Situation in Nitra is critical. Some call for total lockdown

The district crisis staff suggests restricting the operation of production companies, opening kindergartens for some children only and limiting the number of people in shops.

Nitra Mayor Marek Hattas (r) and hospital head Milan Dubaj (l) talk about the critical situation in the town.Nitra Mayor Marek Hattas (r) and hospital head Milan Dubaj (l) talk about the critical situation in the town. (Source: SITA)

The situation in Nitra is quite serious and can be compared with the autumn development of the pandemic in the Orava region.

“The situation in Nitra remains critical,” Mayor Marek Hattas said after meeting with the district crisis staff, as quoted by the SITA newswire. “The number of infected people is rising, and we’ve become the worst district in Slovakia in the past seven days.”

He also confirmed that they will organise mass testing during the upcoming weekend, i.e. on January 8-10. It will be held in the town, but also in other municipalities in the Nitra district.

Companies should limit operation

One option to slow down the spreading of the infection is a hard lockdown. It is not enough to close the town of Nitra; it needs to be applied to the whole district, Hattas said.

The members of the district crisis are asking for operational limits of as many production companies in the entire district as possible. An alternative in their eyes is the testing of their staff and restrictions on the number of people in shops to one person per 25 square metres.

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They also want kindergartens to be open only for the children of people working in critical infrastructure.

The final decision on kindergartens and the number of people in shops should be made by the Regional Public Health Authority (RÚVZ) in Nitra, while the measures regarding the limited operation of production companies should be adopted by the central crisis staff, Hattas said.

Nitra-based carmaker Jaguar Land Rover has not commented on the potential suspension of its production. It is considering testing its staff, though.

The company is monitoring the situation and is in close touch with the representatives of Nitra and RÚVZ, said Miroslava Remenárová, manager of corporate relations, as quoted by SITA.

The company is already operating in a tougher regime. Those who do not have to be present are working from home.

Patients sent to other hospitals

The situation in the Nitra hospital is critical as well. Its capacities have been close to fully exhausted, said its head Milan Dubaj.

They receive dozens of new COVID-19 patients every day, while 10 patients died there in the past 24 hours. Currently, there are 195 COVID-19 patients, 16 of them on artificial lung ventilation. About 200 hospital employees are on sick leave, Dubaj said.

The hospital needs to transport patients to other hospitals. Three patients on artificial lung ventilation had to be sent to Nové Zámky, Martin and Bratislava the previous night.

Meanwhile, the Bratislava crematorium is assisting the crematorium in Nitra, head of the Marianum Pohrebníctvo company Boris Šramko confirmed for the TASR newswire.

Nitra already had to order a cooling trailer for dead bodies in late December.

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