The representatives of four coalition parties have agreed on imposing a lockdown. However, no details have been revealed yet.
Our paywall policy:
The Slovak Spectator has decided to make all the articles on the special measures, statistics and basic information about the coronavirus available to everyone. If you appreciate our work and would like to support good journalism, please buy our subscription. We believe this is an issue where accurate and fact-based information is important for people to cope.
“It seems that we have to fine-tune the details and then the cabinet has to approve it on Wednesday if nobody changes their mind,” said Jana Bittó Cigániková, chair of the parliamentary health committee and representative of Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), as quoted by the SITA newswire. “I consider the agreement quite reasonable.”
She could not say whether the lockdown will be applied to everybody, claiming the negotiations are still underway.
Labour Minister Milan Krajniak (Sme Rodina) said shortly before midnight that the measures will be “different than expected,” as reported by the Pravda daily.
“I cannot say whether they will apply to everybody,” he added.
His party colleague Peter Pčolinský said that vaccinated people could have some benefits but stressed that more details will be revealed on Wednesday, November 24.
President Zuzana Čaputová has requested a lockdown for everybody, even though it is not fair for the vaccinated.
“We have to stop spreading hoaxes about Covid, stop tattering about Covid and start listening to experts,” she said during her visit to the hospital in Bratislava's Ružinov borough. “Experts are clearly saying that mobility should be restricted, that we need a lockdown.”
Coalition split on lockdown for everybody
Shortly before the November 22 coalition council session, PM Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) said he does not want to risk the lives of either vaccinated or unvaccinated people, which is why he is “intensively pondering” the possibility of a three-week lockdown for everybody, as proposed by the Health Ministry and experts.
This idea was also supported by Boris Kollár, chair of Sme Rodina and speaker of parliament.
“If we need to release the pressure on hospitals, let’s adopt a lockdown,” he said, as quoted by the Denník N daily. “Close the country for 20 days like Austria, ban movement between the districts. Open everything after 20 days, regardless of the results, so we can keep the economy and industry going.”
The other two coalition parties oppose the idea of a lockdown for everybody and have called for some relaxed measures for the vaccinated.
The plan has also been criticised by some retailers who say that they would struggle to survive should another lockdown be imposed, as reported by SITA.
Experts approached by the Sme daily said that to have a more or less better situation during the Christmas holiday, it is necessary to start a lockdown on November 29 at the latest. It does not have to be applied for the entire country, like some districts in the east and the north where the third wave is already receding, but it needs to be imposed in Bratislava.
They added that a lockdown does not make sense without compulsory vaccination, at least for older people.
Two-week lockdown instead of three
The following weeks should not entail the hard lockdown Slovakia has experienced during the second pandemic wave, Sme wrote.
Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský wanted to propose a three-week-long lockdown for both the vaccinated and unvaccinated at the governmental session on Wednesday, but it seems that the lockdown will be shorter.
The lockdown should apply from Thursday or Friday (November 25 or 26) for the next two weeks instead of the proposed three, Sme wrote. Some members of the coalition did not want to use a word lockdown, they claim the measures are not so harsh.
Schools should not close. There should be silent hours in place and shops and services should close sooner. When entering the workplace, there should be an OTP regime – a person should show proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test.
Vaccinated people could have a small advantage compared to the unvaccinated – they could enter a clothing or shoe shop in addition to grocery shops and pharmacies. The unvaccinated should be able to only enter grocery shops, drugstore or pharmacy.
The government is considering implementing a national emergency to ease the placing of healthcare workers in Covid departments or the army.
The government should also evaluate the regime after two weeks with the possibility of prolonging it. The details of the proposal could still change, as it will negotiate on Wednesday.
Read more about the coronavirus developments in Slovakia:
- Measures valid in Slovakia as of November 22
- How to travel to and from Slovakia during Covid-19
- Statistics of the positive coronavirus cases
- Do I have the new coronavirus? How to proceed if you have a suspicion
- I encountered a person who is COVID-19 positive. What do I do next? (FAQ)
- When will I get my COVID vaccine? FAQs about vaccination in Slovakia