Slovakia declares state of emergency over coronavirus, orders shop closuresReuters | Bratislava | Updated: 16-03-2020 01:46 IST | Created: 16-03-2020 00:33 IST
Slovakia declared a state of emergency on Sunday to contain the coronavirus outbreak, ordering the closure of all shops except food stores, pharmacies, banks, petrol stations, and post offices from 6 a.m. on Monday, Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini said.
Pellegrini said the government's crisis committee would meet on Monday to discuss further measures, including steps to ease the impact of the crisis on the economy. "We have to do everything so that the pace of the virus spreading does not increase," Pellegrini told a news conference.
He added it was "highly probable" Volkswagen would halt production at its auto production plant near Bratislava on Monday or in the next few days due to a possible coronavirus case at the factory. A VW spokeswoman said the company did not have an immediate comment regarding the factory, which is Slovakia's largest private-sector employer but would do so later. Pellegrini said the economy minister would talk with VW executives on Monday.
The measures come after Slovakia last week introduced border checks, stopped international travel to and from the country and closed schools, along with sport, leisure and entertainment centers. Slovakia has 61 confirmed coronavirus cases, up 17 from a day earlier. The country has reported no deaths.