The government approved another round of milder measures. From December 17, people will be allowed to visit each other.
The cabinet approved gatherings up to a maximum of six people, or for members of one household. This comes after Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský told the public last week that people will not be allowed to visit families during the Christmas holidays.
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Matej Mišík, chair of the Institute of Health Analysis, running under the Health Ministry, recommended that people isolate and get tested before any Christmas visits.
The government also defines rules for curfew. As of December 17, the curfew will apply between 20:00 and 5:00 of the following day.
Recovered and vaccinated people will have access between 5:00 and 20:00 to all shops, hairdressers, nail salons, barbers, cosmetic salons, massage parlors, solariums, libraries, galleries, museums and ski tows and cable cars. Restaurants remain closed. Unvaccinated people will only have access to basic shops.
There are several exceptions to the night curfew. The curfew does not apply to those travelling to work and back but only if they are employees who cannot work at home. They have to have confirmation from their employer about their working hours and place of work. Providing care to a dependent person, shopping for essentials in the nearest shop, visiting the doctor's or pharmacy and walking pets within a 500-metre perimeter from one's place of residence are also exceptions. The vaccinated and those who have recovered from the disease can also attend church mass. This exception also applies to travelling abroad and back and when conducting social services.
The government also approved restrictions on trains. Only people who are vaccinated, recovered or have tested negative for Covid will be allowed to travel on fast trains, IC trains and long-distance trains as of December 17.
Omicron as a threat
The Health Ministry’s experts called on people to get vaccinated and get a booster shot.
“Science offers a solution,” epidemiologist Martin Pavelka said. “We can manage the Omicron variant,” he said, adding that vaccination is the solution.
In the upcoming weeks, he expects the Omicron variant will replace the Delta strain, as Omicron is a more infectious variant. He added that the third dose is “critically important” in the possible fourth wave of the pandemic, in which Omicron will be dominant.
Pavelka also said that there are still many people in Slovakia who are not immunised through the vaccine or through recent recovery from the disease. He said that we cannot rely on an easy development of the disease, as data from Africa showed, according to Pavelka, because in this region, about 70 percent have recovered from Covid.
“We expect that the curve will rise again, even if the measures were really strict,” Mišík said when asked whether it is the right time with the onset of Omicron in Slovakia to ease the measures.
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