TODAY IN SLOVAKIA

PM Matovič tells cross-border workers to wait with coronavirus testing

The state plans to test all employees in social care facilities and the suburban bus operator increases the number of bus connections. Read the overview of news from the weekend.

Police are still patrolling in front of the retirement home in Pezinok.Police are still patrolling in front of the retirement home in Pezinok. (Source: TASR)

This is your overview of news from April 18-19.
For all news about the coronavirus in Slovakia click here.
Read more about the measures currently in place in Slovakia.

Coronavirus in Slovakia (updates)

- The cross-border workers, so-called pendlers, will possibly not have to prove they have tested negative for coronavirus when crossing the borders for now. Back on April 17, chief hygienist Ján Mikas said that they will be required to prove they are COVID-19 free with a test no older than 30 days. However, PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) told the private news channel TA3 on April 19 that the pendlers should wait with the testing paid from their own pockets for a few days. If the morbidity compared with other countries is the same, the measure loses its sense, he added.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister Ivan Korčok (SaS nominee) said that the measure was to prevent the risk of the coronavirus from spreading. “Mobility, including the cross-border type, increases the risk of spreading the infection,” Korčok told the private broadcaster TV Markíza, adding Slovakia cannot negate the increased infection rate in the country where pendlers live. He also assured that they will monitor the situation closely and step in if the measure proves problematic.

- The state is planning across-the-board checks of all 40,000 employees of the social care facilities, PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) said. This is a response to the high number of people infected with the coronavirus there. Moreover, seven clients of the retirement home in Pezinok have already died of the disease. “The so-called quick tests will be used for the testing and at the places where problems occur, other tests will be carried out,” said Labour Minister Milan Krajniak (Sme Rodina) during the political talk show O 5 Minút 12 (Five to Twelve) broadcast by the public-service RTVS.

- A crisis manager took over the leading post in the retirement home in Pezinok. The facility has been in quarantine for more than a week after dozens of its clients have been positively diagnosed with the coronavirus, and some have died. Meanwhile, the police secured computers and documents from the retirement home, which will now undergo a thorough decontamination so that they can check them within the ongoing investigation.

- The total capacity of quarantine facilities in Slovakia where people coming from abroad after April 6 are placed is currently 4,800 beds. Currently, there are nearly 2,700 people, which means about more than one half of available beds has been occupied.

Coronavirus measures in Slovakia

- The operator of suburban bus transport in Bratislava Region increased the number of bus connections as of Sunday, April 19, following an analysis and requests from passengers. The aim is to secure safe and reliable transport for those who need to commute to work.

- The Health Ministry has published a protocol concerning the launch of some planned surgeries, specifying the conditions under which they can be performed.

- The State Institute for Drug Control has informed that several over-the-counter medicines containing Paracetamol, Ibuprofen and acetylsalicylic acid have been missing on the Slovak market. This is due to the increased demand from patients who have been purchasing them en masse.

- Trnava-based carmaker Groupe PSA Slovakia suspended its production on March 19 due to the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, it introduced several sanitary measures to protect its staff, such as measuring body temperature when entering the building, drawing necessary distances on the pavement, and pre-prepared lunch packages. Although the carmaker remains closed for now, it invited journalists to see their premises and introduced measures.

Events cancelled due to the coronavirus

- One of the biggest folklore festivals in Slovakia, the Folklore Fest under Poľana held in Detva (Banská Bystrica Region), has been cancelled. Originally, the organisers considered postponing it to another term, but they had to reassess their decision due to the current situation. (TASR)

- The Transport Ministry has postponed the traditional Do Práce na Bicykli (To Work on Bicycle) campaign from May to September. Minister Andrej Doležal (Sme Rodina) sees a certain symbolism in the change, adding that another traditional event, European Mobility Week, is being held this month in several European cities.

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