On Wednesday, the Slovak government approved a nationwide two-week-long closure due to the unfavorable epidemic situation.
At the time of the lockdown, only stores selling goods of basic needs will stay open. Employers will check the Covid-19 certificates of their employees from next week. After ten days, the government will evaluate the impact of the measures.
Bratislava is tightening the restrictions due to overcrowded hospitals and record increases in new Covid-19 cases. The consortium of experts initially recommended even tougher measures, such as suspending teaching at most schools and a three-week-long lockdown.
However, the Freedom and Solidarity Party (SaS) opposed the proposal to close schools. The smallest government party For People (Za ľudí) did not support the package of measures and demanded benefits for the vaccinated in order to support Covid-19 vaccination. Slovakia currently lags significantly behind the EU average vaccination rate.
On Tuesday, Slovakia, with its population of five million, recorded a daily increase of more than 10,000 new Covid-19 cases for the first time. The number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals has risen to 3,200. Authorities have previously warned that exceeding this limit would mean that the country is on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe. Medical facilities in Slovakia have been struggling with a shortage of staff.
From next week until the end of the year, employees in Slovakia will have to submit a certificate proving Covid-19 vaccination, recovering from the illness, or coronavirus test. If they fail to do so, they will have to start unpaid vacation under a recently approved law.