Slovakia reports record spike in coronavirus cases

PRAGUE (Reuters) – Slovakia on Saturday reported a spike of 226 cases of the new coronavirus, the biggest one-day rise in the central European country since the start of the pandemic.

The jump comes as neighbours in the region have also seen record rises in virus cases after the summer holidays and as students return to school. Officials are seeking to avoid large-scale lockdowns similar to those seen at the start of the outbreak, which hammered economic activity.

On Saturday, the Czech Republic recorded 798 new cases, its biggest daily rise so far, while Hungary reported a record 510 new cases.

Slovakia’s death rate from the COVID-19 illness remains one of the lowest in Europe at 37 fatalities. Of a total of 4,526 total cases of the new virus, 2,797 patients have recovered.

The country largely contained the spread after the initial outbreak with daily case numbers in May and June mostly in single digits.

But it has seen a spike above 100 daily cases several times since August. Its previous record rise was 137 cases on Sept. 3.

In response, the country has tightened measures on mask wearing and crowd sizes.

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