Slovakia has gone into a two-week lockout as Europe, the country with the lowest vaccination rate, reports hospitals and new infections at the top of the global table.
Slovakia, a country of 5.5 million people, has ordered the closure of all but essential shops and services and banned people from traveling outside their districts without going to work, school or doctor.
Gatherings of more than six people were banned.
The decision comes as coronavirus cases continue to rise across Europe, making the continent an epidemic again, following in the footsteps of neighboring Austria, which launched the lockout on Monday.
In the town of Transin, 130 kilometers north of Bratislava, Roman Spatney, manager of a musical instrument store, said his income was linked to sales and would disappear with the next missing Christmas season.
“For us, it’s a simple knife in the back. Like last year, at a time when it was the most important business for us, we should stop,” he said.
“Important decisions are made from one hour to the next. There is no way to respond appropriately.”
Natalia Paskova, a 17-year-old student, saw few options: “The situation is getting worse so the decisions are justified,” she said.
The government on Monday announced new restrictions on those who have not been vaccinated before opting for a general lockout.
It said any delay – assessed after 10 days – would apply to those previously vaccinated.
Slovakia has reported more than 10,000 new cases each in the past two days, the highest ever.
With an average of 1929 daily cases per million population in the last week, this is the highest incidence rate in the world according to our data.
According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the country has a vaccination rate of only 45.7 percent of the EU’s third-lowest population, compared to the EU’s average of 65.8 percent.
Hospitals have reached the limit of 3200 patients which was important for the government to maintain care.
The Ministry of Health has stated that it has started discussions on possible assistance from abroad.
Slovakia has reported 14,107 deaths since the outbreak began.