No lockdowns expected. New anti-pandemic measures to be applied

The changes will come into force next week.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: SME)

With the threat of the Omicron wave looming, the cabinet approved new measures to deal with the new situation.

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Instead of reinstalling the alert traffic light system, known as the Covid automat in Slovakia, which is based on the regional application of restrictions, the country will follow nationwide rules that will come into force next Wednesday, January 19.

Shops, services, different types of facilities and mass events will follow four regimes that will set entry restrictions. The cabinet also approved several changes concerning the validity of vaccination and limits for recovery from Covid, and set new restrictions on opening hours for 5:00-22:00.

At the same time, the cabinet cancelled the ban on gatherings consisting of more than six people, which has applied since late November 2021. For now, no changes to the self-isolation of people who have tested positive are expected.

The Health Ministry does not expect schools, shops, service providers or facilities to close during the Omicron wave, even though there will be certain restrictions.

“If nothing extraordinary happens, there’s no reason for a lockdown,” said Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský (OĽaNO).

The measures are expected to be in place for about two months, but this can change based on how the situation develops.

Long wait for PCR test results. Testing capacities limited by Omicron Read more 

What measures will be in place?

There should be four entry regimes:

Basic: everyone regardless of being vaccinated, tested or recovered from Covid

OTP (vaccinated, tested, recovered): people who have:

  • been fully vaccinated against Covid:
    • completed the basic vaccination scheme (i.e. two doses of a two-dose vaccine, one dose of the single-dose vaccine) or received the booster in the past nine months (currently, it is one year) – this change will be applied from February 1;
    • recovered from Covid and received at least one vaccine shot within 180 days since receiving a positive PCR test result – within nine months since being vaccinated;
  • tested negative (PCR/LAMP test not older than 72 hours, antigen not older than 48 hours);
  • recovered from Covid in the past 90 days if they are not vaccinated (currently, it is 180 days).

OP (vaccinated, recovered): people who:

  • have been fully vaccinated:
    • completed the basic vaccination scheme (i.e. two doses of a two-dose vaccine, one dose of the single-dose vaccine) or received booster in the past nine months (currently, it is one year) – this change will be applied from February 1;
    • recovered from Covid and received at least one vaccine shot;
  • have recovered from Covid in the past 90 days if they are not vaccinated (currently, it is 180 days);
  • have a contraindication against Covid vaccine and have a valid Covid test;
  • are children younger than 12 years and two months.

OP+ (vaccinated, recovered plus): people who:

  • meet the conditions for the OP regime and:
    • have received the booster shot;
    • have a negative Covid test (PCR/LAMP not older than 72 hours, antigen not older than 48 hours);
    • have been fully vaccinated and recovered from Covid in the past 180 days;
  • are children aged 2 to 12 years and two months with a negative Covid test;
  • are children aged 12 years and two months to 18 years who have been fully vaccinated and have a negative Covid test.

Lengvarský presented only the basic rules for operation. More details are to be specified by the Public Health Authority (ÚVZ) in the coming days.

Mass events

Low-risk events (cinema without eating and drinking, church services without singing and theatre performances without refreshments)

  • participants’ noses and mouths covered with an FFP2 respirator;
  • eating and drinking banned;
  • all participants must be seated;
  • no singing and cheering;
  • OP regime: 50 percent of capacity max. or no more than 100 people

Medium-risk events (cinema allowing eating and drinking, sports events with spectators, church services with singing)

  • participants’ noses and mouths covered with an FFP2 respirator;
  • fixed seating or standing;
  • OP regime: 25 percent of capacity max. or no more than 100 people

High-risk events (parties, wedding parties, funeral feasts, discos and other mass event in restaurants, cafés, bars)

  • OP regime: 20 people max.;
  • mandatory list of participants with telephone or email contacts in case of an epidemiological investigation - the organiser is obliged to keep the list for two weeks after the end of the event and then destroy the list.

Sports competitions and trainings

  • OP regime;
  • OTP regime only for children aged 12 years and two months to 18 years and two months, negative antigen test required;
  • no more than 100 athletes.

Employment

  • OTP regime;
  • testing twice a week (currently, it is only once a week. The cabinet has not said when this change will become effective, it will be specified in the ÚVZ ordinance).

Fitness centres, wellness centres, water parks and spas

  • OP+ regime: 50 people max. or at least 15 square metres per person;
  • open between 5:00 and 22:00.

Non-essential shops, services, museums, galleries, exhibition halls

  • OP regime;
  • open between 5:00 and 22:00.

Restaurants

  • OP regime: sitting only, waiters to the table (including outdoor terraces); FFP2 respirator necessary outside of the table and when not eating;
  • Basic regime: takeaways only;
  • open between 5:00 and 22:00.

Accommodation facilities

  • OP+ regime: without capacity limits, if using shared spaces, follow the rules for mass events;
  • Basic regime: forbidden, apart from quarantine facilities and facilities providing long-term accommodation.

Transport

  • OTP regime: long-distance transport, taxi, ski tows, cable cars, cruise ships; FFP2 respirator required;
  • Basic regime: public transport and suburban transport; FFP2 respirator required.

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