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Officials urge flattening of curve as Slovenia turning Covid-19 yellow

Ljubljana, 7 July - Ramped up inspections, testing and the possibility gatherings will be limited to 10 people were announced at the government's coronacrisis briefing Tuesday. Urging adherence to existing measures to flatten the curve, epidemiologist Mario Fafangel said Slovenia's rate of infections was at the threshold used for yellow-listing other countries.

Ljubljana
National Institute for Public Health epidemiologist Mario Fafangel at government's coronacrisis briefing.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana
National Institute for Public Health epidemiologist Mario Fafangel at government's coronacrisis briefing.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana
National Institute for Public Health epidemiologist Mario Fafangel at government's coronacrisis briefing.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana
National Institute for Public Health epidemiologist Mario Fafangel at government's coronacrisis briefing.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana
National Institute for Public Health epidemiologist Mario Fafangel at government's coronacrisis briefing.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana
National Institute for Public Health epidemiologist Mario Fafangel at government's coronacrisis briefing.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana
National Institute for Public Health epidemiologist Mario Fafangel at government's coronacrisis briefing.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana
National Institute for Public Health epidemiologist Mario Fafangel at government's coronacrisis briefing.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana
National Institute for Public Health epidemiologist Mario Fafangel at government's coronacrisis briefing.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana
National Institute for Public Health epidemiologist Mario Fafangel at government's coronacrisis briefing.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana
National Institute for Public Health epidemiologist Mario Fafangel at government's coronacrisis briefing.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana
National Institute for Public Health epidemiologist Mario Fafangel at government's coronacrisis briefing.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana,
Government spokesperson Jelko Kacin at coronacrisis briefing.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana,
Government spokesperson Jelko Kacin at coronacrisis briefing.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Fafangel of the National Institute for Public Health's explained that the cumulative average infection rate per 100,000 inhabitants in the past two-weeks was 9.85, meaning at the 10 threshold "we've been using for other countries when designating them no longer safe".

"This figure is a warning that we now have to do all in our power to stop the trend, stabilise the situation," he said, adding the curve was still not as steep as in March and illustrating that the cumulative figure for Croatia was 20, and for North Macedonia 100.

Between 19 June and 5 July Slovenia recorded 132 new infections, with 25 designated as imported cases, almost exclusively from the Balkans, 12 cases linked to the imported infections and 26 cases with a local source.

It is evident that a transition is happening to a stage when most cases are transmitted internally, Fafangel said, who finds that honouring the existing measures makes more sense now than stepping up restrictions.

He said 673 proposals for quarantine had been issued since 23 June and that in 33 of the cases people fell ill while in isolation. Thus the measure is producing results, but Fafangel warned that the incidence of risky contacts is increasing and noted a case when 70 such contacts were registered for a single individual.

Also on hand was Golnik Clinic director Aleš Rozman, who said the virus was mostly spreading among younger people for now and that hospitalisation and death figures will rise again once vulnerable groups become affected too.

The government's spokesperson Jelko Kacin did mention the possibility of stricter measures if the situation deteriorates further. "We may soon have to limit gatherings to 10 people," he said.

The situation and plans were discussed by the government on Monday evening, including inspections. Kacin said that up to 500 inspections a day will be possible from now on.

The government is also planning to declare institutions such as care homes, prisons and hospitals as threatened areas, which would create a legal basis for the officials in charge of the facilities to take measures to shield the institutions from the virus.

There are also plans to ramp up testing. While the labs can currently manage up to 1,500 tests a day, Rozman said that the idea is to add another 1,000 by the autumn.

Meanwhile, while expressing the expectation that certain measures in Croatia will be enforced now after the elections are over, Kacin called on everybody to consider potential holiday plans there very carefully. If they still decide to go, they should take all the necessary protective measures.

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© STA, 2020