Second wave of coronavirus epidemic will surely come, Slovakia is now better prepared

One area the country lags behind is tracking the contacts of infected cases.

Chief physician Ivan Kocan and doctor Ján Lazor check a COVID-19 patient's medical condition. (Source: Sme/Jozef Jakubčo)

Slovakia has earned a reputation as one of the best-performing countries when it comes to containing the coronavirus outbreak. It might also have been due to fears that Slovak healthcare would not be able to cope with increased numbers of novel coronavirus infections.

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Even though the numbers of newly infected cases have remained in the single digits in the past few weeks, Slovak Academy of Sciences virologist Tatiana Betáková expects infections to rise again in the future.

"The virus is still here. We have not destroyed it, we still have it in the population," Betáková said. There is no cure or vaccine for COVID-19.

While Slovakia gradually eases its anti-coronavirus measures, other countries are tightening theirs after the sudden jump in numbers of newly infected cases. Most important will be to continue limiting contact among people, wear masks, and keep at-risk persons in quarantine.

When the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak arrives to Slovakia, the country will know more and be better prepared than the first time. So much stems from the reports of hospitals, testing labs, and experts.

Hospitals now know how to sort patients to prevent them from infecting each other or health care workers. A network of so-called red hospitals has emerged to treat COVID-19 patients.

Slovakia has supplied artificial lung ventilations and testing laboratories have improved conditions out in the field so that they can deal with as many as 5,000 samples a day.

The country lags behind in introducing new forms of testing that can quickly determine whether infections are on a faster rise.

Detecting the presence of the coronavirus in wastewater, as done in the Netherlands, can serve as a warning sign and help identify the arrival of the second outbreak early on.

Hospitals: like pressing enter

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