PRAGUE (Reuters) – Slovakia reported 1,180 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the highest daily tally since April as the country of 5.5 million experiences a surge in infections.
The government said last week it expected the daily tally to rise to 1,500-3,000 by the end of September, which would be a smaller wave than peaks seen at the height of the pandemic in the central European country.
The state has been tightening epidemic measures on a regional basis, including tighter mask-wearing mandates and introducing restrictions in some services and activities.
The ministry said on Wednesday nearly 76% of new cases were people without vaccinations. The number only includes cases confirmed by laboratory PCR tests, not point-of-care antigen tests.
Hospitals were treating 437 patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, and 84% of those were not vaccinated, it said. The number is a fraction of peaks of nearly 4,000 in March. The government expects daily admissions to hospitals to reach 75-100 at the end of the month.
Slovakia has been one of the slowest in the EU to vaccinate, with vaccination scepticism supported by opposition parties including the former ruling party Smer of former Prime Minister Robert Fico who has said he would not get vaccinated.
The country reported 2.3 million people had been fully vaccinated as of Tuesday.
Data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) from Sept 12 showed 50.2% of the Slovak adult population was fully vaccinated, the fifth lowest rate among 30 European countries.
(Reporting by Jan Lopatka; Editing by Edmund Blair)