UPDATED: MARCH 21, 2020 AT 20:09

Matovič after his first cabinet session: We learned a lot we did not know

Slovakia’s current supply of testing sets will last about ten days.

PM Igor Matovic leads his first cabinet session. PM Igor Matovic leads his first cabinet session. (Source: TASR)

Slovakia was not ready for the coronavirus outbreak, due partly to negligence, said the newly-appointed PM Igor Matovič after the first session of his cabinet.

The session took almost two hours longer than originally expected. Matovič explained this was because they needed thorough information about the coronavirus situation and that many of the things the new cabinet learned at the first session were new to them.

On the day the new government took over, a record number of new cases of the coronavirus infection was reported in Slovakia - 41.

The prime minister asked seniors older than 65 years of age to "consider every single move away from their home". He stressed it was just a request for now.

Related articleSlovakia's Ordinary PM takes over amid coronavirus crisis Read more 

At the same time, Matovič announced his cabinet will have another session on Monday and further measures are to be anticipated.

>>> These are the measures currently in place in Slovakia.

"We need to behave responsibly with common finances, and towards one another," Matovič said when asked how long he expects the measures to remain valid. He admitted he does not know yet what concrete measures his government will take.

Even before he took office, Matovič announced he would put together a permanent crisis staff to deal with the coronavirus crisis. Individual ministries will have crisis staffs too.

"I firmly believe we will make it together," Matovič concluded his press conference.

Shortage of testing sets

There are only 3,000 testing sets in Slovakia, said new Health Minister Marek Krajčí. This could suffice for about ten days, the Denník N reported.

The minister said that it would be great if we could test more, but it is not clear when and how many tests they would procure.

“We had to test at such a pace for what we have for supplies of the sets,” he said, as quoted by Denník N.

It will become clear in the upcoming days whether Slovakia will be able to get more tests and if so how many of them.

Slovakia received 100,000 tests from China ordered by the previous government on March 20. Krajčí said that these tests have a low sensitivity when testing people who were infected only recently. So, if someone only recently became ill, there is a small chance that test will reveal it – they have a 50 to 60 percent reliability rate if the patient is exhibiting symptoms.

“These tests cannot help us,” Krajčí said, as quoted by Denník N.

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