Slovakia wants to enact stricter corona law

Status: 11/12/2021 8:35 a.m.

Far less than half of the people in Slovakia are fully vaccinated against Corona, the hospitals are filling up. The government is now planning to tighten it. A new law should allow more controls and tougher penalties.

By Peter Lange, ARD Studio Prague

The Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger knows that there is a need to hurry. “The capacities in the hospitals are limited,” he says. “That is why we have to take tougher measures. Because those that we have introduced will not be adhered to.”

Peter Lange
ARD-Studio Prag

More than 6500 corona cases were detected with PCR tests on Wednesday, plus almost 1900 positive results with antigen tests. The number of infections has reached new highs in Slovakia with its almost 5.5 million inhabitants.

New law presented

The hospitals and their intensive care units are filling at an alarming rate. But the Slovak government has not yet decided anything. A “Lex Corona” is now to be created, a law as a framework for restrictions and tightening that are only to be implemented afterwards.

“As soon as this proposal comes into force, there will be changes to the Covid traffic light,” explains Health Minister Vladimir Lengvarsky. “That means relaxations for vaccinated people in the black-marked districts, whereby the requirements for unvaccinated people remain in place.”

More controls in the workplace too

The pressure on unvaccinated people should be increased, because with less than 50 percent fully vaccinated, the rate in Slovakia is well below the EU average. That is why the tenor of the new law is: More controls and expanded competencies for the police and health authorities with regard to compliance with the 3G rules.

Employers should be enabled to send untested staff home without a salary. With the amendment to the Covid Act, we are giving employers a means of requiring their employees to present their Covid passport. And with a later government decision they will then also be obliged to only allow those employees to work who meet the 3G requirements, “says Justice Minister Maria Kolikova.

Who pays for the corona tests?

The costs for the necessary corona tests should first be borne by the employers. Which of course promptly provokes opposition – for example from Milan Lapsansky, the head of the Slovak Bakery Association: “We call on the government to ensure that the costs of these tests are covered by the state. Or they have to be reimbursed as soon as possible.”

The government also wants to increase the fines. Anyone who attacks medical staff or vaccination teams should be sentenced to 700 euros on the spot. Disregarding the 3G rules should cost up to 1000 euros. The authorities should even be given the opportunity to close the facilities in question on the spot.

“Inevitable for saving human life”

If the Slovak government has its way, the time of persuading and convincing unvaccinated people is over. On the other hand, it was unable to bring about locally limited lockdowns for unvaccinated people in the particularly badly affected districts, which experts have recommended.

And perhaps that is exactly what President Zuzana Caputova meant when she appealed again to politicians and the population:

The only thing that can help us is tougher measures and faster vaccination. I urge all responsible politicians to show courage and adopt measures that may not be popular but inevitable for saving lives.

Whether this appeal has been received will be shown today where the Lex Corona will be decided – in the Slovak Parliament.

Slovakia: Now with a hard line against Corona

Peter Lange, DLR Prague, November 12, 2021 8:03 am

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