PM: Almost 2/3 of Slovaks Joined Nationwide COVID Test

More than 3.6 million Slovaks — around two thirds of the population — took part in a widely-watched nationwide coronavirus testing scheme over the weekend, Prime Minister Igor Matovic said on Monday.
The scheme to test the bulk of the country in a matter of days is being studied by other nations looking for ways to slow the virus and avoid overwhelming their health systems.
A total of 38,359 people or 1.06% of those who took part tested positive and must quarantine, Matovic told a news conference.
“I deeply believe that this solution will work in Slovakia on the condition that those who received certification that they are negative will continue to act responsibly and those who got a positive result will remain in quarantine with their families,” he added.
The premier has been pushing the voluntary program as a decisive way to halt the spread of the virus – though he met opposition from the president and others who balked at movement restrictions imposed on people who do not take part.
More than 40,000 medics, troops, administrative personnel and volunteers fanned across 5,000 testing sites over the weekend.
The scheme used antigen swab tests, which return results in 15-30 minutes but are less accurate than standard PCR tests. Young children were exempt. People who chose not to take part must now also go into a lockdown, according to the rules.
Compared with other parts of Europe, Slovakia recorded relatively few cases after the pandemic started spreading in March. But cases have soared in recent weeks and Matovic said the blanket testing program was necessary to avoid wider lockdowns.

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