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Schools, kindergartens in Slovenia to be closed as of Monday

Ljubljana, 12 March - Outgoing Prime Minister Marjan Šarec announced on Thursday he had tasked the health and education ministries with making all the necessary preparations for the closing down of all schools and kindergartens in Slovenia in the face of coronavirus as of Monday.

Ljubljana
A class room.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

"It's a measure that will have many consequences but it is a must in this situation," Šarec wrote on Twitter.

Two schools where infections occurred are already closed.

The first to close was the Fran Albreht Primary School in Kamnik on Wednesday, where a teacher had tested positive for the virus.

Two cases were also confirmed at the Šmarje pri Jelšah primary school, which is closed as of today.

Several European countries have opted for school and kindergarten closures to prevent the spreading of the new virus, including Austria as on next week and partly Croatia.

In Italy, which is the European coronavirus hotspot, schools have been closed since 5 March.

University lectures at the University of Primorska were cancelled for the next two weeks on Sunday, while the University of Ljubljana cancelled them on Wednesday until further notice.

At the University of Maribor only lectures with less than 100 people are allowed, while some faculties have opted for long-distance learning.

Health Minister Aleš Šabeder told the late night news show Odmevi yesterday that the government was seriously considering closing down schools and kindergartens.

Responding to criticism that the time may already be ripe, he said that "measures are being taken in line with the current situation," which, however, was changing by the hour. He said the government was doing its best to make the right calls at the right time.

A total of 57 coronavirus infections were reported in Slovenia by 2pm yesterday and the number is expected to be higher still today.

The government introduced several protective measures in the last few days to contain the virus, including a ban on indoor events with more than 100 visitors, and health checks on the border with Italy. The checking of passengers at Ljubljana airport is to start in the coming days.

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© STA, 2020