NEARLY half of Slovakia’s entire population took COVID swabs on Saturday, October 31, as over 2.5 million people took part on the first day of nationwide testing.
In the first of a two-day nationwide coronavirus testing initiative, millions of Slovakians turned up to get swabbed as the government looks to help reverse a fast rise in infections.
Pictures showed people gathered in hundreds at local hospitals and medical centre’s, however, clearing not following social distancing regulations as the country hopes it can avoid going into a hard lockdown.
The scenes of nearly half of Slovakia’s entire population getting COVID-19 swabs will be being monitored closely by other nations who look to slow the spread of the virus in their countries.
Speaking about the turnout and results of the test, Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad said on Sunday, November 1, that out of around 2.58 million Slovaks who took the test, 25,850 (or 1%) tested positive and have been made to self-quarantine.
The country has around 5.5 million people and aims to test as many as possible, except for children under 10.
Despite the test being free and voluntary, plans have been put in place by the government to force a lockdown on those who do not participate, which would include a ban on going to work.
Speaking about those plans, Prime Minister Igor Matovic said at a news conference that the requirement was justified:
“Freedom must go together with responsibility toward those who … are the weakest among us, oncology patients, old people, people with other diseases.”
Slovakia reported 2,282 new cases through PCR tests on Sunday, November 1, which puts the total at 59,946, a figure that does not include those taken from the nationwide scheme.
Sadly, the country has registered 219 Covid-19 deaths to date.
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