STA, 7 January 2020 - Mass antigen rapid testing has been suspended in Ljubljana due to unsuitable swabs, the Ljubljana Health Community Centre has announced.
The health centre told the STA they had suspended testing based on a decision by the Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices, which found the swabs unsuitable because their producer is not known and the swabs have no required markings.
The agency said in a press release today that this had been determined as part of an inquiry into the suitability of the rapid antigen tests kits by Chinese producer Shenzen Ultra-Diagnostic Biotec supplied by company Majbert Pharm.
Subsequently, a temporary ban was issued preventing further use of the swabs. The agency stressed that the ban was in place exclusively for the swabs.
The Ljubljana Health Community Centre announced it was suspending mass testing that should have resumed at Kodeljevo sports hall at 11am today due to a lack of proper swabbing materials.
They said testing would resume as soon as they received permission and suitable materials from the Health Ministry or the relevant institution.
Mass testing was also suspended in Medvode, a town just north-west of Ljubljana. The local authorities said the community health centre there had received only 350 tests from the Health Ministry and would soon run out of tests, considering the great numbers of people wanting to be swabbed.
The Medvode Community Health Centre will resume testing next week, on Tuesday. Testing will be available to Medvode residents only.
The Agency for Medicinal Products announced yesterday it would examine the suitability of antigen tests after suspicions had been raised about the tests' reliability.
The Chinese-made rapid antigen tests have been supplied by Majbert Pharm, a company owned by a pair reportedly linked to cryptocurrency pyramid schemes, which won a public tender in December for offering the lowest price, at EUR 1.982 apiece.
The web portal Necenzurirano has reported that the tests had shown a false positive result in several cases.
The opposition Social Democrats (SD) reacted by filing a request for an emergency session of the parliamentary Health Committee to discuss the transparency and lawfulness of the public tender for the rapid antigen tests and the suitability of the supplied tests.
It said that suggestions that the supply of inappropriate tests could be linked to the ruling Democrats (SDS) should be investigated immediately along with any potential violations of anti-corruption legislation.
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STA, 7 January 2020 - Last year saw temperatures that were above average as well as an average precipitation volume and above-average sun exposure, show interim data released by the Environmental Agency (ARSO) on Thursday. The year of 2020 ranks among the hottest five recorded since 1961.
The temperature departure from the 1981-2010 average stood at 1.3 Celsius in 2020, meaning the year ranks fifth among the hottest years on record, preceded by 2019, 2018, 2015 and 2014.
The latter is considered the hottest as temperatures rose to 1.7 Celsius above the average that year.
The temperature departure in these years was most pronounced in southern Slovenia, excluding the coast and Bela Krajina in the south, and in parts of the country in the north-east bordering on Croatia.
All the months of 2020 were above-average hot, except for May.
The greatest temperature departure was recorded in February, 4.5 Celsius, making last year's February the second hottest February since 1961.
July temperatures were closest to the average, whereas May 2020 was a bit colder, with the temperature departure standing at -0,5 Celsius.
Long-term temperature measurements in Slovenia show that climate has been warming up in past decades, the agency said.
Last year was the tenth in a row recording rising temperatures compared to the 1981-2010 average. Since 2000, there have been only three years when temperatures dropped on the average.
The eight hottest years on record have been recorded since then, and among 20 years with the highest temperatures only three were prior to 2000.
Moreover, last year was declared the hottest year on record in a number of European countries.
According to ARSO data, the precipitation volume in 2020 was roughly on par with the average. January was the driest month, whereas December was the wettest.
Sun exposure was also above average, with 2020 ranking among five sunniest since 1961. The year that saw most sunshine is 2011.
January and April were particularly above average when it comes to sunny days. On the other hand, December was most notably below average.
STA, 6 January 2020 - A total of 3,354 coronavirus infections were confirmed in Slovenia on Tuesday from a combined 22,194 PCR and rapid antigen tests, the highest daily number of cases yet, as the positivity rate for PCR tests hit a record high, government data show. A further 31 Covid-19 patients lost their lives.
Of the 6,956 PCR tests performed yesterday, 2,602 returned positive results for a positivity rate of 37.4%. In addition, 752 infections were confirmed from 15,238 rapid antigen tests (4.9%), Jelko Kacin, the government's Covid-19 spokesman, told the press.
The daily number of cases from both types of tests is up by 853 from the day before and compares to the previous high of 2,611 logged on 27 October, when only PCR were counted as valid.
Addressing the daily briefing, Nuška Čakš Jager, deputy head of the Centre for Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), suggested the rise in infections in recent days was mainly due to private gatherings and family reunions over the holidays.
She cited case statistics as showing infections among care home residents were decreasing, while cases were rising among other groups of the population, in particularly those aged 25 to 34, and to an extent those between 45 and 54 years of age.
"That, along with the survey among the infected confirms the likeliest reason for the increase in transmissions was private gatherings and family reunions during the holidays," said Čakš Jager.
She said a further increase in infections was expected in the coming few days, but NIJZ was not planning to recommend any new restrictions for the time being as recommendations in place such as those pertaining to social distancing "should suffice to contain the spread of infections if everyone stuck to them".
Kacin said potential new measures or changes to the existing ones could be expected at the government session on Thursday after the government meets in its Covid-19 format in the afternoon today.
After Croatia confirmed a Scottish strain of the novel coronavirus yesterday and several countries, including Austria, reported having confirmed the fast transmittable British mutation, Kacin said an analysis conducted by the Institute of Microbiology and Immunology of the Ljubljana Faculty of Medicine had not yet detected the presence of the British variant in Slovenia.
The number of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 dropped by 16 to 1,177 after 106 were discharged and 114 were newly admitted. The number of those in intensive care units dropped by six to 182, Kacin said.
NIJZ data show Slovenia has confirmed 131,787 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic with an estimated 21,697 cases still active.
The 14-day incidence of cases per 100,00 residents is 1,032, while the seven-day daily average of cases is 1,703.
According to tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org, the latest deaths bring the country's death toll from Covid-19 to 2,899.
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STA, 5 January 2020 - As many as 2,501 people tested positive for coronavirus in Slovenia on Monday, the second highest daily increase to date, as almost 23,500 PCR and antigen tests were performed, the largest number yet, following scaled-down testing over the extended holiday weekend. Another 30 patients with Covid-19 lost their lives, government data show.
Of the 5,966 PRC tests performed yesterday, 1,680 or 28% came back positive, while 821 infections were detected from 17,531 rapid antigen tests, for a positivity rate of 4.7%, show data presented by Jelko Kacin, the government's coronavirus spokesman.
The surge comes after a drop in cases over the extended holiday weekend when testing is as a rule scaled down. Yesterday, rapid testing became available at community health centres and many companies had their staff tested as did schools for children with special needs before reopening for in-person teaching today.
The hardest hit region remains Posavska in the east with a seven-day incidence of 1,037 per 100,000 as of 3 January, followed by SE Slovenia with 797. The national average is 520,9, with six regions below and six above that figure. The 14-day average is 972.
In Brežice, the centre of Posavska region, the hospital is still waiting for the vaccine for its staff and has received no explanation about the delay or when to expect the vaccine, hospital director Anica Hribar said.
Meanwhile, its Covid-19 ward is at capacity. While all ward beds are full, only one of its two ICU ventilation beds is free at the moment, she said, adding that patients would have to be moved if the situation keeps getting worse.
Covid-19 hospitalisations fell by 16 to 1,193 after 112 patients were newly admitted and 108 were discharged yesterday. The number of patients in intensive care units dropped by six to 188.
Since the start of the pandemic, Slovenia has recorded more than 128,000 coronavirus cases. A total of 2,868 patients with Covid-19 have died, according to the tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org. The site estimates the number of active cases at 20,510.
Data from care homes presented by Kacin show that infections were confirmed yesterday in 51 residents and 30 employees. In the five facilities for people with special needs 14 residents and one employee tested positive.
Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj said that a total of 10,036 care home residents and 3,789 staff have recovered from Covid-19 or are still infected, that is out of totals of 18,700 and 9,108, respectively.
He said that 8,116 residents and 1,848 staff at aged-care facilities had already been vaccinated against Covid-19 as the facilities were to get a further 2,199 doses today, with another 701 to be supplied to facilities for adults with special needs.
"Those who haven't been inoculated, because they were infected at the time, will be vaccinated in the coming rounds of vaccination," the minister told the daily morning briefing.
The government last week expanded the requirement for regular rapid antigen testing to home care, social services and social care programmes providers.
Meanwhile, Kacin also provided more information about the death reported to the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) following vaccination. Initial expert opinions indicate that the patient had died of a repeat heart attack and that their death was unrelated to the vaccine.
The person who died was an elderly resident of a care home who decided themselves that they wanted to get vaccinated, the speaker said.
In line with standard procedure, a commission of independent experts will be appointed to look into the case and present its final results to the public, Kacin said.
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STA, 4 January 2020 - Moderna Galerija, the national museum of modern art, will put on a major exhibition of works by Slovenian artist Tobias Putrih this year and showcase illustrations by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. The Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (+MSUM) will showcase photographs by Božidar Dolenc.
Born in 1972, Tobias Putrih, who lives and works in Cambridge, Massachusetts, deals with 20th century avant-garde in his conceptual and materially ephemeral projects, focussing on utopian and visionary concepts in architecture and design.
He conceives architectural changes for public spaces such as cinemas, libraries, galleries and universities - building temporary places from paper, cardboard, wood and light, Moderna Galerija writes about his work.
The retrospective will offer a good insight into his work, in sculpture as well as architecture. His projects of the last two decades will be presented, including interior design installations, monumental installations, objects and drawings.
The exhibition is to be held from 4 February until 2 May.
Pablo Picasso: Illustrations, which will be on show from May until September, will combine a number of Picasso's works from a private collection from Trieste.
The collection is owned by two sisters, who were good friends of Slovenian painter Zoran Mušič (1909-2005). The Slovenian part of the collection, which includes works by Mušič, will be donated to Moderna Galerija after their death.
The exhibition pays tribute to them, presenting works by Picasso that also inspired Slovenian artists. Picasso's illustrations of poetry, opera and other works will be on display.
From October to December, Moderna Galerija will host Greater Than Me: Contemporary Art and Yugoslavian Heritage, which the museum is preparing for the Italian national museum of 21st century art MAXXI in Rome, where it will be displayed in the summer.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (+MSUM) will meanwhile host the first major posthumous exhibition of one of the most acclaimed photographers of the second half of 20th century in Slovenia. Autography, Enigma, Rebellion: Photography by Božidar Dolec is based on a collection the museum obtained in 2016.
Apart from his street images reflecting his non-conformist spirit, almost painful fierceness and meaningful bitterness, the exhibition will also present Dolen's comprehensive collection of photos capturing the alternative culture of the 1980s, according to the museum. It will between 23 February and 6 June.
Between 24 June and 3 October, the exhibition Political Performance of the 1990s in the area of former Yugoslavia will explore the events in periods of war and after the wars in Yugoslavia, and the connections between art performances and political and ideological structures that created them.
STA, 4 January 2020 - A total of 744 new cases of coronavirus infections were recorded in Slovenia on Sunday from a combined 2,671 tests, while 35 persons died of Covid-19, the latest figures released by the government show. Hospitalisations were slightly up compared to Saturday.
A total of 2,041 PCR tests were performed, resulting in 634 new cases for a positivity rate of 31.1%, which is more than two percentage points up compared to Saturday. [Ed. The headline positivity rate is based on all tests, see next paragraph]
The positivity rate for rapid antigen tests was also up by a percentage point to 17.5%, as 630 such tests were performed and 110 cases confirmed.
There were 1,209 people in hospital for Covid-19 yesterday, up by 36 compared to Saturday. The number of those in intensive care was up by four to 194, while 38 persons were discharged from hospital on Sunday.
Slovenia has so far logged 2,838 deaths, while 19,525 cases remain active, up 1.8% from a day earlier, according to data tracker Covid-19 Sledilnik.
Meanwhile, the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) said it had been notified of one case of a side effect following vaccination against Covid-19 and of one death coinciding with inoculation in a care home.
The confirmation comes after the allegation of a person dying after receiving the jab had circulated in social media.
The NIJZ said it had notified the Health Ministry of the reported development. The ministry will call a meeting of a vaccination commission to look into the case, and will notify the public on the findings.
Care home residents across the country were inoculated on 27 December and there have been reports that some have tested positive since.
The Črneče care home in Koroška in the north said today that 36 of what are now 65 infected residents tested positive after being given the jab. About half of some 260 residents there had already recovered from the disease before the latest outbreak.
Similarly, an aged care facility in Ajdovščina in the west, which confirmed its first infection only a week ago, said 32 residents were now infected, 27 of whom had already received the first dose of the vaccine.
"All the infected who had been vaccinated beforehand are displaying relatively mild symptoms or even none, their condition is stable," the Ajdovščina home director Tanja Stibilj Slemič was quoted as saying by the regional civil protection centre.
Commenting on the reports of infections among the immunised care home residents at the morning press briefing, Health Ministry State Secretary Marija Magajne opined the residents had likely been infected before getting the jab but were not showing it yet because they were still in the incubation phase.
NIJZ data as of 3 January show that Slovenia has confirmed 125,858 coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. In the past week about 4,000 fewer cases were recorded than the week before.
Earlier, the government's coronavirus spokesperson Jelko Kacin told the press that the number of rapid tests carried out at Slovenia's border crossings had not yet been integrated into the official figures.
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STA, 4 January 2020 - Gyms and swimming pools will reopen on Monday under strict conditions according to a new government decree that also allows younger registered athletes who are members of national teams to train.
Under the rules adopted on 31 December, one person per 50 sq. is allowed in gyms and swimming pools accompanied by a coach, and a five-metre safety distance between individuals must be observed.
In swimming pools, only every second lane may be occupied and the 50 sq. metre rule applies, Mojca Dupona, the head of the Education Ministry's sports directorate, told the STA.
In indoor facilities under 50 sq. metres, one person or household is allowed to exercise.
Unlike for skiing, which opened on 1 January, a negative coronavirus test is not required for gyms and swimming pools.
Professional athletes have been able to train and compete in top-level events for some time despite coronavirus-related restrictions.
The new decree expands the option of training to roughly 1,000 registered athletes in age categories that depending on sport means those under 18 or 19 years of age and those in the under 16 or 15 category.
However, training is allowed only if it is conducted in bubbles and in strict compliance with measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Athletes competing in Olympic and world competitions, all professional athletes over 15, and up-and-coming athletes who have achieved top-level results have already allowed to compete for several months now.
All in all, the government decree allows roughly 2,700 athletes to compete, though there is some overlap between individual categories.
The new decree follows weeks of appeals by various associations to let young athletes train and compete, with experts warning that future sporting achievements were under threat due to the long training hiatus.
Overall, professional and recreational sport remain severely restricted, but there are many exemptions that allow training.
In collective sports such as ice-hockey, basketball, football and handball top-level national, regional and international competitions are permitted and large events may be held, though without spectators.
In individual sports national competitions, European cups and large international events may be held.
STA, 31 December 2020 - Slovenian ski resorts are allowed to open on 1 January, but only for skiers who test negative for coronavirus, the government decided on Thursday.
The government decree gives the operators of ski resorts the option to set up rapid testing sites at entry points to their ski resorts.
Alternately, skiers may produce a negative test no older than 24 hours that was performed in Slovenia. Accompanied children under 12 do not have to be tested
STA, 31 December 2020 - Below is a timeline of major events since the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in Slovenia in March 2020.
4 March - The first case of coronavirus infection is confirmed in Slovenia.
6 March - The government bans all visits to hospitals and nursing homes.
7 March - Public events in indoor spaces for more than 500 people are banned. A total of 12 infections confirmed in the country.
10 March - The government bans public gatherings indoors for more than 100 people and arrivals of flights from risky areas.
11 March - Slovenia introduces controls on the border with Italy; entry is allowed only at six checkpoints under certain conditions. Healthcare institutions suspend non-urgent preventive services.
12 March - Slovenia declares an epidemic of the novel coronavirus as almost 100 cases are confirmed. Kindergartens and schools close and primary and secondary school students switch to remote learning. Shops with non-essential goods, restaurants and bars are closed, as well as cultural institutions and libraries. Air passenger transport is suspended and public passenger transport is banned, except with taxis. Non-urgent medical services are suspended. All sporting events are cancelled. The border with Italy is closed for cargo transport and for international railway and bus passenger transport, with some exceptions.
18 March - Slovenia closes 27 local border crossings with Croatia, and only four checkpoints remain on the border with Italy. Many production companies temporarily suspend their work.
20 March - A general ban on gatherings and movement in public spaces, with some exceptions, enters into force.
20 March - The National Assembly passes the first package of measures to help the economy.
30 March - A decree limiting the movement of people to within the municipality of one's residence, with certain exceptions, enters into force.
2 April - The National Assembly passes the first anti-corona legislative package designed to help the affected companies and individuals. The measures were estimated at EUR 3 billion.
11 April - With the first signs of the epidemic waning, suspension of non-essential specialist medical services is lifted.
18 April - Maintenance and seasonal work on private land outside one's municipality of residence is allowed under certain conditions. Some sport and recreational activities are allowed within one's municipality of residence. A few days later, certain shops and service workshops are reopened.
28 April - The National Assembly passes the second anti-corona stimulus package, which includes state guarantees for liquidity loans to companies.
30 April - Exactly one month after being introduced, the ban on leaving one's municipality of residence is lifted. Visits to nursing homes are allowed, and a day earlier, cultural institutions and libraries re-open.
4 May - After several weeks, service is allowed in outdoor areas of restaurants and bars. Churches and some non-food shops, as well as hairdressers and beauty parlours reopen.
9 May - All healthcare and dental services are allowed again.
11 May - Public transport is re-launched after eight weeks, while international passenger transport continues to stand still. International air passenger transport is relaunched a day later.
15 May - The mandatory quarantine for Slovenian citizens and citizens of other EU member states upon entry in Slovenia is lifted. It remains in force for citizens of third countries.
18 May - Preschools reopen and children in the first three grades of primary schools and of the final grade of secondary school return to school. All shops and accommodation facilities with up to 30 rooms are allowed to reopen, and restaurants and bars are able to serve guests indoors as well.
18 May - The government creates lists of red, yellow and green countries relative to their epidemiological situation.
23 May - A majority of sports activities are relaunched, except in fitness centres and similar facilities.
25 May - Students of the final grade of primary school are allowed to attend school in person, while nursing homes and other social security institutions start accepting new residents.
26 May - A decree mandating a 14-day quarantine for citizens of EU member states and third countries enters into force, except for the green-listed countries.
29 May - The National Assembly passes the third anti-corona stimulus package, worth EUR 1 billion. The main measures are subsidies for shortened working time and tourism vouchers for facilities in Slovenia for all citizens. Subsidies for furloughed workers are extended.
31 May - After 80 days, the Covid-19 epidemic is officially declared over, as the daily number of infections drops below ten.
1 June - Students of the 4th and 5th grades of primary school return to school, and the number of children in units in primary schools and kindergartens no longer needs to be limited. Public events for up to 200 persons are allowed and all hotels, fitness centres and swimming pools are allowed to re-open. Night clubs remain closed.
3 June - Students of grades 6-8 of primary school return to school, while students of grades 1-3 of secondary school finish their school year remotely.
5 June - Austria is put on the list of countries from where entry is possible without limitations.
15 June - Public gatherings of up to 500 people are allowed. The restrictions on the border with Italy, introduced on 12 March, are lifted. International road and railway passenger transport is relaunched two days earlier.
19 June - The tourism voucher scheme enters into force, with the Financial Administration (FURS) transferring credit to all residents - EUR 200 per adults and EUR 50 per minor.
22 June - After two months of single-digit number of new daily cases, a double-digit daily number is recorded for the first time, mainly involving cases imported from abroad.
4 July - The government removes Croatia, France and the Czech Republic from the green list. Slovenia records a total of around 200 active infections.
9 July - The National Assembly confirms a new anti-coronavirus stimulus package with an emphasis on job preservation, mostly by extending subsidies for furloughed workers. A mobile contact tracing app is introduced. Gatherings of up to 10 people are banned, and gatherings of up to 50 persons are allowed only if the attendees are registered. Religious ceremonies and sporting events for up to 500 participants are still allowed.
18 July - A Covid-19 death is recorded for the first time after 31 May to increase the overall death toll in Slovenia to 112.
21 July - EU leaders agree on a pandemic recovery package, under which Slovenia may count on EUR 10.5 billion, including EUR 6.6 billion in grants.
23 July - The government adopts a new national plan for protection and rescue of people in the case of pandemic based on the experience with Covid-19. Restrictions on working time of food shops are lifted and stores are allowed to open Sundays.
25 August - Due to a deteriorating epidemiological situation in Croatia and the fact that many infections are imported from there, the government introduces quarantine for travellers returning from that country.
1 September - The new school year starts normally at all levels, albeit with number of precautionary measures in place.
2 September - A jump in new daily cases is recorded (55), and the number of active cases increases to around 500. Two days later, the government orders mandatory use of face masks and hand sanitation in public indoor spaces.
10 September - The daily number of new infections exceeds 100 for the first time, and the trend of a fast increase in the number of new cases starts. Infections start spreading in nursing homes and educational institutions.
13 September - The government reduces the mandatory quarantine upon entry from red-listed countries from 14 to 10 days.
19 September - Face masks are again mandatory in open public spaces where a large number of people gather, for example, at food markets. Employers are recommended to measure body temperature of employees, and opening hours of restaurants and bars are restricted to 6am-10pm.
29 September - The government adopts a new anti-coronavirus legislative package introducing new and extending the existing measures focusing on job preservation, care for the elderly and prevention of the spread of infections.
9 October - New restrictive measures enter into force. Gatherings are restricted to up to 10 people, and events with up to 500 people are allowed only with a permit from the health authorities, and held without food and drink served. Service in restaurants and bars and the number of shoppers in shops is limited.
12 October - A decree enters into force under which no country in the EU or the Schengen Area is on the green list.
15 October - The total number of confirmed cases in Slovenia exceeds 10,000, and a day later a record daily number of new cases (almost 900) is recorded.
16 October - Almost all statistical regions are classified as red zones based on epidemiological parameters, meaning that movement from and between them is banned. Face masks become mandatory in the open and gatherings of more than 10 persons are prohibited. Restaurants and bars are closed and certain sport activities are suspended in these regions.
19 October - An epidemic is declared once again, and the national protection and rescue plan is activated. Primary school students up from and including the 6th grade and secondary school students switch back to remote learning.
20 October - Slovenia enters a lockdown as a 9pm-6am curfew is imposed, gatherings are capped to six people and a ban on movement between statistical regions is instituted.
24 October - The fifth economic stimulus package enters into force. The principal measures include an extension of the furlough scheme until the end of the year, income support for the self-employed and farmers, new bonuses for health staff, and an extension of the liquidity scheme for companies until the summer of 2021.
24 October - The majority of consumer-facing activities are shut down, including hotels, bars, restaurants and cultural institutions.
26 October - The lockdown is tightened as kindergartens close except for the children of workers who cannot work from home; student dorms close.
27 October - A ban on movement between municipalities is put in place, albeit with many exceptions. A record 2,605 new cases are confirmed, 612 Covid-19 patients are in hospital, of whom 99 in intensive care.
30 October - Some services with minimum contact with consumers are allowed to resume, including construction and maintenance works.
2 November - Autumn holidays are extended by a week for primary school students. Universities switch to remote teaching.
4 November - The number of Covid-19 patients in hospital exceeds a thousand for the first time.
9 November - Remote learning resumes for primary schools after the end of the extended autumn holidays.
10 November - The number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care exceeds 200 for the fist time. Slovenia joins the common vaccine procurement managed by the European Commission.
13 November - Citing rising hospitalisations and the spread of infections in nursing homes, the government bans all gatherings, except for members of the same household.
16 November - The state of epidemic is formally extended by 30 days. Public transportation is shut down, all non-essential shops close.
25 November - A record 1,302 Covid-19 patients are treated in hospital, of whom 215 in intensive care. Regular testing of health and nursing home staff with rapid antigen tests commences.
28 November - The sixth economic stimulus package enters into force bringing partial coverage of fixed costs for companies, extension of the furlough scheme, and significantly higher fines for organisers and participants of public gatherings during the epidemic.
3 December - The government adopts a five-tier exit strategy. The seven-day average of new infections and the number of patients in hospital are set as the benchmarks for the relaxation of measures. A vaccination plan is adopted.
7 December - Slovenia reports a record 66 Covid-19 deaths in a single day.
15 December - A temporary relaxation of measures is put in place until 23 December. Public transport resumes, hair salons, flower shops, car washes and dry cleaners are allowed to open. In regions with the lowest number of cases, it is permitted to cross municipal boundaries with an activated exposure notification app.
22 December - Mass testing with antigen tests starts in a dozen urban areas across Slovenia. Additional locations are added in the subsequent days. Testing is under way for several days and 5-6% of tests come back positive.
27 December - Vaccination against coronavirus starts at nursing homes a day after the first shipment of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, nearly 10,000 shots, arrives in Slovenia. Several thousand residents and staff are tested on the first day.
29 December - The National Assembly adopts the seventh economic stimulus package, worth an estimated EUR 550 million. It involves income support for pensioners, employees and students, and measures to help business, most notably higher compensation of fixed costs for companies whose revenue declined by more than 70% year-on-year.
STA, 31 December 2020 - The long-standing ban on travel between municipalities will be temporarily lifted between noon on 31 December and 8pm on 1 January to allow limited New Year's gatherings. The 9pm curfew remains in place.
The New Year's rules were determined by the government late last night and are the same as for Christmas.
This means up to six people over age 15 from two households may gather privately, whereas gatherings in public remain prohibited.
There will be no fireworks either as the sale and use of fireworks is banned.
Jelko Kacin, the government's Covid-19 spokesman, said the decision came after the government conducted a comprehensive estimate of the current epidemiological situation.
He said a lot of attention was dedicated to make mass testing with rapid antigen tests more widely available after New Year's to try and limit the spread of coronavirus.
STA, 28 December 2020 - Schools and institutions for special needs children might reopen on 5 January, a day after coronavirus testing is organised for the staff, Education Minister Simona Kustec said on Monday. Pupils in classes one through three of primary school are to be next to return.
The rest of pupils are expected back at schools by the end of January if all goes well, Kustec said as she arrived for a session of the parliamentary Education Committee called to discuss the return of students to brick-and-mortar schools.
The minister said that the relevant task force would adopt advice for the government on Wednesday, while the government would make a final decision by the end of the week.
Kustec said that the education and health ministries were finalising testing protocols. Those working with special needs children will be tested on 4 January, followed by staff working with students in the first three years of primary school.
Testing will be conducted at school premises by mobile teams provided by the Health Ministry, said Kustec, adding that schools had determined in internal polls last week that more than half of their staff would be tested.
If interest in testing is also expressed by parents, testing will be made available for children as well. But it will not be mandatory, the minister said.
On Saturday, the government's Covid-19 spokesman Jelko Kacin raised a lot of dust when he said that school staff would have to get tested over the New Year's weekend or else they could not come to work on Monday.
Health Ministry State Secretary Marija Magajne said at the government briefing today that testing would not be obligatory.
She added that should some decide not to get tested, it was a matter of employers to act in line with occupational hazard regulations.
The minister underlined today that the return to school must be safe and permanent, meaning that teachers, children and parents will have to follow safety protocols.
The Education Committee meanwhile backed the resolutions by the centre-left proponents of the session urging the government to allow special needs children to return to school as a priority.
It also backed a coalition-sponsored resolution urging the government to work towards a prompt and safe return of all primary and secondary school children to school as well as pre-school kids to kindergartens.
This was after a debate in which the MPs of the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), Left and the Social Democrats (SD) criticised the government for what they consider an arbitrary approach to closing and opening schools.
Željko Cigler of the Left said schools had been closed since early November, while no clear plan for their closure or reopening had been presented.
Minister Kustec said the plan of how children would return to school had been know for a while, adding that special needs children would go back to school next week.
Cigler claimed schools were not the main source of infections, but State Secretary Damir Orehovec said this was not true as the number of infections there had been growing fast when the decision to close them had been made.
Iva Dimic of the coalition New Slovenia (NSi) said not everything was as bad as the opposition would like to show.
"The situation is hard for everyone, for us and for parents, school children and teachers, and they are are doing their best," added Mojca Škrinjar of the ruling Democrats (SDS).