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Testing centre in Slovakia

Slovakia brings in local lockdown for the unvaccinated

Slovakia brings in local lockdown for the unvaccinated

The Covid automat alert system has been amended to include a new mode

With daily Covid case numbers surpassing 9000 and nearly 3000 people in hospital, Slovakia will tighten restrictions from Monday, 22 November, reports TASR. PM Eduard Heger has described the new curbs as “local lockdown for the unvaccinated”, but even vaccinated persons will be affected in districts with the gravest pandemic situation.

New mode in the COVID automaton

This will be done through a change in the COVID-19 automaton, Slovakia’s traffic light alert system which divides the country into coloured districts with varying measures of response tailored to the degree of infection.  

The new version of the automaton, approved by the government on Thursday, introduces a new mode – OP.  It comprises fully vaccinated people, persons recovered from COVID-19 within 180 days, persons recovered from the disease and jabbed with at least one dose, and children aged 2-12 with a negative test result.

Summary of restrictions

Employees will have unrestricted access to their workplaces in green and orange districts. In red, dark-red and black-tier districts they must show proof of full vaccination, recovery or a negative test result (OTP mode applies).

In green, orange and red districts there will be no restrictions on the opening hours of non-essential shops. In dark-red and black districts they will serve customers from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Customer density will be regulated in red, dark-red and black districts, with 1 person per 15 square metres for shops operating in OP mode and 1 person per 25 sq m for essential shops in OTP mode.

Mass events in the OP mode can be organised with no capacity limits in green and orange districts. Attendance is capped at 200 people in red districts, 100 people in dark-red districts and 50 people in black districts.

In red, dark-red and black districts, up to six people can attend  events held in the OTP mode, and organising mass events in the basic mode (without certificate checks) is banned.

Shopping malls must operate in the OP mode in red, dark-red and black districts. OTP or basic modes for shopping centres are allowed in green and orange districts.

Wearing a face mask is mandatory indoors in all coloured districts. For red, dark-red and black districts coverings must be of the FFP2/KN95 respirator type. The mask obligation also applies to mass events held outdoors.

The vaccinated and those who have recovered from COVID-19 within the last 180 days are to be treated equally. The stricter measures will be in effect for three weeks. Afterwards, if the situation improves, the Covid automaton can be readjusted.

Slow vaccination rate

Nearly 45 percent of Slovakia’s population is fully vaccinated. Prime Minister Eduard Heger said that 80 percent of all Covid patients are unvaccinated, and hospitals are operating under enormous pressure, suspending planned surgeries, and with a shortage of both lung ventilation equipment and ICU beds beginning to be acutely felt.

He called on the unvaccinated to no longer hesitate in receiving their jabs and announced that vaccination centres will be further staffed to avoid queues.

At loggerheads

The political opposition has vowed to challenge the new measures in the Constitutional Court, describing them as illogical and discriminatory. Smer-SD leader Robert Fico said vaccinated people might spread COVID-19 as well as the unvaccinated, while people with a negative test are safe to be around.

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