Slovakia to restrict the unvaccinated to tame COVID surge

Health

FILE- People stand in line to test for COVID-19 in Michalovce, Slovakia, Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. Slovakia is planning to limit movement of the non-vaccinated people in an effort to tame the latest wave of coronavirus infections that has caused a “critical” situation in the country’s hospitals. On Tuesday Nov. 16, Slovakia’s Prime Minister Eduard Heger said his government will vote on Thursday on the latest proposals by an advisory group of its medical experts. (Roman Hanc/TASR via AP, File)

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — Slovakia is planning new restrictions on unvaccinated people in an effort to tame the latest surge of coronavirus infections that has caused a “critical” situation in the country’s hospitals, the prime minister said Tuesday.

Prime Minister Eduard Heger said his government will vote Thursday on the latest proposals by an advisory group of medical experts that will be effective for three weeks. Among the proposed measures, people who have not been vaccinated will be banned from all non-essential stores, shopping malls, gyms, pools and hotels. They also won’t be allowed to attend any mass public gatherings like sports events.

“The situation in hospitals is critical,” Heger said, adding that some hospitals are already at their limit for COVID-19 patients in their intensive care units and have been transferring new patients to other facilities.

Unvaccinated people will be able to get into their workplaces with negative virus tests.

If the situation doesn’t get any better in the next three weeks, the government is ready to impose even more restrictions, the prime minister said. He urged unvaccinated Slovaks to get their vaccine shots.

The number of COVID-10 patients needing hospital treatment rose to a total of 2,826, with 225 admitted on Monday alone, the Health Ministry said. Over 81% of the hospitalized have not been fully vaccinated.

Slovakia, one of the hardest-hit European Union countries, has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the 27-nation bloc. Only about 45% of its nearly 5.5 million have been fully vaccinated.

In the latest surge, new coronavirus infections in Slovakia hit a record daily high of 7,244 cases on Friday.

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