Slovakia considers new COVID-19 steps as hospital admissions rise

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PRAGUE, Nov 11 (Reuters) – A rise in the number of COVID-19 patients increased strains on hospitals in Slovakia on Thursday, as parliament debated a law that would allow stricter measures to curb the pandemic.

The central European country of 5.5 million reported 6,546 new COVID-19 cases, slightly less than the record 7,055 reported on Wednesday, and 2,532 people in total had been admitted to hospitals, the health ministry said.

Some hospitals are now having to limit non-urgent care.

Slovakia has been tightening restrictions as cases rise but the measures taken have been less tight than during previous waves of the novel coronavirus and fewer than half the population has been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Using a fast-track procedure, parliament began debating a bill which, if passed, would leave services such as restaurants in the worst-affected regions open only to people who have been inoculated.

It would also oblige employers to test staff regularly, and employers and organisers of public events would be required to ban anyone who does not follow anti-pandemic rules or tests positive for COVID-19.

Authorities would also gain the power to close businesses that do not comply with the rules for 30 days.

Photo Polish Border Guard officers during a sanitary control on the Polish-Slovakian border in Barwinek, south-eastern Poland, EPA-EFE/Darek Delmanowicz

(Reporting by Robert Muller; Editing by Alison Williams and Timothy Heritage)

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