UPDATED: MARCH 24, 2020 AT 11:11

Masks will be obligatory, new measures mainly aimed at the elderly

Cabinet and crisis staff sat well into the night, introduced new set of measures.

PM Igor Matovič announces new measures. He called on pensioners to stay home. PM Igor Matovič announces new measures. He called on pensioners to stay home. (Source: Sme - Marko Erd)

The newly-appointed crisis staff and Igor Matovič's cabinet came up with a set of measures to add to the already existing ones that have been valid in Slovakia since March 13.

"The epidemiologic situation is still better than in some western-European states," said the head of the hygienic authority, Jan Mikas.

The government is about to purchase 200,000 PCR tests.

"We believe that, given the long-term good relations with the supplier, we will be able to carry out the purchase," said Matovič, adding that this would be a "dramatic shift" that will let people sleep well at night.

Generally applied measures:

- Wearing a protective face mask will be obligatory outside one's home, including in the streets. When queueing, people are required to stand at least 2 metres from each other, both indoor and outdoor.

Related articleThese are the measures currently in place in Slovakia Read more 

- As of March 30, measuring temperature will be obligatory at the entrance to shops, hospitals, factories,... (using a digital contactless thermometer measuring temperature on the forehead)

-All shops will be closed on Sundays, for disinfection and to allow the staff to rest.

-The ban on organising mass events that expired on March 24 has been prolonged until further notice.

Measures for pupils and students:

- Free-of-charge trains for students are cancelled until schools open again. PM Matovič admitted this was against his pre-election promise not to scrap any of the social measures introduced by the previous government.

- Schools remain closed until further notice. Written part of the maturita secondary school leaving exams will not be held this year.

Measures for the elderly:

- Trains remain free of charge for pensioners, but the government called on the elderly not to use public transport unless absolutely necessary. If the appeal does not work, Matovič said the government is ready to scrap free trains for pensioners as well.

- The government calls on those older than 65 not to leave home unless absolutely necessary and eliminate social contact, including with their own relatives. If the appeal does not work, the government is ready to issue a ban on leaving home for seniors.

- The government calls on municipalities to establish a sufficient number of phone lines for pensioners to allow them to order groceries and secure other needs.

-Special opening hours in shops for people older than 65 years have been established between 9:00-12:00 (to avoid pensioners from taking the public transport during rush hour).

-a national emergency has been declared for providers of social services, particularly pensioners' homes, to ensure staff is always available to take care of clients.

-the ban on visits to these facilities remains in place.

-daycare facilities for pensioners must be closed, municipalities are asked to provide services in clients' homes (assist them by shopping, bringing food, etc)

- The government will ask the public-service RTVS to broadcast religious services every day at 18:00.

-The government will ask RTVS to secure educational slots for primary school pupils.

Using data from mobile phones:

-The government will pass a law on a short-tracked procedure to allow state authorities to use localisation data from mobile phone operators. GDPR permits the use of this data during crisis times, but "we need a law for the telecom operators to be sure we are able to use this data".

-The government will talk to the telecom operators about the possibility of sending targeted messages to people, e.g. pensioners older than 65 years, to remind them about the appeals and measures that apply to them.

Measures in health care:

-The Health Ministry will re-profile the entire hospital network with the aim to secure effective and safe COVID-19 treatment. There should be one hospital in the east, one in central Slovakia and one in Bratislava for COVID-19 patients only. All other hospitals should have a special pavillion for these patients.

- The government will talk to health insurers to introduce a guaranteed income for outpatient doctors equating to at least 75 percent of their monthly average income over the last year. Doctors do not have patients to treat right now and need money to be able to continue their business.

-The Foreign Affairs Ministry will analyse measures in 20 selected countries of the world to see how the measures work. The country will then follow the effective practices in fighting the virus from abroad.

- Police and soldiers will assist health care professionals to deal with misconduct and resistance of some patients who refuse to follow the measures and rules.

-There will be a drive-through testing point in front of every hospital that does the testing.

-The Health Ministry is to identify the drugs and protective materials that Slovakia needs and ban their export from the country. Slovak drug producers will still be able to export their products, but Slovakia will keep the identified necessary amounts for its own needs.

-The Health Ministry will discuss with its Czech counterpart a proposed exception allowing for the import of two Czech-made drugs to Slovakia, which the Czech government banned from exports.

-The Defence Ministry is to identify soldiers who can be trained as health care assistants, to be deployed in case of need.

Doing business and legal issues:

-All ministries will identify the measures needed to secure postponement of all legal deadlines. Bureaucracy can be postponed, said Matovič.

-A short-tracked legislative procedure will be launched to issue an exception for notaries and attorneys to be able to provide their services.

-Legal deadlines will be halted at courts, applying to the period from March 12 - April 30 for now.

-Companies will be able to take decisions per rollam (without the need to meet in person).

- Auctions and distrainment will not be carried out by April 30.

- The obligatory preventive health checks required for certain professions will be postponed.

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