Czech Republic neighbor Slovakia closes borders to foreigners, toughens anti-virus steps

Slovakia will close its border over the coronavirus epidemic from today, with only people with permanent or temporary residence allowed in the country


Written by ČTK Published on 12.03.2020 13:32:51 (updated on 12.03.2020) Reading time: 1 minute

Bratislava, March 12 (CTK) – Slovakia will close its border over the coronavirus epidemic, with only people with permanent or temporary residence in the country or some other permission to stay there being allowed entry as of Friday early morning.

Slovakia is also closing schools, international airports, restaurants, ski resorts, amusement parks and water parks for at least two weeks.

Outgoing Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini and Interior Minister Denisa Sakova (both Smer-Social Democracy) announced the newly introduced measures after a meeting of the national emergency body today.

Slovakia will also restrict international passenger transport, Pellegrini said. Shopping malls will be closed at the weekend, except for food shops, pharmacies and drugstores. State offices will be open for the public only three hours a day.

These measures aim to slow down the coronavirus spreading as much as possible, Pellegrini said.

He said the coronavirus crisis has only just started in the country.

Igor Matovic, whose Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OLaNO) movement won the general election two weeks ago and who is likely to be the next prime minister, claimed that the Slovak state has no plan for the situation of more people getting infected in the country.

Six new coronavirus cases were confirmed in Slovakia today, which means that the total number of Covid-19 patients is 16. Two of the patients are at intensive care units in hospital, but they had not been put on a ventilator. Most of the patients are from Bratislava and its surroundings.

From now on, all Slovaks who return to the country from abroad must undergo home quarantine. Until now, only people who returned from one of four countries including Italy had to be in isolation. Sakova said roughly 20,000 Slovaks are likely to return to their homeland in the following days.

“We will adopt much stricter measures. The bans have not been respected in the way we expected,” Sakova said.

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