This summary is provided by the STA:
Govt in dilemma about new coronavirus variants, new lockdown
LJUBLJANA - New variants of coronavirus pose a dilemma about whether to proceed with the planned colour-coded exit strategy or impose stricter lockdown for a short period of time, PM Janez Janša said in parliament, as he answered a coalition MP question whether the government was planning any new measures in connection with Covid-19. A potential fast spread of the new coronavirus variants in the coming weeks brings a dilemma of whether to tighten the measures for a short period of time to the level of lockdown, as was the case in Great Britain and the Czech Republic, Janša told the National Assembly.
Minister says beefed-up border controls likely soon
LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs told MPs that Slovenia's border restrictions could be tightened as early as this week as part of efforts to contain the epidemic. All European countries, including Slovenia, will most likely have to make their border protocols stricter in the coming days. In Slovenia, an expert group of epidemiologists and doctors is in favour of a strict closure of border crossings on the country's internal borders, said Hojs, who personally does not believe that any easing of border restrictions could take place in the near future.
Govt not planning austerity after better than expected 2020
LJUBLJANA - Prime Minister Janez Janša indicated Slovenia was not planning public spending cuts, having weathered 2020 better than expected due to stimulus measures "We're not planning any cuts. We're planning a recovery this year," he told the National Assembly. Janša noted Slovenia's economy had contracted by 5.5% last year, significantly outperforming some forecasts. Exports declined minimally and unemployment rose by just 1%.
243 new coronavirus cases confirmed on Sunday, 11 deaths
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia confirmed 243 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, slightly fewer than in the week before, as 11 patients with Covid-19 died. More than 9,000 rapid tests and 1,451 PCR tests were performed. The positivity rate for PCR tests was at 16.7%, a slight improvement over the day before. There were 543 Covid-19 patients in hospital compared to 529 the day before, whereas the number of intensive care cases dropped by two to 91. The rolling seven-day average of daily new cases dropped slightly to 768 and the number of active cases is estimated by the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) to be 10,636.
All contacts of infected with South African variant negative so far
LJUBLJANA - All persons who had been in contact with an individual whose coronavirus infection was confirmed to be the South African variant last week have so far tested negative, the Maribor unit of the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) said, adding that the infected had a mild case of Covid-19. The infected doctor had high-risk exposure contacts with four persons who have been ordered to self-isolate. Around 10 or 12 people were deemed low-risk exposure contacts and have been told to observe their condition and heed all the prevention measures to the letter.
C5 ministers discuss Slovenia's EU presidency, pandemic
BRDO PRI KRANJU - Foreign Minister Anže Logar hosted his counterparts from Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia to discuss Slovenia's upcoming EU presidency and the coronavirus pandemic. "The meeting was a great opportunity to present our views and priorities for the presidency so as to harmonise key issues that will be on the EU's agenda within the central European club of countries," Logar told the press. The Central 5 (C5) foreign ministers spent a fair share of time discussing the coronavirus pandemic. They believe the situation remains serious and encourage facilitation of vaccination efforts. They also expressed support for an EU-wide vaccination certificate.
Tourism ministers urge predictability of border crossing regimes
LJUBLJANA - EU ministers in charge of tourism agreed it is important to ensure simple and predictable border crossing regimes, as they held a virtual meeting. Economy Ministry state secretary Simon Zajc, who took part in the meeting alongside Minister Zdravko Počivalšek, said the debate discussed joint solutions to re-establish cross-border travel flows and relaunch tourism. "Most European destinations depend on incoming tourism, the loss of which domestic tourism cannot offset sufficiently; this is also the case in Slovenia," Zajc said.
STA cuts off govt administration in funding row
LJUBLJANA - Two months after the expiration of public and commercial news service contracts between the STA and the government, the STA restricted access to its news items for the government administration. Parliament Speaker Igor Zorčič believes the time has come for the matter to be resolved in court. "I believe that all conditions have been met, even though this is a sad moment, for the STA to try to find justice in court. The legislative basis exists, but if the government and the STA are unable to resolve this on their own and in a peaceful way, the STA probably has no other option," Zorčič said.
Landslide for Slovenian minority in Globasnitz municipality elections
KLAGENFURT, Austria - The Slovenian ethnic minority won an absolute majority in the municipality of Globasnitz (Globasnica), where Bernard Sadovnik was also reelected mayor in Sunday's local elections in the state of Carinthia. This is the first time the Slovenian minority United List (EL) party has won an absolute majority in any municipality. The EL will now have a total of 59 councillors in the 21 municipalities in southern Carinthia in which it stood with 517 candidates, or one seat more than in 2015. Slovenian minority organisations from Austria and the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad welcomed the result, the second best after WWII. The other Slovenian minority mayor in Carinthia, Franc Jožef Smrtnik, advanced to the run-off.
Slovenia increases Yemen pledge
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia has decided to increase aid to Yemen by 20%, pledging a total of EUR 120,000 for 2021-2023, Foreign Ministry State Secretary Stanislav Raščan told a high-level conference on Yemen. The increased contribution means Slovenia will have donated over half a million euro for the aid effort in Yemen since 2016 via the International Red Cross, the Foreign Ministry said.
SDS with best Mediana poll result in last six months
LJUBLJANA - The ruling Democrats (SDS) have gained 1.3 percentage points to 18.2% in the latest Mediana poll for the commercial broadcaster POP TV for its best result in the last six months. The SDS is followed by the opposition Social Democrats (SD), which have gained two points to 11%. Like the SDS, the opposition Left also gained 1.3 points to 8.2% to take third place, while the opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) lost almost a percentage point compared to the January Mediana poll to 7.9%. The government of Janez Janša is supported by 36% of the people polled, which is around two percentage points more than in January. Almost 56% of the respondents do not support it and 7.6% were undecided.
Reports: Man gets two months suspended sentence for threatening Janša
VELENJE - The Velenje Local Court has given Luka Štitić a two-month suspended sentence with a one year probation period for threatening Prime Minister Janez Janša on social media during last year's anti government protests, several media have reported. The ruling, published online, is final. Štitić was found guilty on 18 January of intimidation through making serious threats that, according to the weekly Reporter, he made on the Facebook page of the All-Slovenian People's Uprising on 3 November. Among other things, he said called for Janša's hanging in Prešeren Square in Ljubljana.
Event organisers want gradual return of public events
LJUBLJANA - Musicians and event organisers are pushing for the gradual relaunch of public events and the revival of the events sector after several countries already took steps in this direction. The Coalition of the Music Sector, Trade Union of Slovenian Musicians, the Association of Concert Organisers, the Slovenian Music and Information Centre, and the charity MiDelamoDogodke, said the events industry was completely exhausted by the restrictions. "If we lose another summer ... the damage suffered by most stakeholders will be too big for the sector to ever recover again," they said.
Layoffs announced at Alpina
ŽIRI - Alpina, a footwear maker best known for ski and hiking boots, plans to reduce its headcount by more than a tenth at its main production location in Žiri after a dismal year marked by store closures and the long shutdown of ski slopes around Europe. Maja Remic, Alpina's director of marketing and retail sales, told the STA 18 workers would be made redundant and 20 would either retire or await retirement on the dole.
Covid nurses honoured by Ona magazine
LJUBLJANA - Ona 365, an annual award given out by the editorial board of the women's magazines Ona and Ona Plus, this year went to nurses caring for Covid-19 patients in hospitals and nursing homes. The judging panel said Covid nurses worked with great dedication in unimaginable circumstances, saving lives and providing help to anybody who needed it.
Loginov and Jörg defend snowboard world titles
ZREČE - Russia's Dmitry Loginov and Germany's Selina Jörg defended their world titles in the parallel giant slalom at the Snowboarding World Championships in Rogla. Slovenian snowboarders underperformed. Silver medals went to Italian snowboarder Roland Fischnaller and Russian Sofia Nadyrshina and bronze to Andrey Sobolev of Russia and Julia Dujmovits of Austria.
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