Epidemic to be declared in Slovenia as case count rises to 82
Ljubljana, 12 March - Outgoing Prime Minister Marjan Šarec announced that an epidemic would be declared in Slovenia on Thursday based on fresh data on the spreading of coronavirus in Slovenia. Restrictions will also be imposed on cargo transport as of Monday, when all educational institutions will be closed as well.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Slovenia rose by 25 from yesterday to 82 by 9am today.
Šarec said other countries had not declared epidemics yet but Slovenia had decided for the move to better coordinate actions of the civil protection and other services.
According to Nina Pirnat of the National Public Health Institute (NIJZ), the epidemic has also been declared because all regions are affected and the number of cases is rising beyond the level considered normal.
Health Minister Aleš Šabeder noted that two new areas with infections were Nova Gorica and Kranj. In the two towns, one case each was imported from Italy.
Two major clusters of infection remain Ljubljana with 17 cases stemming from the first case, and Metlika in the south-east, where the virus has spread to 11 people.
The rest 21 patients were infected abroad. In 32 cases, testing is still under way.
In the Celje region, the number of cases rose from one to three since yesterday, Koper has three cases today, in Ljubljana the number went up from 31 to 44, in Maribor from 5 to 7, Murska Sobota from two to three, in Novo Mesto from 15 to 20, and Nova Gorica and Kranj each have one case as of today.
In Šempeter, testing is still under way.
Šarec said the problem in Slovenia was that much bigger because of the number of infections among medical staff. As of 5pm today all medical staff would be banned from travelling to infected areas under a special government decree, Health Minister Aleš Šabeder said.
Šarec urged citizens to stay united, refrain from criticism of state measures or discrimination of those infected by the virus.