Slovakia to tighten anti-COVID measures, hard lockdown looms

FILE PHOTO: A healthcare worker tests a sample at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing site during nationwide testing, in Trencin, Slovakia October 31, 2020. REUTERS/Radovan Stoklasa

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Slovak government will tighten anti-epidemic measures from March 3, including stricter limits on people’s movement, as the country struggles with the resurgent coronavirus.

The government of Prime Minister Igor Matovic released details of the new measures after several days of debates with experts as the country has ranked among the world’s worst-hit by the recent wave of COVID-19 cases.

As of Wednesday, people will be allowed to travel from 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. only to work or to see a doctor, while all currently valid exceptions from the limits on movement will be effective only between 5:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. People who can work from home should do so.

As of March 8, more effective respirators of FFP 2 grade will be required for people in shops or on public transport.

Pre-schooling and the lower grades at elementary schools will be open only for children of parents whose work cannot be done from home.

If the tougher restrictions do not curb infections by March 21, the government will prepare even stricter limits on movement, including closure of companies and borders, local media reported.

As of Sunday, the country of 5.5 million reported 308,083 COVID infection cases and 7,189 deaths.

Reporting by Robert Muller; Editing by Daniel Wallis