More than 3.6 million people tested during the weekend

The central crisis staff should decide on next steps. Experts do not recommend second round for the whole country.

Testing in the Vrakuňa borough of Bratislava on November 1, 2020.Testing in the Vrakuňa borough of Bratislava on November 1, 2020. (Source: TASR)

Altogether 3,625,332 were tested in the first round of the nationwide testing held across Slovakia on October 31 and November 1.

38,359 (or 1.06 percent) were positive.

The lowest share of positive tests was identified in the districts Revúca (0.27 percent), Banská Štiavnica (0.28 percent) and Rožňava (0.29 percent). On the other hand, the highest share was is Čadca (3.22 percent), Stará Ľubovňa (2.8 percent), and Púchov (2.65 percent).

“I believe that this is a significant step for all Slovakia in its fight against the coronavirus,” PM Igor Matovič told the November 2 press conference.

He thanked everybody involved in the testing, including medical staff, soldiers, police officers, firefighters, municipalities and volunteers.

“It was the first time during this fight against COVID-19 when we joined our forces and put our shoulders to the wheel,” Matovič added.

He stressed that it will be important that people who tested negative still observe basic hygiene rules and the restrictions currently in place, and those who are positive should remain in isolation in order to defeat the virus.

Crisis staff to decide on further steps

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It is still not clear whether and to which extent the second round of the mass testing will take place. Matovič already said on November 1 that he would like to repeat the testing.

A day later, he admitted that the second round might not take place in 20-30 percent of municipalities. For example, there is no reason to organise it in Bratislava, he said during the talk show broadcast by the private Radio Expres.

In his opinion, it is not possible to start testing on borders before the second round of mass testing. This measure, as well as other steps following the first round will be discussed at the central crisis staff whose meeting started on November 2 afternoon.

Meanwhile, experts do not recommend the second round for the entire country. In their opinion, it should take place only in districts with a higher positivity rate (i.e. above 1.5 percent), the TASR newswire reported.

An alternative should be the targeted testing in hot spots and among at-risk groups, such as patients taken to hospitals, medical staff, nursing homes, centres for children and families, homeless people, armed and police forces, people in prisons, and asylum seekers.

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They also recommend the testing of close contacts of people who tested positive in the first round, and people coming from abroad. Employees of strategic companies from energy sector, food industry, agriculture, state and public administration, as well as teachers and pupils in hardest-hit areas should be tested as well, as reported by TASR.

Several mayors have opposed the second round of testing. The Union of Towns of Slovakia said they will follow the recommendations of experts in this matter, TASR wrote.

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