With a second wave of coronavirus infections sweeping through Europe, one of the continent’s smallest countries is attempting a big response: Slovakia will try to test every adult over the next two weeks.
The government on Friday began its mass testing campaign in the north of the country, which has been hit hard by the new coronavirus. Thousands of people began lining up at schools, town halls and indoor swimming pools that have been converted into testing centers by the military.
The government has banned residents in the north from leaving their homes for almost any reason—unless they are on their way to get tested or can present a negative result.
Officials said they would ask every resident older than 10 in the country of 5.5 million to get tested twice before Nov. 8. Those who refuse to get a test will be asked to stay at home for 10 days, or face fines of up to about 1,600 euros, equivalent to $1,891. Those over 65 are exempt from participating in the program but are invited to take part. Officials said testing centers would be open nationwide by the end of next week.
Testing an entire population quickly when an outbreak is detected worked for the Chinese coastal city of Qingdao this month: Authorities tested more than seven million people after 12 cases were reported near the city’s port.