STA, 30 May 2022 - The outgoing government lifted all remaining Covid restrictions as it repealed on Monday the main decree governing anti-Covid measures under a motion by the Health Ministry's advisory group for coronavirus.
The advisory group proposed that all restrictions be lifted in favour of compliance with the recommendations of the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), the Government Communications Office said.
The group that had advised the ministry on measures to contain Covid-19 led by Mateja Logar has proposed it be dissolved and health Minister Janez Poklukar endorsed this.
Restrictions have been gradually eased since the worst of the Omicron wave passed and most recently the only major measures in place have been mandatory face masks in health settings and mandatory hand sanitising.
Logar told the STA that hospitals' services dealing with prevention and managing of hospital infections would from now on decide if or when face masks would be required.
The first head of the Covid advisory group was Bojana Beović from the Ljubljana infectious disease clinic. She headed it since the start of the epidemic, 12 March 2020 until 1 March 2021, when her colleague Logar took over.
Some members of the task force were also replaced then, but most of them remained, including NIJZ director Milan Krek and the heads of both organisations that analyse the vast majority of all PCR tests, Tjaša Žohar Čretnik from the National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food and Miroslav Petrovec from the Institute of Microbiology and Immunology.
In addition to medical professionals, a sociologist also joined the team then.
Mario Fafangel, the chief epidemiologist at the NIJZ, was appointed to the group twice and exited it twice. As he left it the second time, he said the decisions adopted by the group had often ran contrary to the opinion of the NIJZ epidemiological service, established protocols and the usual epidemiological practices.
"When you look back, you assess things differently now that you have more information than at that particular point when you had to decide on a measure," Logar said. She said the group had always made decisions based on expert findings, while it could not affect what decision-makers later decided.
The government also adopted a report today on a special government project aimed at promoting Covid vaccination, especially among those aged 50 or more to protect the group and the healthcare system. The ministry envisaged special bonuses for members of the family medicine teams if a certain percentage of their patients got vaccinated.
But since there has been response to the project, other activities were organised to boost vaccination, including Vaccination Days and mobile vaccination units.