Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 10 April 2020

By , 10 Apr 2020, 04:20 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 10 April 2020 Abstract duck, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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This summary is provided by the STA:

PM's tweets put Slovenia's future financial support to WHO in question

LJUBLJANA - The government's coronavirus spokesperson Jelko Kacin rejected interpretations Slovenia had already decided to freeze membership payments to the World Health Organisation (WHO) given that PM Janez Janša said everybody would need to follow the example of the US in taking this step. Asked to comment on a series of tweets by Janša targeting the WHO, including Wednesday's "We all have to do it" in response to US President Donald Trump's announcement the US was going to put on hold funding to the WHO, Kacin said Slovenia was yet to decide on this.

PM says substantial easing of lockdown only after key conditions met

LJUBLJANA - Elaborating on the timeline of the announced easing of coronavirus lockdown measures, PM Janez Janša said a number of conditions would need to be met before any substantial softening was possible. One of those was the transmission rate falling bellow one. Moreover, the healthcare system must not be under excessive pressure, sufficient testing capacities need to be secured and working instruments need to be in place for the transitional period, plus options to monitor the infected.

Coronavirus death toll climbs to 43, confirmed cases reach 1,124

LJUBLJANA - The coronavirus death toll in Slovenia has reached 43 as three people died on Wednesday. The number of confirmed infections rose by 33 to 1,124. Hospital data indicates the situation is stabilising, with hospitalisations and intensive care cases flat. A total of 108 persons were in hospital yesterday, of whom 34 in intensive care. So far 128 persons have been discharged from hospital, eight of them yesterday, government spokesmen Jelko Kacin said.

SDS under fire following dispatch about communist origins of Slovenian media

LJUBLJANA - The senior coalition Democratic Party (SDS) came under fire from journalists, the opposition as well as its coalition partners after an official government dispatch to the Council of Europe's Platform for the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists claimed that all the main media stemmed from the communist regime. The dispatch was a response to an alert issued by the Platform after PM Janez Janša tweeted in late March that the public broadcaster RTV Slovenia was misleading the public, adding "apparently there are too many of you and you are paid too well".

PM discusses anti-Covid-19 measures with Fedriga

LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša exchanged information on the current coronavirus situation with Friuli Venezia Giulia President Massimiliano Fedriga via videoconference. The pair discussed measures imposed in Slovenia and the Italian region to contain the Covid-19 spread, and vowed to cooperate and exchange relevant experience. The government said that the region bordering Slovenia had been more effective in tackling the epidemic than other northern-Italian regions, which played an important role for Slovenian western and coastal regions.

MEPs urging Slovenia to welcome refugee children

LJUBLJANA - Five Slovenian MEPs called on the government to join EU countries taking in unaccompanied refugee children stranded on Greek islands. In call initiated by Tanja Fajon (S&D/SD) and joined by Milan Brglez (S&D/SD), Klemen Grošelj, Irena Joveva (both Renew/LMŠ), and Ljudmila Novak (EPP/NSi) noted that on 9 March EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called on member states to assist 1,600 unaccompanied Syrian children. A number of EU countries have lent a hand, but not Slovenia.

More than 4900 net jobs lost in April, show early data

LJUBLJANA - The coronavirus pandemic and measures to contain infections have hammered the Slovenian labour market hard with unofficial data from the country's Employment Service showing the registered unemployment total rising by 4,922 in the first eight days of April to 82,777. Between 1 and 8 April, 6,093 people lost their jobs. Meanwhile, 1,169 people were removed from the unemployment registry, of whom 817 found jobs.

Slovenia requests international aid over protective equipment transport

LJUBLJANA - The government asked for international assistance in securing transport for protective equipment and other supplies to ensure there is enough equipment to battle the coronavirus epidemic. The Defence Ministry said the request would be made via NATO's Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre. Between 16 March and 8 April, the Agency for Commodity Reserves submitted 55 orders for protective equipment and other medical supplies worth EUR 181 million without VAT. Suppliers have so far delivered on 15 contracts totalling EUR 3.17 million without VAT.

Non-urgent health services to resume

LJUBLJANA - The government decided to allow non-urgent health services to resume under certain conditions after these have been suspended in the efforts to contain the coronavirus epidemic in the country. Such as out-patient specialist and diagnostic services, rehabilitation and other non-emergency treatments will be resumed for patients "with negative epidemic anamnesis who do not have symptoms of a respiratory infection and whose health condition could worsen should the health service be omitted or delayed". Detailed instructions are yet to follow.

Passenger flight ban extended again

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian air traffic remains restricted as the government yet again extended a ban on passenger flights that was already prolonged in late March. Flights within the EU are suspended until 27 April, with the rest banned until further notice. The ban was originally put in place on 17 March, suspending passenger flights from and to EU countries until 30 March and other flights until further notice. In line with the EU law, the government then extended the ban for two weeks.

Trade in goods continued to grow in February, exports up 12%

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's trade in goods continued to grow in February, the month before Slovenia introduced strict lockdown measures amid the coronavirus epidemic. Exports grew by 11.7% and imports by 5.9% over February 2019, data released by the Statistics Office show. Exports reached EUR 2.98 billion and imports EUR 2.75 billion, putting the monthly surplus at EUR 232.3 million and export-import ratio at 108.4%. EU markets accounted for 70.3% of Slovenia's exports and 69.2% of imports.

Krka shareholders looking at much higher dividend

NOVO MESTO - The supervisory and management boards of Krka proposed the shareholders of the drug maker be paid dividends of EUR 4.25 gross per share. Not only is the proposed payout almost a third higher than in 2019, Krka is actually one of few listed companies whose shareholders may get dividends this year. The company said the boards would propose at the AGM scheduled for 9 July that EUR 133.85 million in distributable profit from 2019 is allocated for dividends.

Slovenia seeking flexibility in EU culture funding

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia advocates funding flexibility and allowances for the specifics of smaller countries when it comes to the financing of cultural programmes, Culture Minister Vasko Simonito told his EU counterparts at a teleconference on Wednesday. "Each member state has its own cultural, economic and linguistic characteristics. But without cooperation among us European projects are questionable as well. It is therefore urgent that all measures currently adopted by the European Commission make allowances for the diverse needs of cultural sectors in individual countries."

Survey: One out of three Slovenians continue to go to work

LJUBLJANA - A survey conduced by Aragon found that almost one out of three Slovenians (29%) continue to go to work as they used to before the measures to contain the coronavirus epidemic were introduced, and a similar proportion work from home (28%). An additional 16% have been temporarily laid-off and 9% are on annual leave with 5% working short time and as many are on sick leave. More than half of the respondents believe the epidemic poses a great risk for their jobs and companies they work for.

Poll shows growing optimism regarding coronavirus situation

LJUBLJANA - Slovenians are increasingly optimistic regarding the situation around the coronavirus epidemic, shows the latest survey by Valicon, as a vast majority of respondents believes that things are turning for the better. The share of people who are concerned about their jobs has increased, but it is still relatively low. Some 89% of respondents said that things were getting better or much better, compared to 66% a week ago and 56% two weeks ago. Slovenians also express optimism when it comes to the current situation, with 58% assessing it as more positive than negative.

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