Slovak president calls for nationwide lockdown

Slovakia's President Zuzana Caputova arrives for a NATO summit at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Monday, June 14, 2021. (Kenzo Tribouillard, Pool via AP)
By Karolina Klaskova
3 Min Read

The number of patients with Covid-19 in Slovak hospitals on Monday reached almost 3,200. According to Slovak authorities, exceeding this number would mean that the country would be on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe. The epidemic situation in Slovakia, which has fewer people vaccinated than the European Union average, has been deteriorating since September, and the government is preparing new measures.

According to President Zuzana Čaputová, the country is in such a bad situation that it needs a lockdown.

Although Slovakia has a low vaccination rate, other countries like Germany, which have a higher rate, are also seeing case numbers explode to all-time record highs, and deaths are rising at nearly the same rate as last year.

“We are losing the fight against covid, especially in the sense that we are the worst in the world in terms of newly infected people per million inhabitants. We need to limit mobility and we need a lockdown. The measures recommended by experts must affect everyone,” Čaputová told journalists in an emotional speech after visiting one of the capital city’s hospitals.

The current number of Covid-19 patients in Slovak hospitals is the highest since the end of March this year when the country faced a heavy second wave of the Covid-19 epidemic. At that time, Slovakia required the help of medical personnel from abroad. Germany and Poland took several severe covid patients from Slovakia for further treatment.

On Monday, Slovakia tightened epidemic restrictions, especially for unvaccinated residents who did not go through Covid-19. The government of Prime Minister Eduard Heger should discuss further measures on Wednesday. Minister of Health Vladimír Lengvarský has repeatedly proposed the declaration of a nationwide lockdown for three weeks.

According to the Slovak media, the planned measures will include a two-week ban on going out and a check of Covid-19 certificates when employees enter work. Teaching in schools, however, will continue unabated. In case the government applies a restriction on the free movement of persons, it would first have to declare a state of emergency.

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