New cases reported and strict measures in place

Coronavirus

New cases reported and strict measures in place

04. 04. 2020 12:02

UPDATE:- -Twenty-one new cases of coronavirus infection were reported on Friday increasing the total number to 471. A total of 1,889 tests were performed on Friday. So far 8 patients have recovered and one person died. A total of 165 patients in Slovakia have been hospitalized- 93 of them are suspected to have contracted the virus but wait for the test results while 72 have been confirrmed as positive with three of them in intensive care and one of them in critical condition connected to a lung ventilator. More details on the number of negative tests here.

Almost a third of all patients are in the Bratislava region- 156 on Friday, followed by Žilina region (62). New cases have been reported recently in Bratislava and the districts of Považská Bystrica, Partizánske, Prievidza, Dunajská Streda, Senica, Košice, Humenné, Bardejov, Rimavská Sobota, Galanta, Zlaté Moravce, Žilina, Martin, Ružomberok, Kysucké Nové Mesto, Myjava, Prievidza, Pezinok, Trenčin, Vranov nad Topľou, Banská Bystrica, Nové Zámky,Kežmarok,Topoľčany, Skalica, Brezno, Trebišov, Tvrdošin and Čadca.

When it comes to age groups, the highest number of cases 149 is in the 30-44 years old category. Only 63 patients are older than 60 and 29 cases are under the age of 14, according to data from the National Centre for Healthcare Information released on Saturday.

- Slovakia has recorded the first death caused by the new coronavirus, Health Minister Marek Krajčí announced on Tuesday evening. The victim is the 60 year old man who died on Monday after being discharged from the hospital in Bojnice. The post- mortem examination has shown he had pneumonia in both lungs and this caused his death. The hospital in Bojnice closed its pneumology ward on Monday following the death of this patient who had been hospitalized there for ten days, tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday and died after being discharged to continue treatment at home on Monday.

The man did not travel abroad recently and was discharged to continue treatment at home because he was in stable condition with no fever. Twenty two hospital employees are in quarantine, the same is true for patients in that ward.The Health Ministry wants to open an investigation into the case.

-The peak of the new coronavirus epidemic in Slovakia is expected in 110 days (in July), said Health Minister Marek Krajčí (OĽaNO) on Monday, March 30th, citing the updated model of Ministry's analysts. About 1,000 people will be needing mechanical lung ventilators at that time and about 7,000 people will have been hospitalized with more severe symptoms of COVID-19. The model is based on the assumption that current measures to reduce the spread of the disease apply and has a more optimistic view on the total number of people infected with coronavirus -only 3.1% of the population in comparison to the previous estimate of 10% from two weeks ago. "We are uploading new data into it to improve accuracy but it does not need to be viewed as something certain- that this is how it is going to be. The spread of the disease will also depend on how people behave and on future measures the government will take to slowdown the spread of the virus," he said.

-The Government banned the sale of respirators to the general public in order to make them available to medical staff and security forces amid the coronavirus outbreak. Health Minister Marek Krajčí (OLaNO)  added that those wearing respirators protect only themselves, but not others, as any pathogens are spread out from respirators during exhalation; people wearing respirators will need to cover them with surgical masks. Those who have some unused respirators are asked to hand them over to professionals.

-As of Monday, March 30th, the following shops can be open for the public too (in addition to those such as foodstore, pharmacies, toiletries shops, newsagents, pet food shops,post offices, banks, cleaning services, car repair shops, some canteens and gas stations) :

-gardening supplies
-optics shops
- car emission control services
- leasing services
-bicycle shops and bike service
-notaries and solicitors
- building materials
-haberdashery
-paint shop supplies
-electrical supplies and services
- hardware stores,
-collection yards
-computer and telecommunications services
-key making services

- Private laboratories join the state ones in testing for coronavirus increasing the overall capacity to about 2,000 tests daily with the potential to extend it to 3,000. These tests will not be performed on demand but as part of a strict medical procedure at the recommendation of either GPs or public health officials. On Thursday Prime Minister Igor Matovič said he hopes that the new system could be up and running in a week. He added that containers would be placed in front of local hospitals in order to increase the sample collections for testing. Sampling is done following the recommendation of a GP or public health official, not on demand.

- The so called "Hotspot Hospital" for COVID-19 patients in Bratislava will be set up at the Infectious Diseases Clinic of the Hospital in Kramáre which is part of the University Hospital Bratislava (UNB). The largest hospital in Slovakia plans to expand these premises with a separate building of the Geriatrics Clinic which is nearby. "Patients who are hospitalized at the Clinic of Geriatrics at Kramáre and who require urgent medical care will gradually be transferred to other hospitals, where they will be fully cared for," said Eva Kliska, UNB's spokesperson. A monobloc will be prepared for patients with confirmed COVID-19 who will need intensive care.

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(Photo:A triage tent being installed at the entrance of the Infectious Diseases Clinic)

-The European Medicines Agency (EMA) reminds the public that there are currently no treatments authorised for COVID-19. Medicines are available for treating symptoms such as fever in line with advice from your doctor or pharmacist. The agency warns people not to buy medicines from unauthorised websites and other vendors aiming to exploit fears and concerns during the ongoing pandemic.

- The Government announced on Tuesday, March 24th more measures to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. Most of them came into force on Wednesday, March 26th. You can find the complete list on our webpage.

-Banks allow their clients who face financial difficulties due to the spread of the coronavirus to postpone payments of monthly installments of their loans for a period of 1-6 months without penalty. Clients in need should submit a request to their bank which will asses their individual situation and decide if they postpone the whole monthly installment or only part of it and for how long. How this will affect credit scores is still to be solved at the moment with banks proposing that the Central Credit Bureau and the Slovak Banking Credit Bureau will use a note explaining that a specific payment delay was caused by the coronavirus epidemics.

-The Slovak State Institute for Drugs Control (ŠÚKL) asks the public to be cautious when using self-testing kits for coronavirus bought from online shops. Such tests fall into the category of so-called in vitro diagnostic (IVD) medical devices and are subject to regulation and certification both in the European Union and Slovakia. "We also want to remind the public that the results of such self-testing kits must be confirmed by a direct virus detection test in order to be reliable and should therefore be used wisely. We recommend the public to check some basic parameters before purchasing them," states ŠÚKL. The outer packaging should contain information about the manufacturer or about its authorized representative if the manufacturer is located outside the EU, the CE marking and instructions for use in Slovak language too.

-Slovak Police have created special corridors for trucks carrying suppplies in order to ensure fluid traffic flow at border crossings and across the country. Here is a map of those corridors done by Police who inform drivers that they can also find gas stations and rest areas on these routes.

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-The deadline for submitting annual tax returns for individual taxpayers, companies and sole traders (SZČO) has been extended to June 30th, the Government decided on Wednesday. The tax due has to be paid by the same deadline.

-Slovakia closed its border crossings with Poland at 12 noon on Tuesday, March 17th. Hungary closed its borders too on Tuesday.The Slovak and Hungarian governments have agreed on maintaining the free cross-border movement of people who live in Hungary - up to 30 kilometres from the border - and work in Slovakia, and vice versa. They will need to show their ID cards and evidence from their employer at border crossings. They will not be subject to the mandatory 14-day quarantine. The measure will be in place as of Thursday, March 19th, and will be subject to further changes depending on how situation with the coronavirus epidemics develops.

-The Slovak Railways Company has announced that all IC trains will be cancelled from March 18th until further notice. It also asks passengers to wear either surgical facial masks or something similar that covers their mouth and nose for the whole duration of their journey.

THE MEASURES to limit the spread of coronavirus in place as of Friday, March 13th are:

- All schools in Slovakia to be closed until further notice. Parents can claim nursing benefits from Social Insurance Agency (Sociálna poisťovňa), details in English about how to claim it can be found here. In case of additional questions in English contact the agency by email at: info.english@socpoist.sk or by phone at +421 906 171 934.

On March, 25th a new package to support parents and those in mandatry quarantine was approved.

- All three international airports (Bratislava, Poprad and Košice) will be closed.Please check their websites for more information. The ban on civilian flights from the Bratislava airport has been extended until April 10th.

- Both international bus and train transport will be restricted. RegioJet and Slovak Lines have already announced they suspend service on routes to the Czech Republic, Vienna, Hainburg and Budapest.The Slovak Railways Company suspended international passengers traffic at 7am on Friday, March 13th.

- Amusement parks, wellness and fitness centres and ski resorts will be closed.

-Foodstores, pharmacies, toiletries shops, banks, post offices, pet food shops and gas stations will be open.

-Controls at the border crossings are in place from Friday, March 13th at 7am.

-Only Slovak citizens, foreigners with temporary or permanent residence in Slovakia and holders of subisidary protection will be allowed to enter the country. Police announce that as of Monday, March 16th, only those commuters residing in areas of up to 30km from the Slovak border and commuting to Slovakia for work regularly will be allowed to enter the country. They must, however, show proof from their employer at the border. The rest of those working abroad -with the exception of healthcare personnel and caregivers- are strongly recommended to either stay at home in Slovakia or remain in the country where they work.

- ALL SLOVAKS AND FOREIGNERS with temporary and permanent residence in Slovakia who return FROM ABROAD (any country) must enter a 14 day quarantine. Those in quarantine are required to notify their GP and paediatrician of their travel, by phone or email, immediately after returning to Slovakia. The exception is those living in the neighbouring countries and commuting to work in Slovakia. Info hotlines managed by public health officials: 0800 221 234, 0917 222 682, 0917 426 075. Hotline run by a network of private clinics and hospitals: +421 2 32 32 38 38.

For expats whocan't reach their GP at the weekend or don't have one, here is a list of contacts for public health offices all over the country that includes some email addresses too. In case the lines are busy at least send an email to notify them about your situation so you have proof that you contacted the authorities. Try to look for your locality/region on the list and use that specific contact rather than the general one.

Those in quarantine at home MUST respect these rules or risk a 1,659 euro fine:

(a) monitor their medical condition (sudden onset of at least one of the following symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath) and, in the event of symptoms, contact their GP by phone or email or if not possible then call 112.

(b) refrain from social contacts (e.g. visits to cultural, social, sporting or other mass events AND the admission of other people for social activities into the place of quarantine)

(c) refrain from traveling

(d) refrain from participating in teaching/learning activities, with the exception of e-learning forms

(e) refrain from going to work; work from home instead

(f) refrain from any action which requires leaving the quarantine site or receiving susceptible persons at that site. (eg. people who may be at higher risk such as elderly, and those with a pre-existing chronic condition)

- Cultural and sport events are cancelled.

These border crossings are closed until further notice:Červený Kameň - Nedašova Lhota,Čunovo - Rajka,Záhorská Ves - Angern,Bratislava - Kopčianska ulica, Kalonda - Ipolytarnoc, Tachty - Cered,Lenartovce - Banréve,Hosťovce - Tornádska,Buzica - Butos,Perín - Hidasnemeti,Slovenské Nové Mesto - Sátorljaújhely ,Trstená pri Hornáde - Keked,Skaroš - Holohaza,Veľký Kamenec - Pácin,Pribeník - Lácacséke

IMPORTANT INFO FROM THE FOREIGN POLICE: As of Friday March 13th the offices of the Foreigners Police all over the country will work at reduced capacity for a period of 14 days.

Registration of residence of EU citizens and their family members will be suspended during these 14 days. It is enough if they send by post the registration form with the beginning date of their of residence in Slovakia. They can come to register their stay in person after the period of special restriction will be lifted.

Third-country nationals will only be able to apply for renewal of temporary residence or for permanent residence for an unlimited period. Other applications will not be accepted during this period.

However, please note that when entering the Foreign Police buildings, applicants will be checked if they have complied with the mandatory 14-day quarantine after arriving from abroad. Whoever has not complied will be denied entry to the office.

The TAX OFFICE has postponed the deadline for submitting annual tax returns for individual taxpayers, companies and sole traders (SZČO) to June 30th. The tax due has to be paid by the same deadline.

The Ministry of the Interior limits office hours at client centers, district offices, labour offices, social affairs and family offices and at branches of the Social Insurance Agency (Sociálna poisťovna) to 3 hours a day 8am to 11 am as of Monday March 16th until further notice.

Grand Hotel River Park, Sheraton Hotel and Crowne Plaza hotels in Bratislava and Doubletree by Hilton in Košice are closed until further notice.




Anca Dragu, Photo: AP/TASR

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