In Slovakia, 2.5 million people were tested for coronavirus on Saturday, with a positive rate of 1 percent. The country also asked for Hungary’s help with the large-scale testing, for which the country offered 200 healthcare assistants instead of the requested 50. Meanwhile, Hungary is still struggling to expand its testing capacity.
In order to curb the epidemic in a way that has been unique in the world so far, Slovakia decided weeks ago to test all its residents. However, the country also needed the help of volunteer doctors from abroad, so they asked Hungary for help in the form of 50 volunteers. On Saturday, however, in addition to the 50 requested, 154 more doctors and medics set off to our northern neighbor to help with testing.
In a Facebook post, Béla Merkely, Rector of Semmelweis University, said that he is “immeasurably proud that 154 bright-eyed Semmelweis students applied in less than a day, sacrificing their free time, and ready to leave immediately.” The students, including sixth-year medical students, fifth-year dental students, residents, PhD students, and professionals, set out on Saturday at three in the morning to assist with the country-wide testing in Slovakia.
Ma hajnali 3 órakor útjukra engedtük a Semmelweis Egyetem olyan hatod éves orvostanhallgatóit, ötödéves…
Posted by Dr. Merkely Béla on Friday, 30 October 2020
Prime Minister Igor Matovič and Interior Minister Roman Mikulec also thanked Hungary for its help. As Matovic wrote, “I contacted Viktor Orbán, who said: “We will help you. We realize who our true friends are in times of trouble, and I am grateful for that.”
V Komárne v odberovom tíme pomáhajú Lina a Eva, dve študentky medicíny z Maďarska🇭🇺 (stoja v strede) … a takýchto…
Posted by Igor Matovic on Sunday, 1 November 2020
He added, “Hungary sent 197 health workers to Slovakia, two of whom served at the sampling point at the Kayak-Canoe Club in Komárom yesterday and today. They are very skillful and their help is greatly appreciated, as they tested more than 600 people on Saturday.”
Meanwhile, Hungary is struggling to expand its own testing capacity. Although Cecília Müller, Chief Medical Officer, claims that they can still expand the daily capacity and everyone who requests a test will be tested, many argue that the testing capacity has reached its upper limit. The National Center for Public Health also reported that they cannot perform more than 10-12,000 tests daily.
Additionally, although the National Ambulance Services are constantly further strengthening their capacities and striving to reach all symptomatic patients within 48 hours, in recent days many news outlets have reported that ambulances were unable to take samples on more than 8,000 occasions on Monday and another 4-5,000 on Wednesday.
featured photo: Igor Matovic Official Facebook