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Trnava, Source: Mesto Trnava/Facebook

Free face masks for Trnava senior citizens

Free face masks for Trnava senior citizens

Slovakia is processing offers for medical help from foreign countries

In recent days, the residents of the western Slovakian city of Trnava, who are over the age of 65, have been surprised to find an unusual envelope in their mailbox – with their name on and a protective mask inside. In the thick of the pandemic, the Trnava City government has decided to send 12,889 free face masks to this high-risk group of the population.

"Each senior received one mask, and we enclosed a letter from the city with more detailed information about its use," City Hall spokeswoman Veronika Majtánová told mytrnava.sme.sk. According to her, the price of one face mask is EUR 0.65, so, for the record, this kind gesture has cost the city administration EUR 8,377.

Paint it Black

Sadly, Slovakia has become the nation with the highest COVID-19 death toll in terms of population size in the world, outstripping Portugal.  Despite a tough lockdown tied to an automat alert system, the seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in this central European country has risen from 1.68 deaths per 100,000 people on 1 February to 1.78 deaths per 100,000 people on 15 February, according to Johns Hopkins University figures reported by the AP newswire.  

The very serious situation (in the words of Slovak President Zuzana Caputova), which has stretched the country’s healthcare system beyond capacity, can be attributed to the highly contagious British variant gaining the upper hand. Over 70 percent of new infections have now been linked to it.  

Looking at the Covid-19 automat map, 20 of Slovakia's districts are painted black - the highest-level alert, 53 districts are dark red and just 6 districts are in red. With the seven-day rolling average at 5,089 new cases a day and 4,017 people hospitalised with Covid-19, Health Minister Marek Krajčí sees no justification in easing the lockdown.

Medical help offered from abroad

Austria, Germany, Poland and Romania have offered to send medics to the most hard-pressed hospitals in Slovakia. Medical staff outside of the European Union is also eager to help, but legislative hurdles stand in the way. Radio Slovakia International reports that the Ministry of Education and the Health Ministry are working together to enable easier access to the Slovak health care system for doctors from non-EU countries.

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