Slovenia announces new measures amid new COVID-19 threat

Slovenia announces new measures amid new COVID-19 threat

A total of 1,656 cases of Sars-CoV-2 were confirmed after 6,745 tests were conducted in Slovenia on Thursday, while two people died in hospital, government spokesperson Jelko Kacin announced on Friday morning.

The number of active cases has reached 11,434, according to data from Covid-19.Sledilnik tracker, which also shows a near-record test positivity rate of 24.55% and a daily death tally of 3.0.

These figures confirm that the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is hitting Slovenia with full power. The authorities already introduced strong measures, however it appears they are inadequate. PM Janez Janša said on Thursday that Slovenia would be putting in place new restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus. Non-essential shops will be closed, as will hotels, kindergartens and student dormitories, with some exceptions. The measures, entering into force on Saturday, will initially remain in place for one week.

The new measures come after wide-ranging restrictions, including a 9 pm-6 am curfew, an inter-regional movement ban, limited gatherings, remote schooling for most children, the closure of bars, as well as the mandatory use of masks outdoors, measures which were already introduced in the past week.

While non-essential shops are shutting down, delivery, including from restaurants, will still be allowed. Kindergartens, which Janša says will close due to a significant rise in infections among staff, will still be available for children whose parents work and cannot secure day-care, although Janša also called on employers to switch to remote work if only possible.

Student halls will be closed for everyone who can secure another type of accommodation by next week, while public transport will be scaled down to a third of full capacity.

The border regime is not changing and transit will continue to be allowed, with Janša saying that no noteworthy import of the virus from outside the country was presently being recorded.

While no additional restrictions are being introduced for sports activities- professional competitions continue, while recreational sport is already mostly restricted to individual activities -hair and beauty salons are closing down.

The prime minister, who urged for compliance with the protective measures and stressed that Slovenia already survived such circumstances last spring, explained that the situation would be re-evaluated after a week.

He noted that the option to limit movement to municipalities similarly to Spring was still on the table. The government would decide on the matter in the coming days.

Janša said that daily confirmed Covid-19 cases continued to rise and would for a while, which is why it was too early to say whether the measures adopted recently would be enough to contain the spread.

He said the option of mass testing was being examined as well, primarily for high-risk groups, and in the weeks after that for the entire population.

Janša announced that a task force was already drawing up guidelines for a new stimulus package, and the measures would be similar to those presented in the spring.

He said that, next week, when the autumn holidays are scheduled for schoolchildren, it will be “the week to fight to curb the spread of the virus among us”. /ibna