Scientists and doctors from the initiative Science Helps and Pandemic Commission, which is an advisory body to the Health Ministry, issued a list of several recommendations for people on how to enjoy safe Christmas holidays and to handle the Omicron variant, of which four cases have been confirmed in Slovakia so far.
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“The Omicron variant is spreading very fast in the world and we will soon witness the same growth in Slovakia too,” the experts write in the common call. “In the upcoming weeks and months, we could all get infected including those who are vaccinated and recovered from Covid. We cannot prevent that from happening, but it is in our hands to significantly mitigate the consequences with these seven steps.”
Vaccination still remains reliable protection against Covid-19, but the vaccine alone cannot sufficiently protect one from getting infected by Omicron. Scientific studies, however, confirm that the vaccine is still the best protection from the serious course of the disease, especially after vaccination with three doses. Experts suggest sharing your positive experiences with vaccination with those who are hesitant to get vaccinated.
It will be hard to protect oneself against getting infected during the upcoming pandemic wave. Each of us can do something to lower the risk of the difficult course of the disease and to prevent infecting others. Thanks to a properly placed respirator, we can significantly lower the viral load to which we are exposed when meeting an infected person.
3. Small groups
Everyone can slow down the massive speed of the infection spread and lower the burden in hospitals by meeting only in small groups (up to six people ideally) when meeting without masks or respirators during the Christmas holidays and the worse of the pandemic wave. When meeting people indoors outside this group, experts recommend using a respirator, adding that if you feel sick, you should isolate yourself as much as possible until the disease dies down.
Even though tests do not prevent the spread of the infection, they can play an important role when protecting oneself and surrounding people from the coronavirus. After close contact with an infected person, experts recommend limiting contact as much as possible and taking a home Covid test at least every other day regardless of whether you are vaccinated or not. They also recommend taking repeated tests three or four days before meeting close friends and family. The experts warn that even weak colouring of the home test strip might indicate a positive result.
5. Visits from abroad
Experts propose all those visiting from abroad get vaccinated with a booster shot before arriving in Slovakia. Those coming from areas where the occurrence of Omicron is high should consider whether their visit is necessary. They suggest visitors should get tested shortly before their trip to Slovakia, even if they are completely vaccinated. They should also get tested regularly after arrival in Slovakia with a home test at least every second day within one week.
It is necessary to keep one's immunity at the best possible level by exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet.
Experts add that people should do activities that cheer them up during the holiday. Stress should be avoided, especially the kind caused by social networks. Experts advise taking a break from the flood of information and spending the Christmas holidays with close ones doing what you like to do.
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