Slovakia proposes lockdown amid record infection surge

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Slovakian leaders have proposed a national lockdown as hospitals across the EU country hit their limits amid a record surge of coronavirus infections

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“It is an unpopular measure, but absolutely inevitable,” President Zuzana Caputova said on Tuesday after visiting a major medical facility in the capital, Bratislava.

Caputova said what she saw at Bratislava University Hospital was “tragic, terrifying.”

“The experts are clear,” she said. “It is necessary to restrict the mobility of people, we need a lockdown … unfortunately, this is a measure that has to affect everyone.”

Slovakia reported 9,171 new virus cases on Friday, surpassing the previous record of 8,342 set just days earlier.

On Monday, Slovakia imposed new restrictions targeting unaffiliated people, who have been banned from all non-essential shops and shopping malls. They are not allowed to attend any public events or gatherings and are required to get tested twice a week to go to work.

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients rose by 161 to 3,182 on Monday, above the 3,000-bed level considered critical by Slovakia’s health ministry. It said that more than 82% of the patients have not been fully vaccinated.

At 45.3%, Slovakia’s vaccination rate is among the lowest in the European Union, well below the 27-nation bloc’s average of 65.5%.

Overall, the country of 55 lakh has registered 621,423 virus cases with 13,985 deaths.

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