News digest: Slovakia has passed the peak of the second wave, health minister says

Polish doctors will help take swabs in Slovakia this weekend. People who have had COVID can just show their positive test result.

Košice (Source: TASR)

This is the Friday, January 22, 2021 edition of Today in Slovakia. Learn about politics, business, and other notable events of the day in Slovakia in less than five minutes. If you like what we are doing and want to support good journalism, buy our online subscription. Thank you.

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Situation is improving

Health Minister Marek Krajčí reported that the situation in Slovakia has been improving over the past week.

"The peak of the second wave in hospitals is behind us," Krajčí told the media. He noted that the 14-day incidence has dropped from 663 to 587.

If the positive trend is confirmed next week, kindergartens and the first four grades of primary schools will open, without the requirement for teachers or parents to get tested as of February 1.

The one thing that may have an impact on the positive trend is the new strain of the coronavirus that has spread from the UK.

Testing this weekend

Inhabitants of Slovakia will be required to present evidence of a negative COVID test result as of next Wednesday, January 27. You can read all the details of the testing and the upcoming stricter curfew here.

Related articleNationwide COVID-19 testing – and criticism – starts again Read more 

People who have had COVID in the past three months do not need to get tested in the ongoing nationwide testing. They can simply show the confirmation of their positive test.

The test result must be dated between November 2, 2020 and January 17, 2021. Originally, the requirement was a paper from their respective GP, but the Public Health Authority has decided to change the rules, to make things easier for patients and doctors, the ministry spokesperson said.

Bratislava: Get the swab only if necessary

The testing has been ongoing since Monday, but the biggest effort is concentrated into the upcoming weekend. Many municipalities have set up testing sites similarly to the nationwide testing that took place at the turn of October.

Bratislava, for instance, has turned some of its public transport buses into testing points. The local authorities have called on people to prefer an FFP2 respirator rather than a regular surgical or home-made mask, and make sure to keep physical distance while waiting for the test.

"Consider well if you really need the confirmation about the test in the coming days. If you are at home, in your own bubble and you are not planning to change it, do not expose yourself to risk unnecessarily," Bratislava wrote on its Facebook page.

Polish medics have arrived

A team of 65 health-care professionals has arrived from Poland on Friday.

"I think this is a sign of solidarity between Poland and Slovakia," PM Igor Matovič said as he welcomed them at the Bratislava Airport, the TASR newswire reported. The Polish experts will be helping in the northern regions of Kysuce, Orava, and around Stará Ľubovňa in the Tatras.

In other news

  • As the PCR tests were often misused, the number of state reimbursed tests will be limited to two a month, Health Minister Krajčí said on Friday. Changes will also apply for tests taken after returning from abroad. If people want to leave isolation after five days, they will have to pay for the test from their own pockets.
  • Slovakia is among the countries whose inhabitants trust the COVID vaccines and their safety the least among the EU member states, a recent survey shows.
  • Former state secretary Monika Jankovská remains in custody, the Specialised Criminal Court decided on Friday. Jankovská was detained during the Storm operation in March 2020.

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