UPDATED: 5. FEB 2021, AT 19:47

Mandatory home office or longer isolation. Cabinet changes anti-pandemic rules

The new alert system will definitely be launched on February 8.

The cabinet announced changes to COVID automat alert system.The cabinet announced changes to COVID automat alert system. (Source: SITA)

Given the changed epidemic situation currently impacted by the occurrence of new Covid variants, the cabinet agreed on changing some parameters of the COVID automat alert system, which will be launched on February 8.

At the same time, the cabinet agreed on reopening schools, introducing mandatory home office for jobs where presence in the workplace is not essential, and changes to home isolation.

The cabinet is yet to discuss the border regime and the prolongation of the emergency state and curfew, which expire at the end of this week. It is possible that the curfew will be prolonged and will apply the same conditions and exceptions as now (e.g. a negative test result when going to work or out in nature).

Rules for changing the tiers

The launching of the COVID automat means that the epidemiological situation will no longer be regarded at the national level. Instead, the situation in individual districts will be checked.

Related articleCovid automat arrives in a week. How will the measures change? Read more 

Given the current data, after February 8 the entire country will be in the black zone, which is the worst.

To switch to the better, dark red tier, the number of hospitalised patients will have to drop below 3,000 (both with confirmed Covid-19 disease and those who are only suspected). Currently, more than 3,600 such patients are in hospitals.

The cabinet will also restrict the criterion of the seven-day average of positive tests and the reproduction number.

The COVID automat will be reassessed based on the epidemiological situation, with new measures coming into force on Monday after the day they are announced.

Home office ordered by the cabinet

Up until now, it was up to employers to issue a regulation ordering home office to those staff members who do not have to be present at their workplace.

As the Labour Ministry has received several motions about violating this rule, the cabinet decided to change the practice. It will now be the state that will require employers to send their employees to home office. The only exception will be given to people whose job requires their presence at the workplace.

The state plans to intensify labour inspections if the regulation is violated.

Related articleCzech Republic will impose stricter measures at borders Read more 

At the same time, the cabinet agreed on keeping plants open even if the districts are in the black zone. Originally, the COVID automat proposed closing the companies if they are not part of the critical infrastructure.

Employees who cannot work from home will need a negative test result. The validity of the test will follow the COVID automat:

  • people working in black and dark red districts: no older than seven days from February 10;
  • people working in red districts: no older than 14 days from February 15;
  • people working in light red districts: no older than 21 days from February 15.

However, people commuting to work by public and regional transport will need test no older than seven days.

The Labour Ministry will increase the contribution to maintain jobs and extend the group of employers entitled to receive this benefit.

(Source: Korona.gov.sk)

Isolation to be longer

Self-isolation will be prolonged from 10 to 14 days, both for incomers from abroad (if the country is not on the safe list) and those who became infected in Slovakia.

People who return from abroad will have to take a PCR test reimbursed by health insurers after the eighth day.

If people become infected in Slovakia, meaning that they are showing symptoms, they will have to take the test after eight days.

The tests should also reveal whether incomers are suffering from any kind of virus mutations.

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