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Sport Covid-19: Slovakia tests its entire population, a world first

21:20  31 october  2020
21:20  31 october  2020 Source:   liberation.fr

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Des slovaques font la queue durant la campagne de dépistage national du Covid-19 le 31 octobre 2020 à Bratislava. © VLADIMIR SIMICEK Slovaks are lining up during the national Covid-19 screening campaign on October 31, 2020 in Bratislava. Slovakia is launching a coronavirus screening program this Saturday among the entire population with antigenic tests, considered less reliable than PCR tests.

A world first that is not unanimous: Slovakia this Saturday launched a program to screen the coronavirus among the entire population with antigenic tests. 45,000 medical, military and police professionals are deployed to perform the tests at around 5,000 screening points open on Saturday and Sunday.

A "path to freedom"

"The world will follow", Prime Minister Igor Matovic said this week, believing that this measure would save "hundreds of lives" and would be "our way to freedom".

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antigen tests give rapid results - sometimes within minutes - but are not considered as reliable as PCR tests where nasal swabs have to be sent to a laboratory for analysis.


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Participation in the test is not compulsory, but the a person who does not have a negative test certificate risks being fined heavily if arrested by the police.

Criticisms of the organization

Slovakia would be the first country of this size to organize national testing. So far, widespread testing has taken place in entire Chinese cities. The country recorded a new record of 3,363 daily infections on Friday, bringing the total to 55,091 cases. The death toll currently stands at 212.

The Slovak Association of General Practitioners (SVLS) has criticized the government's plan, considering it ill-prepared. According to the association, "the concentration of millions of people" on testing sites "remains in contradiction with the recommendations of infectious disease experts to reduce public contact and mobility as much as possible." Long queues were indeed formed early in the morning on Saturday in front of the test sites.

Smaller European states like Luxembourg and Monaco have also announced testing programs of this scale.

Europe's military forces join battle against coronavirus surge .
British soldiers are helping to roll out a mass coronavirus testing initiative in Liverpool. As Europe battles a second wave of infections, the UK is one of many countries drafting in the military to help ease the huge strain on healthcare systems.Over the top of their military fatigues they now wear plastic aprons and face shields. They've been trained to administer new rapid tests for the virus on members of the public, shuttling swabs from booths to test tubes to get results in as little as half an hour.

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