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Surprise result: Mass testing of Slovak nation shows only 1% have Covid-19 infection

The government plans a second round of nationwide testing

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Echo24, Czech News Agency

On Saturday, nationwide Covid-19 testing of the Slovak population of 5 million people revealed 25,850 positive cases, which is about one percent of the total number of 2.58 million people who showed up at testing sites that day, Minister of Defense Jaroslav Naď told reporters.

The mass testing event, which is unique in Europe, took place all weekend, but unlike on Saturday morning, there were no long lines at the testing points on Sunday morning, and the government did not even report any significant problems with the organization of the event.

According to Minister Naď, the mentioned numbers do not include the results of tests organized by large companies for their employees, as well as nursing homes and hospitals. The data on those infected on Saturday as part of the nationwide testing roughly corresponds to the number of those cases, which laboratory tests for coronavirus in Slovakia have confirmed together in the last ten days.

“I consider the result to be proof that the Slovak Republic functions as a community of responsible people. The Armed Forces have been able to organize the largest event since the establishment of the Slovak Republic,” said Prime Minister Igor Matovič at a joint press conference with Naď and other ministers. According to the prime minister, the originally planned second round of nationwide testing of the population will also take place, but he did not provide further details.

In Bratislava, only 0.31 percent of tests revealed infection

The regional comparison shows that the share of those tested positively on Saturday was the highest (up to 1.84 percent) in northern, eastern, and partly western Slovakia. In contrast, in Bratislava, tests confirmed infection in only 0.31 percent of those examined.

From widespread testing of people over the age of ten, the government of Matovič has promised to detect outbreaks and also slow the spread of coronavirus. The preparation of the project was accompanied by problems, especially in securing a sufficient number of paramedics who take swabs at testing points.

Participation in free testing is optional. However, the government has previously decided that people with a negative coronavirus test will not be subjected to a curfew from Nov. 2 to Nov. 8. Those who cannot be tested will not be able to start work or visit offices or shops, except for stores that offer vital goods, including food.

Those with a positive test should enter quarantine

Matovič once again urged residents who had tested positive for coronavirus to quarantine with members of their household. According to the prime minister, those with a negative test result should continue to follow restrictions during the pandemic. According to him, the antigenic tests used in the field testing confirm the coronavirus in only about a third of those infected.

The police drew attention to cases where those with a positive test did not self-isolate. Police are investigating them on suspicion of spreading a contagious disease.

On Saturday morning, the testing points, especially in larger cities, faced an onslaught of people and testing often began later due to lack of staff or equipment, the situation was largedly orderly. 

“Almost everywhere there was no waiting,“ wrote the Mayor of the city of Petržalka, Ján Hrčka, on social media. 

The initial phase of testing the population for coronavirus in Slovakia took place last week in the four districts most affected by the epidemic. Tests showed a positive result in almost four percent of participants.

Slovakia uses antigenic tests in comprehensive testing, which allow the result to be determined relatively quickly. Unlike laboratory PCR tests, however, they cannot detect all those infected. On Saturday, the Slovak laboratory completed a record of almost 22,000 PCR tests and confirmed 2,282 infected.

Title image: A resident of Roma community, centre, waits to test for Covid-19 coronavirus by a member of the Slovakian Armed Forces in the village of Jarovnice, eastern Slovakia, on Friday, April 3, 2020. The state has today begun massively test residents of marginalized Roma communities for the possible presence of coronavirus. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (Milan Kapusta/TASR via AP)