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Govt announces lockdown, starts at midnight

Ljubljana, 19 March - The government adopted a decree on Thursday banning gatherings and movement of people in public areas, albeit with a number of exceptions. The measure enters into force at midnight.

Ljubljana
Jelko Kacin, the spokesman for the government coronavirus crisis unit.
Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA

Despite the stepped up restrictions, people will be allowed to leave home to go to work, the pharmacy and to buy groceries at their closest shop, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs told the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija.

In line with the government decree, people will also be allowed to go outdoors and to parks, but only alone or with people living in the same household. They will also be able to run errants related to their household or agricultural activities.

Local communities will be able to determine exemptions to the ban in more detail with a public municipal decree.

Fines for violations will be about EUR 400, according to Hojs.

Hojs also commented today on calls by the trade union of shop assistants to change a government decree saying that grocery stores must be open from 8am to at least 8pm. The union demands the closing time at 6pm.

It demands the change within 24 hours, and is threatening with a strike.

Hojs said now was not the time to threaten with strike, adding that Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek would check the decree again to determine if the working time should be cut any further.

According to the minister, the government would like to set a time frame for individual groups of population to go to shops so as to prevent the most vulnerable groups from being exposed to a potential infection.

Commenting on the proposal to give the army police powers, he said this would not mean that the army would have unlimited powers within the country but that the army could be activated to exercise additional control of the EU's external borders, as police would be required inland.

Until 2pm today, 319 cases of coronavirus infection were recorded in Slovenia, while 9,860 tests were conducted.

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© STA, 2020