The new, potentially more infectious, strain of the coronavirus, which has prompted European countries to impose travel restrictions on arrivals from the UK, may have reached Slovakia by now.
"Given Christmas travel and the timing when the information about the new coronavirus strain appeared, we can suppose it is here now," Tomáš Szemes, head of the genomics and bioinformatics lab in the Scientific Part of the Comenius University, told the Sme daily. He pointed out that doctors have detected a higher rate of infections in Bratislava. Peter Celec from the Molecular Biomedicine Institute of Comenius University medical school agrees with his assessment.
On the other hand, chief epidemiologist Henrieta Hudečková hesitated to state that the new strain has now reached Slovakia.
"I believe the larger outbreaks, like in Trenčín, are more our own issue," she told Sme.
About a thousand people have travelled from the UK to Bratislava Airport over the past two weeks. There are also flights between airports in the UK and the eastern-Slovak towns of Poprad and Košice.
Slovakia halted flights from Britain as of Monday. People also travel between the UK and Slovakia by buses and cars. As of Monday, they are required to go into quarantine after they arrive to Slovakia. Until then, a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours had been required to avoid quarantine.
No proof of the new strain in Slovakia yet