LAST WEEK IN SLOVAKIA

Matovič’s latest crisis response is to woo anti-system voters

Also this week: The coalition loses an MP, Sputnik creates new splits in the coalition, and some good news about the economy.

PM Igor Matovič and Health Minister Marek Krajčí (Source: SITA)

How did Slovakia, which less than a year ago was held up as an exemplar of how to fight coronavirus, end up in the top rank for newly recorded coronavirus deaths globally and is in such a state that the government has had to request help from abroad? Where did it all go wrong?

There is no one clear answer. So complete has been Slovakia’s failure that even scientists who have tried to closely observe the spread of the virus say they don’t know what is happening. There isn’t sufficient data to go by, and the politics of pandemic management are blurring things even more.

Some suggest that the prime minister’s inexplicable insistence on mass antigen testing is not only not helping, but doing outright harm. Others point to the fact that even though a curfew-based lockdown has been in force in Slovakia for one and a half months now, it does not constitute a real lockdown, and the measures that are in place are poorly enforced.

Global media once listed several possible reasons why Slovakia did well, among them prominent mask-wearing by politicians and television hosts. The longer we endure the extended second wave of the pandemic, the more it seems that good luck rather than some sophisticated mitigation strategy kept the country afloat last spring.

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Theme: Last Week in Slovakia

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