Matovic: Czech Republic Should Step Up Coronavirus Testing

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Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic (left) and Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis (right) in a hug in June 2020. (Photo by TASR)

Sastin, September 15 (TASR) – The Czech Republic should step up coronavirus testing, said Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic (OLaNO) at the pilgrimage to Our Lady of Sorrows, the patron saint of Slovakia, in Sastin (Trnava region) on Tuesday, as Slovakia is about to place the Czech Republic on its list of high-risk (red) countries concerning coronavirus as of Friday.

Matovic said that he’s already discussed this with his Czech counterpart Andrej Babis via telephone. “We’ve straightened things out. Mr. Babis is cool about it,” said Matovic.

The Slovak prime minister went on to criticise Foreign Ministry State Secretary Martin Klus (Freedom and Solidarity/SaS) for breaking the news that the Czech Republic would be added to Slovakia’s red list on a social network before Matovic could announce it to Babis. Matovic noted that he and Babis had a “frank” exchange of views on Klus.

According to Matovic, one in six people tested in the Czech Republic is found to be positive, which he considers to be too high a figure. The rate is only around 3-4 percent in Slovakia.
Matovic stressed that the Czech Republic will in fact be treated somewhere between green and red by Slovakia. Formally, it will be a red country, but a number of exemptions will be granted to it, noted the Slovak prime minister.

“Nevertheless, if the situation gets dramatically worse in the Czech Republic, we’ll need to toughen up,” said Matovic.

Meanwhile, Babis told the Czech media that his country is performing five-times as many tests as Slovakia. Nevertheless, he added that he understands Matovic’s take on the issue, as he allegedly presides over a fragile governing coalition.

Czechoslovakia, set up in 1918 and disintegrated during the Second World War, split peacefully into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.