The Slovak government has no plan in case of a rapid increase in the number of people infected with coronavirus, said Igor Matovič, who is likely to become new prime minister after his Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) movement won the February 29 parliamentary election.
He is also critical of the approach of outgoing PM Peter Pellegrini (Smer) to the measures adopted in connection with the coronavirus outbreak.
“Mr Prime Minister, your approach is like ‘come what may’,” Matovič told the press conference.
Pellegrini has rejected the criticism and called Matovič’s actions “political loutishness”.
He also asked Matovič and other politicians not to interfere in the processes related to the fight against the coronavirus with their “theatrical” performances.
What does Matovič propose?
The to-be prime minister has proposed several measures. He, for example, wants telecom operators to send a text message every day to all people who returned from risky countries in order to stay in 14-day home quarantine. He has already discussed the possibility with Orange.
According to his information, about 100,000 Slovaks have visited Italy in the past three weeks.
“We have to force people to act responsibly,” Matovič said, as quoted by the SITA newswire.
As he explained home quarantine is not about being shut up at home, but to avoid places with a high concentration of other people.
Medical staff launches petition
Medical workers in Slovakia meanwhile are calling on all respective bodies, namely President Zuzana Čaputová, PM and acting Health Minister Pellegrini, the Health Ministry, the Public Health Authority and the crisis staff, to quickly adopt further measures to stop the spread of coronavirus.
They even launched an online petition. More than 11,000 people signed it by noon of March 12.
“It’s hard to predict the extent and impact of the disease outbreak; and this will depend on how politicians and people respond,” the petition reads. “This depends particularly on whether there are enough financial means and the support of state.”
They consider it important to manage the increasing demand for health care, calm the public, and provide necessary finances to efficiently control the spread of the infection.
The petitioners stress the fact that moderating COVID-19's impact will be costly, and warned against the disproportional redistribution of money that may result in unnecessary suffering and deaths.
Apart from dealing with urgent cases, the treatment of patients with chronic diseases should be secured too. If they fail to do so, it may have “catastrophic consequences for patients”.
“The coronavirus epidemic will be a big test for our health-care system, particularly its material and personnel capacities, but will also test the character and discipline of people,” the petitioners continued, stressing the importance of medical workers. “Every measure may contribute to the improvement of the situation in Slovakia and the prevention of a catastrophic scenario that has occurred in other countries, like Italy.”
They also proposed 25 measures whose adoption they consider necessary, including securing masks for medical staff, strengthening capacities on the helpline and training them, establishing a helpline for doctors, intensifying tests for coronavirus across the country and secure so-called quick tests; introducing mandatory testing of all people coming from abroad and people they were in contact with, as well as asylum seekers, spreading awareness through media, keeping schools closed and canceling large public events.
12. Mar 2020 at 14:08 | Compiled by Spectator staff