Incoming govt announces sweeping lockdown measures
Ljubljana, 12 March - The incoming Janez Janša government announced sweeping lockdown measures it plans to take immediately after assuming office after infectious disease specialists issued an urgent appeal Thursday for public life to be brought to a standstill due to the coronavirus epidemic.
Doctors called on the outgoing and incoming government to shut down educational institutions immediately, not on Monday as planned, and extend the closure to all places where people gather, including cinemas, museums and bars. They urged people to stay indoors in order to prevent the epidemic from unfolding the way it has in Italy.
Janša told the press the new government supported the appeal and would form a crisis centre at its first session after it takes office on Friday evening.
One of the first things the government plans to do is to reduce the number of entry points where people are tested for coronavirus.
Janša said people should work from home where possible, including in the public administration. Due to the closure of kindergartens and schools, daycare would be provided as a matter of priority for employees working in critical industries such as healthcare, energy, public utilities and security services.
But regardless of how efficient these measures are, "the capacity of the Slovenian health system will be put to the test, which is why our effort will be targeted at securing additional capacities."
For infected persons who are not in critical condition, accommodation capacities would be provided in facilities such as military installations, hotels and student dormitories.
Matej Tonin, the incoming defence minister, added that Debeli Rtič, a large Red Cross resort on the coast, could potentially be used to accommodate persons who need to self-isolate but do not have the ability to do so at home.
The army has a field hospital with 25 beds, which is currently in Maribor but can be transferred to any location if needed within 48 hours. Another mobile unit with 120 beds is on store at the Institute for Commodity Reserves. "With these two mobile units we can provide an extra 145 beds," Tonin said.
Additionally, the army has been asked to designate one of its barracks to provide an additional 300 beds if necessary. It should be clear by Friday morning which barracks will be chosen.
The government ordered two million surgical face masks yesterday. Today China offered via diplomatic channels to help with protective equipment. Tonin said a list of things that Slovenia would ask China for was already being drawn up.