UPDATED OCT 30, 2020 AT 17:15

The big testing: When and where to show up, and what if I don't want to? (FAQ)

Here is what we know about the practicalities of the nationwide testing so far. Testing also applies to foreigners and diplomats in Slovakia.

Pilot testing in BardejovPilot testing in Bardejov (Source: TASR)

Q: When exactly is the nationwide testing taking place? Is it possible to get tested on Friday too?

A: The first round of the nationwide testing is scheduled from October 31 to November 1, 2020. Testing points will be open between 07:00 and 22:00, except for 12:00-12:45 and 18:00-18:30 (hygienic breaks). The last swab will be taken at 21:30 to obtain a result by 22:00. The second round is expected to take place under the same conditions the weekend after, but this is yet to be confirmed.

Q: I am a foreigner living in Slovakia with no permanent residence. May I get tested, too?

Foreigners and diplomats expected to come to testing Read more 

A: Yes, you can. Residence is not important in the case of testing. Anyone staying in Slovakia at the time of the testing can undergo the test. It is necessary to prove your identity with an ID, residence permit card, or passport.

Q: Can my children be tested as well?

A: Yes, if they are older than 10 years of age. Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď stated that parents can have younger children tested if they want to, but he does not recommend that in order to prevent the testing sites from overloading.

Q: I am over 65 years old. Do I have an exemption in testing?

A: People over 65 are recommended not to participate in the nationwide testing, if they spend their time mostly at home and avoid social contact anyway.

If you are over 65 and still have to go to work, post office, bank, etc., you still need a certificate showing your negative coronavirus test result in order. Those who do not get tested are required to observe stricter curfew rules.

The Minister also asked people to be tolerant and let the elderly, pregnant women, people with disabilities and parents with children to skip the queue.

Not enough healthcare workers for nationwide testing Read more 

Q: I am afraid that someone without training in health care will do my swab.

A: The swabs required for testing will only be taken by medical personnel. Only administration work can be done by volunteers without health care training.

Q: Where should I get tested? Will I be invited to a specific place, at a specific time?

A: No, you will not. The government recommends going to your closest testing point regardless of your address of permanent residence to avoid excessive mobility. Testing sites will be organised similarly to polling stations during elections, you will most likely find yours in the nearest school or municipal office.

Be aware that the testing can take you a few hours. People in some places during the pilot testing in Orava and Bardejov waited in the queue for up to two hours.

Testing points are able to test about 35 people per hour. It means that if you arrive at the spot and see about 70 people ahead, consider returning later, the Defence Minister said.

The Defence Ministry recommends municipalities to regulate the arrival of people to their respective testing points according to the first letter of their surname. Your local authorities should inform you if they decide to put such a system in place for the testing.

We’re satisfied with pilot testing, politicians say Read more 

The list of the testing points should be published on the official website somzodpovedny.sk, in Slovak. Some municipalities have already started publishing them. They also recommend following the Facebook profile of your municipality and their official websites for more information.

In Bratislava, drive-thru testing spots will also be available (for example Ružinov and Karlova Ves), others will be placed both indoors and outdoors, in army tents.

Q: Where can I find more information in other than Slovak?

A: Check IOM Migration Information Centre for basic information or follow The Slovak Spectator and Radio Slovakia International. If you have more questions about the nationwide testing, feel free to contact us on editorial(at)spectator.sk, we will do our best to answer them.

Q: Should I register for testing in advance?

A: No, just show up at the testing point and wait in the queue.

Q: How long does the testing take?

A: First, you need to fill in the registration form on the spot. The swab with preparation takes only about five minutes. Then you need to wait for your results, for an estimated 15 to 30 minutes.

Q: What if I get infected during the testing?

A: Authorities responsible for the testing claim they will prevent that. The staff is tested in advance. The testing points will be disinfected before, during and after the testing.

Maintain a distance of 2 metres from strangers when queueing for the test. Wear your mask properly, covering your mouth and nose. Do not touch your face.

After the paperwork, you will be handed a paper tissue, asked to remove your mask for a moment and cough. You may bring your own paper tissues. After the swab is taken, you will put your mask back on and wait for the results, which will be handed to you in a sealed envelope.

Q: Are there any exemptions from the testing?

Nationwide testing - an ambitious plan with an uncertain result Read more 

A: Only children younger than 10 and people with health conditions are exempt. People with an autistic spectrum disorder, oncological patients, or people with a broken nose are exempt.

These people can observe curfew with exemptions valid for people with negative results. Instead of a negative result certificate from the testing, they will need to prove their exemption with a medical report or other proof that states their medical condition.

You are also exempt if you have had COVID-19 in the past 90 days.

Q: What does a negative test mean for me?

A: Be careful and keep following the measures. Wear your mask, maintain distance and wash hands.

The government lifted the curfew for those with the negative test from November 2 until November 8 (when the next testing takes place). You should observe the rules that are in place since October 15 - shopping, going to the hairdresser's or to a fitness centre will thus be allowed.

Keep in mind that negative antigen test result does not mean that you are actually negative, only that the infection was not detected in you at the time of the testing.

To eliminate these false negative results, the government plans to repeat the testing one week later. The second round should take place between November 7 and 8, under the same rules as the first round, including curfew rules. This is yet to be confirmed, however.

Q: What does a positive test mean for me?

A: You should leave the testing point immediately and go straight to home isolation. You should inform your GP about the result of the test (by phone or e-mail), ask for sick leave, if applicable.

You should also inform your close contacts from two days before the test. They are also obliged to quarantine until their results are negative. You should not participate in the second round of the testing.

Your quarantine should be over at the end of the curfew after the second round of the testing (end of curfew expected Nov 15, based on the epidemic situation).

Q: Can I use results of COVID tests other than those from the nationwide testing?

Related articleHow to get tested for COVID-19 in Slovakia Read more 

A: Yes, you may take an RT-PCR test (a more reliable test that takes longer to return results) on your own, and pay for it on your own. The government excluded the possibility of taking an antigen test from another company. Blood tests are not admissible either.

If you prefer taking the PCR test, it must be performed no earlier than Thursday, October 29 and until Sunday, November 1. If you take your test later, you must wait for a negative result before you can go to work (or go out based on exemptions that only apply to people with negative test results).

Take note that the private labs performing paid testing have most slots for testing around this time booked by now.

Q: I already took an RT-PCR test a week ago (two weeks, months). Am I obliged to participate in the testing?

A: Yes. It is required to have negative tests no older than October 29, in the first round of testing. If you do not have these results, the quarantine applies to you.

Q: I already had to COVID-19 in the past, should I be tested again?

A: Those who have had a positive test result no older than 90 days are considered negative. This applies to people who have been through their COVID quarantine and are officially considered healed.

The ministry did not specify whether people who already were positive should carry around proof. They will need to show confirmation - the SMS or e-mail proving they had a positive test before will be considered sufficient.

Q: I do not want to participate in thenationwide testing.

No test, no work. Employees will have to take paid or unpaid leave Read more 

A: You may take an RT-PCR test or stay at home under stricter curfew. In the latter case, you will not be able to go shopping or send your child to school.

If you do not take the test and isolate at home until the next testing (Novmber 8), you are not entitled to pandemic sick-leave. You can agree with your employer to work from home, if possible, or take paid or unpaid leave.

Exceptions from the curfew for people who do not attend the test: between 1:00 and 5:00, visiting a doctor, closest shop selling foodstuffs or pharmacy, testing, taking out pets within a perimeter of 100 m from place of residence, caring for farm animals, attending the funeral of a close person, a wedding ceremony and a christening, accompanying children to kindergartens and schools.

Q: What fines apply if I go out after the testing and do not have a negative result of the test with me?

A: You may be fined between €1,000 and €1,659.

Read more about the coronavirus outbreak in Slovakia:

Get daily Slovak news directly to your inbox

Theme: Coronavirus

Read more articles by the topic

Top stories

News digest: Former state secretary describes the corruption at courts

Schools will definitely not open on Monday. Coronavirus vaccine could be available starting in mid-December. Slovakia joins campaign to fight violence against women.

The Presidential Palace lit in orange, to support the Orange the world! campaign.

One in five women has experienced violence

The situation is far from satisfactory, said President Čaputová.

Secret votes and public lies

There are uncanny echoes today of Slovakia’s agonies over its choice of chief prosecutor ten years ago.

Dobroslav Trnka (left) and Jozef Čentéš (right), the candidate who was eventually selected by MPs in 2011, never got to take up the post because the then president, Ivan Gašparovič refused to appoint him for reasons that were never clearly explained.

How a Catholic charity became a voice for migrants in Slovakia

Religious organisations have added leverage in changing perceptions of foreigners and migrants, says Caritas Slovakia.

Caritas Slovakia's ‘World Without “the Other” – Migration Myths’ campaign educates Slovaks on migration in a fun and artistic way.