Slovakia ponders blockade amid record rise in infections

Slovakia ponders blockade amid record rise in infections

The government was mulling a two- or three-week national lockdown that is supported by President Zuzana Caputova, who called it “unavoidable.” The details should be announced later Wednesday. “We’re losing the battle against COVID,” Caputova said Tuesday.

The Health Ministry said daily infections surpassed 10,000 for the first time, with 10,315 testing positive on Tuesday. That’s over 1,000 more than the previous record registered Friday. With 13,080 infections in the last seven days per 1 million people, the nation of 5.5 million is facing the worst surge in the world, according to Our World In Data. Jan Mikas, the government’s top official leading the country’s response to the pandemic, said Wednesday the new restrictions should affect everyone — the unvaccinated and the vaccinated.

“The only solution is to restrict movement,” Mikas said. On Monday, Slovakia already imposed new restrictions targeting the unvaccinated, who are banned from all nonessential stores and shopping malls. They’re also not allowed to attend any public events or gatherings. They will also be required to test twice a week to go to work, but the government has yet to set a date for that.

With 3,200 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, which is well above the 3,000-bed level considered critical by Slovakia’s Health Ministry, the country might be forced to seek help from other European countries. The ministry said almost 83% of the patients haven’t been fully vaccinated. At 45.7%, Slovakia’s vaccination rate is one of the lowest in the EU.

Overall, Slovakia has registered 631,738 virus cases with 14,056 deaths. ___ Follow all AP stories on the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

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