STA, 17 November 2020 - A record number of Covid-19 patients died in Slovenia on Monday, 45, bringing the death toll to 876. A total of 1,388 new infections were confirmed from 5,326 tests and 1,275 people needed hospitalisation, up 11 from the day before. 208 patients needed intensive care, up one from the day before, the government said on Twitter.
The share of positive tests on Monday dropped to 26% after standing at 28% on Sunday. On Monday, 92 Covid-19 patients were discharged from hospital, while 24 patients in hospitals died.
The number of new hospitalisations remains much higher than the number of discharged patients, which is what "we are worried about", government spokesperson Jelko Kacin told the press today.
Slovenia had 19,537 active cases yesterday, up from 19,325 on Sunday, according to the tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org. So far, 56,932 infections have been confirmed in Slovenia.
The rolling 14-day average of cases per 100,000 residents rose from 922 to 932.
According to Nuška Čakš Jager from the National Institute for Public Health (NIJZ), the epidemiological situation in Europe and the world is still serious but some European countries are seeing a downturn in the number of new cases.
On the other hand, some countries, for example Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Sweden, the UK, and Slovenia are seeing a surge in new cases.
Only the Czech Republic, Belgium and Hungary have higher 14-day average of deaths per 100,000 people than Slovenia. In terms of new infections per 100,000 people, Slovenia is preceded by the Czech Republic, Austria, Luxembourg and Lichtenstein.
In Slovenia, Pomurska and Gorenjska remain the regions with the highest 14-day incidence, Čakš Jager said.
The deputy head of the infectious diseases centre at the NIJZ said the number of new daily infections would have to drop well below 300 for the epidemiologists to be able to trace the sources of infections again.
"We manage to call and question some 1,200 people a day," she said, adding that identifying close contacts of those infected or even calling everyone infected was not possible despite help from students and staff from local NIJZ units.
Čakš Jager also presented data for infections in schools and kindergartens showing that the number of infections started dropping from the eighth week of the school year. She said the most infections had been recorded among high school students, while the share of infected kindergarten children was low.
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STA, 17 November 2020 - Log pod Mangartom, an alpine community in the north-west of the country, was hit by a devastating landslide that claimed seven lives twenty years ago, to the day. The village has been rebuilt but the locals say it will never be the same again.
It was during the night between 16 and 17 November 2000, following a prolonged spell of heavy rain, that a huge landslide and a debris flow swept away the upper part of the village in a matter of moments.
The entire upper section of the village had to be rebuilt; twelve new houses have been built anew but on safer locations with the help of the funding provided by the state.
"The state responded like never before. The locals are happy with what they got and how the village was rebuilt," Igor Černuta, the head of the 133-strong local community, has told the STA.
The villagers do not feel threatened by potential new landslides but they are aware of the risk. "The question is whether such an event could ever be repeated at all," Černuta says.
"In all those 20 years since the landslide, the alarm system hasn't gone on a single time. There was an unfortunate sequence of events at the time; the prolonged rains and the wet terrain unleashed a flow of debris and caused a tragedy," Černuta remembers.
Log pod Mangartom, a village in the Bovec municipality, not far from the Italian border, does not look the same today as it did before the landslide. Bovec Mayor Valter Mlekuž says much has changed for the better, hopefully in a way such a tragedy can never happen again.
Data from the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning show EUR 26.4 million in state budget funds has been spent on repairing the damage after the landslide with EUR 5 million more needed to complete the work set out by the zoning plan.
The amount of rainfall in the area in October and November 2000 had not been seen in a century. Two days ahead of the disaster, a smaller landslide destroyed more than 100 metres of the road leading to the Predel mountain pass.
Based on the telling signs, the civil rescue headquarters in Bovec recommended the population at risk to leave their homes, but some of them refused to do so.
Just after midnight on that fateful night, the mass of mud and debris above the village was such that it came thundering down the bed of the Predelca stream with a devastating flow of debris.
The locals remember the disaster every year with mass, but this year the service has been postponed because of the Covid-19 situation.
STA, 13 November 2020 - Farmers reported fewer attacks on livestock by wolves and bears this year compared with 2019, with wolves causing more damage than bears. The agriculture chamber says this is a result of wolves not being regularly culled for several years now, whereas emergency hunting is not effective enough.
Bears meanwhile seem to be happy with this year's abundant food in forests, which has partly reduced conflicts with humans and their property, the Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry (KGZS) has told the STA.
Nevertheless, the management of large wild animals remains very difficult, since it takes rather long to get a decision on emergency wolf and bear cull if the safety of people is not at stake, the chamber explains.
It continues to urge regular, quota-based hunting as a means of big wild animals management, adding that farmers and rural areas will pay the highest price as the country is struggling to set up a system acceptable to all.
As many as 87 fewer damage cases involving bears and 40 fewer involving wolves were reported in the January-September period compared with the same nine months in 2019.
A total of 228 cases of bear-caused damage valued at EUR 75,000 were reported this year as opposed to 315 and EUR 108,00, respectively, in the same period in 2019.
Data from the Slovenia Forest Service for wolves shows a drop from 299 to 259 cases, with the damage reported down from EUR 207,000 to EUR 126,000.
The wolves and bears most frequently attacked livestock in the heavily forested area around Kočevje in the south, and in Primorska, west, and Notranjska, south-west.
The Environment Agency, which processes the damage claims, received 447 such claims by the end of October, of which 237 were related to wolves and 210 to brown bears.
As many as 157 claims were endorsed and EUR 87,000 in damages paid out, while slightly more than 260 claims amounting to almost EUR 90,000 are still being processed.
With both wolf and brown bear being protected endangered species, several attempts to regulate their growing populations have failed due to opposition by environmentalists.
Nevertheless, wolves and bears continue to be "removed from nature", including on the basis of decisions issued by the Environment Agency.
Twelve wolves were removed this year, up five from the same period last year. This compares to a total of 20 wolves culled last year.
The figures for bears for the nine months is 99, compared with 153 in the same period last year and a total of 183 bears culled in entire 2019.
This year the government plans to start changing the 2009 strategy on the preservation and sustainable management of wolves as part of the Life WolfAlps EU project.
A strategy on bear management was meanwhile subject to public consultation this year and is expected to be adopted next year, the Environment Ministry has told the STA.
Jackal is another wild animal causing damage to farmers, mostly in SW, with 88 damage cases being reported for the nine months, up 11 from the same period in 2019.
While 197 jackals are planned to be removed from nature this year, 145 have been removed between 1 July, when the hunting season opened, and 10 November.
This summary is provided by the STA:
Epidemic extended by 30 days as coronavirus doesn't let up
LJUBLJANA - The government decided to extend the Covid-19 epidemic declared as of 18 October for 30 days by another 30 days - until 17 December, as stricter lockdown measures kicked in today. The latest data show Slovenia recorded 501 coronavirus cases for Sunday as the test positivity rate remained a high 28%. A further 34 patients with Covid-19 died, bringing the death total to 831. Covid-19 hospitalisations rose to 1,264 with a record 207 patients in intensive care. The rolling 14-day average of cases per 100,000 residents fell to 922. Presenting the statistics, government Covid-19 spokesman Jelko Kacin said the virus was still spreading too fast; the reproduction number is now at 0.93.
Slovenia not to appeal Teran decision
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia will not challenge the decision of the EU General Court to dismiss the country's appeal to annul the European Commission delegated regulation of May 2017 that allows Croatian wine producers to use Teran, the name of a red wine protected by Slovenia, on their wine labels. The deadline to appeal the court's decision from September is on Thursday, with the State Attorney's Office telling the STA that Slovenia will not challenge it. This decision was made after the Agriculture Ministry examined the court's September decision. This means that the court's decision will take effect on Friday. Slovenia's decision was met with mixed responses.
PM says he will happily congratulate US election winner
LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša told MPs during questions' time in parliament that he would be happy to congratulate whoever is elected US president. Answering a question from opposition MP Marjan Šarec, the previous prime minister, Janša said the election in the US was not yet over, which happens either when a side concedes a defeat or the official results are proclaimed. "Some have decided to follow the media wave but I decided the opposite. We'll see who was right," he said, assuring MPs this would not affect future relations between Slovenia and the US.
Pahor says still time for govt to congratulate Biden
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor said there was still time for the government to congratulate US president elect Joe Biden, as he gave an interview with the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija on Sunday evening. Asked to comment on PM Janez Janša's tweets on the US election, he said "everyone wants me to say this was a mistake and that I get into an argument with the prime minister", but added that this was something he never did. He also assessed the government may have been late in introducing restrictive measures in the second wave of coronavirus infections.
Cerar argues Janša hurt Slovenia with US election tweeting
LJUBLJANA - Miro Cerar, a former prime minister and foreign minister, told the magazine Reporter in an interview he expected a more balanced US foreign policy and a return to multilateralism under Joseph Biden. He argued PM Janez Janša's tweets on the US election hurt Slovenia. "We probably will not even notice it... They simply ignore you and you don't have certain access options," he said. He also accused the junior coalition parties of failing to counter the aggressive policies of Janša's Democrats (SDS).
No details about Janša's US troops proposal
LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša, discussing his US election-related tweets in questions' time in parliament, was happy to note how some of his tweets had prompted what he termed "a pro-American wave" among the opposition. "I hope that you will support unanimously our proposal to the US for placing a US military rotation unit in Slovenia and endorse Slovenia's dedication to meet its obligations in NATO more consistently," he said, but did not specify. His office, answering an STA query, said it did "not comment on the prime minister's words" and also provided no comment on whether this was perhaps an initiative of Janša's Democrats (SDS). The foreign and defence ministries meanwhile referred the STA back to Janša's office when asked whether this was a government initiative. Back in summer after the US decided to withdraw its troops from Germany to deploy them in other European countries, Janša tweeted that US soldiers would be welcome in Slovenia.
Lockdown restrictions tightened further
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia entered a two-week period of severe lockdown restrictions to break the circuit of coronavirus infections with all non-essential shops closing and public transport being suspended. Exceptions include taxis as well as stores selling groceries, personal care products, stocks for farmers, pharmacies and produce markets. New border crossing restrictions also came into a force, with owners of property abroad being no longer exempt from quarantine when crossing the border. All courts also switched to lockdown mode, expect for urgent matters, until further notice. Health Minister Tomaž Gantar said he expected the new, stricter measures to show their effects in two weeks, which was when they could start being relaxed.
Survey: Over 50% of Slovenians don't plan to get vaccinated against Covid-19
LJUBLJANA - More than half of Slovenians do not intend (26%) or are not likely (31%) to get vaccinated when a Covid-19 vaccine becomes available in Slovenia because of their mistrust of the vaccine, a Valicon survey showed, indicating people were more likely to get a Covid-19 jab if they were at a greater risk of infection. On the other hand, one sixth plans to get vaccinated for sure and more than a quarter said they are likely to do so, with both groups totalling 43%. Most of those who would get vaccinated would do that out of a sense of responsibility for others (50%) or to reduce a chance of infection (45%).
Minister points to Covid-related issues in agriculture markets
LJUBLJANA - Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek noted on the sidelines of an online EU ministerial the impact of the pandemic on agriculture, in particular the repercussions experienced by the wine, beer, beef and pork industries. He said the agricultural sector could not adapt as quickly to the new circumstances as consumers had adapted to the new reality, pointing to a drop in sales of bread and an increase in sales of wheat and yeast as an example, adding a homebaking boom is likely here to stay. He thus announced that Slovenia would call for the EU's state aid temporary framework to be extended until the end of 2021.
Janša: Slovenia's rules on medicinal and industrial cannabis too rigid
LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša announced in parliament support for the relaxing of rules on the growing of cannabis for medicinal and industrial purposes, saying the Agriculture Ministry was already drawing up changes, which were expected to be confirmed in the spring. Asked by Janja Sluga of the junior coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) whether the government planned a comprehensive regulatory framework for this field, Janša agreed that certain rules on growing medicinal and industrial cannabis were "probably too rigid and undermined the competitive ability of Slovenian producers".
Govt, coalition rating down in Vox Populi poll
LJUBLJANA/MARIBOR - The approval rating of the government and the majority of the coalition parties declined in the latest Vox Populi poll, while the opposition remained stagnant as the share of undecided voters ticked up. Slightly under 30% of respondents assessed the government's work in November as successful compared to 41% in October, whereas the share of those who deem it unsuccessful rose to 66.8% from 49%, shows the poll released by Večer and Dnevnik. The Democrats (SDS) remained firmly in the lead but lost a point to 20.4%, New Slovenia (NSi) was down 0.6 points to 4.6% and the Modern Centre Party (SMC) slipped to 0.2% from 0.8%.
Telekom Slovenije looking for buyers for TS Media
LJUBLJANA - Telekom Slovenije published a call for expressions of interest in a 100% stake in its subsidiary TS Media, the portfolio of which includes the news portal Siol.net, the search engine and web portal Najdi.si and the business information portal Bizi.si. The state-owned company had picked the firm KPMG as a consultant in the sales procedure. According to data from the Slovenian Advertising Chamber, Siol.net is the second most popular news portal in Slovenia.
BSH seeing scores of orders, looking at a good year
NAZARJE - The BSH Hišni Aparati plant in Nazarje, considered the largest producer of small household appliances in Europe, has been reporting good orders. The company expects to be locking back on a record-breaking business year, with the targets exceeded by more than 10%. The manufacturer is to put out more than eight million small household appliances this year, up by 1.1 million on 2019. Similar growth is expected in 2021.
Steklarna Rogaška glassworks sees drop in revenue, profit
ROGAŠKA SLATINA - The Steklarna Rogaška glassworks generated EUR 44.4 million in sales revenue last year, which is EUR 3 million less than in 2018. Net profit dropped by EUR 3.4 million to EUR 1.3 million. A drop in revenue is also expected this year, mostly because of the crisis in the US market. The management attributes the drop in profit to lower sales realisation and additional lowering of stock, and to some extent also to lower sales of fixed assets than in 2018.
Value of incoming travel down 56% y/y in H1
LJUBLJANA - The value of incoming travel in Slovenia dropped by 56.2% year-on-year in the January-September period, according to data from the Slovenian central bank. The decrease from nearly EUR 2.2 billion in the same period last year to EUR 961.61 million was caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, which has strongly affected tourism in Slovenia and elsewhere. Data for September show incoming travel generated EUR 127.59 million, 571% less than in September 2019.
Monthly wages down in September
LJUBLJANA - The average gross pay in Slovenia in September stood at EUR 1,799 gross or 1,169 net. Both figures decreased by 0.1% in nominal terms compared to August and by 0.3% in real terms, data from the Statistics Office show. If the average pay were calculated by the number of employees on the basis of paid hours and regardless of the staff figure, the average gross pay in September would have increased by 0.2% in nominal terms compared to the month before.
Slovenia with biggest drop in agricultural output in EU in 2019
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia suffered the biggest drop in agricultural output among all EU member states in 2019, Eurostat data shows. While the output declined in Slovenia by 3.3% on 2018, it was up 2.4% in total in the bloc. Three quarters of EU countries saw agricultural output increase least year, in particular Latvia (21.1%) and Estonia (16.1%), while Slovenia (-3.3%) and Slovakia (-2.4%) stood out among those which recorded a decrease.
Slovenia's youth jobs hardest hit in EU during spring lockdown
LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Data from Eurostat show that young people in Slovenia felt the biggest impact of the first wave of coronavirus on their employment compared to their peers in the EU. The youth employment rate dropped the most in Slovenia among member states in the second quarter of 2020. The employment rate declined in most member states due to the economy's shutdown in the April-June period, and the quarter-on-quarter decrease then was the highest in the past two decades.
Coronavirus RNA detected in Ljubljana hospital wastewater
LJUBLJANA - Researchers from the National Laboratory for Health, Environment and Food detected the ribonucleic acid (RNA) of Sars-CoV-2 in the wastewater from the Ljubljana UKC hospital's Department of Infectious Diseases, Slovenia's main Covid-19 treatment facility. The study, whose findings are described in the journal Science of The Total Environment, detected the viral RNA when only one patient was hospitalised there. The researchers say their approach could serve as an early warning system.
Minister Šircelj's Facebook profile hacked
LJUBLJANA - Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj has had his personal Facebook profile hacked, the Finance Ministry said, adding it had already notified relevant bodies of the incident and urging anyone that would potentially receive messages from Šircelj's profile to ignore them to avoid falling victim to a fraud. Cybersecurity incidents in Slovenia are on the rise, as the national cyber security incident response centre, SI-CERT, recorded over 2,700 incidents in 2019, up 12% over 2018 and up almost six times over 2010.
Slovenia retain group lead after late win vs Kosovo
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia remain top of their group in the UEFA Nations League after securing a 2:1 win against Kosovo in Ljubljana on Sunday evening through a penalty kick by Josip Iličić in the last minute of the game. With a two-point lead ahead of Greece in Group 3 of League C, the Slovenian side needs at least a tie against Greece on Wednesday to advance to League B. Slovenia's manager Matjaž Kek and Iličić agreed that the win against Kosovo was deserving and they both praised the team's character.
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STA, 16 November 2020 - The government decided on Monday to extend the Covid-19 epidemic declared as of 18 October for 30 days by another 30 days - until 17 December, the government said in a press release.
The new decree enters into force on Wednesday, 18 November, a day after the one-month epidemic declared in October expires, the government said after today's correspondence session.
Slovenia is amid a second wave of the epidemic, with infections still spreading fast among the population, which calls for extending the epidemic declaration for the entire country.
The release noted all regions had reached or exceeded the incidence rate which calls for declaring the epidemic, the legal basis for which is the contagious diseases law.
Before the epidemic was declared in October, the government said it would take into account three indicators when declaring it.
A 14-day average of 140 cases per 100,000 residents, 250 Covid-19 hospitalisations and 50 patients needing intensive care would have to be reached.
The data provided today show the 14-day average fell to 922, Covid-19 hospital admissions rose to 1,264 and the number of patients in intensive care was up to 205.
The declaration of the epidemic gives the government and public health authorities more leeway in organising the response effort and coordinating the actions of the civil protection and emergency services. A national emergency response plan is typically set in motion.
STA, 16 November 2020 - Prime Minister Janez Janša told MPs during questions time on Monday that he would be happy to congratulate whoever is elected US president. The response comes after a series of tweets and retweets by Janša supporting US President Donald Trump's claims of voter fraud.
Answering a question from MP Marjan Šarec about Janša's support for Trump in the light of the latter's underestimation of coronavirus, Janša said that Slovenia nurtured good strategic and partner relations with the US without regard for the administration in charge. "This has been the case in all government's I've led and will remain the case also in the future."
He underlined that the election in the US was not yet over. This happens either when a side concedes or the official results are proclaimed, he said. "Everything before is just politics."
"Some have decided to follow the media wave but I decided the opposite. We'll see who was right. But I guarantee you that this will not affect future relations between Slovenia and the US."
He believes the that relations could even become better because people who had specifically objected steps to establish good relations in the past half a year have now changed their position.
"I hope that you will support unanimously our proposal to the US for placing a US military rotation unit in Slovenia and endorse Slovenia's dedication to meet its obligations in NATO more consistently," Janša also said.
While Janša did not specify, his office said later in the day, answering an STA query about the details, that it does "not comment on the prime minister's words".
It also provided no comment on whether this was perhaps an initiative by Janša's Democrats (SDS).
The STA also asked the foreign and defence ministries whether this was an initiative of Slovenia as a state, but they referred it back to the prime minister's office.
Janša meanwhile tweeted in summer, after the US decided to withdraw its troops from Germany to deploy them in other European countries, that US soldiers would be welcome in Slovenia. At the time the Defence Ministry said there were no talks on the matter under way.
Today Janša also said in parliament that he was very happy with the "pro-American wave" seen recently. "I can hardly imagine that a single tweet can cause such a positive change in the direction of our friendship with the US. I hope this lasts."
He also looked back at the time Slovenia had fought for its independence, saying the US administration at the time had said it would not recognise an independent Slovenia.
"Those who claimed only a few days before Slovenia was attacked that they would never recognise us, recognised us. Some in half a year, others nearly a year later."
Šarec, the former PM, was not satisfied with the answer, noting that he had asked how Janša could be supportive of Trump when the latter had underestimated the severity of the coronavirus. Janša replied that he held no illusions that he could affect actions of the US president.
He also called on the opposition to follow the example of its political predecessors who managed to find unity 30 years ago. Šarec meanwhile demanded that Janša's response be discussed at one of the National Assembly's future sessions.
STA, 16 November 2020 - Prime Minister Janez Janša announced in parliament on Monday support for the relaxing of rules on the growing of cannabis for medicinal and industrial purposes. He said the Agriculture Ministry was already drawing up changes, which are expected to be confirmed in the spring.
Asked by Janja Sluga of the junior coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) whether the government planned a comprehensive regulatory framework for this field, Janša agreed that certain rules on growing medicinal and industrial cannabis were "probably too rigid and undermined the competitive ability of Slovenian producers".
While Sluga of the SMC, which proposed a full legalisation of cannabis in February 2018, spoke of "a multi-billion business in Europe" and of Slovenia's legislation in this field being "one of the most outdated in Europe", Janša said the ministry was drawing up new rules governing the growing of cannabis and cannabis seedlings.
"Both sets of regulations are expected to be adopted in the spring next year," he explained, saying all relevant acts were subject to coordination within the coalition.
The growing and use of cannabis have been subject to several attempts at legislative change in recent years and the use of standardised cannabis buds for medicinal purposes was legalised in March 2017. However the growing of medical cannabis is still prohibited.
Past proposals have also included the raising the THC ceiling for industrial hemp from 0.2% to 0.9%, which would allow domestic growers to use Slovenian seeds as opposed to imports.
STA, 16 November 2020 - Slovenia recorded 501 positive coronavirus tests for Sunday and 34 more fatalities among patients with Covid-19 as the test positivity rate remained a high 28%. Fresh data from the government show that a total of 1,792 tests for Sars-CoV-2 were performed on Sunday, the day when testing is as a rule scaled down.
Covid-19 hospital admissions rose by a further three to 1,264 with the number of patients in intensive care units increasing by eight to a record 205 from the previous day despite 38 being discharged from hospital.
The latest deaths meanwhile bring the death toll among patients with Covid-19 to 831.
A total of 55,543 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the country so far with 19,325 still active, according to the tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org.
The rolling 14-day average of cases per 100,000 residents has fallen to 922. The reproduction value has meanwhile dropped to 0.93, government coronavirus speaker Jelko Kacin said at the morning press conference. He also said the virus continued to spread too fast in Slovenia.
Currently, there are some 850 active coronavirus cases among a total of nearly 20,000 members of nursing home staff, and some 1,000 among healthcare staff, according to data from the Health Ministry and the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), respectively.
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STA, 16 November 2020 - Slovenian-based bitcoin mining marketplace Nicehash will make the final reimbursement to its clients on 16 December, three years after its clients had their cryptocurrency stolen in a hack. So far, Nicehash has returned 82% of the stolen currency, the company said a press release on Monday.
Nicehash operator H-BIT launched a reimbursement programme in February 2018 after the marketplace was hacked in December 2017.
Over 4,640 bitcoins were stolen at about EUR 10,000 per coin. The current value of bitcoin is at about EUR 13,800.
The reimbursement plan was funded from commissions and profits and was expected to be completed sooner, however poor market conditions in cryptocurrency made this impossible, the company also said.
"Nevertheless we have remained committed to our initial promise to reimburse the stolen funds in full," said the press release, adding that the objective was to show to the public that the company had only good intentions and to help improve trust in digital currency operations.
H-BIT director Martin Škorjanc was quoted by the press release as saying that the platform was now among the safest cryptocurrency markets in the world.
The cyber hack at Nicehash was investigated by the Europol and the FBI, and the company also hired an international digital forensics agency Lifars. Nevertheless, the perpetrators were not found.
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STA, 16 November 2020 - Public transportation in Slovenia is suspended from Monday, with the exception of taxis and organised transport services for workers. New border crossing restrictions also become effective on Monday as part of stricter measures to stem the epidemic. Exemptions from mandatory quarantine for people entering Slovenia have been narrowed.
All inter-city and city transport services are suspended same as they were during the spring lockdown. What is allowed is transport services organised by employers for their workers and taxi services.
Up to six co-workers may share the same vehicle when driving to or from work, according to the Infrastructure Ministry.
Regarding the toughening up of border restrictions, a special exemption that allowed owners of property or a vessel in neighbouring countries to visit for 48 hours without needing to quarantine has been scrapped by a government decree passed on Thursday.
Moreover, 72-hour visits to relatives across the border are no longer allowed unless in the case of visits to EU and Schengen zone countries.
Cross-border migrant workers now have a 14-hour window to return to Slovenia after going to work in a neighbouring country.
Certain types of emergency business and personal visits used to be exempt from mandatory quarantine for stays of up to 48 hours. This time window has now been narrowed to 12 hours and only emergency business visits are allowed.
Persons who arrive from a red-listed country are still able to end quarantine prematurely if they get tested, but they need to quarantine for at least five days.
They can still avoid quarantining if they produce a negative test on arrival that was not done more than 48 hours ago.
All Slovenia's neighbouring countries are on its red Covid-19 list.
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STA, 16 November 2020 - In a bid to contain the second wave of the coronavirus epidemic, the government has toughened up restrictions, including by temporarily closing all non-essential shops. The measure is effective from Monday and comes with few exceptions, such as grocery stores and shops deemed vital for essential needs.
The government announced a tightening of the lockdown on Thursday after it made certain restrictions looser last week. Certain stores had been allowed to re-open, however they will have to close again as of Monday.
Stores selling groceries and personal care products as well as those offering farm produce are allowed to remain open, but clothing, shoe and tech stores are not listed among the exceptions.
But even grocery stores are not allowed to sell technical goods, and many stores have reportedly spent the weekend sweeping non-compliant goods from the shelves.
Not subject to the stricter lockdown restrictions are pharmacies and other stores selling medical supplies, marketplaces, agricultural supply stores, gas stations, banks and insurance providers, post offices, delivery services and workshops.
Moreover, chimney sweep services are allowed in the event only one person is present in the room where chimney cleaning is performed, and so are construction works if there is no contact with clients.
News-stands, remote sales and in-person pick-up services are also allowed as well as other vital services to maintain public health and safety. There is no time limit on food delivery services.
However, the latest decree specifically sets down that consuming food or beverages in public spaces is banned.
The number of persons in enclosed stores remains capped at one customer per 30 m2 or at a single customer if the space is smaller than 30 m2.
Open-air marketplaces can accommodate one customer per 10 m2.
Shopping centres are required to make sure there is one customer per 30 m2 taking into account the entire building as well as to comply with individual store rules. They must provide separate entry and exit points as well.
Shops are allowed to operate only if all public health recommendations are heeded and contact with customers is reduced to a minimum.
The government is to review the restrictions every seven days to assess whether they are still necessary. All the new measures are expected to last at least 14 days though.
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