Accept Covid-19 Testing or Face Quarantine, Leader Tells Slovaks

Slovakia’s prime minister threatened to force into quarantine anyone refusing to take part in a plan to test almost all of the country’s 5.4 million people for Covid-19.

With the European Union country struggling to control a spike in new cases, Premier Igor Matovic has balked at imposing strict measures embraced by other nations including curfews and shutdowns.

Instead, the government has ordered the military to test every citizen over the age of 10 starting on Oct. 30. Anyone who refuses to take part in the free process or get tested on their own must spend 10 days in quarantine or pay a 1,650 euro ($1,949) fine.

The solution “doesn’t violate the freedom of those who are responsible,” Matovic told journalists in Bratislava Tuesday.

Slovakia, which scored an early success against the coronavirus in the spring by imposing a swift and strict lockdown, registered 705 new infections on Monday, after posting a daily record of 2,075 on Thursday last week. Six people died, bringing the total to 98.

Almost three quarters of Slovaks support Matovic’s testing plan, according to a poll published by the Hospodarske Noviny newspaper on Tuesday. A fifth of the 1,000 people surveyed said they wouldn’t take part or were undecided.

A pilot project for tests will start as early as this week in the most affected regions.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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