Lifestyle

24 Feb 2021, 12:10 PM

STA, 24 February 2021 - The National Public Health Institute (NIJZ) has announced that a total of 25,200 doses of the Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines for Covid-19 are expected in Slovenia on Thursday.

More than 232,000 doses are expected to be delivered in March - 99,450 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, 30,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine and 102,885 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the NIJZ told the STA on Wednesday.

This week, Pfizer already delivered 22,230 doses, and a slightly larger shipment of Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccine is expected tomorrow.

Moderna is expected to deliver 8,400 doses, half of which is to be used for second shots, while AstraZeneca is to deliver 16,800 shots, all of which will go for first shots, the NIJZ said.

As for March, Pfizer is expected to deliver shipments of almost 20,000 doses every Monday. AstraZeneca is to deliver its vaccine in five shipments, the first coming on 4 March, when 3,700 doses are expected.

All the latest data on Slovenia and coronavirus

22 Feb 2021, 12:54 PM

STA, 22 February 2021 - Slovenia logged 247 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, three more than the same day a week ago, as eight patients with Covid-19 died. The 7-day average of new cases stayed level at 744, fresh government figures show.

The latest cases were confirmed from 1,428 PCR tests, for a positivity rate of 17.3%. In addition, 8,551 rapid antigen tests were also performed.

The number of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 rose by 18 to 584 after 39 patients were admitted and 13 discharged yesterday. The number of patients in intensive care units rose by two to 104.

For a further easing of coronavirus restrictions, hospitalisations would have to fall below 500 and the 7-day average of new confirmed cases below 600.

The cumulative 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents was at 522 and the 7-day incidence at 248 on Sunday, show data from the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), released by the government.

Region-wise, the highest incidence remains in the south-western region of Obalno-Kraška, the 14-day figure being at 744 and the 7-day at 400 per 100,000 residents.

Commenting on the situation at the daily press briefing, Health Ministry State Secretary Alenka Forte noted that tourism destinations and shopping centres were very busy at the first weekend since travel across the country was allowed.

She appealed to the public to pick the destinations of their trips wisely and opt for less busy spots and not to become "too relaxed" about precautionary measures.

Forte was "very happy" about the falling hospitalisations and deaths, setting out an exit strategy for hospitals.

"We're currently in the first phase of the exit strategy when hospitalisations fall under 700. Covid bed capacities of all hospitals are reduced to 10% of all bed capacities, except for the Golnik hospital, where the percentage is 15%," she said.

In addition Topolšica and Sežana hospitals are no longer Covid hospitals and have resumed their regular services.

In the second phase, when country-wide Covid-19 hospitalisations fall below 500, the hospitals in Ptuj, Slovenj Gradec, Trbovlje, Brežice and Izola will no longer be Covid hospitals and will resume their regular programme and the Jesenice hospital will close its Covid unit due to renovation.

In the third phase, as Covid hospitalisations fall below 250, only UKC Ljubljana and UKC Maribor, Golnik and the hospitals in Celje, Novo Mesto and Nova Gorica will continue as Covid hospitals.

Only the two medical centres and Golnik clinic will continue to treat Covid patients when their number falls below 100 and if the number is even lower, Golnik will no longer have intensive care beds for Covid patients.

Emergency wards in all hospitals will keep so-called "grey zones" to isolate patients suspected to be infected with coronavirus. If they test positive, the patients will be relocated following the exit strategy.

Slovenia has so far reported 185,013 coronavirus cases, with an estimated 11,014 active infections, data from the NIJZ show.

According to tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org, a total of 3,784 Covid-19 patients have died.

More than 94,300 people received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine and nearly 50,000 received both jabs by Sunday.

The latest data on coronavirus and Slovenia

18 Feb 2021, 13:41 PM

STA, 18 February 2021 - A total of 872 people tested positive for coronavirus in Slovenia on Wednesday as the rolling 7-day average of new cases dropped to 768, data released by the government show. A further ten patients with Covid-19 died.

The latest case count marks a decline of 36% from Wednesday a week ago. The cases were confirmed in 4,271 PCR tests for a positivity rate of 20.4%. The count includes retested positives suggested by 24,005 rapid antigen tests.

Hospitalisations kept declining further, dropping by 29 to 619 as 61 patients were discharged and 42 were newly admitted. The number of patients in intensive care units fell by ten to 116.

To move from orange to yellow tier of coronavirus restrictions under the government plan, hospitalisations would have to fall below 500 and the 7-day average of new confirmed cases below 600.

Slovenia has so far reported 182,484 coronavirus cases with an estimated 11,234 still active, data from the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) shows.

According to tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org, a total of 3,755 Covid-19 patients have died.

The cumulative 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents is 532 and the 7-day incidence is 256, according to NIJZ. The highest incidence is in the Obalno-Kraška region, at 710 and 397, respectively.

Commenting on the situation at the daily press briefing, Bojana Beović, the government's chief Covid-19 adviser, noted that the improving epidemiological situation was the product of measures that were in force ten to 14 days ago.

The figures do not reflect the recent easing of restrictions, she said, warning that any premature or too extensive relaxation could trigger a third wave, even without an outbreak of the more virulent variants of the virus.

"All the paths are still open, the epidemic is not over yet," said the infectious diseases expert, who will take over as the head of the Medical Chamber following today's confirmation and will thus no longer head the Covid-19 advisory group.

She is particularly concerned about the South African variant, which she said was in fact a new disease. Those who have recovered from coronavirus are not immunised against this variant and likewise are the Covid-19 vaccines so far approved by the EU not effective against it.

On a positive note, she said sample analyses so far indicated the country had managed to control the UK variant. She also believes that immunity acquired through infection has a major role in curbing the epidemic, along with precautionary measures.

Get the latest data on Slovenia and coronavirus

15 Feb 2021, 16:24 PM

STA, 15 February 2021 - All primary school students and final-year secondary school students from western and central Slovenia returned to school after over four months on Monday. Headteachers reported no major difficulties in organising classes. Most students are happy to be back. Schools in the eastern part of the country closed for a week-long holiday.

Quite a few adjustments were needed to avoid student contacts outside their classroom bubbles, so timetables had to be changed on very short notice, said Irena Kodele Krašna, the headteacher of the Danilo Lokar primary school in Adjovščina.

Headteacher of the Fran Erjavec school in Nova Gorica Lara Brun told the STA their transition from distance to in-person learning would be soft and in line with all health recommendations.

"I told the staff to have sympathy to their students, as returning to school is again a big change for them. So this week they should mostly repeat what they've been learning ... but foremost create an encouraging learning environment," she said.

Alenka Krapež, head teacher of the Gimnazija Vič high school, said their students and teachers were "happy, smiling and content". The school had no problems with coronavirus testing or organising of classes, noting that the same system had been used as last September, meaning each class being in their own classroom, distance keeping, use of face masks and airing of rooms.

The Gimnazija Franceta Prešerna Kranj secondary school is using a hybrid model of education, combining distance learning and classroom work. The system had been introduced because of frequent absences of many students who are musicians or athletes.

Head teacher Mirjam Bizjak told the STA they had some problems organising work but they were being tackled. She said gym classes for example would be held outdoors as much as possible.

Practical lessons are now also allowed for all students, so students of the Radovljica School of Hospitality and Tourism have lessons for one or two days a week at school and the rest from home, while the final grades have no more distance learning.

Head teacher Ivan Damjan Mašič said the biggest gap for students was not having had practical classes so they would try to make up for some of that first.

He said the school was big enough to have isolated bubbles and that nobody had any objections to masks. "Students are happy to be back at school. You can tell they missed socialising the most."

This was echoed by Andreja Ahčin, headteacher of the Biotechnical Centre Naklo. "The kind of combined lessons that we have now is quite a challenge for the teachers but we are happy that at least part of the students could return to school."

The importance of having students return to school and among friends was also stressed by the head of the DOS organisation of secondary school students, Maja Kalin. She said a survey conducted among secondary school students had shown 54% of them wanting to return to schools for the higher quality of education.

Quite a few of them had reservations, mainly concerns that they would put their family members in danger. Some also fear that taking a lot of tests in a short period of time to make up for the backlog would be stressful.

Dorms are also open again today. The head of the Kranj dorm for secondary school and university students, Judita Nahtigal, said their dorm had not been completely empty in the past months because of foreign students. But now that schools reopened, about a fifth of residents have returned.

15 Feb 2021, 14:16 PM

STA, 15 February 2021 - The National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) expects new batches of Covid-19 vaccines this week, consisting of 21,060 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, and 16,800 of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The national vaccination strategy has been updated with regard to setting the priority groups, the NIJZ told the STA.

The priority groups for vaccination are medical staff, employees and residents of care homes and day centres for people with disabilities, people aged over 80, those over 75 and then those over 70 and particularly vulnerable patients with chronic disease regardless of their age.

After that the vaccine will be available for those over 65 and chronic patients older than 60, followed by employees in key services and the rest of the population, suggests the strategy obtained by the STA.

The list of particularly vulnerable chronic patients includes people with organ transplants, cancer, severe lung diseases, rare diseases that increase the risk of infection, people treated with immunosuppressives, those with conditions that increase the risk of infection, adults with Down syndrome, adults on dialysis and those with level five chronic kidney disease.

The NIJZ advisory body has recommended the AstraZeneca vaccine for people aged under 65 but also for the vaccination of bedridden persons at their homes, as unlike the mRNA vaccines it is more stable and thus easier to transport.

Currently, three Covid-19 vaccines are registered for use in Slovenia but given that their quantities are very limited, people cannot choose which one their will be inoculated with.

The mRNK vaccines of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are currently used for the vaccination of medical staff older than 65, and for people over 80. After that citizens older then 75 will be vaccinated with them and then those over 70 and particularly vulnerable chronic patients regardless of their age, and then those over 65.

The AstraZeneca vaccine will first be administered to health staff aged between 18 and 64, and employees and residents of care homes and day centres for people or youth with disabilities, and employees at prisons and other similar institutions of the same age.

After that, employees and students of special schools will receive the vaccine, along with particularly vulnerable chronic patients aged 18-64 and possibly also older with or without chronic disease if they express the desire to be vaccinated as soon as possible and if this is line with their doctor's orders.

After that patients aged 18-64 will be vaccinated, healthy persons aged 60-65, emergency services and the rest of the population, the strategy says.

15 Feb 2021, 11:26 AM

STA, 15 February 2021 - Bans on gatherings and travel between municipalities and regions have been lifted as movement throughout the country and gatherings of up to ten persons are once again allowed after Slovenia shifted to the orange tier of restrictions. All shops are now open as well.

A ban on travel outside one's municipality of residence was imposed in October with a number of exemptions, including for work, education, looking after sick persons and tending to property.

So far, gatherings in public spaces have been allowed for families and members of the same household, but from today they are capped at ten persons. Larger assemblies, events or rallies are still banned and the 9pm-6am curfew remains in place.

All shops may open as of today as well, under the condition that staff test negative for coronavirus. They will have to be tested weekly.

Restrictions have also been lifted in the sports and recreation world with contactless training allowed for individuals and groups of a maximum of ten athletes.

Physical distancing protocols should be heeded and coaches or trainers must produce a negative coronavirus test no older than 24 hours, vaccination certificate or a document attesting they have already recovered from Covid-19.

One of these documents must be also produced by users of ski lifts and staff in direct contact with clients in ski resorts, however in this case the negative test should not be older than 7 days.

Sports events remain spectator-free for now.

14 Feb 2021, 12:22 PM

STA, 14 February 2021 - Slovenia logged 329 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, down a third over the week before, as the positive trend, in particular in hospitals, continued. Twelve Covid-19 patients died, the latest government data shows.

The new cases come from over 1,800 PCR tests and over 5,000 rapid antigen tests, whereby all those who test positive with rapid tests are subsequently re-tested with the more reliable PCR tests.

The system has been put in place effective yesterday after there were clusters of cases across the country where rapid tests were positive but follow-up PCR tests negative.

Hospital numbers continued to improve as well. The number of Covid-19 patients declined by 24 to 739, the lowest since late October, while ICU cases dropped by 23 to 149, the lowest since early November.

Slovenia has confirmed 179,482 cases since the start of the pandemic, according to the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ). The death count stands at 3,717, according to data tracker Covid-19 Sledilnik.

The number of active cases is estimated by the NIJZ at just under 13,000, whereas the seven-day average of new daily infections dropped to 823.

13 Feb 2021, 08:57 AM

STA, 12 February 2021 - Remote schooling has taken a toll on parents, particularly mothers, and primary school children who have been struggling due to stress, exhaustion and lack of motivation, shows a study by the March 8 Institute. The NGO has urged a strategy to address the repercussions of remote learning.

The study was conducted among more than 2,600 Slovenian households with primary school children, according to Jasna Mažgon, professor of educational sciences at the Ljubljana Faculty of Arts.

Children lack motivation, whereas parents are tired and worried with mothers being most frequently overworked due to helping children with virtual learning, she summed up the results.

The survey goes into detail by indicating that almost a quarter of the participants do not have a quiet space where children could do their schoolwork. Almost half of the children share a computer or laptop with their parents or siblings.

Children spend from four to six hours online per day attending virtual classes. Almost half of the parents spend an additional one to two hours helping children with their school tasks and a third up to four hours, said Mark J. Užmah, who led the survey.

Moreover, remote schooling has been held against a backdrop of deepening social inequalities, warned Mojca Lukan of the NGO. Slightly above 40% of the participating households have seen their income decrease since the start of the Covid crisis.

Nika Kovač, the head of the NGO, warned that months-long distance learning had left its mark on parents and children's mental health as two thirds reported enhanced exhaustion and 58% said they were struggling. She also noted that there was no data on so-called lost students, children who had not been attending online classes.

The actual impact of remote education on children will be clear after all of them return to in-classroom learning, said Užmah. He agreed with Kovač that something should be done to tackle the situation since "long-term remote schooling is not as effective as the Education Ministry says it is".

The NGO believes that a clear national strategy should be prepared for future school reopenings.

Some of the current prevention measures in schools set down by the government could not be heeded, Užmah said, pointing to small classrooms and a shortage of teachers.

Mažgon said that the ministry should determine the extent of learning gaps in individual subjects that emerged or were widened during remote education and come up with measures to mitigate this as much as possible.

Contact tracing and issuing quarantine orders due to risky contacts should be resumed as soon as possible, Užmah noted, adding that if ordered to self-isolate due to a risky contact, parents should then get compensation for loss of income during that time.

11 Feb 2021, 17:35 PM

STA, 11 February 2021 - Movement will once again be allowed throughout the country from Monday, after the government decided to abolish municipal and regional restrictions which have been in place for months. However, night curfew will stay in place between 9pm and 6am, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs told the press after the government session on Thursday.

Hojs, addressing reporters on Thursday as the government lifted a series of coronavirus restrictions, said it would be possible to cross the border with Austria, Hungary and Italy via all border crossings rather than designated checkpoints from Saturday.

Slovenia is also adding a new list of high risk countries to the red Covid country list to comprise countries in the EU and Schengen area whose epidemiological status is poorer than Slovenia's. Hojs listed as those currently including Spain, Portugal and the Czech Republic.

Arrivals from those countries will have to produce a negative coronavirus test, however from Saturday it will also be possible to cross the border with a positive PCR test dating at least 21 days but no more than six months back, or with a doctor's note proving the person has recovered from Covid-19 that should be no older than six months.

Also valid will be negative tests issued by labs in third countries approved by the National Institute of Public Health, while only doctor's notes from EU and Schengen countries will be valid.

Those immunised against the virus who produce proof they have received a second jab will also be allowed to cross without restrictions.

Slovenia imposed systematic internal Schengen border checks first on 11 March on its border with Italy, which saw a rapid spread in coronavirus. Later checks were imposed on all internal borders.

Health checks on the external Schengen border with Croatia had been introduced in late February 2020.

With the easing of the first wave of coronavirus, Slovenia was one of the first countries to scrap mandatory quarantine for arrivals from EU and Schengen area countries on 14 May.

The border regime started to be restricted again in early autumn, depending on the coronavirus status of the country arrivals came from. Those from red-listed countries faced mandatory quarantine or a negative test. From late October to early December almost all of Europe was on Slovenia's red list.

11 Feb 2021, 16:49 PM

STA, 11 February 2021 - The government has decided that all stores will be allowed to reopen in Slovenia on Monday, while consumers will no longer have to produce a negative coronavirus test, whereas now this is required for several services. However, skiing will be an exception to this, with skiers required to produce a negative test no older than 7 days.

All retail services will be allowed without restrictions from Monday, Economy Ministry state secretary Ajda Cuderman told the press after the government session in Thursday.

While consumers will no longer be required to show a negative test, those working in retail, beauty and massage services, as well as hairdressers, will still have to get tested regularly.

So will staff in manufacturing, maintenance and installation, real estate, training and animal grooming services, which are now reopening. Apart from car shops, services are limited to 400 square metres of surface area, said Cuderman. Staff training will be allowed for up to 10 people.

Retail and service staff required to get tested, will get priority treatment in testing, the government decided today. Moreover, testing will be paid for by the state.

The restriction of one customer per 30 square metres remains in place in closed spaces and one customer per 10 square metres in open air markets.

The government also decided to loosen restrictions currently in place for ski lift operators. From Monday, skiers will be able to buy fares with a negative test no older than 7 days, whereas until now the test had to be no older than 24 hours.

Ski lift staff in direct contact with clients will also need to have test no older than 7 days, Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec said.

Changes have also been made to the rules applying to taxi services and driving schools. Taxi drivers will have to be tested every three days, while driving school students will require a test no older than three days, whereas now it is limited to 24 hours. The rules remain unchanged for driving school instructors, who need a test no older than three days.

Moreover, the minister said changes are planned for public transport, as schools will once again reopen on Monday. "When schools open, public transport will run flawlessly."

Those who have recovered from Covid-19 will not have to get tested for six months and will be able to access services with a doctor's note. Negative tests will also not be required for those who have been vaccinated.

"This is important, considering that we have at least 200,000 people who recovered from Covid-19," said Vrtovec.

The Chamber of Craft and Small Business (OZS) welcomed the loosening of restrictions for services, above all the abolishment of tests for customers, noting that many beauty salons did not reopen while this requirement was in place.

However, the retail section of the OZS is less pleased and has sent a letter of protest to Prime Minister Janez Janša, objecting to regular testing imposed recently on staff in shops selling essentials, which have been open throughout the epidemic without the staff having to be tested.

Primary schools fully reopening on Monday

STA, 11 February 2021 - Primary schools throughout the country will fully reopen on Monday after almost four months of closure. Final year secondary school students will also return to school and exams will again take place at the university level along with seminars for up to 10 students, a government official said on Thursday.

Primary schools will reopen in the western half of the country for about 107,000 pupils, while 83,000 pupils from the eastern half of the country will start a one-week winter holiday, Education Ministry State Secretary Damir Orehovec told the press.

Some 6,000 teachers will thus also return to schools.

Strict safety measures will be adhered to at schools. Pupils will not be leaving their classrooms for different lessons to avoid contacts outside their class. Schools also are urged to organise school meals in a way to minimise contacts outside the bubbles.

No other activities will be organised at schools, and excursions and swimming and other additional lessons have been cancelled. However, individual music and art lessons will be allowed.

Some 11,000 high school students in the final year are also expected to return to their classrooms next week as are 655 students of vocational schools. Practical classes for secondary school students and adult education will be allowed again.

Exams will again take place at the university level along with seminars for up to 10 students. The same exceptions will apply for student dormitories.

Universities have already welcomed the changes. Ljubljana university chancellor Igor Papič sees this as an important step forward, which however is not essential, as the exam period ends this week and the summer semester begins next week. Still, the changes are welcome as universities will have to make up for the last three months, he told the STA.

Maribor university chancellor and the head of the Chancellors' Conference Zdravko Kačič said the possibility of assembly of up to ten people would enable them to organise courses to make up for any backlogs and conduct exams with up to 10 students.

There will be no changes for kindergartens and the first three grades of primary school, which are already open. According to Orehovec, kindergartens had 74% of the children there this week and the first three grades 90%.

As of Monday, non-contact sports will be allowed again for up to 10 people if the two-metre distance can be maintained at all times. Exercising will no longer be limited to families or individuals.

Schools and universities were first closed on 16 March last year when the Marjan Šarec government declared an epidemic. Pupils returned to school after two months of remote learning. On 18 May, the first three grades returned to school along with the final year secondary school students.

A week later the final year primary school pupils returned to their classroom, and than gradually all other grades. Secondary school students remained at home until the end of the school year.

The new school year started on 1 September as usually but schools were forced to switch to remote teaching soon. On 19 October, pupils from up to 6th grade could no longer go to school, and after the autumn break all other pupils staid home as well.

As the epidemiological situation in the country finally improved somewhat, the first three grades of primary school reopened in the regions faring the best on 26 January and also in other regions this Tuesday.

Slovenia scrapping Schengen checkpoints

STA, 11 February 2021 - Slovenia is scrapping checkpoints on internal Schengen borders starting from Saturday and those who have recovered from Covid-19 or have been vaccinated against it will be able to enter the country without having to quarantine or provide a negative coronavirus test, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs has announced.

Hojs, addressing reporters on Thursday as the government lifted a series of coronavirus restrictions, said it would be possible to cross the border with Austria, Hungary and Italy via all border crossings rather than just designated checkpoints from Saturday.

10 Feb 2021, 17:01 PM

STA, 10 February 2021 - Slovenia currently has 2% of its population vaccinated against coronavirus and if the supply of vaccines continues at current pace, 5% of the population could be vaccinated by the end of the month, said Marta Grgič Vitek, the coordinator of the vaccination programme at the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ).

The vaccination of people older than 80 continues throughout the country today, including in Ljubljana and Ajdovščina. In some towns, like Kranj and Nova Gorica, new batches of the vaccine have not arrived yet and are expected on Thursday.

In Ljubljana, where vaccination is being carried out in the morning and rapid testing in the afternoon at the main fairgrounds, 4,000 shots by three different producers are available this week, Uroš Zafošnik, the local coordinator, said yesterday.

Until 7 February, almost 55,000 people received the first shot of vaccine, which is 2.6% of the population, and almost 43,000 the second, which is 2% of the citizens.

So far, a total of 108,000 vaccine doses have been distributed and another 136,100 doses are to be supplied this month.

Apart from the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the AstraZeneca vaccine is also being distributed today.

Currently, the recommendation is that mRNK vaccines, meaning the former two vaccines, are used for those older than 80, while others can also receive the AstraZeneca vaccine. The latter is recommended for inoculation of bedridden persons at their homes, as unlike the mRNK vaccines it is more stable and thus easier to transport.

When all those over 80 who have expressed interest in the vaccination will be inoculated, those over 75 years old will follow and then those over 70 and the particularly vulnerable patients with chronic diseases regardless of their age.

According to Grgič Vitek, the vaccine produced by AstraZeneca is recommended for people aged between 18 and 64, as there is not enough data on its efficiency in older people.

The second shot is to be administered after nine to 12 weeks, which is longer than with mRNK vaccines.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is to be used for health workers who have not been inoculated yet, for institutionalised persons who have not been vaccinated yet, for special schools staff and children, and for particularly vulnerable chronic patients under 65.

These will be followed by other chronic patients and then those working in key infrastructure.

Grgič Vitek could not say when healthy adults could expect to get vaccinated. "We don't know what the demand and supply will be," she said.

She expects those over 80 to be vaccinated by the end of the month, while vulnerable chronic patients could be inoculated in April.

The priority groups among employees in key infrastructure will be adjusted to the type and quantity of the vaccines supplied. "We believe teachers and employees in education should be a priority, while we will ask the government and other bodies to decide who else they consider to be the most important for the functioning of the country," said the NIJZ official.

Meanwhile, it is not clear yet whether the vaccines also prevent transmission of infection. "An expert recommendation is that once a person is inoculated, meaning a week after the second shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, two weeks after the second shot of the Moderna vaccine and three weeks after the first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine, no testing is required for the next three months."

For now, this applies only to medical staff but the rules should also be set for others, Grgič Vitek said.

Until the end of this week, more than a thousand cases of side effects following vaccination have been entered into the NIJZ registry. Most, 1,064 cases referred to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine of which some 96,000 shots have been administered.

Five cases referred to the Moderna vaccine of which just over 8,000 shots have been distributed.

In most cases, mild side effects are being reported such as pain in the vaccination spot, headaches and dizziness.

Seven cases of serious side effects have been recorded since the end of January. "They were two deaths and five such side effects that required hospital treatment," Grgič Vitek said, adding the share of serious side effects was lower than with other vaccines.

Meanwhile, the head of the National Institute of Biology, Maja Ravnikar, presented the institute's research of the virus's presence in excrement. The institute has been testing samples from several sewage treatment plants across the country covering 600,000 people for months as part of a pilot project.

The results so far show that the amount of the new coronavirus in waste waters matches the number of active cases detected in tests. The last increase in the amount of virus was detected in January and now it has been decreasing for a while, Ravnikar told the press today.

"By analysing waste waters we are monitoring the entire population, meaning also those who have not been tested. This process is very fast, so sometimes we detect a rise in a number of infected people a few days ahead," she said.

The mutations of the virus can also be detected. Until mid-January the presence of South African or Brazilian strains have not been detected. Some samples have been association with the British variant but in very small quantities.

The latest data on coronavirus and Slovenia

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