The Government of Slovakia approved this Sunday to do rapid tests of Covid-19 to the whole population in a weekend and becomes the first country to take that measure to detect and isolate the virus, the Defense Minister reported, Jaroslav Nad.
“The operation will be in charge of the Armed Forces”, Nad declared after an extraordinary council of ministers held in Bratislava, the capital of the Central European country of 5.5 million inhabitants.
The Minister of Defense told the press that 8,000 troops will be mobilized until the weekend of October 31 and November 1, when all citizens are summoned to take the antigen test at the electoral college where they go to vote.
In Slovakia there are 6,000 polling stations and in each one there will be a team of military, health and civilian personnel to collect the evidence and coordinate the process.
“For us to be successful, it will be necessary for the maximum number of people to go,” said the Prime Minister, for his part. Igor Matovic, which favors a voluntary test, although it is not ruled out that it is finally mandatory.
“We do not yet have a definitive answer on whether or not it will be voluntary and on the incentives and disincentives to attend the test, “said Matovic.
If it is mandatory, it would be necessary an express legal reform, while if it were voluntary the Executive suggested yesterday that those who refused could lose the right to receive certain social benefits and tax exemptions.
Those under the age of ten will be exempt from the test, following the advice of pediatricians.
Slovakia has 292 accumulated infections in the last fourteen days over 100,000 inhabitants, and has registered a total of 28,268 cases since the start of the pandemic, in which 82 people have died.
Although the rapid tests are less accurate than PCR tests, the result is available in a few minutes.
Matovic said the day before that citizens would go to the test centers in a staggered manner to avoid crowds, but neither he nor any member of his coalition Executive They have given details on how the operation will be carried out.
Yes, it was confirmed that there will be a first experimental test in four towns in the country —Especially affected by the pandemic— next weekend, while the rest of the population would have to take the test during the weekend of October 31 and November 1.
The prime minister reported the day before that the plans and material purchases – have commissioned 13 million tests antigens – have been kept secret until the possession of what is necessary for the tests is guaranteed.
Slovakia has seen a spike in the number of confirmed cases. Last week it exceeded a thousand daily cases for the first time and last Thursday it crossed the 2,000 daily cases registered.