This summary is provided by the STA:
920 infections confirmed in Slovenia on Saturday in 3,563 tests
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded 920 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, having performed 3,563 tests. 32 Covid-19 patients died, taking the national death toll to 797, fresh official data showed. Hospitalisations continued to rise, totalling 1,261, however the number of patients in intensive care slightly declined to 201. The number of active cases stood at 19,381, some 2% down on Friday. The rolling 14-day average of infections per 100,000 citizens continued to fall, standing at 925, according to the national tracker Covid-19 Sledilnik. Aleš Rozman, director of the Golnik University Clinic of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases, told the STA that the epidemiological trends should be monitored for another week or two. He advised to steer clear of false optimism and heed prevention measures.
SDS deputy faction head tests positive for coronavirus
LJUBLJANA - The Democrats' (SDS) deputy group said on Saturday that its leader Danijel Krivec had tested positive for coronavirus. Krivec did the test on Friday and has been self-isolating since Wednesday. Showing no Covid-19 symptoms, he feels well and will remain in quarantine, the ruling party's MPs wrote in a press release.
SocDems launching project to fight fake news
LJUBLJANA - The opposition Social Democrats (SD) launched a project titled #SamoDejstva (#OnlyFacts) this week, aiming to "help expose lies in the public". The party warned against "a deluge of fake news, distortion of facts and media manipulation", saying that such concepts were a dangerous modus operandi. The party believes that it has been a target of a series of lies propagated by media affiliated with the ruling Democrats (SDS) and will thus strive to present arguments to expose lies about the SD, its members and key public issues, according to a press release.
If you're learning Slovenian then you can find all our dual texts here
STA, 15 November 2020 - Slovenia recorded 920 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, having performed 3,563 tests. 32 Covid-19 patients died, taking the national death toll to 797, fresh official data show. Hospitalisations continued to rise, however the number of patients in intensive care slightly declined.
Saturday's total of new cases is almost half the figure recorded on Friday, however the number of yesterday's tests is also significantly lower compared to the day before.
On Saturday, the number of hospitalised patients grew by 37 to 1,261. The number of ICU patients meanwhile declined by five to 201. A total of 44 were discharged home, the government reported on Twitter.
So far, Slovenia has recorded 55,042 infections, including 19,381 which are currently active, some 2% down on Friday.
The rolling 14-day average of infections per 100,000 citizens continues to fall, currently standing at 925, according to the national tracker Covid-19 Sledilnik.
The positivity rate was meanwhile almost 26% on Saturday, roughly on par with Thursday's and Friday's figures.
Aleš Rozman, director of the Golnik University Clinic of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases, told the STA today that the current epidemiological situation was difficult to interpret mostly due to changes in the testing protocol in the past fortnight.
He advises steering clear of false optimism. The epidemiological trends should be monitored for another week or two, he added.
"If the number of hospital admissions in the recent days nevertheless mirrors a decline in the number of those that are ill, then that is a good sign," he said, adding that the number of new hospitalisations was stabilising in the past two or three days.
However, what it seems to be a promising trend could be misleading and merely a result of certain Covid-19 patients staying at home instead of being admitted to hospital due to Slovenia running low on hospital capacities.
On the other hand, the epidemic could be truly letting up. If that is the case, Rozman warns that mitigation efforts should not run out of steam either since the country's healthcare capacities have been pushed to their limits.
Rozman, also a member of the government Covid-19 advisory task force, urged citizens to heed prevention protocols 24-7.
"I fail to see why the measures should be loosened when Slovenia has one of the worst situations in the world regarding Covid-19 at the moment," Rozman said.
Visiting the Jesenice general hospital, Prime Minister Janez Janša meanwhile said today that the Gorenjska region needed boosted healthcare capacities as soon as possible and that the government was determined to provide them, according to an announcement on the government's website.
The northern region has been pushing hard for a new regional hospital. The epidemic has further revealed that Gorenjska needs such an upgrade that would increase the number of hospital beds, Robert Carotta, the Covid beds coordinator with the Health Ministry, said a few days ago.
The Jesenice hospital is too small since it only has some 200 functional beds per 130,000 residents, he said. According to the relevant European standards, the hospital would need 600 beds.
All our stories on Slovenia and coronavirus
The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 13 November 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here
STA, 13 November 2020 – Mladina, the left-wing weekly, says that the puzzle showing Slovenia as a country with one of the largest Covid-19 death tolls per million people is being slowly but surely put together, and calls for criminal liability of the decision-makers in the government who the magazine believes are responsible for the situation.
Under the headline Criminal Liability, the left-leaning weekly says that the government has "consciously failed to establish a system in which those who should stay in isolation are provided with compensation for the loss of income".
A system which would solve this problem was put into the fifth coronavirus legislative package, which entered into force only on 24 October, two weeks ago and two weeks after the government had imposed a lockdown because the epidemic had got out of hand.
The media were warning the government about this already during the first wave, but they were ignored, and "today, the price of this unbelievable ignorance of the actual social situation is being paid by the entire Slovenia".
In the coming weeks, this price will be paid in the most brutal way by residents of care homes, Mladina says, criticising Minister Janez Cigler Kralj, who is in charge of social affairs, for failure to introduce regular and systematic testing of care home staff.
"Why they haven't been tested? This is an utter defeat that no other country is experiencing", and Cigler Kralj has done nothing while being nothing but a "sweet talker".
This also holds true for Education Minister Simona Kustec, as the education system has entered the second Covid-19 wave totally unprepared. Ahead of the new school year, her ministry took ineffective and illogical measures, which could simply not be realised without additional funds and staff.
"People should start thinking about criminal liability of these people, who have failed to do their jobs. They are sitting in the government," concludes the commentary.
STA, 12 November 2020 - The latest trend in the West is teaching children that the history of their countries is horrible, based on racism, Christianity, sexism, and homophobia so as to undermine patriotism and pave the way to multiculturalism, the right-wing weekly Demokracija says in its latest editorial.
The weekly says the "education system that is convincing children how great multiculturalism is" is even more destructive than the media that are distancing themselves from Slovenia's independence like the public broadcaster did in case of a show presenting independence efforts 30 years ago.
"The goal is to use the education system and other subsystems to undermine patriotism and create a society of some kind of artistic performance where there will be no restrictions and everyone will be equal."
This idea is appealing to young people whose personalities are not fully developed yet. They are attracted by the rule of the street, and this results in riots, hooliganism and deliberate causing of unrest, which could be seen in the capital not only last Thursday but ever since the centre-right government took over.
"Encouraged by months of incitement by the media mainstream and the left opposition, the brainwashed 'protesters' can no longer make logical conclusions themselves, which is only an introduction into something much sinister.
"This is how it all started in Europe, where now not just militant leftist groups are raging the streets but where migrants walk around killing the autochthonous population - exclusively because people such as [Slovenian SocDems leader] Tanja Fajon were on the covers and in prime time shows saying that the right response to violence and Islamic terrorism is 'solidarity and lighting of candles'.
"Such liberal and emphatic ideology is nothing but a suicide pill," Demokracija says under the headline Suicide Pill.
All our posts in this series are here
What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.
FRIDAY, 6 November
LJUBLJANA - In line with a declining trend that saw some disruptions in the days to follow, Slovenia's daily coronavirus tally dropped by over a hundred to 1,564 according to testing figures for 5 November. While hospitalisations and fatalities continued to increase - record highs of 1,210 and 41 respectively were reported on 12 November - government spokesman Jelko Kacin presented data indicating a turn for the better.
LJUBLJANA - FM Anže Logar and his counterparts from Austria, Czechia, Slovakia and Hungary met on-line as part of the informal Central 5 (C5) initiative dedicated to measures to curb the Covid-19 pandemic, in particular cross-border movement of people, goods and services. The Slovenian Foreign Ministry said they agreed that undisrupted cross-border business should be secured as soon as possible and that measures should be unified at the EU level.
LJUBLJANA - The EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell confirmed the appointment of Slovenian diplomat Marko Makovec as the deputy managing director for Western Europe, Western Balkans, Turkey and the UK at the European External Action Service. Foreign Minister Anže Logar described the appointment as a great accomplishment for Slovenian diplomacy.
LJUBLJANA - Senior officials and several organisations condemned the violence that erupted at protests in Ljubljana on 5 November, leaving 15 police officers injured. The police later confirmed that officers had used rubber bullets to disperse protests in what was the first such instance since Slovenia's independence. The opposition and the groups organising the Friday protests distanced themselves from the riots. With a photojournalist also severely injured by rioters, a response also came from the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), which condemned all attacks on the media to add that "Slovenian politicians are greatly contributing to the increasing hostility and hatred towards journalists".
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's SID Banka said it will contribute EUR 23 million to an investment fund that twelve Three Seas Initiative countries between the Baltic Sea, Adriatic Sea and Black Sea have set up to improve infrastructure in transport, energy and digitalisation. For Slovenia, the fund is a novelty in that projects have been so far financed mainly with debt instruments.
LJUBLJANA - Sava Re, Slovenia's second largest insurance and reinsurance group, called off a general meeting scheduled for 16 November and consequently suspended the payment of dividends due to potential new risks stemming from its international reinsurance business.
LJUBLJANA - The executive committee of the Slovenian Basketball Association (KSZ) appointed 42-year-old Aleksander Sekulić the new head coach of the men's national basketball team.
SATURDAY, 7 November
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor congratulated Democratic candidate Joe Biden on being elected the new president of the United States and expressed his conviction that "Slovenia and the US will remain friendly countries and firm allies."
LJUBLJANA - Former Ambassador to US Božo Cerar assessed for the STA that the US presidential election has "finally ended the trans-Atlantic relations as we have known them for the last 50-70 years" and that "Trumpism" is very much alive and would be for a while even if Joe Biden wins. Europe will need to come to terms with this and take its destiny in its own hands, he said.
LJUBLJANA - The Health Ministry announced that all persons suspected of having contracted Covid-19 will be tested once again, which means a break with a short period of testing that focused on persons older than 60, persons with chronic diseases, with a weakened immune system and healthcare workers. The new policy was enforced on 10 November, taking the number of tests to a near record 7,515.
LJUBLJANA - Heavy lorries will be banned from overtaking on the Slovenian A1 motorway between Šentilj (NE) and Koper (SW) in the daytime as of new year, Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec announced. Overtaking will be allowed only on A1 sections with three lanes.
SUNDAY, 8 November
LJUBLJANA - The US is a strategic partner of Slovenia, which will continue to build close friendly ties with Washington in the future, PM Janez Janša said in his latest tweet related to the US presidential election, posted a day after Joe Biden declared victory. Janša had endorsed Donald Trump, called the election in Trump's favour as votes were still being counted and continued to spread election fraud claims. Several foreign media noted that Janša had not yet congratulated Biden.
LJUBLJANA - Some coalition members joined the criticism of PM Janez Janša's tweets related to the US election. "The prime minister's tweets are not benefiting Slovenia at the moment," Defence Minister Matej Tonin, the NSi leader, said. National Assembly Speaker Igor Zorčič, a member of the SMC party, called them indecent, saying the coalition would need to have a word on that.
LJUBLJANA - The UKC Ljubljana hospital opened new premises for Covid-19 patients which currently have 56 beds, but the location may be expanded to receive up to 100 patients. The new facility was adapted on a site planned to house a new therapeutic centre in mere ten days, on encouragement by PM Janez Janša.
MADRID, Spain - Slovenia's star cyclist Primož Roglič won the Vuelta a Espana for the second year in a row.
MONDAY, 9 November
LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar urged joint approach to addressing challenges such as the coronavirus pandemic, migration, climate threats and organised crime as he took part in an online ministerial of the Berlin Process. He said the challenges were common to the EU and the Western Balkans.
LJUBLJANA - While it would approach 30% again in coronavirus testing in the following days, the positivity rate fell further to 22.49% in Sunday's testing. Government spokesman Jelko Kacin said the most encouraging piece of news was that the R0 number had fallen to 0.95.
LJUBLJANA - Addressing an event marking the 30th anniversary of a secret meeting at which a decision was made to hold a referendum on Slovenia's independence, President Borut Pahor reiterated the need for politicians to join forces again to fight coronavirus, and PM Janez Janša said those in power must offer cooperation.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek attended an informal EU ministerial that saw the participants welcome the expected change in tone in Transatlantic relations following the US election and discuss negotiations with China about a comprehensive investment agreement. Počivalšek said Slovenia wanted to see ambitious results in terms of market access, fair competition conditions, investment protection and conflict resolution.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's goods exports dropped by 0.3% year-on-year to EUR 2.958 billion in September as imports fell by 12.1% to EUR 2.642 billion. Despite the fall, the September exports figure is the second highest in the past decade. Exports for the first nine months of 2020 declined by 3.8% on the same period and imports feel by 9.1%.
LJUBLJANA - Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj assessed the government measures to mitigate the coronavirus crisis had helped companies and people more than lowering the value added tax (VAT) would. He is not planning to propose a real estate tax in this term and said no rushed changes to taxes would be made in any case.
LJUBLJANA - The average mark of the work of the government in the latest poll commissioned by Delo was up for the first time since April with the government getting 2.78, up from 2.63 in October. The share of respondents seeing the government's work as positive or very positive was 27% (23.6% in October). The SDS continues to top the party rankings with 19.6%, up from 18.7%. The opposition SocDems (SD) follow with 11.7% (9.3%).
TUESDAY, 10 November
LJUBLJANA - The government adopted the sixth legislative package, worth around EUR 1bn, meant to alleviate the impact of the coronacrisis on businesses and residents. The principal measures include an extension of furlough subsidies, simplified access to loan guarantees and help with the funding of fixed costs. The latter is the main novelty.
LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar highlighted Transatlantic cooperation as one of the EU's key endeavours and one of the priorities of Slovenia's presidency of the Council of the EU next year. Addressing an online debate hosted by the STA and the European Representation in Slovenia, Logar said Slovenia had the ambition to hold an EU-US summit attended by the US president during its presidency.
LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša took part in a videoconference of heads of state of the Berlin Process as part of which the leaders of six Western Balkan countries signed declarations on Common Regional Market and Green Agenda. Janša said there had been open issues in the region for decades, some even for centuries. "We welcome steps forward ... But, let's be frank, effective regional cooperation and EU perspective for all depends on how we solve a big picture," he said on Twitter.
LJUBLJANA - Karl Erjavec, the favourite for the vacant post of president of the junior coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) at the 28 November congress, held separate meetings with PM Janez Janša and Jože P. Damijan, a potential candidate for prime minister supported by a rival coalition set up by four left-leaning opposition parties.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian banks posted a pre-tax profit of EUR 414 million for the first nine months of 2020, down a fifth year-on-year. The drop would have been 60% were it not for the one-off impact of the merger of Abanka and NKBM, the central bank said in its monthly report, which added "the liquidity and capital position of the banking system remains good".
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's industrial output declined by 3.6% year-on-year in September. In the first nine months of the year output contracted by 7.9%. At the monthly level, output was down by 0.4%, the first monthly decline after four months of growth.
LJUBLJANA - A team of researchers led by Jure Leskovec, the Slovenian Stanford computer scientist, has created a computer model to predict the spread of Covid-19 based on people's travel habits and movements. They published their article in the journal Nature.
WEDNESDAY, 11 November
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia is once again seeing an increase in coronavirus cases in elderly care homes, Minister of Labour, Social Affairs, Family and Equal Opportunities Janez Cigler Kralj said. There were 1,551 active cases among the total of 19,000 residents, and 718 active cases among nearly 12,300 members of staff. The virus has made its way into about 80% of care homes in Slovenia.
LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Anže Logar told the Foreign Policy Committee that Slovenia's relations with the US were at the highest level so far as he rejected criticism by the opposition that PM Janez Janša's Twitter posts on the US election had jeopardised the relations.
LJUBLJANA - A group of MPs from the four left-leaning opposition parties filed a motion to abolish electoral districts and introduce a preference vote after the current system was declared unconstitutional in 2018. In March, the same proposal was three votes short of the needed two-thirds majority, with the coalition Democrats (SDS) and Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) rejecting it. An attempt is under way to redraw the districts, but the opposition feels a preferential vote is the only viable option.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's future development and prosperity will depend of the country's ability to step up its productivity growth and digital transformation, stressed the annul report by the government's economic think-tank IMAD, which suggested the current trends are not encouraging.
LJUBLJANA - More than 45% of respondents in a poll commissioned by the newspaper Delo believe the second wave of coronavirus had caught Slovenia unprepared and more than half blame the fast spread of infections on people themselves. Only 28% of those questioned believe that the country awaited the second wave prepared.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian employers appear to be upbeat about employment prospects in the first half of next year with a survey conducted by the Employment Service projecting a 1.3% growth in employment.
LJUBLJANA - The 31st Ljubljana International Film Festival (LIFFe) got under way, but this time in the virtual realm due to the epidemic, offering 22 feature films and a selection of shorts available as an on-demand service between 11 and 22 November.
THURSDAY, 12 November
LJUBLJANA - The government announced a tightening of the lockdown. Measures include a complete ban on any kind of gathering, regardless of the number of persons, reduction of exemptions for the quarantine-free crossing of the border, suspension of public transportation, closure of all non-essential stores, and extension of the school closure. Measures will take effect between 13 and 16 November.
LJUBLJANA - By 12 November, almost 51,000 coronavirus were confirmed in the country, roughly 10,000 of which in the last week. The death toll rose to 686 from 471 since 5 November, while the rolling 14-day average per 100,000 residents fell to 961 from 1,114. Government spokesman Jelko Kacin however reiterated that the situation was stabilising and the trends were favourable with the R0 now at 0.91. A total of 1,210 Covid-19 patients were in hospital, 200 of them in intensive care units.
LJUBLJANA - The Home Affairs Committee discussed the 5 November protest at which rioters got violent against police and the press and damaged property around Ljubljana's city centre. Senior police representatives told the MPs that it had been clear from the information gathered that the protest would be violent.
LJUBLJANA - The EU Affairs Committee labelled the European Commission-proposed new pact on migration and asylum a good basis for negotiations on the EU's joint migration policy. The committee also said that Slovenia supports a right balance between solidarity and responsibility, feeling that compulsory relocation and sponsorship of returns are not the only way to show solidarity and that solidarity should be based on the voluntary decision of a member state.
LJUBLJANA - The Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy said the political agreement the Council and the European Parliament reached on the EU's post-coronavirus recovery package - the EUR 1.8 trillion multi-year budget and the recovery fund - was an important step in the right direction.
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's imports from China saw a surge during the Covid-19 pandemic, especially due to imports of protective equipment and medical supplies. The imports of those products rose from EUR 972,000 in the first eight months of 2019 to EUR 92.9 million in the same period this year, showed a report from the Statistics Office.
LJUBLJANA - NLB group reported EUR 104.6 million in net profit in the first nine months of 2020, 36% less than in the same period last year. The supervisory board reappointed CEO Blaž Brodnjak and the other two management board member for another five years at the helm of the bank.
This summary is provided by the STA:
1,731 new coronavirus infections in Slovenia on Friday; 41 patients die
LJUBLJANA - A total of 1,731 out of 6,675 coronavirus tests came back positive in Slovenia on Friday, the government said. The number of hospitalised patients rose by 25 to 1,224, with 206 patients needing intensive care, up six from the day before. Forty-one patients died, which is three more than on Thursday. On Friday, 95 persons were discharged from hospital, which is 16 more than on Thursday.
No new taxes in 2021, some tax cuts planned, minister says
LJUBLJANA - The government does not plan to raise any taxes in 2021 or introduce new levies, such as a real estate tax, Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj told the parliamentary Finance Committee discussing the supplementary budget for 2021, adding that some taxes would even be cut, starting with the tax on vehicles. During the debate, opposition MPs mostly voiced concern over the planned deficit, but the committee nevertheless adopted all budget documents, including some amendments in the total value of EUR 6 million. The National Assembly will vote on the budget bills at its plenary starting on Monday.
SOVA denies allegations regarding 5 Nov protest
LJUBLJANA - The SOVA intelligence agency has denied statements by opposition Left MP Miha Kordiš that the police and political leadership had known what kind of a protest had been in the making for 5 November and could have prevented the escalation of violence. SOVA said this interpretation was false and inaccurate. Kordiš was the only official to give a statement on Friday after a session of the parliamentary Home Affairs Committee dedicated to last week's violent protest that was held behind closed doors due to sensitive classified information.
Legendary Slovenian inventor dies
BLED/RADOVLJICA - Legendary Slovenian inventor Peter Florjančič has died aged 101, the Bled municipality confirmed for web portal Siol.net. Florjančič patented about 400 inventions, of which 43 reached the production phase. Some of his most popular inventions include plastic slide frames, a perfume atomiser and a plastic injection molding machine. President Borut Pahor expressed condolences to Florjančič's family on Twitter, adding that he had recently decided to decorate Florjančič for his inspiring lifetime achievements. Florjančič will receive the decoration posthumously.
Tone Kajzer to become Slovenia's new ambassador to the US
LJUBLJANA - The government has relieved Tone Kajzer of his duties as Foreign Ministry state secretary because he is leaving for Washington to serve as Slovenia's ambassador to the US, the government said in a press release late on Friday. He will succeed Stanislav Vidovič, who was appointed Slovenia's new ambassador to Ireland.
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STA, 14 November 2020 - Legendary Slovenian inventor Peter Florjančič has died aged 101, the Bled municipality confirmed for web portal Siol.net. Florjančič patented about 400 inventions, of which 43 reached the production phase. Some of his most popular inventions include plastic slide frames, a perfume atomiser and a plastic injection molding machine.
Born on 5 March 1919 in Bled, Florjančič lived in a number of countries, including Mone Carlo, Monaco, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Germany and the US. He spent the last year of his life in a care home in Radovljica.
Apart from being an inventor known around the world, he was also an active athlete, musician and a film actor. At sixteen, he was the youngest member of the Yugoslav skiing team in the 1936 Olympic Games. He also appeared in The Monte Carlo Story, a 1956 Italian comedy-drama film featuring Marlene Dietrich.
"An inventor must have a cool head, always observing everything around him. Ideas are born in different ways. One can be born in a second and developed in a few days, while there are also ideas that need years to develop," he was quoted as saying on his website peter-florjancic.eu.
He thought his "best and most complex" invention was the perfume atomizer, followed by a plastic slide frame and a plastic injection molding machine.
His career started when he invented a loom. His other successful inventions include a work-out bed and plastic ice skates. He also invented the plastic zipper (1948), and the airbag (1957), neither of which were successful at the time because of the quality of the materials available. Both were perfected at later dates by other inventors.
The Technical Museum of Slovenia marked his 100th birthday with an exhibition Living a Dream, celebrating innovators. In 2007, Florjančič published his biography, Skok v Smetano (Jump into the Cream).
His life was also presented in a documentary directed by Karpo Godina Zgodba gospoda P.F. (The Story of Mr P.F.).
STA, 14 November 2020 - A total of 1,731 out of 6,675 coronavirus tests came back positive in Slovenia on Friday, the government said on Saturday. The number of hospitalised patients rose by 25 to 1,224, with 206 patients needing intensive care, up six from the day before. Forty-one patients died, which is three more than on Thursday.
On Friday, 95 persons were discharged from hospital, which is 16 more than on Thursday.
So far, 54,109 coronavirus infections have been confirmed in Slovenia, and a total of 765 patients have died.
All our stories on Slovenia and covid
STA, 13 November 2020 - Providers of practically all services have been affected by restrictive measures in the second wave of the epidemic just as they were in the first one in spring. They are expected to be affected equally or even more than in the spring, according to a website which brings together those who seek and provide services.
A steep rise in demand for all kinds of services was recorded in the spring after the lockdown was eased and eventually lifted, says omisli.si.
This was followed by a drop in demand during the holiday season, while the second wave of epidemic resulted in another drop.
Data analysed by omisli.si shows that construction and renovation services picked up better after the first wave than services related to weddings.
A drop in interest in business services was by 5% smaller in October than March, while providers of personal services record the same drop like in spring.
While the drop in services regarding weddings was by 8% bigger in October than in March, the figure for construction and renovation services was only 6%.
The most affected segment of weddings services in the second wave is the hiring of wedding venues (-76%), catering (-63%), wine (-50%) and photos (-41%).
The first and second waves have had approximately the same impact on business services.
Compared with the first wave, business services providers witnessed a drop of 88% for text writing in October, video production suffered a drop of 66% and tax counselling that of 49%.
A rise in demand was meanwhile recorded by providers of activities for children (+60%) and divorce legal counselling (+67%).
The greatest fall in demand was meanwhile recorded in coach hire (-88%), caravan hire (-82%) and venue hire (-74%) as well as in dentists and personal trainers (-65%).
Car repair and car paint shops meanwhile witnessed a great interest in October, given that they were one of the exceptions to lockdown.
Interest in driving schools last month soared by 900%, while demand for child daycare and pet daycare doubled.
STA, 13 November 2020 - The Slovenian government debated on Thursday a draft national Covid-19 vaccination programme, which will form the basis for a vaccination strategy once a vaccine is available. Health Minister Tomaž Gantar indicated Slovenia might get the first doses of the vaccine in December.
"We have the first serious prospects of being able to get the first doses of the vaccine in December," which means vaccination could start in the second half of that month, he told the press yesterday.
Gantar said the Health Ministry would have a meeting next week with Pfizer, one of the first companies likely to receive approval for the vaccine from the European Medicines Agency.
The European Union said this week it was very close to signing a contract with Pfizer and BioNTech, which have jointly developed a vaccine, for 300 million doses.
Gantar said there would not be enough shots initially for everyone in the EU, which meant each government would have to design a priority list.
"This means vaccinating high-risk groups first: nursing home residents, health workers, chronic patients and so on," he said.
The national Covid-19 vaccination programme says that Slovenia must make sure "vaccination services have sufficient resources to perform their tasks". Their main job in the initial stage will be to distribute the supplies of the vaccine.
The subsequent vaccination strategy will hinge on the available vaccines and the latest information about the vaccines.
In the afternoon, Doroteja Novak Gosarič of the Health Ministry said at the government press conference that the strategy would be ready by the end of the year at the latest. Information serving as a basis for the strategy will be available at the end of November at best, she said.
She noted that vaccination would not be mandatory but it would be free of charge for citizens.
The priority groups for vaccination and any special recommendations will be included in the strategy once the details of individual vaccines, including storage and supply chain requirements, are known.
This summary is provided by the STA:
Drop in daily infections to 1,508 recorded on Thursday
LJUBLJANA - A total of 38 Covid-19 patients died in Slovenia on Thursday. 1,508 new coronavirus infections were confirmed in 5,762 tests, show fresh official data. There are currently 1,199 patients in hospital compared to 1,210 on Wednesday, of whom 200 are in intensive care, the same as the day before. The national death toll currently stands at 724, according to the tracker Covid-19 Sledilnik. The rolling 14-day average of infections per 100,000 residents has fallen to 948. The share of positive tests was 26.2%.
New restrictions enter into force
LJUBLJANA - New restrictions concerning public gatherings and border crossing enter into force as part of efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus. All gatherings are banned, unless people who gather are family or members of the same house hold. Until yesterday gatherings were capped to six persons. While all events are banned, couples will now be able to wed with a special permission from the Ministry of Labour, the Family and Social Affairs. They will not be allowed to have a reception, though.
National Covid-19 vaccination programme ready
LJUBLJANA - The government debated on Thursday a draft national Covid-19 vaccination programme, which will form the basis for a vaccination strategy once a vaccine is available. Health Minister Tomaž Gantar indicated Slovenia might get the first doses of the vaccine in December. "We have the first serious prospects of being able to get the first doses of the vaccine in December," which means vaccination could start in the second half of that month, he told the press yesterday.
Hojs says migration pact entails problematic grey zone with respect to Croatia border
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs highlighted on the sidelines of an EU ministerial on the proposed migration pact a "very, very problematic grey zone" related to Slovenia's border with Croatia, the external Schengen border but not also the EU's external border. It is not clear if Slovenia will still be able to return migrants to Croatia, he said. If Slovenia found itself without the possibility of returning these migrants to Croatia, it would need to process all of them in Slovenia. "You can imagine that this would mean a rope around Slovenia's neck," Hojs said at the online press conference with Slovenian correspondents in Brussels.
Govt replaces Kajzer as FM state secretary, possibly sending him to Washington
LJUBLJANA - The government relieved Tone Kajzer of his duties as Foreign Ministry state secretary, saying he was taking over new responsibilities, which were not specified. Unofficially, Kajzer is a candidate for the post of ambassador to the US. The government appointed Stanislav Raščan in his place, effective on Tuesday. While the appointment procedure for ambassadors is confidential, some media reports handled Kajzer as one of the potential candidates to succeed Stanislav Vidovič as Slovenia's ambassador to the US after Vidovič was recalled prematurely from Washington in October and appointed Slovenia's new ambassador to Ireland.
Pahor discusses AI challenges at Paris Peace Forum
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor said the right balance should be found between technological progress and broader social development as he attended a Paris Peace Forum debate on risks posed by unethical use of artificial intelligence (AI) and its role in fighting the coronavirus and the climate change. Pahor was invited to take part in the Paris Peace Forum, which is held online this year, by French President Emmanuel Macron, Pahor's office said in a press release.
Govt proposing agreement on Hungary's involvement in Koper port rail track
LJUBLJANA - The government submitted to the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee an initiative for an agreement between Slovenia and Hungary on cooperation in the construction and management of the new rail track to the port of Koper. The details of the initiative, which is labelled internal, have not be disclosed and the Infrastructure Ministry has not commented due to the classified nature of the documents.
DeSUS to pick new party head via mail, results expected on 5 December
LJUBLJANA - The election congress of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) will be held between 20 November and 5 December and will see the junior coalition party's new president selected through ballots cast by mail, the DeSUS council decided. The mail vote on the president and vice-presidents will take place between 27 November and 1 December, with the results expected to be declared on 5 December, the council's chair Anton Urh told the STA. There are presently ten candidate for vice-presidential posts, while Karl Erjavec and Srečko Felix Krope are vying for the top post.
SMC says "it's not for sale" as it turns down alternative govt offer
LJUBLJANA - Modern Centre Party (SMC) leader Zdravko Počivalšek met economist Jože P. Damijan only to turn down his Constitutional Arch offer to form an alternative government to Janez Janša's. The party said in a press release issued after the meeting that it wanted to dispel any doubts and speculation about its potential exist from the current government. Even if the coalition SMC and NSi have turned down his offer, Damijan told the weekly Mladina it seemed he had the necessary majority in parliament to replace the Janša coalition, as he counts on votes by MPs from the ranks of the SMC and DeSUS.
2022 budget ready for plenary session, all amendments rejected
LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Finance Committee rejected all opposition-sponsored amendments to the state budget for 2022 as it prepared the document for a plenary session starting on Monday. The budget bill sets down EUR 11.01 billion in revenue and EUR 12.60 billion in expenditure, which puts deficit at 3.1% of GDP. Investment is being enhanced in transport infrastructure, health care, social care and the environment.
IMAD: Further economic recovery uncertain, especially in services
LJUBLJANA - Sentiment indicators for September and October show economic recovery is uncertain as the Covid-19 epidemic is worsening, says the government's macroeconomic forecaster IMAD. The eurozone economy is losing momentum, and so is Slovenia's, as the country saw a drop in business sentiment in October following a several-month improvement. IMAD says all this indicates that declaring the epidemic for the second time this year in October will have a major impact on the services sector. Still, the economic impact and the consequent restrictions to businesses could be less intensive than in the spring episode of coronavirus.
Nine airlines would fly to Ljubljana with government support
LJUBLJANA - Nine airlines have submitted applications for subsidies to fly to Ljubljana, an effort to improve air links to the Slovenian capital. All the carriers have previously operated or are still operating Ljubljana flights. An expert commission set up by the Economy Ministry is to decide on the applications on 23 November. The airlines in the running for EUR 1.5 million in subsidies are Lufthansa, Air Serbia, Montenegro Airlines, Air France, Turkish Airlines, Swiss Air, EasyJet, Wizzair, and LOT Polish Airlines.
Triglav premiums increase 6% in Jan-Sep, net profit down 14%
LJUBLJANA - Insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav reported consolidated gross written premium of EUR 960.9 million for the first nine months of the year, a 6% year-on-year increase. Net profit declined by 14% to EUR 50.8 million. The profit decline is principally the result of the situation in global financial markets, and partly a result of major events such as hailstorms in three markets, the Zagreb earthquake and an increase in provisions. The combined ratio, an insurance industry benchmark, stood at 91.4%, which the company says is favourable.
New director appointed at Jožef Stefan Institute
LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed the appointment of Boštjan Zalar as the new head of the Jožef Stefan Institute (IJS), Slovenia's leading science and research institute. Zalar will start his five-year term on 1 December and succeeds Jadran Lenarčič, who has been at the helm of the IJS since 2005. Zalar has a PhD from the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering, University of Ljubljana. He works at the IJS's department for solid-state physics and is a full professor for solid-state physics at the Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School.
Govt dismisses Book Agency head
LJUBLJANA - The government dismissed the head of the Slovenian Book Agency, Renata Zamida, who started her five-year term on 1 January 2018. Zamida told the STA the move was illegitimate. "Just like four months ago, I think the dismissal is illegitimate and a symptom of a policy that is currently being implemented in culture and wider. Zamida has been on the chopping block since January amidst allegations of imprudent spending.
Military Chaplaincy receives SAF bronze medal on 20th anniversary
LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Matej Tonin conferred the Bronze Medal of the Slovenian Armed Forces on the Military Chaplaincy, which was established 20 years ago to provide spiritual care in the Slovenian army. Tonin highlighted the activities of the Chaplaincy in international operations and missions, while describing the Chaplaincy as "firm, reliable and trustworthy support to all members of the Slovenian Armed Forces and their family members irrespective of creed or world view".
President honours diabetes expert Janež
LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor bestowed the Apple of Inspiration award on diabetologist Andrej Janež. The head of UKC Ljubljana's endocrinology and diabetes department has been honoured for his extraordinary and breakthrough achievements in treating diabetes, said Pahor's office. Janež's work is proof that Slovenia's scientists can "reach the global Olympus of science", said Pahor, at the award ceremony that was without audience but streamed online.
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STA, 13 November 2020 - A total of 38 Covid-19 patients died in Slovenia on Thursday. 1,508 new coronavirus infections were confirmed in 5,762 tests, a drop from 1,925 the day before when more tests were performed, show fresh official data. The number of hospitalisations dropped slightly.
There are currently 1,199 patients in hospital compared to 1,210 on Wednesday, of whom 200 are in intensive care, the same as the day before. A total of 79 were discharged home on Thursday, the government announced on Twitter.
The national death toll currently stands at 724, according to the tracker Covid-19 Sledilnik.
The rolling 14-day average of infections per 100,000 residents has fallen to 948. The share of positive tests was 26.2%.
Slovenia has so far confirmed 52,378 cases, of which just under 20,000 are currently active.
The R value remains below 1, meaning "that ten newly infected persons pass on the virus to merely nine other persons", government spokesman Jelko Kacin told today's daily briefing, adding that changes in the testing protocol had not affected the R value and its decline.
He pointed out that the positivity rate was more than 2 percentage points lower than the day before.
The rolling 14-day average per 100,000 residents in the Pomurska region in the north-east remains cause for concern, with the figure standing at 1,493. The situation in the northern Gorenjska region has slightly improved, with the average falling below 1,400 from almost 2,000.
The only other region that has the figure above 1,000 is Koroška. The situation is best in the coastal Obalno-Kraška region (387).
Kacin also pointed out that significantly lower daily case counts were expected on Sunday and Monday, saying that the spread of coronavirus had been slowing down.
When it comes to hospitalisations, the situation is still alarming and shows a delay in new cases translating into hospital admissions, noted Kacin, also warning that the virus had been spreading in care homes.
He highlighted there was enough beds, but a shortage of staff trained to treat Covid-19 patients remained a problem.
Moreover, the number of patients with life-threatening Covid-19 at UKC Ljubljana is growing, he said.
The spokesman urged citizens to heed prevention protocols especially in the light of coming Saint Martin's day celebrations, which he said should be restricted to family members.
Matjaž Jereb, the head of the intensive care unit at UKC Ljubljana's infectious diseases department, said that the situation in hospitals was indeed critical and it was not the time to loosen restrictions.
Jereb, who is also the national ICU beds coordinator, pointed out that Slovenia had boosted the number of hospital beds, including ICU beds.
"In the past week, the past fortnight, we've been close to maximum capacity," he said, highlighting that Slovenia could provide up to 250 ICU beds and that it had been running low on hospital staff, many of whom, particularly nurses, have been infected with the virus.
In UKC Ljubljana, Slovenia's central hospital, there are currently more than 260 staff members quarantining. Most got infected outside work, according to Jereb.
Projections show that the number of active infections ranges from 17,000 to more than 80,000, he said.
The Covid-19 mortality rate is slightly below 15% in Ljubljana intensive care units, which compares to some 30% in the first epidemic wave, Jereb said, warning that the second wave had not been letting up in regard to hospitalisation figures.
The mortality rate is ten times the mortality rate associated with flu and same goes for the number of ICU patients, he said.