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21 Apr 2020 | 12:24 AM UTC

Slovakia: Authorities announce plans to ease COVID-19 lockdown measures April 20 /update 5

Slovakian authorities announce plans to ease coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown measures on April 20; abide by government directives

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Event

Prime Minister Igor Matovic announced on Monday, April 20, plans for the easing of coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown measures. Small shops, sporting grounds, outdoor marketplaces, and restaurants for takeaway meals will be able to begin reopening as of Wednesday, April 22. Matovic further announced that the plan is subject to the approval of the country's crisis committee scheduled to convene on Tuesday, April 21.

A state of emergency remains in effect as of Monday. All shops with the exception of food stores, pharmacies, banks, post offices, and petrol stations have been closed since March 16. Public gatherings, sporting events, and religious services remain prohibited and schools are universities are closed until further notice. Individuals in Slovakia are permitted to travel to work, food stores, and to the doctors where necessary. Public transportation services are operating on a reduce schedule and a mask must be worn while traveling.

Additionally, an entry ban on non-residents remains in place and all international travel by air and land is suspended. Individuals entering the country must pre-register with Slovak authorities and immediately enter mandatory quarantine at a government facility for 14 days. After an individual has tested negative for COVID-19, they are allowed self-isolate at home for another two weeks.

To date, authorities have confirmed 1173 COVID-19 cases nationwide, with 13 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.