Situation in some districts alarming, but no black districts yet

Several factors are impacting the decision of hygienists to switch the district to a worse tier.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: SME)

Several districts in the north of Slovakia should have been in the black tier of the Covid automat alert system from this week, meaning the measures applied there would be quite restrictive, if only the number of infected people was taken into account.

Regional hygienists seem to have a different opinion.

“We aren’t afraid of the black tier,” said Daša Račková, spokesperson of the Public Health Authority (ÚVZ) when asked whether the black tier will be used only when people are in imminent danger.

As she explained, hygienists in the districts take several parameters into consideration, not just the number of people infected with Covid.

The black tier is accompanied with very strict measures, similar to those applied at the peak of the second wave last winter. The biggest restriction would be the curfew – people will be able to go out only at night and banned from travelling to a neighbouring district. To apply curfew, the government needs to declare a national emergency, which does not seem highly probable for now.

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The inhabitants of black districts would have to wear a mask outside and FFP2/KN95 respiration inside. Restaurants would be solely forced to sell food through a window point of sale, while all shops apart from groceries and pharmacies would be closed.

Swimming pools would be able to take no more than 10 vaccinated visitors, and fitness centres and water parks would be closed.

“The black tier is total Armageddon,” said Ivan Bošňák, analyst of the Data Without Pathos platform. The platform gave out the warning last week that the districts of Stropkov, Svidník, Bardejov, Stará Ľubovňa and Čadca have met the criteria for entering the black tier.

Still, he considers that it is right to not take such a decision.

The colour may still change, as the cabinet will be deciding on the new map of districts on Thursday, October 14.

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