Can I go for a walk? Should I wear a mask? FAQs about coronavirus in Slovakia

Masks are recommended but hard to buy.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: TASR)

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Q: It is recommended to stay at home if possible. Can I go out for a walk?

A: Sure you can, experts even agree that it is beneficial for both physical and mental health to go outside. Professor and expert of tropical diseases Vladimír Krčméry said in an interview for the Sme daily that it is very important for strengthening immunity, too.

However, you should avoid frequented places and not group together with other people. Ideal is a walk in the forest if you live nearby or you have your own car and you can get there without using public transport. If there are several members of the household living together, these people can also go outside together.on

However, going out does not apply to people who have returned from abroad and should remain in quarantine or were in touch with an infected person or have symptoms of the disease.

We recommend checking the updates in this case. The newest information is that he movement of people in Slovakia have decreased by one third, said PM Pellegrini on March 18. Some of the mobile operators saw a decrease of half of the SIM cards. Former PM Peter Pellegrini has stated earlier that if the huge movement of inhabitants persists and the infection spreads even more, the crisis staff will consider imposing obligatory quarantine on everyone with the exception of only going to work and essential shopping.

Related story:These are the measures currently in place in Slovakia Read more 

Q: Why stay at home?

A: Strict measures should help to stop the virus from spreading from person to person. Epidemiologist Alexandra Bražinová told the Denník N daily that in the ideal case, the country would close its borders for two months. It is not possible, but everyone who will voluntarily remain in quarantine will contribute to not spreading the infection.

Q: Should I wear a mask?

A: This has been a highly discussed topic lately. Experts agree that a mask is not protection against the coronavirus for healthy people and masks are usually worn by people who are already sick. However, Marek Krajčí said in a TV discussion on Markíza that if everyone wears a mask it would have a similar effect as if the population were vaccinated. He explained that especially in times when we do not know whether the person standing next to us is infected, it is good to protect the nose and mouth with something at least.

In other words, a mask protects other people from the droplets that could possibly infect others when talking, coughing, sneezing and breathing and the masks of others are protecting us, despite the fact that they are not 100 percent effective.

If a person next to us coughs or sneezes while wearing a mask, the chance he or she will infect people around is smaller than if he/she were not wearing anything. And if other people are wearing a mask as well, the chance they will release something is also smaller. Thus better than nothing, he explained.

>> Read everything about coronavirus in Slovakia.

Moreover, some cities and towns started to impose new rules, such as people without masks or other facial protection will not be allowed onto public transport or offices. This measure applies to public transport in Bratislava, Košice, Banská Bystrica as well as other towns around Slovakia. There are glove requirements somewhere else.

Aktuality.sk shared tips from Miloš Kosír, head of the Control Chemical Laboratory of Civilian Defence in Nitra. He recommends folding a toiler paper into improvised mask or scarf. After folding it three or five times, put it into a multifunctional scarf, which should be tightly covering your nose and mouths. After you are done using a mask, throw the toilet paper away and iron the scarf.

Related story:Two dressmakers sewed masks for fellow villagers Read more 

Q: Where can I buy a mask in Slovakia?

A: You will have a hard time searching for masks in Slovak pharmacies or Slovak online pharmacy stores. The masks are sold out and the ones distributed by the government are meant for medical staff.

Former health minister Andrea Kalavská said that when the masks are not available in one pharmacy, people should not start to run from door to door, looking for them.

Related story:Pharmacies struggle with the coronavirus, too Read more 

Even PM Pellegrini recommends creating a DIY mask at home. Some people on Facebook are sewing masks for others, so try to look in your social group. If that does not work, here is a link to a Slovak online shop with hand-made sellers. Search for the word rúško or rúška (singular/plural) and you will find many skillful people who are selling DIY masks of various shapes, patterns, fabrics and prices.

If a mask is reusable, Andrea Kalavská recommends ironing it after coming home and can be used again.

Q: Can I leave Slovakia?

A: Yes, you can, but be aware that international transport in Slovakia is cancelled, so regular lines from Bratislava to Vienna, for example, are not in operation. Many people are forced to arrange for someone to drop them at the border, walking over the border and someone else waiting for them on the other side. You will not be successful in calling a taxi, as state has cancelled their services on March 16. They can transport only food and goods, but not people. People who need a ride often organise through the Facebook group Foreigners in Bratislava.

Related story:Coronavirus: What does home quarantine mean? Read more 

It is also recommended to check the rules of the given country applicable to incomers. In Slovakia, no people without Slovak citizenship or temporary or permanent residence are allowed in, with the exception of supplies. Moreover, anyone who comes from abroad is obliged to remain in a 14-day quarantine.

Q: I am in quarantine, how should I go shopping?

A: Maybe a friend or a colleague may do the shopping and bring it to you. Some people on the Facebook group Foreigners in Bratislava offered help with shopping.

Also, some supermarkets offer food deliveries, however, this service may be booked for several weeks. Some taxi services offer the possibility of ordering food. For example, call the number 02/16 999 for food delivery in Bratislava. This service costs €9.80.

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