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Public transportation to be suspended Monday, bar ban planned

Ljubljana, 14 March - The government's crisis management unit agreed additional measures Saturday to slow the spread of the coronavirus epidemic. Public transportation will be suspended on Monday with bars and restaurant closures planned as well.

"Stopping public transportation is an emergency measure if we want to effectively contain the outbreak," Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec said about the blanket suspension of bus and rail traffic due to take effect on Monday.

Health Minister Tomaž Gantar announced a closure of bars and restaurants as well, though the specifics and the time frame have not been announced.

Prime Minister Janez Janša wrote on Twitter that "Slovenia will close or limit all non-urgent activities" and that measures would take effect once the competent ministries have prepared the requisite decrees.

The measures were discussed at a session of the extended government crisis management unit which featured top government and civil protection officials as well as the central bank and other institutions.

It was set up by the government at its maiden session last night to serve as the central body managing and coordinating the crisis response.

The coronavirus epidemic is seen as the biggest disruption to society since Slovenia fought for independence from Yugoslavia nearly thirty years ago, and it marks the return of a person who had been synonymous with crisis management at the time.

Jelko Kacin, long-time MP and until recently Slovenia's ambassador to NATO, was named tonight the official spokesman of the crisis management unit, performing a role he played during the independence war as information minister.

In that period, he and Janša provided daily briefings for the media, an era that Janša also recalled today during a press conference in the afternoon.

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© STA, 2020