The Slovak government tightened up the anti-coronavirus measures in all regions as of November 22 for the next three weeks, introducing a lockdown for unvaccinated individuals, announced Prime Minister Eduard Heger (OLaNO).
As of November 20, the number of new positive COVID-19 tests in Slovakia exceeded 9,000. Almost 3,000 people are hospitalized (2,997), with 259 of them in intensive care and 256 on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). 18.44% of these patients are vaccinated, while 81.56% are not.
"Exhausted health personnel are entreating us to intervene because they no longer want to have to choose between who to connect to lung ventilation and who to let die. We've already had a request for a walk-in refrigerator for the dead," said the PM, quoted by the Slovak News Agency.
Unvaccinated individuals will be allowed to enter only essential shops and will have to be tested for COVID-19 twice per week to enter their workplaces. Only vaccinated people and those who suffered from COVID-19 in the last 180 days will be able to attend mass events.
"These two groups will see many benefits. They won't have to get tested twice a week in order to get to work and will be allowed to visit shops freely, not only the essential stores but also shopping centres," Heger noted, calling on unvaccinated people to get inoculated without delay as vaccination is the only way out of the pandemic.
"The problem in hospitals has gone so far that there is a risk that medical care won't be provided to both COVID patients and 'white medicine patients', whose planned surgeries are being postponed," he stressed.
The total number of fully vaccinated Slovaks reached 2.5mn, which is still under 60% of total population.
Vaccination has been hampered by widespread scepticism, fuelled by online misinformation. According to a survey last month, around 40% of respondents believed in most widespread conspiracy theories, with the most popular being the theory that the Slovak government makes up the number of deaths to exaggerate the seriousness of the epidemic (43.3% of people).
42.4% of respondents believe that COVID-19 has been artificially made in the laboratory, while 39.7% think the authorities came up with the coronavirus to control people. Slightly above 20% (22.5%) are convinced that coronavirus does not exist.