Christmas in small bubbles. Cabinet introduces rules for curfew

The cabinet also approved the Health Ministry’s plan for managing the measures.

(Source: SITA)

Slovakia will go under curfew again. Starting on Saturday, December 19 at 5:00, all shops except for essential ones (groceries, chemist’s, pharmacies, etc.) will close, while people will be recommended to stay home.

There will be several exceptions. One basic condition is that people who want to spend Christmas with somebody else should choose only one different household and create some kind of “small bubble” to slow the spread of the virus.

“This is a ban that strongly calls for the responsibility of people,” Health Minister Marek Krajčí (OĽaNO) said.

As there will be several exceptions from curfew, he called on people to follow basic rules and avoid meeting many people from different households.

“The situation is worse than ever, and the virus is spreading uncontrollably,” Krajčí added.

The restrictions will currently be applied only until December 29, when the national emergency ends. However, it will be possible to prolong it until January 10, if the parliament passes a law that will enable it prolong the national emergency repeatedly (for now, it is possible to declare the emergency for 90 days only).


There will be several exceptions from the curfew:

  • travelling to work (but employers will be recommended to allow for home office, if possible);
  • going to essential shops, pharmacies, medical facilities, banks and insurance companies, car and bicycle repair shops, post office and the issue counters of shops and e-shops;
  • walking pets;
  • taking children to schools/kindergartens;
  • going to a testing site;
  • going to a funeral, wedding ceremony or christening;
  • taking care of a relative;
  • visits to nature;
  • individual sports outdoor (such as skiing, cross-country skiing);
  • going to churches;
  • travelling to a recreation facility;
  • visits between two households only.

Rules for travelling to and from Slovakia do not change.

COVID automat passed

The cabinet also gave a green light to the Health Ministry’s plan of managing the measures. It is officially called the Alert system for the monitoring of the pandemic development and taking measures against SARS-CoV-2, to be known as the COVID automat.

The COVID automat, the official name of the automatic system for the adopting and lifting of measures, will provide information about the epidemic situation and the risk rate at the regional level. It should also provide for efficient and timely measures, transparent and predictable.

The COVID automat works with these key indicators:

  • number of cases (future strain);
  • increase in cases (current strain);
  • the dynamics of the epidemic.

Individual departments will be able to apply their own systems of measures (e.g. the Education Ministry for schools), if they fulfil four key criteria as defined by the COVID automat:

  • safety (to prevent the spread of infection in communities);
  • isolation;
  • protection;
  • surveillance (management and monitoring of infections, testing, identification of positive cases and suspects).

The COVID automat will be switching between regional measures and nationwide measures based on the epidemic situation as defined by the key indicators. In higher level of alert, measures are taken for the whole country, with a lower level of alert regional measures applied.

The indicators to be followed are the seven-day average of new cases, number of hospitalisations, and the reproduction number.

First level of nationwide alert arises with more than 1,000 new cases in a seven-day average, the second level with 1,500-3,000, the third level 3,000-5,000, and fourth level at 5,000.

The number of hospitalisations will be 1,500 for the first level alert, 2,000-2,500 for the second level, and more than 2,500 for the higher levels.

When managed at the regional level, neighbouring regions shall not have more than three levels difference between them. The alert level for the better-off region is increasing in order to accommodate this condition.

Measures will be eased no earlier than ten days after the re-assessment of the regions.

Read more about the coronavirus outbreak in Slovakia:

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