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Slovakia announces lockdown to curb coronavirus

BRATISLAVA (AP) – Slovakia’s government approved a two-week national lockdown on Wednesday to combat a record surge in coronavirus infections.

Prime Minister Eduard Heger said the measures that take effect on Friday apply to everyone, vaccinated and unvaccinated.

Under lockdown, people can leave their homes only for certain specific reasons, including buying essential goods, going to work, or getting vaccinated.

Those not vaccinated will have to undergo testing if they have not recovered from COVID-19.

In addition, some 1,000 members of the armed forces will help the overwhelmed health sector each day cope with the pandemic.

The Health Ministry said daily infections exceeded 10,000 for the first time, with 10,315 positive cases on Tuesday. That beats Friday’s mark by more than 1,000.

With 13,080 infections per million people in the past seven days, the country of 5.5 million faces the worst increase in the world, according to Our World In Data.

President Zuzana Caputova had said that the confinement was “inevitable”. “We are losing the battle against COVID,” Caputova said Tuesday.

Jan Mikas, top government official for the response to the pandemic, said that “the only solution is to restrict movement.”

On Monday, Slovakia imposed new restrictions on the unvaccinated, who are banned from entering all non-essential businesses and shopping centers. They also cannot attend public events or congregations. They will have to undergo two weekly tests to go to work, but the government has not yet set a date for this.

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