June 19, 2020 / 9:47 AM / 13 days ago

Slovakia to allow travel to Poland as COVID-19 restrictions ease

PRAGUE, June 19 (Reuters) - Slovakia, which has one of Europe’s lowest death tolls from COVID-19, will allow its citizens to travel to Poland from Saturday as is further eases measures to combat the pandemic.

Slovakia has reported a total of 1,576 cases of the novel coronavirus since the outbreak first surfaced in March, a fraction of the cases reported in western Europe, and has kept the number of new daily cases low, usually in single digits.

It reported 14 cases on Thursday, the biggest daily rise since May 15. But it has gone over a month without reporting any deaths from the illness. The death toll stood at 28 on Friday.

The government has been cautious in loosening measures and for now will keep face coverings in closed spaces mandatory.

Prime Minister Igor Matovic said the situation was stable in the country of 5.5 million.

He said Slovaks would be able to travel without any restrictions to Poland from Saturday, adding its neighbour to a list of other European countries - including Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic - deemed safe and not requiring negative COVID-19 tests or quarantine upon return.

Also from Saturday, temperatures will no longer be taken for people entering state buildings or public places like swimming pools. The government will also end a ban on Sunday shop openings.

The state will also allow crowds larger than 1,000 people from July, Matovic said.

** For an interactive graphic: tmsnrt.rs/2xd7Rox

Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Pravin Char

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