Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Wednesday, 13 January 2021

By , 13 Jan 2021, 04:27 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Wednesday, 13 January 2021 Flickr - Lionel Martinez CC-by-nc-nd-2.0

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This summary is provided by the STA

UK and South African coronavirus strains not detected in Slovenia so far

LJUBLJANA - The highly virulent variants of the SARS-Cov-2 virus known as the UK and South African strains have not been detected in Slovenia so far, Miroslav Petrovec, the head of the Institute of Microbiology, told the press. The Institute of Microbiology processes roughly half of all PCR tests done in the country. "We have not detected the UK strain nor the second problematic strain - the South African strain. We have not detected either of the genotypes in the portion [of tests] that we are analysing. This is very good news," he said.

Slovenia new rescEU mechanism host country

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia along with Belgium and the Netherlands has become the new host country of the rescEU mechanism, providing storage of medical equipment for fighting cross-border medical threats. The countries involved in the project receive funding from the EU Commission to create strategic supplies of the equipment to be distributed around Europe. Currently, a total of nine countries are storing the strategic supplies of medical and personal protective equipment: Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Concern raised after police pay data released

LJUBLJANA - The Interior Ministry released on Monday a document with pay data for nearly 9,000 members of the police force and ministry employees. While this information is public knowledge according to the law governing freedom of information, some have raised concern about the potential security impact of such a full disclosure. The General Police Directorate believes the list's publication "may affect internal security in the police". Several media have highlighted as particularly problematic the inclusion of staff such as members of the special forces, criminal investigators and even undercover officers.

9,500 care home residents, 3,000 staff vaccinated against Covid-19

LJUBLJANA - As many as 9,500 elderly in Slovenia's care homes have already received the first of the two Covid-19 vaccine jabs, which means almost all of those who have not had the disease yet, and just over 3,000 staff, Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj has announced. The minister, addressing the daily coronavirus press briefing, said that a quarter of the staff at aged-care facilities had been inoculated, which was fewer than expected considering the responsible job they had.

1,860 coronavirus infections on Monday, 31 deaths

LJUBLJANA - Another 1,860 people tested positive for coronavirus in Slovenia on Monday and a further 31 patients with Covid-19 lost their lives, Jelko Kacin, the government's Covid-19 spokesman, has announced, finding the conditions for easing of restrictions have not been met. A total of 5,512 PCR tests and 8,455 rapid antigen tests were performed, of which 25% and almost 6% were positive, respectively. The number of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 dropped by three to 1,202 as 131 were newly admitted and 110 were discharged yesterday, as the number of those requiring intensive care dropped by four to 192, Kacin said.

Vaccination plan presented as vaccination of elderly over 80 starts

BRDO PRI KRANJU - PM Janez Janša and NIJZ director Milan Krek presented Slovenia's vaccination plan until the end of June, as vaccination was launched around the country. The country expects to get some 17,000 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine a week until the end of March, or a total of 245,500 doses. People older than 80 will thus be vaccinated first, to be followed by those older than 70 in the last week of January. A second dose will also be administered to those who were already vaccinated, expectedly already next week. Almost 110,000 doses are to be used for a second jab.

Religious groups advocating Covid-19 vaccination

LJUBLJANA - Several representatives of Slovenian religious communities have expressed support for Covid-19 vaccination, following an appeal for vaccination by Pope Francis a few days ago. They highlighted there were no ethical dilemmas in getting vaccinated. Slovenian Catholic bishops support all efforts to protect public health and to come up with new ways of treating Covid-19 patients as well as stand behind all those who will opt to get vaccinated, a press release reads.

Fiscal Council urges transparency as it examines Covid-19 expenditure

LJUBLJANA - The Fiscal Council made a renewed call for transparent and temporary coronavirus relief measures, finding the actual realisation of the measures last year was below government projections but had a significant impact on the worsening state of public finances. Preliminary data put the budget deficit for 2020 at EUR 3.5 billion, with the Fiscal Council noting that it was thus below the EUR 4.2 billion projected in the supplementary budget.

DeSUS MPs to contribute signatures for proposal to oust govt

LJUBLJANA - Four MPs of the Pensioners's Party (DeSUS), which left the government coalition in December, will contribute their signatures in support of a motion of no-confidence in the Janez Janša government, DeSUS leader Karl Erjavec announced. This means the informal Constitutional Arch Coalition (KUL), which brings together five left-leaning parties in a bid to oust the government, has 43 votes secured.

High school students want to return to school earlier than planned

LJUBLJANA - An organisation representing secondary school students urged the Education Ministry and the government to open secondary schools to final grade students along with the opening of kindergartens and the first three grades of primary schools. In an open letter, the DOS organisation welcomed the latest government strategy for a gradual easing of restrictive measures depending on the epidemiological situation but called for faster reopening of secondary schools.

NGOs criticise planned environmental law changes

LJUBLJANA - Environmental NGOs warn that proposed changes to the environmental protection and spatial planning acts would exclude them from key relevant procedures and scrap legislative safeguards. Without the latter an irreparable damage could be caused regarding the environment and public health, they said, as the Environment Ministry proposed scrapping an article providing judicial protection that could be used to challenge implementing spatial acts in court.

NGOs, MEPs urge continuing Student Radio funding

LJUBLJANA - Several organisations have come forward in support of Radio Študent, an independent radio station which is at risk of losing a major source of funding from its founder. Slovenian MEPs reminded the Student Organisation (ŠOU) that depriving the radio station of funds would be in contradiction with EU media plurality goals and efforts. Independent media are guardians of democracy and the rule of law and they are key to preserving our democracy, six of Slovenia's eight MEPs said in a statement.

Slovenian sea affected by coral die-off and tropicalisation

KOPER - The Slovenian part of the Adriatic Sea has not been spared from the impact of climate change in recent decades, with the worst consequences including bleaching and die-off of corals, as well as the arrival of non-native species due to tropicalisation, marine biologist Lovrenc Lipej said. Seaside wetlands are also expected to gradually disappear due to the rising sea level.

Kranjska Gora population swells as rules bent

KRANJSKA GORA - The Alpine resort of Kranjska Gora, which currently has near perfect snow conditions and roughly a meter of snow, has seen its official population double during the epidemic as over 2,000 have registered temporary residence, which allows them to invoke one of the exceptions to the ban on crossing municipal borders. While this is legal, local authorities say rules are being bent and that this does not contribute to an improvement of the epidemiological situation.

GZS celebrating 170th birthday

LJUBLJANA - The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) is celebrating its 170th anniversary, having been throughout dedicated to advocating its members' interests and business success. Labelling 2020 as a year of special challenges, it is now looking ahead to 2021 as a year of opportunities for growth and development. It was on 12 January 1851 that the first cross-sectoral chamber of commerce in Slovenian lands was set up in Ljubljana, which happened on orders of Austrian Emperor Francis Joseph.

Celebrations of 200 years of National Museum begin

LJUBLJANA - An exhibition of the National Museum's first exhibits was launched as Slovenia's oldest museum started year-long celebrations of its bicentenary. The celebrations will culminate and end with a high-profile reception in October, exactly on the museum's 200 birthday. Entitled Museum through History, the exhibition features three parts, with the first covering the items that the museum acquired in the first decades of its existence.

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