Coronavirus in Slovakia: According to the Prime Minister, the situation is catastrophic. Even the clerics don HAZMAT suits now
The number of patients with COVID-19 in hospitals is rising. The Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic is forced to keep implementing new measures. To this date, a total of 3,322 patients are hospitalized, of which 3,082 are confirmed to have the disease. There are 238 patients in the ICU, 253 people currently need support for artificial lung ventilation.
The clerics are also helping
The Ministry ordered hospitals to provide patients only with urgent medical care until January 31, 2021. Treatment is continued without restriction in cancer patients or in those receiving dialysis or biologic treatment in hospitals. However, some doctors interpreted this instruction in their own way. Some specialist doctors, who are not included in the instructions, have started providing urgent care too. The ministry also encourages transplant patients to contact the doctors in their transplant center in case of infection with COVID-19. Adjustment of immunosuppression (a state of reduced immunity) should be considered in case of infected patients.
An enormous number of cases are being reported by rescue teams. The military is helping with the transit of patients between hospitals. A number of clerics exchanged priest robes for HAZMAT suits and decided to help in busy hospitals.
The first vaccines have been distributed
On December 26th, 2020, Vladimír Krčméry, who was vaccinated at the University Hospital in Nitra, became the historically first vaccinated Slovak citizen.
President Zuzana Čaputová was the first person to receive the vaccine at the University Hospital in Bratislava. She got her shot on December 27th, 2020.
Former tennis player Cibulková was vaccinated preferentially
Dominika Cibulková and her husband were vaccinated preferentially, even though they don't belong to the first wave of people to be vaccinated. This fact was met with an onslaught of protests among Slovaks, who are still waiting for their vaccine and consider it a "favoritism". However, the Ministry rejects any preference for people outside the waiting list.
After a wave of criticism, the tennis player herself came out with an explanation on the social networks.
"I am very sorry that I was misled, when I accompanied a loved one to the hospital, I only asked for an information on when could be our turn to get vaccinated. If I had known that I was making a serious mistake and that I wasn't just filling a vacancy in the queue, I wouldn't have used the opportunity to get vaccinated at all."
The Ministry of Health suggested that Cibulková should help out in the hospital as a volunteer and she accepted the offer.
Will the Slovak laboratories discover the English strain of the coronavirus?
The world is still facing the second wave of the coronavirus and is already being shaken by a new strain of the virus. Its ability to spread is 70% higher, especially among people under 60 and among children. The clinical signs and mortality of the disease of the new variant are approximately the same compared to the original virus.
The British variant of the coronavirus has already been detected in samples in Nitra and Bratislava. Scientist Pavel Čekan from Multiplex DX announced that they have developed a PCR test that can identify the new strain.
"According to the information available to me, this is the first such screening test in the world that uses a positive signal in RT-PCR,"
said Marek Krajčí, the Minister of Health.
Krajčí assumes that the virus is already present in all corners of Slovakia and the isolation of regions is therefore out of question. Strict measures to prevent social contact between people remain in place. According to the minister, the standard measures aren't working well enough, and therefore frequent testing of people will be needed.
"Starting from next weekend at the latest, there will be mass testing every week. That first weekend, there will be testing in all counties in Slovakia,"
said Igor Matovič, the Prime Minister.
Testing should be done repeatedly in the given counties until the incidence (the ratio of newly developed cases of the disease in a given time period to the total number of persons in the monitored population) falls below 0.5.
A refrigerator semi-trailer for the deceased was built in Nitra
Sad news also come from Nitra. They've registered 13 deaths at the Nitra hospital over the weekend. A second refrigerated semi-trailer has been added to the cemetery in the city. If this one is also filled, the ministry plans to establish a large-capacity place for the deceased. Strict measures have been in place in Nitra and surrounding villages since January 11th. Movement within the county, including the way to work or nature, is only possible with a negative test.
Police have taken stricter measures
The police all throughout Slovakia controls the wearing of masks indoors and outdoors, compliance with quarantine measures and restrictions on the operation of services. Sanctions in block proceedings are up to 1,000 € and in administrative proceedings up to 1,659 €. So what measures are currently in place?
In Slovakia, a strict curfew with a minimum of exceptions has been in force since January 1st 2021. The measures will apply until January 24th. The most important thing is the restriction of meeting with loved ones and a ban on traveling between counties. Churches will also remain closed. It is forbidden to eat outdoors - it will only be possible to take food home. Baptisms, marriages and funerals can be organized for up to 6 people.
From the 1st to 24th January 2021, the following exceptions are allowed from the curfew, which applies from 5 to 1 o'clock on the following day:
● commute to work if employees cannot perform their work from home
● a trip to acquire life necessities
● a trip to a post office or dispensing point
● a trip to a medical facility
● a trip to perform testing
● a trip to the funeral of a loved one, marriage or baptism
● a trip to care for a loved one
● walks with a dog or cat up to a distance of 1,000 m from the place of residence and a trip for the care of livestock
● travel abroad
● a stay in nature within the district
● a trip from a property intended for recreation
● travel of the child and his/her accompanying persons to the parents or persons who have the right to have contact with the child
● travel of the parent or other authorized persons and the child realized in connection with the court's decision on the parent's contact with the child
● a child's trip to a childcare facility for children under 3 years of age and kindergarten
● a trip to school
● a homeless person when moving to a social service facility
Overview of the most important changes since January 11th, 2021
● Regional public health authorities may order more stringent measures within their territorial county due to the epidemiological situation
● short-term accommodation services in connection with the performance of work and services and services of necessary accommodation for the purpose of visiting a medical facility may be opened