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52 new Covid-19 cases confirmed, no cabinet member infected

Ljubljana, 28 March - Fifty-two new Covid-19 cases were confirmed but no new deaths recorded in Slovenia on Friday, putting the national total of infected persons at 684 and death toll at nine. The daily rise in new cases is below Thursday's record 70. 1,387 persons were tested for the virus on Friday, the Government Communication Office said on Saturday.

Izola
A utility worker disinfecting a bench in the coastal town of Izola.
Photo: Mitja Volčanšek/STA
File photo

By Friday, 90 infected persons were admitted to hospital, of whom 25 are in intensive case and the majority need a ventilator, the government's spokesperson for the coronavirus crisis Jelko Kacin told the press today.

Answering a question from the press, he also said that no cabinet member was infected, while they all stick to very strict safety measures.

Kacin moreover announced that due to the complexity of the matter, the government is unlikely to adopt the EUR 2 billion economic stimulus package today but tomorrow.

The Government Communication Office said later in the day that the government will meet today at 4pm to continue debating the bill. It is however not clear whether it will complete the debate today.

Infected are however three employees of the national Agency Commodity Reserves, including its director, but they all feel fine and are working from home.

A special body bringing together hospital, community health centre and nursing home directors will be set up in the coming days to see what else could be done to prevent the virus from spreading to nursing homes, announced Kacin.

Several Covid-19 fatalities were residents of nursing homes, with the Šmarje pri Jelšah nursing home one of the hotspots of the epidemic in the country.

While visits to nursing homes are not allowed, State Secretary at the Labour, Family and Social Affairs Ministry Mateja Ribič said the elderly there are well taken care of despite the situation.

She said a number of measures have been taken to protect the staff and residents and urged everyone to stick to them to the benefit of all.

An employee of a nursing home in Postojna tested positive for the virus last evening so extensive testing of all staff and a total of some 40 residents is under way in Postojna today, according to the local Civil Protection unit.

As for personal protective equipment at nursing homes, Ribič said all those who need it, get it. She expects the shortage to ease as new shipments are coming to the country daily.

The country's Civil Protection head Srečko Šestan meanwhile told the STA that Slovenia had enough protective equipment for at least another week.

He said the biggest shortage is for the protection class FFP2 and FFP3 respirator masks, which provide the best protection and are intended primarily for medical staff.

"We'll have to use them sparingly, giving them to nobody else but medical staff," Šestan said.

He said most of the protective equipment coming in goes to healthcare organisations, including hospitals, community health centres, nursing homes, pharmacies and dentists.

The Health Ministry confirmed that two younger persons in quarantine at the Paka Hotel in the town of Velenje tested positive for the virus, but feel fine.

As many as 42 Slovenians who returned from Spain on a plane on Friday were quarantined there for two weeks.

More Slovenians are planned to return home amid the pandemic, with a plane bringing 45 Slovenians from Madrid planned to land at Ljubljana airport around midnight.

The same plane, which will also carry Croatian, Austrian and Hungarian citizens, will then fly on to Croatia's Zagreb to pick 80 Spaniards back home.

Andrej Šter of the Foreign Ministry explained for TV Slovenija that Slovenia will only have to organise the transit of Austrians to their home country.

Another ten Slovenians are expected to arrive in Slovenia from Skopje and Prishtina today.

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© STA, 2020