No more across-the-board measures. Cabinet approves new Covid warning system

The system takes district vaccination rate into account. Becomes effective on August 16.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: TASR)

The cabinet approved changes to the Covid automat warning system at its August 10 session. The changes will come into force on Monday, August 16.

The system will have five tiers: green, orange, red, dark red and black. The tier and respective measures is supposed take into account the vaccination rate of people aged 50 and more, among other things.

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This means that if more than 65 percent of people aged 50+ are vaccinated in a respective district, it will graduate to a better tier, and thus less strict measures will apply. If the vaccination rate of people aged 50+ is more than 75 percent, the district may improve by two tiers in the Covid automat.

Moreover, there will be no across-the-board measures any longer. Instead, the alert system will follow the regional principle, meaning that measures can differ within districts, the Sme daily reported.

Another big change is that restaurant owners and the organisers of mass events will decide on entry requirements. The fewer restrictions on entry, the fewer the amount of people allowed inside or to attend a mass event.

Schools will follow their own traffic light system.

Three options

The updated Covid automat warning system offers three options to organisers and operators of facilities: (1) basic, (2) OTP (vaccination, tested, recovered) and (3) fully vaccinated.

  • BASIC refers to all people regardless of possible vaccination, test result or Covid recovery status
  • OTP refers to people who are fully vaccinated or tested (72 hour PCR test or 48 hour antigen test) or have recovered from Covid-19 in the past 180 days
  • FULLY VACCINATED refers to people who are either 14 days after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine or 21 days after a single-dose vaccine or 14 days after whichever dose if a person recovered from Covid-19 in the past 180 days

Each option means a different set of conditions with maximum limits, but the resulting risk for the health system is comparable, the document reads. The operator or organiser is obliged to choose one option. A combination of options is not possible.

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For example, an organiser of a mass event in a red-tier district who chooses the BASIC system will be allowed to give access to a maximum of 10 people. If an organiser puts together an event for FULLY VACCINATED people, there will be no limits on participants, only the obligation to bear the list of participants.

Fitness centres will be forbidden for OTP and BASIC group in the dark red tier, for example, but FULLY VACCINATED people will still have access.

Restaurants deciding to grant access to FULLY VACCINATED people will be allowed to have customers indoors in the green, orange, red and dark red tiers. But restaurants that choose the BASIC system will serve customers only in green tier districts; they only have to serve outdoors in the orange tier districts; while in the red, dark red and black tier districts they may only serve customers via a window for take away or via delivery.

New map of districts

At the same time, the cabinet approved the new map of districts. Nine districts of Gelnica, Košice I-IV, Košice-okolie, Poprad, Spišská Nová Ves and Stará Ľubovňa will be in the alert (or orange) tier from next Monday, August 16. The rest will remain in the green tier.

The Health Ministry and the Public Health Authority (ÚVZ) will provide more details on the measures and other conditions that will be part of the new Covid automat in the coming days.

Changing the tiers

Premises will decide on entry conditions. New Covid alert system proposed Read more 

The map of districts will be updated on a weekly basis.

On Monday, the representatives of the Regional Public Health Authorities (RÚVZ) and the Health Ministry will meet to discuss the situation. The new map of regions will then be published on Tuesday or Wednesday.

The new rules will come into force on the following Monday.

The tiers for individual districts will be set by the RÚVZ. They will monitor the following parameters:

  • 7-day incidence of cases (the number of cases during 7 days per 100,000 inhabitants);
  • the vaccination rate in the district;
  • the local evaluation of the epidemiological situation. This includes:
    • the time necessary for tracing the contacts;
    • the percentage of successfully traced contacts;
    • the share of positive Covid tests;
    • the number of performed Covid tests;
    • the results of sequencing or analyses of waste water;
    • the capacities of hospitals and intensive care units;
    • the vaccination rate in municipalities where Covid is spreading;
    • in border districts: the mobility and the situation in a neighbouring country;
    • the number of nursing homes or the number of clients in nursing homes.

Read more about the coronavirus developments in Slovakia

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