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View of Bratislava over the Danube

Slovakia keeps adjusting border rules

Slovakia keeps adjusting border rules

The Constitutional Court has suspended a previous decree which divided incomers into vaccinated and non-vaccinated

As of 19 July, a change in the rules for entry into Slovakia regarding people vaccinated with just one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine has come into force. The adjustment is in response to a Constitutional Court ruling from last week which suspended the Public Health Office (UVZ) decree dividing incomers into unvaccinated and vaccinated and offering quarantine exemption to the latter.

Change upon change

According to the suspended decree, unvaccinated people coming to the country after 9 July were required to fill in the eHranica online form and then self-isolate. Their quarantine could be terminated with a negative result from a PCR test taken no sooner than on the fifth day after arrival. Vaccinated people could skip quarantine entirely regardless of the country they were coming from, but they still needed to register with eHranica.  

The amended ordinance requires single-jabbed incomers to also self-isolate. They can however take a free PCR test right after arrival and if the result is negative, the quarantine will be lifted instantly.

The provision will be valid for a transitional period of 14 days. It will not apply to people who have been vaccinated after 9 July, when the previous decree came into force. UVZ estimated that in their case there was not enough time to develop even a minimum level of antibodies. So, these “late vaccinees” will have to go into quarantine which may be lifted with a negative PCR test taken on the fifth day at the earliest.

The new ordinance also changes the definition of a fully vaccinated person. This should be a person who has received the second dose of a two-dose vaccine at least 14 days (21 days for single-dose vaccines) but no more than 12 months prior to travelling.

Slovakia will not return to the traffic light system which grouped countries into green, red and black zones in terms of infection risk. Mandatory quarantine for unvaccinated people will stay in place.

Shifting rules stave tourists off

If all of the above sounds confusing, you can rest assured that you are not the only one. As reported by TASR newswire, the latest border measures are forcing foreign visitors to cancel or reschedule their holidays in regions throughout Slovakia. The interest of Czech and Polish tourists, a sizable group of regular incomers, is declining. Slovaks now make up more than 90 percent of visitors nationwide.

Bratislava has recorded a whopping 80-percent drop in tourist visits, losing hope of at least a partial recovery over the summer season. The tourism industry is calling for help, blaming the constant changes in regulations as the main reason for the decreasing tourist demand. The government, however, defends its border control strategy citing the rapid spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.

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