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News roundup - Wednesday, 18 August, until 3pm

Ljubljana, 18 August - Below is a roundup of major events on Wednesday, 18 August, until 3pm local time:

Slovenia with highest daily count in new infections since 25 May

LJUBLJANA - From a total of 2,228 PCR tests analysed on Tuesday, 385 came back positive for coronavirus, with the positivity rate increasing to 17.3%, the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) said. This is the highest daily tally of new confirmed Covid-19 cases in Slovenia since 25 May. The 7-day average of new cases rose by 20 to 218 and the 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents by 11 to 118. There are currently 57 hospitalised patients, eight more than yesterday, while the number of patients in intensive care dropped by two to nine. Three Covid-19 patients died.

FM says Slovenia ready to accept additional Afghan aides

LJUBLJANA/BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia is ready to accept up to five members of the Afghan staff that worked with the EU, to show solidarity with other EU member states, Foreign Minister Anže Logar said, adding that, for the time being, Slovenia will not offer to take in additional refugees from Afghanistan. The statement comes after a meeting of the EU foreign ministers on the situation in Afghanistan, where it was agreed that the member states should do their utmost to assist Afghans who have worked with the European Common Foreign Service over the past 20 years.

LMŠ announces no-confidence motions against environment, justice ministers

LJUBLJANA - The opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) has drafted motions of no-confidence in the environment and justice ministers, Andrej Vizjak and Marjan Dikaučič. Vizjak is alleged to have broken the law, ignored the fundamental environment principles and excluded experts when drafting the waters bill, said LMŠ deputy group leader Brane Golubović. As for the motion against Dikaučič, Golubović highlighted his action regarding the non-appointment of European delegated prosecutors and "keeping silent when the unconstitutional bill on infectious diseases was being adopted". The announcement comes a day after the SocDems (SD) announced a vote of no confidence in the education minister.

Defence Minister Tonin meets Turkey and Kosovo counterparts

ISTANBUL - Defence Minister Matej Tonin attended the opening of the IDEF International Defence Industry Fair on Tuesday, where he also met his counterparts from Turkey and Kosovo. According to a statement from the ministry, the main topics discussed were the situation in Afghanistan and the wildfires in Turkey. Tonin expressed his condolences to his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar for the deaths caused by the wildfires in Turkey. He was also briefed by Akar on current developments in Afghanistan, in particular the situation in the wider Kabul airport area.

SD proposes turning Covid aid into interest-free loans

LJUBLJANA - As the government has helped companies during the pandemic with financial aid which companies must now return if their results are better than anticipated, the opposition Social Democrats (SD) have proposed the government transform the aid into interest-free loans to preserve jobs. The party argues the situation has not yet calmed down with the fourth wave of the epidemic looming, so returning the aid prematurely will drain companies and jeopardise jobs. "We need jobs, these companies must be preserved," said Milan Cvikl, the head of the SD's finance council.

Survey shows majority supports PCT rule for healthcare workers

LJUBLJANA - The idea of introducing the recovered-vaccinated-tested (PCT) rule for entering public places is supported by 48% of respondents and opposed by 52%, according to the survey by the pollster Valicon. Meanwhile, almost two-thirds of the respondents supported introducing the rule for healthcare employees. The latest #Newnormal survey also shows that the intention to get vaccinated is again significantly lower compared to the last measurement. In the first weekend of August, 62% of respondents reported intention to be vaccinated, down six percentage points from the end of July.

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© STA, 2021