for people without a test.
The actual curfew will be gradually extended to three weeks, Matovič said. The conditions of the exceptions will change so that the government can force the inhabitants to participate in the planned comprehensive testing of the population, according to the statement of the cabinet.
Schools will also be closed from Oct. 26 to Nov. 27, except for crèches, kindergartens, and primary schools.
Slovakia will start comprehensive testing of the entire population for COVID-19 with antigen tests starting in theOrava and Bardejov districts from Oct. 23 to Oct. 25 and in other areas from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 and from Nov. 6 to Nov. 8.
Minister of Health Marek Krajčí said that on average 18 people die every day in Slovakia.
“The situation is serious, we do not have it under control,” the minister admitted.
Slovakia has registered 35,330 infected people since the beginning of the pandemic and 115 people have died. Currently, 731 people are hospitalized in Slovakia with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis. Of these, 20 people are in the ICU, and 63 in need of lung ventilation.
Title image: Slovakia’s Prime Minister Igor Matovic arrives for an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. European Union leaders are meeting in person for a two-day summit amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic to discuss topics ranging from Brexit to climate and relations with Africa. (Olivier Hoslet, Pool via AP)