Govt to change colour-coded strategy with tier red kicking in Monday
LJUBLJANA - The government is expected to overhaul the coronavirus exit strategy today to somewhat relax restrictions applying to each of the five-coloured stages. Stage red would kick in on Monday lifting night curfew, keeping schools and kindergartens open like before 1 April while not allowing public assembly. Face masks outdoors will be obligatory only if social distancing cannot be kept. National sports competitions will be relaxed for younger athletes, contactless outdoor recreation for up to 10 people will be allowed, and ski resorts will reopen. Museums, libraries and galleries will also reopen, and one-to-one classes at music schools and ballet classes will be allowed. Some more shops, and services such as hairdressers and car repair shops will reopen, Health Minister Janez Pokljukar announced.
Exports up in February, imports down
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia exported EUR 3 billion worth of goods in February, up 2.6% year on year, and imported EUR 2.7 billion, down 2.2% compared to February 2020. The export-import ratio reached 109.7% and the monthly trade surplus was the third highest in the last decade, the Statistic Office said. The February trade surplus was the highest of all February surpluses in the last ten years, and a surplus was recorded in February for the sixth consecutive year. Trade with EU countries still represented about two-thirds of total Slovenia's exports and imports. In February, the country exported 65.9% to these countries and imported 71.2% of goods from them.
Industry contracts y/y despite monthly growth
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's industry contracted at an annual rate of 1.5% in February after a 1.3% growth was reported the month before, but the output increased month-on-month, fresh data from the Statistics Office showed. Only mining and quarrying posted growth year-on-year (+5.8%), while manufacturing contracted by 1.6% and the output in electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply declined by 0.4%. Industrial turnover declined by 0.6% year-on-year, with turnover in the domestic market falling by 1% and sales revenue generated abroad dropping by 0.4%.
1,279 coronavirus cases reported for Thursday as hospitalisations exceed 600
LJUBLJANA - Another 1,279 people tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday as Covid-19 hospitalisations exceeded 600 for the first time since late February and three more patients died, data released by the government showed. Marking an increase of 9% from a week ago, Thursday's case count pushed the rolling 7-day average up by a further 15 from the day before to 932. Head of the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) Milan Krek noted that the country was below the EU average when it comes to the number of Covid-19-related deaths in the last 14 days. He believes the biggest threat now is the British variant of the virus, which accounts for half of all infections in the country and up to 85% of infections in some regions.
Over 3,800 reports of side effects after over 400,000 Covid-19 vaccinations
LJUBLJANA - The National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) so far received 3,816 reports of side effects after 404,000 Covid-19 vaccinations. In 16 cases serious side effects have been reported after vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine, including deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, but link to the vaccine has not been confirmed. Vaccination with the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine started at the end of December last year, Moderna vaccine has been in use since the second week of January and AstraZeneca from the second week of February.
SSH offering EUR 27.50 a share in Terme Olimia takeover bid
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia Sovereign Holding (SSH) published a takeover bid for spa operator Terme Olimia, offering EUR 27.50 per share for a total of just over 158,000 shares. The offer stands until 10 May unless extended, according to the bid published in the newspaper Delo. The bid applies to the all the remaining shares not owned by the state, which holds shares in Terme Olimia through state-run fund Kapitalska Družba, rail operator Slovenske Železnice and the Bank Assets Management Company.
Infrastructure minister threatened over road transport bill
LJUBLJANA - Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec said he had received threats as a set of changes to the road transport act allowing digital labour platforms, such as Uber, is expected to be debated in parliament at the next plenary session. He has already reported them to the police. "I've received threats because of the bill that enables modernisation of taxi rides and digitalisation. This is unacceptable, and at the same time a strong argument to pass the legislation and regulate the system. We won't renounce the vision of a modern, progressive Slovenia," Vrtovec tweeted.
Slovenia extends condolences after Prince Philip dies
LJUBLJANA/LONDIN, UK - President Borut Pahor and Prime Minister expressed his condolences following the death of Prince Philip after Buckingham Palace announced Queen Elizabeth II's husband died aged 99 this morning. Pahor expressed sincere condolences to Queen Elizabeth II and the citizens of the UK on behalf of Slovenia on Twitter and Janša also expressed on Twitter "deepest condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom." The Slovenian Foreign Ministry and the country's embassy in London have also expressed condolences.
DeSUS MPs clash with interim party head
LJUBLJANA - Three MPs of the opposition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) are upset about statements by interim party head Brigita Čokl about them in the media. They are particularly bothered by her saying that a stick would be needed to deal with MPs because the carrot approach does not work. The MPs, Franc Jurša, Branko Simonovič and Ivan Hršak, hired Franci Matoz, the lawyer well known for representing PM Janez Janša and the ruling Democrats (SDS) and demand that Čokl revoke her statements, threatening legal action.
Pahor to put forward academician for Constitutional Court judge
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor said he was planning to nominate law professor Janez Kranjc, an associate member of the Slovenian Academy of Science and Arts (SAZU), for a vacancy on the Constitutional Court that has been unfilled since mid-July last year. According to a press release from the president's office, Pahor has been notifying heads of deputy factions about the intended nomination before hosting the next round of consultations on the appointment, expectedly at the end of next week.
Poll shows fewer employees working remotely in third wave
LJUBLJANA - As many as 66% of those surveyed by pollster Valicon came to work at their company last week, which compares to only 50% at the peak of the second wave of the epidemic in November. Only 11% worked fully from home, down five percentage points. The share of those who worked partly from home partly and partly at their workplace also dropped in the third wave, by four points to 10%. While a total of 36% of workers worked from home in November, the figure fell to 24% over the past week, shows the poll conducted in 1-4 April among 500 people.
Mountain hut associated with Paritisan unit consumed by fire
SLOVENSKA BISTRICA - Dom na Osankarici (NE) , a popular mountain hut situated close to a well-known WWII memorial in the Pohorje forests been consumed by fire during the night, but firefighters managed to protect a museum collection dedicated to a storied Partisan unit from flames.