May 23, 2020 / 10:41 AM / 4 days ago

Slovakia records no coronavirus deaths in past week

BRATISLAVA, May 23 (Reuters) - Slovakia has recorded no coronavirus-related deaths in the past week and numbers of new cases have been in the single digits, official figures showed on Saturday.

The central European country of 5.4 million has recorded far fewer cases and deaths than its neighbours, with 1,504 cases and 28 deaths as of Friday.

Experts attribute Slovakia’s low numbers to its fast action when it closed borders, shops and schools, and banned public events shortly after first cases appeared in early March. It added compulsory wearing of face masks outside of homes later.

The country started loosening restrictions on April 22 and shops have been open since Wednesday.

New cases have been in single digits for most days in the past month and the number of active cases has dropped steadily.

Containment measures have hit Slovakia’s economy, however. The Finance Ministry has forecast that gross domestic product will contract by 7.2% this year and the budget deficit will swell to 8.4% of GDP. (Reporting by Tomas Mrva; editing by Ros Russell)

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