Lockdown it is. Or is it?

Hospitals are on the verge of collapse. President tells people to stop blabbing about Covid and get vaccinated.

President Zuzana Čaputová (front) and Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský (back) visiting Ružinov hospital. President Zuzana Čaputová (front) and Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský (back) visiting Ružinov hospital. (Source: TASR)

Welcome to your weekly overview of news from Slovakia. The country descends into a lockdown as new cases and hospital admissions go through the roof. Government apologises for forced sterilisations. Slovakia is resilient to foreign influences, according to a Globsec study. The Largest in Law ranking is out.

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When Prime Minister Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) announced on Wednesday that Slovakia would go into an all-out lockdown as of the next day, he dodged criticism that the decision had come too late by saying that his government was merely following the protocol it had designed in August, when the Covid automat warning system was first put in place.

The limit beyond which hospitals would be considered overwhelmed was set by the Health Ministry at 3,200 Covid patients, and the moment this happened, we pulled the handbrake and imposed stricter rules, he said – apparently unaware that pulling the handbrake on an out-of-control vehicle is not a very sensible idea.

Despite the official logic of the process leading to lockdown, it is not the whole story. Over the past few weeks, the government would have had to be colour-blind not to see the red flags: the higher-than-expected rate of increase in infections and hospital admissions being the main one. On every day in November 2021, dozens of people in Slovakia have died of Covid, with the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic rising to more than 14,000 before the month’s end.

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