UPDATED: Nationwide testing for COVID-19 is on

Long queues have formed in front of most testing points since early morning. Some drive-through sites closed in Bratislava

Testing in Trenčín, western SlovakiaTesting in Trenčín, western Slovakia (Source: TASR)

The nationwide testing for COVID-19 started in Slovakia at 7:00. However, not all of the almost 5,000 testing points opened on time due to a lack of medical workers or soldiers. Some testing points were also short of testing materials and certificates.

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Neighbours helped with health care staff

Defense Minister Jaroslav Naď reported that some 98 percent of the testing points, 4,900 out of 4,961 planned, were opened by 10:00, calling this a small miracle and an excellent result.

Austria has provided 50 military medics to help Slovakia with the nationwide testing. Some 200 medical workers are said to come from Hungary.

“We ask that people watch the development and not go to those testing points, that are overcrowded,” informed the Health Ministry, as cited by the TASR newswire. “We have time later today and tomorrow; we will manage it.”

Bratislava, Košice as well as other towns and villages across Slovakia report a high interest of people in getting tested, thus creating long queues.

In Bratislava, the average waiting time is between one to three hours, while at some points it is even more. There is an especially high interest in drive-in testing points with tens of cars waiting in tailbacks.

Drive-in overcrowded in Bratislava

The Karlova Ves borough in the east of the city has, in fact, decided to close three of its four drive-in testing sites as of 14:00 on Saturday. The original drive-in sites at Lafranconi, Iuventa, and Slávičie Údolie will close for cars and continue testing pedestrians.

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"Most other drive-in points in Bratislava are particularly overcrowded too," the Bratislava authorities wrote on the capital's official Facebook profile. They recommend that people opt for testing sites for pedestrians.

Petržalka is testing at 91 of its 96 planned sites since they have not been able to open five outdoor testing sites due to bad weather (one at ZŠ Holíčska, two at ZŠ
Tupolevova, one at SZŠ Strečnianska and at DK Lúky), the SITA newswire reported.

On the other hand, the Košice authorities report they have been able to add more testing teams at the largest testing site in the city, the airport. Of the originally planned 10 testing teams, seven opened in the morning, but eventually, the local authorities managed to put 13 teams to work after the lunch break. The testing time has thus been shortened to 45 minutes as of 13:00, the Košice city spokesperson Vladimír Fabian informed, as cited by SITA.

Another break planned in the evening

Testing resumed around the country at 13:00 after the first break for the staff working at the testing sites. Another break is planned in the evening, between 18:00 - 18:30, but this could differ slightly between individual testing sites.

Municipalities call on people to be patient, follow the directions of the testing staff and keep distance while queuing.

“Only then will we be able to test as many inhabitants of our city as possible,” said the Bratislava city council, as cited by TASR.

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

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