PRAGUE - Slovakia reported 3,480 new COVID-19 cases on Oct. 19, its highest daily tally since March 9, health ministry data showed on Wednesday.
Slovakia has one of the lower vaccination rates in the European Union, with just over half the adult population fully inoculated in the country of 5.5 million. This has contributed to a faster rise in infections than in some neighbouring countries and cases have spiked since September.
Among new infections detected via PCR testing on Tuesday, 71% were unvaccinated, the ministry said. The number of patients in hospital rose above 1,000 for the first time since May -- reaching 1,040, including 113 in intensive care.
Slovakia and other countries in central Europe are bracing for a new wave of the pandemic and governments are seeking to boost vaccinations, which also remain low in countries such as Romania where hospitals are under pressure.
In the neighbouring Czech Republic, which has a population twice as large as Slovakia's and a higher vaccination rate, the health ministry reported more than 3,000 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday for the first time since April.
(Reporting by Jason Hovet, Editing by Timothy Heritage)