The effects of the Omicron wave can already been seen in the Covid statistics.
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Even though the number of hospitalisations has been decreasing even this week, the number of new cases identified through PCR tests has increased significantly, and so did the share of positive tests on the total number of tests carried out.
“The Omicron wave started prevailing in Slovakia,” said Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský (OĽaNO nominee), adding that they are getting ready for the increase in daily testing, as well as raising special tents to distinguish between people coming to the hospitals so the main entrance is not overburdened. “Our prognoses are coming true.”
Daily cases up, hospitalisations down
The average daily caseload increased by 135 percent compared to the previous week, from about 3,600 to 8,500. The share of positive PCR tests rose as well, from 28 percent to 37 percent.
As many as 14 districts reported three times the number of cases than the week before, and there are altogether 67 districts where the daily caseload went up by more than 100 percent compared to last week.
Four districts report an incidence of Covid cases exceeding 2,000 cases, meaning that about 2 percent of their inhabitants tested positive in the past week. These are namely Námestovo, Tvrdošín (both in the Žilina Region), Stropkov (Prešov Region) and Dunajská Streda (Trnava Region).
The number of hospitalised Covid patients continued dropping, but stopped at about 1,500 people this week. About 150 people require mechanical ventilation, also lower than a week before.
On the other hand, the number of ambulance dispatches grew again, the most in the Prešov Region.
No mandatory vaccination for now
Nearly 1.5 million people in Slovakia have been boosted so far, meaning that as many as 60 percent of those who were fully vaccinated received the additional shot.
In the 60+ age group, as many as 87 percent of fully vaccinated people have been boosted.
Even though the legal analysis, which the Health Ministry was tasked to prepare in cooperation with the Justice Ministry, says that it is possible to introduce mandatory vaccination in Slovakia, there are no plans for such step now.
Both Lengvarský and PM Eduard Heger said that this possibility will be discussed only if there is a new variant that will send many people to the hospital or lead to a serious course of the disease and a high number of deaths.
“It wouldn’t be appropriate or wise to force people into mandatory vaccination during the Omicron wave,” Lengvarský said.
Heger said that they will start discussing the vaccine mandate only after the Omicron wave is over.
Possibilities on how to introduce a mandate include through a separate law, an amendment to the law on public health or an amendment to selected ordinances issued by the Health Ministry or the Public Health Authority.
More on the coronavirus developments in Slovakia:
- Measures valid in Slovakia as of January 19
- 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)
- FAQs about vaccination in Slovakia