Another round of mass testing in selected municipalities confirmed for this weekend

Schools open after New Year, no lockdown for Christmas for now.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: TASR)

Another round of mass antigen testing will take place during the upcoming weekend, on November 21 and 22. It will be held in 458 municipalities where the share of positive cases was 1 percent and more.

The testing sites will be open between 8:00 and 20:00. Unlike the previous rounds, the testing will be totally voluntary, with no restrictions for people who do not attend it, said Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď (OĽaNO).

"We want to see how people and the representatives of municipalities approach it," Naď told the November 16 press conference, held during the meeting of the central crisis staff.

Schools probably open after New Year

PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) confirmed that to lift measures and introduce the so-called COVID-19 semaphore warning system, the seven-day average of new cases needs to drop below 750. Currently, it is around 1,850.

At the same time, the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals should be below 2,000.

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To restore in-person classes for grades five-nine of primary schools and for secondary schools, the daily increase in cases should be no more than 500, while at the same time there should be no more than 1,000 hospitalised COVID-19 patients and no more than 100 on artificial lung ventilation before Christmas. The average number of new daily cases is currently around 1,500.

Matovič implied that in such a case, all pupils and students will be able to return to schools after the Epiphany, which falls on January 6, 2021.

To achieve this goal, mass testing in the hardest-hit areas is an option.

For now, the prime minister does not expect a lockdown to be imposed during Christmas.

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