May 1, 2020 / 3:39 PM / a month ago

Slovakia lifts coronavirus quarantine on another three Roma settlements-PM

PRAGUE, May 1 (Reuters) - Slovak authorities have lifted a quarantine on three Roma settlements locked down in early April to block the spread of the coronavirus, leaving one remaining village under restrictive orders, Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic said on Friday.

Slovakia closed off five 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.

The prime minister said in a Facebook post that tests suggested the last remaining Roma settlement under quarantine needed to stay in lockdown. Authorities lifted the restriction on another settlement last week.

Roma communities across eastern Europe are impoverished, plagued by high unemployment and historically the target of discrimination, making the coronavirus outbreak another challenge for the community.

As of Friday, Slovakia had 1,403 confirmed coronavirus cases with 23 deaths. The country has fewer cases than its neighbours and has recorded one of the lowest death tolls per capita in Europe after the government moved quickly to impose tough restrictions in the early days of the outbreak in Europe. (Reporting by Michael Kahn; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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