STA, 16 April 2020 - The Slovenian government has decided to partially ease the strict lockdown restrictions starting on Saturday. Limited movement outside the municipality of residence will be allowed, as will certain sports activities that do not involve close contact among persons.
Under amendment to the original lockdown decree adopted late on Wednesday, the prohibition of movement and gathering of persons that has confined residents to their municipality will continue to apply.
However, several exemptions were added to the existing list that already included going to work, shopping, access to emergency services, farm work and care for family members.
Bearing in mind the usual precautions about safe distance between individuals, individual sports such as jogging, bicycling, golf and yoga will thus be allowed as well as group sport such as tennis, badminton and boules.
Individuals and families or members of the same household will also be allowed to access private land outside their municipality of residence for purposes such as maintenance and seasonal works.
To do that, they will have to possess some sort of evidence of ownership of property or the right to use such a property, for example a copy of the land deed. They will also have to produce a document stating the purpose of their travel on a special form that is a part of the government decree.
Tens of thousands of Slovenians have property in the countryside and the relaxation in effect means they will be allowed to spend time on properties that many use as holiday homes and where many grow vegetables.
Violations of the decree are subject to fines under the law on the prevention of infectious diseases and compliance will be checked by police.
The decision marks the first significant easing of lockdown restrictions that were introduced on 20 March to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The government started indicating last week that some easing was being considered since the growth in new infections had started to slow down, but it wanted to make sure the flattening of the curve of infections was sustainable.
Health Minister Tomaž Gantar said yesterday Slovenia had managed to turn the trend and would cautiously proceed with the relaxation of measures.
The number of new infections has been steadily declining. After a quiet Easter weekend during which testing was at about half the usual pace, the number of new infections rose by 28 on Tuesday to 1,248.
But more importantly, the number of patients requiring hospitalisation and intensive care has been broadly flat and has so far not come close to the capacity of the health system.
Five persons died of Covid-19 on Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 61. The vast majority of the victims have been nursing home residents with multiple underlying conditions.