Bratislava, Slovakia – Slovakia has introduced mandatory COVID-19 tests at its borders in an effort to slow down the spread of the virus, Prime Minister Igor Matovic told reporters on Monday.
Starting next Monday, November 9, anyone wishing to enter Slovakia – both national citizens and foreigners – will have to produce negative PCR tests no older than 72 hours. If they are unable to do so, they will need to get tested at the border check-point.
The measure already applies for “high-risk” countries, including neighbouring Czech Republic, one of the second wave’s hardest-hit countries in Europe.
Slovak authorities further announced that a number of border crossings will be closed in order to facilitate the process and that their opening hours should also be reduced. Approximately one million tests will be conducted at the country’s borders every week, according to governmental estimates.
Prime Minister Matovic had already announced last week that compulsory testing could be introduced at Slovakia’s borders only after the country conducts its nationwide mass testing campaign aimed at identifying as many positive cases as possible and avoiding a second full lockdown.
The first phase was held this week-end, with more than 3.6 million people tested over the course of two days.
Approximately 1% of the tests were positive. “We have made a great leap forward”, Matovic said. “But we should not think that because of this 1%, now all is fine. It is not. In reality, up to 2% of our inhabitants might be infected. It is not at all a good situation”.
A second round will be held next week-end, except in the least affected districts, including the country’s two largest cities, capital Bratislava and Kosice.