Slovakia plans mass testing to cut virus infections

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The curfew will be combined with one-time countrywide testing, Slovakia's Prime Minister Igor Matovič said following the extraordinary government meeting held on Sunday, adding that the screening should be the basis for further targeted testing in individual districts, local news agency TASR reported.

Slovakia is planning another large-scale testing and quarantine push to combat a serious rise in coronavirus infections, Health Minister Marek Krajčí said on Saturday.

The central European country with a population of 5.5 million has seen record numbers of new cases and hospitalizations since the turn of the year. There were 3,055 people in hospital on Saturday despite some slowdown amid a partial national lockdown.

Testing, which will be carried out between January 18-26, will not be mandatory, Krajčí said, adding that the government wants to ask people to be tested. He also said that the government decided to extend the curfew until February 7. The rules remain unchanged for the time being but following the countrywide screening from January 27 a negative PCR or antigen test will be a condition for people to go to work.

The condition of a negative test will also apply if people want to be in nature but it won't apply to young people under 15 years of age and seniors over 65 years of age. 

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