Another EU Country Is Entering Lockdown

'We’re losing the battle against COVID,' Slovakia's president says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 24, 2021 6:45 PM CST
Slovakia Announces 2-Week Lockdown
Medical staff attend to a patient at the COVID-19 ICU unit of the hospital in Bratislava, Slovakia, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021.   (Martin Baumann/TASR via AP, File)

Slovakia's government on Wednesday approved a two-week national lockdown amid a record surge of coronavirus infections. Prime Minister Eduard Heger said the measures that take effect Thursday will target all—both unvaccinated and vaccinated, the AP reports. Under the lockdown, people can leave their homes only for some specific reasons. These include buying essential goods in the nearest stores to their homes, traveling to work and school, or to get vaccinated, tested for COVID, or for medical treatment. Unvaccinated people will be required to get tested to go to work if they have not recovered from COVID-19. If working from home is not possible, people will need to have a document from their employers about where their workplace is with details on their working hours.

Economy Minister Richard Sulik said his Freedom and Solidarity party, a member of the four-party ruling coalition, vetoed a proposal to close most schools. But it agreed that schoolchildren and students will be tested on a regular basis. The announcement came after Slovakia set another record for coronavirus infections . 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.

President Zuzana Caputova warned Tuesday that a lockdown was "unavoidable." "We’re losing the battle against COVID," she said. 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. At 45.7%, Slovakia’s vaccination rate is one of the lowest in the European Union. Cases are surging in many other European countries, including the Netherlands, where health officials are calling for the government to bring in a strict lockdown before hospitals are completely overwhelmed. (In Austria, a nationwide lockdown began Monday.)

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