Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Thursday, 9 April 2020

By , 09 Apr 2020, 03:45 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Thursday, 9 April 2020 Wikimedia - Tarre10 - CC-by-SA-4.0

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Minister announces gradual easing of retail and service sector restrictions after Easter

LJUBLJANA - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšk announced a gradual easing of restrictions in place for retail and service businesses after the Easter holidays. He said tyre repair shops, car washes, mechanic shops, and technical goods repair services would gradually reopen after Easter. Stores selling construction material will also reopen, which is important to ensure self-sufficiency and enable people to work from home, the minister said. Later, a gradual reopening of stores selling technical goods is planned Počivalšek stressed that the epidemiologic situation would be monitored and that everybody would have to follow recommendations of the Public Health Institute.

Four new deaths and 36 new cases of Covid-19 recorded

LJUBLJANA - A total of 1,214 Covid-19 tests were performed in Slovenia on Tuesday, with 36 persons confirmed as positive. Four patients have meanwhile died, increasing the death toll to 40, the government has announced. The total number of confirmed cases is up to 1,091, with 111 Covid-19 patients currently in hospital, after five were discharged yesterday. 35 patients are in intensive care. A total of 120 persons diagnosed with Covid-19 have been discharged from hospital.

Italian, Slovenian presidents agree solidarity key in overcoming coronavirus

LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor discussed efforts to overcome the coronavirus pandemic with his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella. The presidents underlined the importance of solidarity and cooperation among nations, and expressed regret at the EU's inability to respond earlier and more effectively. They expressed support for the measures adopted by the governments of their respective countries, as well as efforts at the level of the EU to overcome the economic crisis. "NATO, as well as the EU, are being challenged and it is not clear what will happen after the crisis. That is why it is key to preserve democratic values and the feeling for community," Pahor's office said.

Chamber says private doctors should help restart healthcare

LJUBLJANA - Medical Chamber head Zdenka Čebašek-Travnik urged the government to use all medical staff, including private doctors and dentists, to restart the country's healthcare when it begins to gradually exit the coronavirus crisis. Arguing that the need for treatment will soar once the system returns to normal, she wondered for how much longer the government would tolerate private doctors and dentists not being able to perform medical services within the public health system. She believes society will have to decide weather and how it uses all resources, public and private, to provide for the medical care of all residents.

Questions raised about intermediaries in PPE supplies

LJUBLJANA - As countries worldwide grapple with how to secure sufficient personal protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic, Slovenia has turned to intermediaries. Facing criticism, the Economy Ministry initially argued the Agency for Commodity Reserves cannot buy directly from Chinese manufacturers because the agency or the state cannot engage in direct financial transactions with subjects in China but can only deal with Slovenian subjects. Facing arguments that this was not true, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said in the evening the reason was the advance payment demanded by most suppliers. In response the criticism about deals with Slovenian intermediaries, the Agency for Commodity Reserves published a chart with information on contracts signed with various companies. The total value of all contracts signed so far is EUR 116 million without VAT. Goods worth EUR 6 million have been delivered.

Central bank suspends dividend payout by banks for a year

LJUBLJANA - The central bank suspended for a year the payout of dividends by banks and savings banks. The measure is aimed at securing sufficient capital so that the system could better sustain potential losses and be able to supply the economy and individuals with loans. The measure "relates to profits made by banks and savings banks in 2019 and 2020, and to retained profit and reserves from previous years. It is expected to be in force for one year," the central bank said, adding it would adjust the action if necessary. The measure is likely to enter into force at the end of the week and will not be applied retroactively, meaning it will not affect banks that already chose to pay out dividends this year.

Govt points to ex regime in response to CoE criticism of pressure on media in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA/STRASBOURG, France - Responding to criticism coming from the Council of Europe (CoE) over pressure on the media in Slovenia, the government has argued the situation is a result of media having "their origin in the former communist regime". While the CoE has been highlighting pressure occurring under the new government, the government wrote that the CoE's attention should be drawn to the broader context of the media situation in the country, including historical facts in the development of the media market. Meanwhile, the programming council of RTV Slovenija issued a statement condemning attacks on the broadcaster's independence and on the professionalism of its journalists after recent attacks on its crews and twitter comments about its reporting and wages published by PM Janez Janša.

Vojko Urbas new head of criminal police

LJUBLJANA - Vojko Urbas was appointed acting director of the Criminal Police Department and took over from his predecessor Boštjan Lindav. He was appointed by acting Police Commissioner Anton Travner, who has led the force since the Janez Janša government was appointed in mid-March. Urbas has been in the police force for 34 years, of which 19 years at the Crime Police Department. He will be in charge of almost 1,000 Slovenian criminal police officers until Branko Japelj returns from work abroad. Lindav, who the police says has rich operative and managerial experience, will meanwhile become criminality advisor to Travner.

Coronavirus posing risk of surge in domestic violence

Ljubljana, 08 April (STA) - The coronavirus crisis has raised fears about a spike in domestic violence, which has been detected in many countries during the pandemic. The latest data from Slovenian police do not show a significant increase in such cases since lockdown was put in place, in fact a spike in reported cases prior to the epidemic levelled off since the lockdown. But police as well as NGOs warn that based on their experience, it could well be that the circumstances themselves are thwarting reporting of such emergencies, with victims being less able to phone and report or even to contact a friend or relative.

Religious leaders urge believers to stay home

LJUBLJANA - The top leaders of major religious groups in Slovenia called on believers to stay home, pray and peruse religious texts as they addressed the daily government coronavirus press briefing. Ljubljana Archbishop Stanislav Zore, bishop of the Slovenian Evangelical Lutheran Church Leon Novak, the head of the Slovenian Jewish Community Boris Čerin-Levi, the Islamic community's leader Mufti Nedžad Grabus and Peran Bošković, the leader of the Ljubljana Serb Orthodox community, stressed observance was important but people should stay home to help contain the spread of coronavirus.

Chinese twin cities rush to provide PPE to Maribor

MARIBOR - Maribor received 10,000 face masks from Hanghzou, its twin city in China, after turning to its partner cities in China for help with the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). The FFP-2 masks that arrived yesterday are essential for staff working with persons infected with coronavirus. Donations have also been announced by other cities. Maribor's twin city Chongqing has pledged a donation of 15,000 FFP-2 masks, while partner cities Nanjing, Huaian and Nanchang have promised a total of 62,000 surgical masks and some thermometers.

Calls to secure drinking water during epidemic mark Roma Day

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Roma warned about tenacious discrimination and their communities struggling in the face of the coronavirus crisis as they observed International Roma Day. The calls to secure drinking water to all settlements were echoed by Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina, while Education Minister Simona Kustec congratulated the Roma, saying Slovenia was making extra efforts to provide education for Roma children. She stressed that such initiatives were ongoing even during the COVID-19 epidemic.

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