- The Slovakian parliament has approved a plan to provide people aged 60 and up with up to 300 euros ($339) if they are immunized against COVID-19.
- Only stores selling necessities have remained open.
The measure, proposed by Finance Minister Igor Matovic, aims to increase vaccinations in the European Union country with one of the most down vaccination rates in the bloc. It should also help the struggling healthcare system, dealing with a record number of new infections.
In a 97-13 vote, the lawmakers agreed that those who have received at least one primary dose of the vaccine by January 15 would receive 200 euros ($226) in cash, and those who have received a booster by that date will receive 300 euros.
The agreement is a compromise because Slovakia’s current four-party ruling coalition was divided on the issue. The original plan was to give people 500 euro vouchers to use in specific businesses, but the pro-business Freedom and Solidarity party objected.
Slovakia has been hit hard by a record-breaking wave of infections, making it one of the worst-affected countries in the world.
Since November 25, the country has been on lockdown, with citizens only permitted to leave their homes for specific reasons. Those who have not recovered from COVID-19 and have not been vaccinated are required to be tested for the virus back returning to work.
Beginning on Friday, the government has agreed to lift the lockdown for those who have been vaccinated also those who have recently recovered from COVID-19.
Currently, 3,419 people are hospitalized in Slovakia, putting strain on the healthcare system. If the figure reaches 3,800, the government intends to impose additional restrictions. Over 757,000 coronavirus cases and 15,179 deaths have been reported in Slovakia due to the pandemic.