Slovakia lifts coronavirus quarantine from a Roma settlement

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Slovak authorities have lifted a quarantine on one of five Roma settlements locked down in early April to prevent the spread of coronavirus from the communities, chief public health officer Jan Mikas said on Saturday.

Reuters April 26, 2020 00:13:19 IST
Slovakia lifts coronavirus quarantine from a Roma settlement

Slovakia lifts coronavirus quarantine from a Roma settlement

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Slovak authorities have lifted a quarantine on one of five Roma settlements locked down in early April to prevent the spread of coronavirus from the communities, chief public health officer Jan Mikas said on Saturday.

Slovakia closed off the settlements on April 9 after reports of a cluster of coronavirus cases in them, highlighting difficulties faced by Europe's largest ethnic minority during the pandemic.

"Sixteen days ago, we were forced to impose quarantine on five Roma settlements. Today, the first, at Bystrany, we can open and lift the quarantine here," Mikas said during a televised press conference just outside the settlement.

Roma communities across eastern Europe are impoverished, plagued by high unemployment and historically the target of discrimination, and the coronavirus outbreak has many feeling more vulnerable.

Prime Minister Igor Matovic praised the settlement's residents for their discipline.

"Today, an ordinary Roma settlement of Bystrany becomes an example for the whole of Slovakia. The people here were responsible," Matovic said.

Many of those infected had returned to the five communities from the British city of Sheffield, public health officers said.

Slovakia has reported 1,373 cases of the coronavirus and 17 deaths as of Saturday.

The country started lifting some of its anti-coronavirus measures earlier this week, easing some of the strictest lockdown restrictions in Europe.

But Matovic warned that the epidemic was not over yet.

"I would like (all) people to remain as vigilant as here in Bystrany," he said.

(Reporting by Robert Muller; Editing by Ros Russell)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.