Asia

Slovakia approves 2-week nationwide lockdown as virus surges


BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — The Slovak government on Wednesday approved a two-week national lockdown amid a record surge of coronavirus infections.

Prime Minister Eduard Heger said the measures that become effective on Friday will target all, both unvaccinated and vaccinated.

Under the lockdown, people can leave their homes only for some specific reasons. These include buying essential goods, traveling to work and school or to get vaccinated.

The unvaccinated will be required to get tested to get to work if they have not recovered from COVID-19.

Also, up to 1,000 service members a day will be helping the struggling health sector to deal with the pandemic.

The Health Ministry said Wednesday that daily infections surpassed 10,000 for the first time, with 10,315 testing positive on Tuesday. That’s over 1,000 more than the previous record registered Friday.

With 13,080 infections in the last seven days per 1 million people, the nation of 5.5 million is facing the worst surge in the world, according to Our World In Data.

“We’re losing the battle against COVID,” President Zuzana Caputova said Tuesday.

On Monday, Slovakia imposed new restrictions targeting the unvaccinated, who are banned from all nonessential stores and shopping malls. They’re also not allowed to attend any public events or gatherings. They will also be required to test twice a week to go to work, but the government has yet to set a date for that.

With 3,200 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, which is well above the 3,000-bed level considered critical by Slovakia’s Health Ministry, the country might be forced to seek help from other European countries.

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The ministry said almost 83% of the patients haven’t been fully vaccinated.

At 45.7%, Slovakia’s vaccination rate is one of the lowest in the EU.

Overall, Slovakia has registered 631,738 virus cases with 14,056 deaths.

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Follow all AP stories on the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic






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