Slovakia will no longer apply national measures, only regional ones, if the coronavirus epidemic situation worsens. Minor restrictions will apply to operations and mass events attended only by people fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The Slovak government approved the new anti-epidemic system on Tuesday. It will be enforced next week.
Experts prepared the system in response to the spread of a more contagious variant of coronavirus. From next Monday, for the first time since the second half of July, not all districts in Slovakia will be at the lowest level of epidemic risk.
The new anti-epidemic system, the so-called covid automat, will also take into account the proportion of vaccinated elderly people who are among the most vulnerable groups. Milder restrictions will apply in districts where at least 65 percent of the population over the age of 50 have been vaccinated against Covid-19.
The 5 million Slovakia lags behind the EU average in vaccination as 2.09 million people have been fully vaccinated in the country so far.
Less strict rules, including capacity restrictions, will now apply to selected operations and mass event organizers who will only allow entry to vaccinated visitors.
The most stringent conditions will have to be governerned by institutions and places to which all visitors will have access, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated, coronavirus tested or suffered covid-19. Hospitals will offer antigenic tests for coronavirus for a fee of five euros. Laboratory tests, for example, after contact with an infected person are free of charge in the country.
The new anti-epidemic system has only five levels of epidemic risk, the existing covid automat contains up to seven. From next week, nine districts in eastern Slovakia, including the second largest city of Košice, will not be in the lowest degree of epidemic risk, unlike the rest of the country. In practice, this will mean that fewer people will be able to attend mass events there unless the events are reserved for vaccinated visitors only.
The spread of coronavirus infection in Slovakia has been accelerating slightly recently. On Monday, laboratories in the country confirmed a three-digit number of new cases of infection for the first time since June 9.
Title image: People have their temperature checked, as a precaution against the spread of the new coronavirus, as they enter the headquarters of the Ordinary People and Independent Personalities party to wait for the results of the general elections in Trnava, Slovakia, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)