Lifestyle

04 Dec 2020, 10:15 AM

STA, 3 December 2020 - The government adopted on Thursday legislation designed to crack down on fictitious registrations of residence, a widespread practice uncovered in recent months.

The amendments to the residence registration act will crack down on fictitious registrations at addresses that are not residential, or residential addresses where the size of the living quarters clearly precludes the registration of a large number of people.

This will be done in several ways, for example with the requirement that individuals may register residence only at the administrative unit where the address is located.

At each registration, the public official conducting the procedure will have to check the actual use of the building and the number of persons already registered at the address. There will be a minimum per person requirement in terms of square metres.

If the conditions for registration are not satisfied, officials will be able to reject such applications using a simplified procedure.

The legislation comes after a series of reports showed there were apartments and sometimes even commercial premises where dozens and sometimes over a hundred persons, mostly foreigners, were registered.

In the Maribor Administrative Unit alone, an internal oversight in autumn found potentially fictitious cases of residence registration involving over a thousand residents at 81 addresses, identifying 27 addresses as potentially problematic.

03 Dec 2020, 14:57 PM

STA, 3 December 2020 - The government adopted on Thursday a five-tier strategy for the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions based on a proposal by the Health Ministry and the coronavirus task force, Prime Minister Janez Janša announced on Twitter.

"Healthcare is operating at the extreme limit of capacity and it is only by working together and responsibly that we can reduce the burden," Janša said.

The relaxation of measures will hinge on the seven-day rolling average of daily infections and the number of Covid-patients in hospital.

The existing measures will remain in place as long as there are over 1,350 daily infections on average and more than 1,200 people in hospital. This is designated as the black tier.

A total of 6,604 tests for the new coronavirus were conducted in Slovenia on Wednesday, resulting in 1,772 new positive cases. The number of cases is down compared to Tuesday, as is the positivity rate and the number of patients who died of Covid-19. Hospitalisations are meanwhile slightly up.

Slovenia will enter the red tier when there are under 1,350 infections and fewer than 1,200 people in hospital, at which point limited public transport will re-start and museums, libraries, galleries, hairdressers, and manicure and pedicure establishments will be allowed to reopen.

Initially, public transportation will operate on a holiday schedule, according to Aleš Mihelič, a state secretary at the Ministry of Infrastructure.

In the orange tier, defined as under 1,000 daily infections and under 1,000 patients in hospital, services activities, stores, kindergartens and the first three grades of primary school plus schools for special needs children will reopen.

Outdoor sports activities, including skiing, would be allowed, gatherings would be capped at 10 persons, and the ban on inter-municipal travel would be lifted in all regions that achieve these figures.

In the yellow phase (fewer than 600 daily cases and under 500 people in hospital) primary schools would reopen and final-year students at secondary schools would return to classrooms. The night curfew and inter-municipal ban would be lifted nation-wide.

In the green phase - when the number of daily infections is under 300 - all restrictions are lifted while general hygienic precautions remain in place. Bars and night clubs would however remain closed.

The seven-day rolling average of daily infections was at 1,461 yesterday and 1,289 Covid-19 patients were in hospital.

Health Minister Tomaž Gantar said the satisfaction of either condition - new cases or hospital figures - will suffice for the shift between tiers. He indicated the transition to the red tier may be achievable in the coming days.

"We cannot relax [the restrictions] until we know reliably that we can provide a sufficient number of beds for the system to work... This is the main limiting factor."

The exit strategy in effect means that all existing restrictions have been extended as part of the government's periodic check of the measures.

Slovenia has been in its second lockdown since mid-October and several measures have been tightened since then.

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02 Dec 2020, 13:24 PM

STA, 2 December 2020 - Slovenia recorded 2,429 new coronavirus cases for Tuesday, the third highest daily increase in infections since the start of the epidemic, as the test positivity rate hit 33.8%, and 57 more patients with Covid-19 died, according to government data. The overall death toll has passed 1,500.

Tuesday is typically the day of the week that sees the highest number of cases, peaking at 2,611 on 27 October, with 2,492 confirmed the following day.

The latest cases come from 7,178 tests, fewer than the record 8,063 conducted a week ago when 2,226 cases were confirmed for a test positivity rate 27.6%. The rate stood at 22% this Monday, as 1,292 infections were confirmed.

According to Nuška Čakš Jager from the National Institute of Public Health, today's increase in the number of new infections may be attributed to the introduction of rapid tests. Positive test are double-checked with PCR tests.

Addressing the daily government press briefing, she said as care homes were introducing rapid tests this would reflect on the number of cases detested there.

The number of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 dropped by 14 from the day before to 1,285 after 88 patients were discharged home yesterday, 114 were newly admitted while the rest died. The number of patients in intensive case dropped by 11 to 199.

With 57 more fatalities, Slovenia's death toll among patients with Covid has reached 1,547.

In the last two weeks, Slovenia recorded 981 infections per 100,000 people. Since the start of the outbreak, a total of 79,563 infections have been confirmed.

There are currently 20,569 active infections in the country. The regional situation is similar as last week, with some improvement in the northern Gorenjska region.

Government spokesperson Jelko Kacin, speaking at the press briefing today, said that the new hotspots are Krško with 97 infections, Slovenska Bistrica with 73, Novo Mesto with 77, and Koper with 66. In Ljubljana 219 new infections were recorded, and 165 in Maribor.

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01 Dec 2020, 15:34 PM

STA, 1 December 2020 - A total of 1,292 coronavirus cases were confirmed in 5,868 tests on Monday and 55 persons with Covid-19 died, the second highest daily death toll since the start of the epidemic, show the latest government data.

The number of new cases is slightly lower than a week ago and the positivity rate, at 22%, follows a gradual downward trajectory recorded in recent days.

Hospital numbers remain high, with 1,299 patients in hospital, one more than the day before, of which 210 in intensive care, up by five in a day.

Jelko Kacin, the government's Covid-19 spokesman, told the daily press briefing that the epidemic was not yet easing off.

"If we all stick to the measures, the epidemiological situation will improve ... and the pressure on hospitals will relax so that we can start gradually easing restrictions in a controlled manner," he said.

In recent weeks roughly a fifth of new cases have been in nursing homes, and the trend continues. Kacin said 201 residents and 42 staff were among the new cases yesterday.

Since July 2,587 residents and 1,226 employees at nursing homes have recovered from infection.

The latest figure bring the death toll from the epidemic to 1,490. The number of all registered coronavirus cases has reached 77,106.

There are just over 20,000 active cases in the country, a figure that has remained broadly unchanged since mid-November. The 14-day rolling average of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants is at 961, down slightly from the day before.

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30 Nov 2020, 15:48 PM

STA, 30 November 2020 - Some 10% of Slovenian residents visited two households in a week in November despite anti-coronavirus restrictions. Moreover, a certain share of Slovenians do not seem to have significantly changed their social habits when it comes to visiting other homes, a survey by pollster Valicon shows.

Slovenia recorded 428 new coronavirus cases from 1,880 tests on Sunday as the positivity rate dropped to 22.77% from over 30% the day before. Government data show 51 more patients with Covid-19 have died, taking the overall death toll to 1,435.

More than half of the respondents of the survey, conducted in the second week of November among 527 adults, said they were not visiting other households at all and over 25% made one social visit in the previous week.

Some 6% visited from three to four households, and 4% paid a visit to five or even more households.

Given that the average size of Slovenian households is 2.5 members, some 10% were thus in contact with more than an average 10 persons in a week.

The survey examined behavioural patterns amid the epidemic, however it did not look into the reasons for specific conduct.

Experts presume that those who visited one household called on their family members living in other households or went to see them to help.

What is alarming is that a group of those who reported about two or more visits a week, about 100 respondents, also included the highest number of people with Covid-19 symptoms. A total of 23% from this group mentioned two or more such symptoms.

This category also had the most responses, some 14%, revealing high-risk contacts in the previous two weeks.

The survey was part of a joint project run by national tracker Covid-19 Sledilnik, the Young Doctors association, and Valicon, which also yielded results regarding behavioural patterns at work some 10 days ago.

The project's partners note that the share of those who have not significantly reduced the number of visits may not seem high, but 10% in the study translates to some 200,000 of the population. Moreover, a similar share merely restricted their social life to visits to two households.

Summing up findings of both surveys, the project indicates that some 36% neither go to work nor visit other households while their conduct has been proven to be the safest.

This group features pensioners, hence a larger share of those aged above 60, as well as the biggest share of those quite worried due to the epidemic (almost 25%) compared to other groups, and the biggest share of those concerned for their health (38%). Most are dealing with the situation quite well, only a tenth find it critical or even hopeless.

Some 17% go to work, but do not pay visits. Most of them are men aged between 30 and 59. The group features the smallest number of those concerned due to the epidemic, 13%, and a third of those who are anxious about their health. In this group, people are also mostly coping with the situation.

About 30% do not go to work but go on visits. Women aged between 18 and 29 are a prominent category in the group, as well as those on sick leave and those who have lost their job due to the epidemic.

The group has the largest share, 30%, of those who are not or only slightly worried about the virus, but also the biggest share, 20%, of those who regard the current circumstances as critical or hopeless.

The remaining group poses the highest risk for contracting or spreading the coronavirus, comprising those who both go to work and have a social life (17%).

Most of them visited at least one household and performed at least half of their workload in the workplace.

A fifth of the group are parents of pre-school children, a somewhat bigger share than in other groups, meaning the reason for some visits could be daycare. The group features prominently middle-aged men. The share of those who are worried due to the epidemic is the same as in the group of people going to work but not on visits.

Valicon also recently conducted another survey which looked into whom Slovenians trusted the most regarding Covid-19 developments and information.

The public still places the greatest trust in experts, with Aleš Rozman, director of the Golnik University Clinic of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases, and infectious diseases specialist Mateja Logar deemed most trust-worthy among them, both having gained 61 points of 100.

Mario Fafangel, the chair of the Centre for Communicable Diseases at the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), is meanwhile the most recognisable expert.

Health Minister Tomaž Gantar, NIJZ head Milan Krek and government Covid-19 spokesman Jelko Kacin remain in the below-zero category when it comes to trust levels.

Interior Minister Aleš Hojs enjoys least trust, -59, preceded by Prime Minister Janez Janša (-50) and Education Minister Simona Kustec (-41).

Some 12% do not trust anyone of the 19 listed public figures, down by 3 percentage points compared to the first assessment in spring.

The survey, titled #NewNormal, was conducted between 27 and 29 November among 539 adults.

30 Nov 2020, 14:03 PM

STA, 30 November - Slovenia is in for a couple of snowy days, beginning on Wednesday, right after the start of meteorological winter. Snowfall is expected to start on Wednesday morning and get heavier by Thursday. In central Slovenia, 5-15 centimetres of snow is expected, while in some parts of the country the snow blanket could be up to 20 centimetres thick.

Snow will first start to fall in southern and western Slovenia the day after tomorrow. The coastal Primorska region will see rain and the bora wind instead, weather forecaster Brane Gregorčič of the Environment Agency told the STA, adding that the least snow or rain was expected in the east.

Most of the country will be transformed into winter wonderland on Thursday and likely also on Friday. Snow will not be falling on Friday, however temperatures will remain below zero Celsius in the morning, Gregorčič added.

Saturday, Sunday and Monday will likely be rainy, washing away the snow, particularly on low ground.

29 Nov 2020, 16:09 PM

STA, 29 November 2020 - Slovenia recorded 1,106 new coronavirus cases in 3,644 tests on Saturday, which is on par with the figures seen a week ago. Forty-eight people died, data released by the government on Sunday shows.

The number of Covid-19 patients in hospital increased by 20 to 1,278, of which 195 were in intensive care, one more than the day before. 59 people were released from hospital.

Saturday's test positivity rate was 30%, seven percentage points up on Friday.

Five more deaths were recorded than the day before for a total toll of 1,384 so far. The number of positive tests since the start of the epidemic currently stands at 75,379.

There are presently 20,299 active cases in the country, a 192 increase on the figure reported on Saturday. The 14-day incidence per 100,000 is at 969, an increase of ten, according to tracker covid-19.sledilnik.

Bojana Beović, the head of the government's coronavirus task force, told the STA the results showed that a kind of ceiling had been reached in Slovenia but that the situation was still not improving.

"This also means that lifting the measures would mean 40% of Slovenian hospital beds would be occupied with Covid-19 patients in 14 days, not to speak of the number of deaths. But if we introduce even stricter measure, the question is how much they would be observed, given that even now the impression is that people find it hard to understand and respect the measures. This is showing very clearly in the results that we have," Beović said.

She assessed that after the drop in the test positivity rate on Friday indicated an improvement, the data for Saturday did not bode well for the chances of relaxing the measures.

Beović feels a social agreement is needed about what is important, which is "a decision that medicine actually has little to do with". She urged everybody to do what they can to enable at least "somewhat appropriate Christmas and New Year's holidays".

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28 Nov 2020, 15:33 PM

STA, 28 November 2020 - Slovenia confirmed 1,591 new cases of coronavirus in 6,938 tests on Friday. 43 persons died, the latest government data show.

There were 1,258 persons with Covid-19 in hospital compared to 1,324 the day before, as 113 persons were discharged, of which 194 were intensive care, down from 206.

The figures indicate a test positivity rate of just under 23%, down over a percentage point on the day before.

Slovenia has so far recorded 1,336 Covid-19 deaths. The number of positive tests since the start of the epidemic currently stands at 74,265.

There are currently just over 20,000 active cases in the country, down marginally from the day before, with the number of new cases per 100,000 population over the past 14 days also down slightly, to 960, show Covid-19 Sledilnik data.

The Jožef Stefan Institute (IJS), which has been modelling the epidemic, said the latest figures showed the epidemic had finally started to calm down.

"We hope that with a consistent implementation of 16 November measures, whose effect will become increasingly pronounced in the coming days, we will succeed in decisively bending the curve."

IJS said peak hospital numbers may have been achieved already, while the R-value, which shows how many people one infected person infects on average, had dropped to about one.

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27 Nov 2020, 15:14 PM

STA, 27 November 2020 - Slovenia logged 1,609 new coronavirus cases for Thursday and 48 more fatalities as the number of Covid-19 patients requiring hospital treatment reached a new high.

Government data show the latest cases come from 6,587 tests, meaning the positivity rate was 24.4%, up slightly from 23.9% the day before when 1,767 came back positive, but down from over 27% a week ago.

Hospitalisations have risen by 22 to 1,324, while the number of patients in intensive care units dropped by nine to 206. On another positive note, 98 patients were discharged home yesterday.

With 48 more patients having died, the country's death toll among patients with Covid-19 rose to 1,293.

Jelko Kacin, the government Covid-19 spokesman, said 37 patients died at hospitals, ten at care homes and one in a facility for people with special needs.

He said 126 residents and 41 staff at care homes newly recovered from Covid-19, while 143 residents and 57 staff tested positive anew, as did eight special needs persons and one employee at the five special social care institutions.

Infections are reported from care homes across the country, including the coastal region, the least affected of all of Slovenia's regions.

The regional civil protection chief Rok Kamenšek reported that the Izola care home had 47 infections as of Thursday, including 12 among staff, and the one in Lucija had 68, including 23 staff.

The coastal region had 466 actively infected cases as of Wednesday, 216 of them in the Koper municipality.

However, the biggest daily increases in infections were in care homes in Krško, Brežice, Maribor and Ljubljana, of between 14 and 11, Kacin said.

Krško, the municipality in the east with a population of over 26,000, recorded as many as 59 new infections, which compares to 141 in the capital Ljubljana (over 295,000) and 81 in Maribor (almost 113,000).

The country has so far confirmed 72,682 coronavirus cases, with 20,268 cases still active. The rolling 14-day average is at 967, according to the tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org.

The regions with the highest infection rates are Pomurje in the north-east and Koroška in the north, with 1,576 and 1,538 infections, respectively, per 100,000 residents.

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27 Nov 2020, 09:20 AM

STA, 26 November 2020 - As schooling continues remotely in Slovenia, the education minister has decreed measures that in effect reduce the number of required school marks this school year. Primary schools are advised against assessing pupils' work while classes are held online.

Under the decree signed by Minister Simona Kustec, the currently two assessment periods are being merged into one running from 1 September this year to 24 June 2021 for primary, secondary and music schools. For final year primary pupils it ends on 15 June 2021.

Assessments in primary school will be done in class. During remote classes teachers can also mark pupils individually.

However, recommendations issued by the National Education Institute that have been sent to schools along with the new rules, suggest primary schools should leave written or oral exams for when pupils return to school.

"Pupil's work for classes that are on the curriculum up to two periods a week, need to be assessed at least twice during the school year," the decree reads.

Pupils will need to get at least one mark for classes on subjects that come up less than twice a week, and at least three for subjects such as maths where there are more than two periods a week.

Pupil's work in music classes needs to be marked at least three times per the assessment period, but not all marks should be based on written assignments.

Secondary schools need to adjust assessment rules to the single assessment period.

The government has extended remote schooling for another week because the country is yet to see a meaningful improvement in the coronavirus situation.

Classes moved online for secondary school pupils and primary school pupils from the sixth grade on on 19 October, a week ahead of the autumn break, and the other pupils switched to distance learning after an extended two week break.

In its circuclar to schools, the Education Ministry said that "if everyone makes the effort and we improve the epidemiologic situation in Slovenia" return of at least part of pupils to class is likely from 7 December.

"We are in talks for pupils up to the third grade and all special needs children involved in adjusted programmes to return to schools first," the ministry said, referring to primary schools.

26 Nov 2020, 15:57 PM

STA, 26 November 2020 - Slovenia recorded 1,767 new coronavirus infections in 7,391 tests on Wednesday, which is a drop of 459 cases compared to a spike seen on Tuesday, when 8,063 tests were conducted. 46 people died, three more than on Tuesday while the number of hospitalised patients rose by five to 1,302 and that of patients in intensive care by 13 to 215.

The share of positive tests stood at 23.9% on Wednesday, compared to 27.6% on Tuesday. This share has been relatively flat for roughly a month and so has the curve of daily new cases, albeit with occasional fluctuations.

Slovenia has so far conformed 71,073 coronavirus cases, 20,174 of which are active, according to tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org. The rolling 14-day average per 100,000 residents is 963.

The total death toll so far is 1,245. After peaking at 59 on Tuesday, the number of deaths was slightly lower in the past two days.

Lockdown extended for another week, public transport on hold for two more

STASTA, 26 November 2020 - The government decided on Thursday to extend by a week all of the main lockdown measures, including the ban on gatherings, in-class schooling, movement among municipalities and the 9pm-6am curfew. Public transport will remain closed and the current mask wearing regime, which includes masks outdoors, will stay in place for at least two more weeks.

Also remaining closed for at least one more week are kindergartens, shops selling non-essential goods, cultural institutions, and bars and restaurants, while there are also no changes to the regime at borders. Existing restrictions concerning sport activities will remain in place for at least two more weeks.

Government spokesperson Jelko Kacin told the press the government would adopt a plan on a relaxation of the measures next week, on Thursday at the latest.

Asked about the possibility of partly reopening schools soon, Kacin said the government would examine this next week, taking the epidemiological situation in consideration.

However, he said that reopening of schools would also require reopening public transport, the closure of which has just been extended for a fortnight.

Kacin mentioned the likelihood of facilities that offer individuals services, for instance hair and beauty salons, being among the first to reopen. He argued it was better to "provide these services in salons specially equipped for this and meeting all standards than on the ground - in garages, flats".

The press conference moreover featured the acting head of the Healthcare Directorate at the Health Ministry Marija Magajne, who said the situation in the country and in hospitals did not allow a relaxing of measures yet.

"We are all exhausted...But let's try to hold out for a few more days. We all believe that it will be possible to lift some measures in 10 or 14 days," Magajne said.

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