Most lockdown measures lifted as epidemic ends
LJUBLJANA - Most lockdown measures were relaxed as the Covid-19 epidemic officially ended in Slovenia. Large accommodation facilities, spas, gyms and pools were allowed to reopen, although most large hotels will do so gradually. Public gatherings of up to 200 persons are also allowed, and all primary school pupils will be back in classrooms by Wednesday. Safety measures such as hand sanitising and wearing of face masks indoors where sufficient distance cannot be kept remain in place. Night clubs remain closed. Slovenia has not recorded any new infections for four days, but one Covid-19 patient died on Sunday, taking the death toll to 109.
Border policing stepped up over surge on Balkan migration route
LJUBLJANA - Due to an increased number of migrants heading west on the Balkan migration route, Slovenia's Police Commissioner Anton Travner ordered stepping up surveillance of the border with Croatia. The beefed up border policing will be in force between Tuesday and Friday, involving a larger number of police units. The move is meant as a signal to illegal migrants and smugglers that Slovenian border is not crossable, the police said.
Venezuelan Slovenians get repatriate status extended
LJUBLJANA - The government extended by three months the 15-month period in which persons of Slovenian descent brought from Venezuela have the status of a repatriated person. The extension, which is part of the latest legislative package to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, applies to those Venezuelan Slovenians who arrived in Slovenia between 13 November 2019 and 12 March this year. Before the pandemic severed air links, 23 Slovenians had been repatriated from Venezuela.
Slovenia takes presidency of two Adriatic-Ionian initiatives
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia assumed the one-year chairmanship of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative and of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region. The main focus of the country's chairmanship of both forums will be green cooperation, the Western Balkans, and EU enlargement. Foreign Minister Anže Logar presented the priorities during last week's videoconference with the foreign ministers of participating countries, saying Slovenia would strive for the "recovery from Covid-19 to be a green recovery".
Fighter jets fly past as thank you to emergency workers
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian frontline staff got an unprecedented thank you for their work during the coronavirus epidemic as military planes and US fighter jets conducted a flypast of the entire country, the first day after the formal end of the epidemic. Three Slovenian Pilatus PC-9 were joined by the six American F-16 fighters, that took off from Aviano air base in Italy. The flyover coincided with a ceremony at Golnik hospital which was also addressed by US Ambassador Lynda C. Blanchard.
Minister promises additional health facilities
LJUBLJANA - Health Minister Tomaž Gantar told reporters that with the epidemic over the ministry would strive to improve the conditions at care homes and set up more health facilities to provide for patients in case of a second wave of infections or to cope with an increased number of patients in general. Gantar pledged to do everything in his power to set up at least a few nursing hospitals, which Slovenia would needed regardless of the virus.
Long-serving sports official Kocijančič dies
LJUBLJANA - Janez Kocijančič, the long-serving Slovenian sports official who was also active in politics and business, died at the age of 78. Kocijančič had headed the European Olympic Committees since 2017, served as the head of the Slovenian Olympic Committee between 1991 and 2014 and as vice-chairman of the International Ski Federation since 2010. In the 1990s he headed the precursor to the Social Democrats. He was the chief executive of the flag carrier Adria Airways between 1982 and 1993.
Slovenian athletes in US join calls against racism
LOS ANGELES/DALLAS/MIAMI, US - Slovenia's NBA stars Luka Dončić and Goran Dragić as well as NHL player Anže Kopitar joined calls against racism as protests spread across the US against police brutality against African Americans. Dončić shared on twitter a post made by his team, the Dallas Mavericks, declaring they would "NOT stand for injustice, inequality and disparity". Dragić shared a video on twitter featuring Udonis Haslem, a fellow player at the Miami Heat, who says justice will have to be done for George Floyd, whose death during a police arrest last week sparked the protests.
Chamber of Commerce pushing for reopening of stores Sundays
LJUBLJANA - While a legislative procedure is under way for a permanent closure of shops on Sundays, the Chamber of Commerce (TZS) called on the government to end the Sunday ban that was introduced during the epidemic. Since most lockdown restrictions have been lifted, the chamber said there was no more reason to keep shops closed on Sundays. The chamber said many jobs in retail were in peril, with 3,000 newly registered unemployed persons in March and April coming from the sector.
Subsidies for social charges top EUR 380m in March, April
LJUBLJANA - In March and April, two two peak months of the coronavirus epidemic in Slovenia, the state provided over EUR 79 million to cover social security contributions for idled workers as well as EUR 302 million to cover employers' pension contributions for those working through the epidemic, Financial Administration data show. The subsidies were introduced with the first stimulus package, which also provided full state coverage of unemployment allowances, equal to 80% of the usual wage.