Slovakia holds a national test for COVID-19, to screen its entire population for coronavirus with
antigen tests in what would be a global first, but critics have said the plan is poorly thought out.
The operation to test four million people is to last over two weekends.
Infections have soared in Slovakia and officials argue the only alternative would be a total lockdown.
President Zuzana Caputova called for a rethink of the plan after armed forces chiefs said there were not
enough trained health workers to carry it out.
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So far only 70% of the 20,000 staff needed to administer the nasal swab tests have been recruited,
according to the defense minister.
Participation in the testing is not mandatory but anyone who is not able to produce a negative test certificate if
stopped by police could get a heavy fine.
Anyone who tests positive has to go immediately into quarantine for 10 days.
“This will be our road to freedom,” Matovic said, hinting that virus restrictions could be eased once testing
is complete or reinforced if the program is not carried out in full.
Slovakia would be the first country of its size to undergo nationwide testing, although mass testing has
taken place in entire Chinese cities.