PRAGUE (Reuters) – Slovakia has registered its highest one-day tallies of new coronavirus cases and deaths before tighter restrictions go into force and a free nationwide testing programme starts.
The Health Ministry said on Friday that 2,581 new cases had been recorded on Thursday in the country of 5.5 million. It also reported a record number of COVID-19 related deaths for a second successive day, with 19 on Thursday after 17 on Wednesday.
It was only the third time the number of deaths in one day has reached double digits, and all occasions were this month.
Slovakia has reported 134 deaths since the pandemic began and has 28,918 active COVID-19 cases now.
Slovakia went through the initial wave of the global pandemic in March and April with one of the lowest death rates in Europe but, like other countries in Europe, is facing a stronger second wave.
On Thursday, the government ordered a partial lockdown, shutting most schools and requiring people to stay at home except for essential shopping and nature trips to curb the virus’s spread and ease the burden on hospitals.
The government also said on Thursday that two testing drives would be carried out from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1, and from Nov. 6-8. The authorities are providing an incentive for people to have tests by giving those with negative results exemptions from some lockdown restrictions.
(Reporting by Jason Hovet; editing by John Stonestreet and Timothy Heritage)