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New national lockdown and state of emergency in Slovakia

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Slovakia – Following a lockdown for the unvaccinated on Monday, 22 November, the Slovak Minister of Health, Vladimír Lengvarský, has once again tightened the restrictions on freedoms by declaring a national lockdown for all. It will last for at least a period of two weeks starting at midnight on Thursday, 25 November. A state of emergency has also been declared for 90 days starting at the same time. Additionally, only those who have been vaccinated, cured, or tested negative will be allowed to go to work.

Rapid resurgence of the pandemic 

For several weeks now, Slovakia has been faced with an upsurge in the number of registered Covid cases, which rose from 1,611 on 1 October to 13,266 on 24 November. As of 25 November 25, 3,188 patients were hospitalised in the country with a positive Covid test, including 291 in intensive care and 259 on artificial respiration. According to the authorities, 83% of hospitalized patients are not vaccinated or “not completely” vaccinated. Slovakia has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the EU, with 45.7% of its population having been vaccinated.

Čaputová: “Slovakia is losing the battle against Covid”

Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger has called on his fellow citizens to mobilise in the fight against the virus, saying:

We need to unite as a society. The situation is serious”.

Earlier, on 23 November, President Zuzana Čaputová had expressed the authorities’ fear of losing “the battle against Covid.”

Critical voices within the government itself

For its part, the Za ľudí party, which is a member of the government coalition, distanced itself from the decision. Its leader, Veronika Remišová, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, believes that

The situation in Slovakia is serious, but [to impose a new lockdown] on all those who have shown responsibility and are now protected by the vaccine is a huge mistake.

Slovakia’s lack of confidence

Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, Slovakia has experimented with many measures, and has sometimes been a pioneering country in the implementation of extreme measures. Repeated lockdowns and the attempt to screen the entire population twice have proved to be failures, and other Covid-related missteps eventually led Prime Minister Igor Matovič to resign from office. The Constitutional Court has had to reject several measures (such as this one and this one). All of these blunders and excesses have undermined the public’s confidence in their government and put the severity of the Covid pandemic into perspective as described by the media and some political circles. Slovakia in particular has been the scene of numerous demonstrations against the public health measures taken against Covid-19.