UPDATED: 17. JAN 2021, AT 22:14

Leaving home will be nearly impossible without a negative test

Mass testing, which the government has now branded as screening, starts tomorrow.

PM Igor MatovičPM Igor Matovič (Source: SITA)

Week-long nationwide testing and then testing in hardest-hit districts: this is how the government wants to break the curve and gradually start opening schools and shops.

“We’ve decided to combine lockdown and mass testing,” PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) told the January 17 press conference, when speaking about the action they called “Let's save lives together”.

The nationwide testing, which the government has now labelled screening, starts as soon as tomorrow, on January 18, and will last until January 26. It will be possible to get tested at regular testing sites, mobile testing sites, and companies and production plants. Labour Minister Milan Krajniak (Sme Rodina) has promised to provide antigen tests to employers who will test their staff.

The cabinet has also prolonged the curfew until February 7. Originally, it was expected to expire on January 24.

This means that from January 27, people will not be allowed to go to their work or to the countryside without a negative test result (antigen or PCR) no older than seven days. In the case of the countryside, the test will be required from people aged 15-65 years.

The activities that will not require a negative test result will include going for groceries or to the doctor.

Some mobile testing sites require booking the date for testing. You can find the form here.

What will happen next?

Health Minister Marek Krajčí (OĽaNO) will present the results of the testing on Friday, January 29.

Subsequently, the districts will be divided into two groups. The second round will take place only in the 37 districts that have a higher share of positive test results. In these districts, a new negative test result will be necessary to be exempt from the curfew between February 3 and 7.

The people in the remaining 36 districts that do not take part in the second round will be able to use their test results from first round to avoid the curfew.

Testing will be important for launching the COVID automat alert system. Currently, the entire country is in the black, the worst zone. If the situation improves, it may be that the automat will improve by a zone and it will be possible, for example, to enable the opening of schools, Krajčí said.

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