STA, 10 March 2020 - The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Slovenia rose to 31 by midday Tuesday, the Health Ministry said. The first patients confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19 will be released from hospital shortly to free up capacity for potentially more serious cases.
The latest figure marks an increase from 25 confirmed cases recorded on Monday. Almost 1,500 people have been tested, according to Health Minister Aleš Šabeder.
A total of 18 patients are currently at the infectious disease ward of the UKC Ljubljana hospital. Five will be sent home today with instructions to remain in isolation. They will be subject to strict medical checks while at home, said Tatjana Lejko Zupanc, the head of UKC Ljubljana's infectious disease clinic.
The new cases are related to previously confirmed cases. A total of 17 people have been infected abroad and 14 are the result of community transmission.
The hardest hit regions for now are Ljubljana with 15 cases and Dolenjska with ten. The authorities are not disclosing the details but media reports suggest the Dolenjska cases are related to a single doctor from Metlika who came to work after he was infected.
One doctor working at UKC Ljubljana has been infected as well but he was removed from his post immediately and did not come into contact with patients, according to Eva Grilc of the National Institute of Public Health.
New measures to contain spread of coronavirus in Slovenia
As the number of cases rises, the authorities are planning new measures to contain the spread of the virus. Spot checks on the border with Italy were announced on Monday and should be deployed within a few days, once the details are hashed out, said Šabeder.
Similarly, plans for temperature screening at Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport are to be finalised soon.
The government has already issued a ban on indoor gatherings that include more than 100 people. There are a few exemptions, including shopping malls, weddings and funerals.
As a result of the ban, university lectures in large lecture halls have been cancelled for the next two weeks. Instruction will be provided online.
Meanwhile, Agriculture, Food and Forestry Minister Aleksandra Pivec stressed today that the supply of food products in Slovenia was not disrupted or in peril.
Pivec explained the quarantine regime in Italy was causing problems primarily for Slovenia milk exporters, while she called on Slovenian consumers to pick Slovenian products so as to provide additional support to Slovenian producers.
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