For Slovakia, one crisis is not enough

Amid the mounting pressure to step down, the prime minister muffed the one thing his government has been fairly good at.

Health Minister Marek Krajčí (left) and PM Igor Matovič (both OĽaNO) welcome the first Sputnik vaccine doses in Slovakia. (Source: Korzár - Judita Čermáková)

Matovič looks east, and parts company with reality

This time last year, Slovakia had five confirmed cases of the new coronavirus and opinions were divided: panic was taking over, but most people still did not believe the virus could lead to anything more than perhaps a few weeks of alert. Masks started appearing on people’s faces in the streets and on TV, and became the symbol of Slovakia’s success in containing the coronavirus during the first wave, making headlines internationally.

Fast forward a year, and one-time coronavirus-slayer Slovakia now tops the global ranking of daily new deaths per capita, as it did for several consecutive weeks in February. A staggering 7,800 people have now died of Covid-19 in this country.

President Zuzana Čaputová marked the first year of the pandemic in Slovakia on Friday evening by lighting candles for the victims in front of the Presidential Palace. The ruling coalition marked it in the same way it has throughout the less successful months of the second wave of the pandemic – with conflict and confusion.

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