Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Saturday, 4 April 2020

By , 04 Apr 2020, 04:56 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Saturday, 4 April 2020 Flickr - Thomas Leuthard, CC by 2.0

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Highest increase in coronavirus deaths

LJUBLJANA - Four more deaths related to the new coronavirus in Slovenia were recorded on Thursday, the highest daily increase yet, and another patient died today, increasing the overall death toll to 21. The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases rose by 37 to 934 by end of Thursday with Health Ministry data showing that 177 nursing home residents were infected, 15 more than the day before. In addition, 128 health workers are infected. 112 Covid-19 patients were hospitalised, 30 of them in intensive care.

Govt not giving up on plan to deploy military along the border

LJUBLJANA - The government has not given up on the plan to give the military certain police powers for deployment along the border with Croatia, government spokesman Jelko Kacin told the press. The plan was voted down on the parliamentary committee on Wednesday, but Kacin said the government would keep insisting on this since it had no other choice. Part of the reason why soldiers are needed is because some border police officers are being relocated inland to help check whether people around the country adhere to the epidemic restrictions. The National Assembly is expected to hold a discussion on extending police powers to the army next week, but will not vote on the proposal.

Relaunch of business activities conditional on protective equipment

LJUBLJANA - The government is examining how to gradually restart the economy amidst the lockdown, but in order to do so a sufficient amount of personal protective equipment must be secured, said the government's spokesman for the coronavirus epidemic, Jelko Kacin. "The Ministry of Economic Development and Technology is prioritising domestic production of protective equipment that would be available to workers," he said, adding that the business sector was behind only healthcare and nursing homes when it came to the distribution of protective equipment. The goal is to domestically produce 100,000 masks daily.

Work begins on stimulus package No. 2

LJUBLJANA - The government started discussing guidelines for a second fiscal stimulus package after its first, EUR 3 billion law was passed in parliament. The focus will be on correcting any flaws in the first package and measures to boost the economy's liquidity. The government would like to adopt the second bill in ten days. It will be helped by the advisory task force led by economist Matej Lahovnik, which also advised it on the first package.

Troop rotations on foreign missions put off by three months

LJUBLJANA - The Defence Ministry announced that the rotations of contingents of the Slovenian Armed Forces in international operations and missions planned in the next three months will not be carried out. The contingents which are currently abroad will need to extend their service for three months. Defence Minister Matej Tonin explained that the decision was made because of the situation and measures related to the coronavirus pandemic. Around 250 troops are deployed in Kosovo and eight in Mali.

All persons coming to Slovenia will be quarantined or isolated

LJUBLJANA - From Saturday all persons coming to Slovenia from abroad will face a 14-day quarantine, the government decided. So far, some groups of Slovenians returning from abroad were placed at hotels or other facilities, while others were not. Now, they will be quarantined at home if possible and if not, they will be placed at facilities. Healthy persons will receive an order from the Health Ministry for a 14-day quarantine at their permanent or temporary residence. Persons who fall ill will call their doctor and follow their instructions. Violations of the quarantine carry a fine of EUR 400.

Govt restricts use of certain drugs

LJUBLJANA - The government restricted the usage of drugs containing chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine or azithromycin to make sure enough of those substances are available to patients who need them. Due to the spread of coronavirus infections the prescribing of medications with the three substances, which are principally used for the treatment of other conditions but have proven to be effective in the treatment of Covid-19, has increased, so prescribing these medications for personal use and their over-the-counter sale were banned until further notice.

Florist shops and nurseries reopen

LJUBLJANA - Florist shops and nurseries reopened a day after the government decided to add them to the list of exemptions to restrictions that shut down most non-essential businesses in Slovenia. The government decided to allow florists' and nurseries to reopen because spring is a peak selling time for these businesses that invested a lot of funds and work in growing seedlings and other plants. Additionally, construction work will be allowed at construction sites that are not used as living spaces and where the workers have no contact with the clients.

Foreign policy committee chair notes Slovenia's new orientation

LJUBLJANA - The chair of the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee, Matjaž Nemec, expressed surprise because Slovenia failed to join a group of EU countries that have expressed concern about the risk of violations of the rule of law by measures to curb the spread of coronavirus. Nemec, the vice-charman of the opposition Social Democrats, said this was a shift in Slovenia's foreign policy that could damage the country's reputation in the EU. A statement by 17 countries indirectly addressed the controversial provisions of Hungary's new law. Meanwhile, Slovenian members of the European People's Party (EPP) rejected calls for expelling Hungarian Fidesz from the EPP by saying now was the time to focus on curbing the coronavirus pandemic.

Slovenia donates protective equipment to North Macedonia

SKOPJE, Macedonia - Slovenia donated to North Macedonia protective equipment worth EUR 110,000 to help the country fight the new coronavirus. The Slovenian Defence Ministry said that the donation for the Macedonian Interior Ministry includes 100,000 protective masks and 100,000 protective gloves. "The donation comes at a crucial moment. I'd like to thank Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša and our Slovenian friends," Interior Minister Nakje Chulev was quoted by the Macedonian press agency MIA.

Almost EUR 59,000 raised in donations for Covid-19 relief

LJUBLJANA - Individuals and businesses have donated over 58,800 euro as they responded to the Finance Ministry's call to raise funds for Covid-19 relief. The donations go into the "budgetary reserve" and the government will report to parliament on the use on a monthly basis. The ministry said the money was raised between 27 March and 2 April. Donations are also being made directly, from protective equipment donated to hospitals to food to those in need.

Government approval rating at 57.8% in Nova24TV poll

LJUBLJANA - The government has an approval rating of 57.8% in an public opinion poll carried out by the pollster Parsifal for Nova24TV. More than 85% support the government's measures to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, while 11.3% believe that they are inappropriate. The EUR 3 billion legislative package to stimulate the economy and mitigate the impact of the epidemic enjoys almost the same support (85.7%), while 8.9% did not express support and 5.4% were undecided.

Slovenia's jobless total up 0.5% in March

LJUBLJANA - The coronavirus crisis has started to take a toll on the unemployment situation in Slovenia and what had been a favourable trend until recently has reversed. The number of people registered as unemployed grew by 0.5% to 77,855 in March compared to February, a 1.7% increase year-on-year. The service recorded 7,848 new recipients of unemployment benefits in March, up almost 52% on February and 56% more than in March 2019. Among those, the bulk were between jobs due to termination of their fixed-term employment contracts (3,320), while 2,440 were made redundant.

TEŠ needs environmental permit for co-incineration

LJUBLJANA - The Environment Agency (ARSO) ordered TEŠ, a coal-fired power station from Šoštanj, to carry out environmental impact assessment and obtain a changed environmental permit if it wants to introduce co-incineration of non-hazardous waste. ARSO said in its 27 March decision the changes planned by TEŠ are so extensive that they warrant environment impact assessment and changes to TEŠ's environmental permit. Opposing the co-incineration project, environmentalists urged suspending the incineration and co-incineration regulation and all procedures related to co-incineration.

Writers call on authorities to respect human rights during corona crisis

LJUBLJANA - Thirty members of the Slovenian chapter of PEN International called on the Slovenian authorities to respect all citizens' rights guaranteed by law and constitution as measures to contain the coronavirus epidemic are being introduced. The writers are "aware of the need for restrictions at individual and collective levels intended for containing the epidemic," but expect that parliament will not restrict rights or introduce new or broader powers of law enforcement.

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