Group of experts meet. What new coronavirus measures will be put in place?

The list of the safe and dangerous countries will be re-evaluated no sooner than September.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: TASR)

The group of epidemiologists and other experts met on August 13 to update measures ahead of the new school year.

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These are the new measures that will be put in place:

  • Instead of updating the list of green and red countries, the Health Ministry and the Public Health Authority will prepare a list of risk regions within countries. Health Minister Marek Krajčí (OĽaNO) noted that some countries may be considered safe but some of their regions are not anymore, giving Prague in the Czech Republic as an example. They will update the list of the risk regions and countries every two weeks. The first will be published at the beginning of September.
  • The school year starts on September 2 as planned (September 1 is a national holiday in Slovakia).
  • Face masks will be obligatory for children in the classroom in the first two weeks but only for pupils of the second stage of primary schools and secondary schools. All pupils will be obliged to wear masks outside their classroom (school canteen, corridor, locker rooms).
  • When parents take children to school, they will have to sign a declaration stating that their child is not ill and shows no symptoms. Part of the statement will be two questions: whether their child has been outside Slovakia since August 17 and whether the child attended a mass event (what constitutes a mass event will be specified in a respective document). If parents answer yes to one or both questions, they will be obliged to monitor the health condition of their child and the people living in one household with them or close contacts. If they show signs of respiratory disease, they will have to take the child out of the classroom and contact a doctor immediately.
  • From September 1 to October 1, mass events over 1,000 people are cancelled and it is not recommended that mass events are organised. Also, indoor mass events with more than 500 people are forbidden. Smaller events may be organised, but the ministry reminded that all people have to wear masks inside. The health minister said they want to prevent huge outbreaks at the beginning at the school year.
  • Mass events will have to end before 23:00. Weddings are exceptions.
  • The number of visitors to swimming pools and aquaparks will be kept to 50 percent of capacity.
  • Chief hygienist Ján Mikas also called on companies to update their pandemic and crisis plans.
  • Hygienists are also considering the obligation of employers to prevent a person who has returned from a risk country entering the company if this person is not registered with the regional Public Health Authority branch and does not have a negative COVID-19 test. Hygienists will discuss this plan with employers.

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