Matovic: Experts Should Revisit Launch of COVID-Semaphore Project

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Prime Minister Igor Matovic (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, January 26 (TASR) – The expert consilium should reconsider the COVID semaphore system that is due to come into effect in Slovakia as of February 8, as the date for its launch might be premature at this stage of the pandemic, Prime Minister Igor Matovic (OLaNO) stated at a press conference on Tuesday.

Matovic is concerned that if the restrictions are relaxed at this point, the pandemic situation might slip out of control in light of the presence of the British mutation of the novel coronavirus in Slovakia. Because of this, the Prime Minister advocates for the continuation of the lockdown in combination with frequent mass testing.

Matovic claimed that putting all hope solely into the vaccine is a delusion. “At this pace of supplies, it might take until September to vaccinate 60 percent of the people. With the more aggressive British mutation thrown into the mix, it might not be enough and then we can’t force people to get vaccinated in the first place,” he said.

According to the Prime Minister, the time has come for the Government, experts, coalition and opposition parties to sit down together and arrive at an agreement on how to proceed. In this context, Matovic mentioned the possibility of distributing “two-centimetre tests” to the people, so that they could test for COVID-19 on their own at home, without any need to go to testing sites.

Health Minister Marek Krajci (OLaNO) warned that the situation in Slovak hospitals continues to be serious and the number of hospitalised COVID-19 patients remains high. If restrictions are to be loosened up as of February 8 under the new system, it must be on the condition that the people get tested every week. “If someone has a problem with that, it would spell a region in black. That would mean a very strict lockdown with restrictions also at employment level,” he claimed.