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Slovenia shifting focus from confirmed to severe cases

Ljubljana, 14 March - Slovenia plans to shift the focus of efforts to fight the coronavirus epidemic from the number of confirmed cases to the number of serious cases, which will allow it to better plan and allocate resources, Prime Minister Janez Janša said on Saturday. The shift will change the way Slovenia reports statistics.

Ljubljana
Prime Minister Janez Janša speaks to the press to present the latest situation regarding the coronavirus epidemic.
Photo: Jure Makovec/STA

Ljubljana
Prime Minister Janez Janša speaks to the press to present the latest situation regarding the coronavirus epidemic.
Photo: Jure Makovec/STA

Ljubljana
Prime Minister Janez Janša speaks to the press to present the latest situation regarding the coronavirus epidemic.
Photo: Jure Makovec/STA

Ljubljana
Prime Minister Janez Janša speaks to the press to present the latest situation regarding the coronavirus epidemic.
Photo: Jure Makovec/STA

Ljubljana
Prime Minister Janez Janša speaks to the press to present the latest situation regarding the coronavirus epidemic.
Photo: Jure Makovec/STA

Ljubljana
Prime Minister Janez Janša speaks to the press to present the latest situation regarding the coronavirus epidemic.
Photo: Jure Makovec/STA

Ljubljana
Prime Minister Janez Janša speaks to the press to present the latest situation regarding the coronavirus epidemic.
Photo: Jure Makovec/STA

The number of confirmed cases is relative since it depends on the number of tests and how testing is conducted, whereas the number of serious cases who need hospital care affects how the system operates, he said.

But Janša nevertheless warned that the change in what will be considered the benchmark data, which will be used to calculate the number of infections, "does not alter the gravity of the outlook on the situation."

The shift in effect means that Slovenia will no longer report all confirmed cases, it will extrapolate the number of infections from the number of severe cases based on figures available in countries such as China and Italy.

The result will be a range of possible infections, around which work in the healthcare system will be organised, according to Bojana Beović, an infectious disease specialist.

She said Slovenia was at a point in the epidemic at which it is "impossible to determine all contacts infected persons have had or sources of infections," which is why it made sense to direct all the effort into treating persons with the most severe symptoms.

Consequently, persons with respiratory infections will be told to self-isolate for two weeks and will not be tested for coronavirus. Only if they need to be hospitalised will they be tested.

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© STA, 2020