"That would be funny indeed," Billy Altansukh laughs at the idea of Slovak Economy Minister Richard Sulík trying to sell his anti-pandemic plan to the Mongolian government. He still talks about Mongolia as "back home," but at the same time he says "we in Slovakia." Altansukh has lived and worked in Bratislava since 1998. He is now a Slovak citizen.
His laugh fades when we speak about how his family in Mongolia is living through the pandemic, where people took the infection threat "dead serious." Mongolians did not wait to record the first coronavirus case in their country, and as soon as the WHO reported a perilous virus was spreading in neighboring China, Mongolia sealed borders, closed schools, and cancelled the biggest festival, the February new years festivities.
"As if Slovaks decided to cancel Christmas," Altansukh says.
The Slovak public turned its attention to how Mongolia has been coping with the pandemic after PM Igor Matovič had a falling out with Economy Minister Richard Sulík: first he assigned him to come up with his own plan to lower the number of infections in the country, but later said that the minister could "trade his plan and perhaps earn off it" in countries that do not have their pandemic plans yet - "perhaps Mongolia."
It is not clear if the prime minister realised that the Mongolian response had been marked as share-worthy by the WHO, and that the country has marked no COVID deaths so far. The country is now experiencing its second hard lockdown.
Not everyone knows there is a pandemic