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Slovakia to Test Almost Its Entire Population for COVID-19

Αssociated Press

(Kay Nietfeld/dpa via AP, file)

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Slovakia has started a trial as part of a plan to test almost the entire population of the country for the coronavirus amid a record surge in infections.

Prime Minister Igor Matovic previously said health authorities have acquired 13 million rapid antigen tests for the massive testing of everyone aged 10-65. The tests will be voluntary and free of charge, and the military has been called in to help.

The trials will be carried out from Friday to Sunday in the four hardest-hit counties. The testing is set to continue in the rest of the country on the following two weekends.

Antigen tests are less accurate than PCR tests, which are considered the gold standard but have the advantage of producing faster results.

The nation of 5.4 million has been facing a record spike, with the number of confirmed positive cases in one day setting a new record of 2,581 on Thursday. The previous record of 2,202 was set two days earlier.

The Slovak authorities have conducted a relatively low number of tests compared with other European countries. The country has a total of 37,911 confirmed cases while 134 people have died.