Curfew might end this week

The cabinet should decide on prolonging the national emergency, but some coalition members reject the idea.

The empty streets of BratislavaThe empty streets of Bratislava (Source: TASR)

The cabinet is set to decide on prolonging the national emergency this Wednesday, April 28.

Although the pandemic commission has recommended the cabinet to support the extension, and the prime minister said during the weekend that they are likely to do so, some coalition members oppose the idea.

The national emergency serves as the basis for several anti-pandemic restrictions currently in place. This includes curfew and the ban on assembly, which limits gatherings to six people.

Experts want extension

The pandemic commission, which serves as an advisory body, has recommended that the cabinet extend the national emergency by a further 30 days (i.e. until late May).

At the same time, they recommend ending regular testing at schools and replacing it with interventional testing in school facilities, apart from those in the black tier districts. The testing of children attending in-person education in these districts should be held on a regular basis (once every seven days), said Zuzana Eliášová, spokesperson of the Health Ministry, as reported by the SITA newswire.

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The cabinet has agreed on prolonging the national emergency, said PM Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) on April 25, during the political talk show V Politike, broadcast by the private news channel TA3.

“We’re not at a stage where we wouldn’t need to prolong national emergency,” he said, adding that the current processes might be replaced by the pandemic law currently under discussion.

He later said that the coalition would make a final decision on the national emergency on the evening of April 26.

Some coalition members disagree

Yet some members of the coalition parties have opposed another prolongation of the national emergency.

This includes Speaker of Parliament and Sme Rodina chair Boris Kollár. Still, he is ready to support the prolongation in the parliament (which needs to confirm the earlier decision of the cabinet on prolonging the national emergency within 20 days after it comes into effect) if his coalition partners convince him that it is necessary, as reported by the TASR newswire.

The Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party does not see a reason for the mass testing and curfew to continue. Instead of prolonging the national emergency, they would like to amend the law on economic mobilisation which, in its opinion, would allow for work mobility in compliance with the Constitution, without the need to extend the national emergency, as reported by SITA.

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Veronika Remišová of Za Ľudí has commented that when voting on the prolonging the national emergency, they will follow the recommendations of experts sitting in the pandemic commission and Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský (OĽaNO nominee).

“At the same time, we think that the Covid automat alert system should be reevaluated soon, and so should the regular testing, which should be mandatory only in localities with higher Covid occurrence,” Remišová said, as quoted by SITA.

Her party will also ask to change the time for stricter curfew rules, which currently start at 20:00.

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