Slovakia Tests Entire Population for COVID-19
Slovakia said over the weekend it was testing its entire population for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in a bid to combat the outbreak that has since crippled global economies.
According to a report by Euronews, more than 4,000 medics and support teams of soldiers, administrative workers, police, and volunteers served 5,000 testing centers dotted around the country for free testing that began on Saturday, October 31.
So far, two thirds or 3.6 million out of its 5.5 million population have been tested, of which only 1% yielded positive results. Only those aged 10 and above were allowed to avail of the test.
The testing was made voluntary and those who do not want to get tested were required to undergo quarantine and will need to produce a negative test certificate if stopped by police.
Meanwhile, those giving a negative result will be free from extra restrictions.
Slovakian Prime Minister Igor Matovic apologized for putting pressure on people to partake in the initiative but underscored that the requirement was justified.
“Freedom must go together with responsibility toward those who … are the weakest among us, oncology patients, old people, people with other diseases,” he was quoted as telling a news briefing.
“We have made a great leap forward. But we should not think that because of this 1%, now all is fine. It is not,” he added.
“In reality, up to 2% of our inhabitants might be infected. It is not at all a good situation.”
Slovakia used antigen tests to give far quicker results but less reliable. This was different from a more accurate result from swab tests which require nasal swabs to be sent to a laboratory.
Virus restrictions are likely to be eased once testing is complete, or reinforced further if the program is not carried out in full.
Similar to other countries, Slovakia has seen a jump in coronavirus cases in recent weeks. On Monday alone, it recorded 1,883 new virus cases, bringing its total tally to 61,829. The death toll was at 219.
It can be learned that the new program came under fire allegedly for being poorly thought through.
The Slovak Association of General Practitioners highlighted that the high number of people at testing centers was “at odds with the recommendations of infectious disease experts.”
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