STA, 13 November 2020 - New restrictions concerning public gatherings and border crossing enter into force on Friday as part of efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus. The red list of countries has been expanded as well.
All gatherings are banned as of today, 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.
A new government decree, which takes effect on Monday, narrows exemptions from mandatory quarantine for people crossing the border into Slovenia,
Most importantly for Slovenians, a special exemption that allowed owners of property in neighbouring countries to visit for 48 hours without needing to quarantine has been scrapped.
Several exemptions have been narrowed, for example, 72-hour visits to relatives across the border. This exemption will now apply only to visits to EU and Schengen zone countries.
Cross-border migrant workers will have a 14-hour window to return to Slovenia after going to work in a neighbouring country.
Some types of emergency business and personal visits were 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 will still be able to end quarantine prematurely if they get tested, but from today they will 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.
The vast majority of the world's countries are on Slovenia's red list of countries, and there are some changes concerning European countries.
The entire Italy, Ireland, Liechtenstein and Poland are now on the red list, along with the majority of Denmark (with the exception of Faeroe Islands and Greenland), Lithuania (except Utena), Sweden (except Västernorrland), individual regions of Greece and one Estonian region, Ida-Viru.
Spain remains on the red list but the Canary Islands have been moved to orange.
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STA, 12 November 2020 - Employers advertised just over 13,600 job vacancies in the third quarter of the year, which is 2,500 more than in the second quarter, the Statistic Office said on Thursday. The number of occupied posts was up by more than 3,000. Meanwhile, the Employment Service has so far paid out EUR 312.4 million to help avoid layoffs.
The Statistics Office collected data on job vacancies at the end of August, just between both waves of the coronavirus crisis, when business activity picked up again.
Compared to the previous quarter, demand for new labour force was up in most activities, and was the highest in construction and manufacturing (almost 2,900 job vacancies in each), followed by retail, where almost 1,800 job vacancies were advertised.
Seasonally adjusted data show that there were little more than 766,000 occupied posts in Slovenia in the third quarter or 3,000 more than in the second.
In the second quarter, when some companies had to close their doors or reduce their activities for almost two months, the number of occupied posts dropped by almost 30,000.
However, thanks to the state subsidies for shorter working time, furlough and compensation for quarantine, 300,000 jobs were preserved, according to Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj.
In the third quarter, the number of occupied posts started rising again, except in manufacturing, financial and insurance services, and in other business activities.
In year-on-year comparison, the number of jobs dropped by almost 8,000.
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This summary is provided by the STA:
Slovenia tightening lockdown for two weeks
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia will tighten its lockdown for two weeks. Public transport will shut down and all non-essential stores will close. Schools and kindergartens will remain shut down. All gatherings except of persons in the same household will be completely banned, and exemptions for quarantine-free border crossing will be narrowed. Some of the measures will take effect on Friday, while others will be put in place on Saturday or Monday, government officials said.
Covid-19: A new daily death toll high, almost 2,000 new cases
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded 41 more deaths among Covid-19 patients for Wednesday, another daily high, for a total death toll of 686. A further 1,925 infections were confirmed, from 6,767 tests for a positivity rate of 28.45%, down one percentage point from the day before. Government spokesman Jelko Kacin 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 are in hospital, 200 of them in intensive care units.
MPs told police expected 5 Nov protest would be violent
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. The police started gathering information about the protest after first calls to join it emerged on social media, explained the head of the uniformed police at the General Police Department, Danijel Lorbek.
Police use rubber bullets, taser for first time
LJUBLJANA/VELENJE - The Ljubljana Police Department confirmed yesterday that officers had used rubber bullets to disperse protests that turned violent Thursday a week ago in what was the first such instance since Slovenia's independence. They fired 16 gas and five rubber bullets. On Wednesday, police intervening against a man in the north-eastern town of Velenje applied a taser gun for the first time, although the man went on to attack a police officer with a knife and her colleagues had to resort to the use of firearms. The police officer sustained light injuries and the man was seriously injured.
Quarantine order issuance being streamlined
LJUBLJANA - Certain changes are being made to streamline the issuing of quarantine orders under the latest coronavirus stimulus package. In addition to the epidemiologists and police officers, GPs will now be able to issue such orders. It will be possible to refer persons to quarantine orally and from today individuals are able to get quarantine orders online after filling out relevant forms on two public websites, so as to have proof for their employers.
NLB bank's group net profit down 36% in Jan-Sep
LJUBLJANA - NLB group posted EUR 104.6 million in net profit in the first nine months of 2020, 36% less than in the same period last year. The drop in profit was mainly due to additional impairments and provisions in the amount of EUR 50.2 million. Profit before impairments and provisions was only 2% lower than in the same period of last year, at EUR 167 million. The supervisory board reappointed CEO Blaž Brodnjak and the other two management board members for another five years at the helm of the bank.
Pandemic boosts Slovenia's trade with China
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, shows a report from the Statistics Office. In the first eight months of the year, imports from China rose by 13.8% compared to the same period last year. Slovenia's exports to China increased by 3.5% year on year in the first eight months.
Supreme Court denies having restricted public access to rulings
LJUBLJANA - The Supreme Court denied having restricted public access to court rulings in a judgement issued in May. It said that restriction of access was the consequence of incorrect interpretations. The statement comes after law professor Jurij Toplak said the Supreme Court decided that court documents are no longer publicly accessible. He said the decision restricted access to rulings. The issue was also raised by a legal expert and the Association of Journalists (DNS).
Cohesion policy office welcomes Parliament-Council deal on recovery package
LJUBLJANA - 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 - is an important step in the right direction, Slovenia's Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy said. "If the political step ... is followed up by the European administration at all levels, then we are on the right path."
EU Affairs Committee says proposed migration pact good basis for talks
LJUBLJANA - The EU Affairs Committee labelled the EU Commission-proposed new pact on migration and asylum a good basis for negotiations on the EU's joint migration policy. The negotiations will be demanding, especially in a time when the EU is trying to control the Covid-19 pandemic. Slovenia supports a package approach as regards the migration pact, while it is also in favour of a more careful or gradual approach to the adoption of individual acts, it said.
Stimulus package also brings aid for religious communities
LJUBLJANA - Religious communities have seen an estimated 60% drop in donations due to coronavirus restrictions, so the government heeded their calls for aid in the latest stimulus package. Religious workers will get a basic income of EUR 700 a month for the period between October and December, with the option of a six-month extension, and a permanent rise in state-paid social contributions to the level of culture workers. The bill was sent to parliament yesterday.
Maribor youth club to host online European Poetry Slam Championship
MARIBOR - The Maribor Youth Cultural Centre will organise this year's European Poetry Slam Championship, which will be held online for the first time due to Covid-19. The event, running between 4 and 5 December, will feature 19 competitors from various European countries, who the organizers say are the creme de la creme of the European slam poetry scene. Slovenia will be represented by theatre and radio director and performance artist Eva Kokalj.
Slovenia secure goalless draw vs Azerbaijan
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia have gone without conceding a goal for the sixth match running, securing a nil-nil draw in a friendly against Azerbaijan in Ljubljana on Wednesday. The game was seen as a dress rehearsal for the UEFA Nations League fixtures against Kosovo in Ljubljana on Sunday and against Greece in Thessaloniki on Wednesday. Slovenia manager Matjaž Kek suggested the team would need to do better than last night to succeed in finishing top of the Group 3 of C League.
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STA, 12 November 2020 - Slovenia will tighten its lockdown for two weeks in a bid to reduce the number of daily new coronavirus cases. Public transport will shut down and all non-essential stores will close. Schools and kindergartens will remain shut down. All gatherings except of persons in the same household will be completely banned.
Some of the measures will take effect on Friday, while others will be put in place on Saturday or Monday, government officials told the press on Thursday.
The narrowing of exemptions for crossing the border without quarantining will take effect on Monday, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs said.
Most notably, those with property in Croatia will no longer be able to spend 48 hours in Croatia and return without quarantining.
Another exemption that will be narrowed is visits up to 72 hours of relatives. This will be restricted to EU and Schengen Zone countries only. "In short, this means no more weekends in Bosnia and Herzegovina or Serbia," Hojs said.
The blanket ban on gatherings, taking effect on Friday, means that persons who are not relatives or from the same households will not be allowed to socialise at all. At present, gatherings of more than six persons are prohibited.
Public transportation will be shut down on Monday, according to Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec.
Health Minister Tomaž Gantar said the existing measures had been partially successful as the growth in new coronavirus cases went from exponential to linear, but they were not enough the reduce the baseline number of new cases.
"I firmly believe that without [new measures] we cannot speak about a return to normal life," Gantar said.
The new measures return Slovenia to roughly the spring level of lockdown, when all but essential stores were closed, public transportation was suspended and students were doing remote schooling.
Most stores have already been closed for three weeks and all schools are currently in remote mode, but limited non-essential retail, for example at jewellery stores, is still possible.
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STA – 12 November, 2020 - A total of 1,925 new coronavirus infections were confirmed in 6,767 tests in Slovenia on Wednesday, which means a positivity rate of 28.45%, down one percentage point from yesterday, government data show. A record 41 Covid-19 patients died.
Government spokesperson Jelko Kacin told the press again that the situation was calming down. Fewer tests were conducted yesterday and 274 fewer infections confirmed than the day before.
He repeated the latest figures were similar to those from the peak of the second wave and that yesterday's and today's figures were the result of a new system of testing.
The reproduction number continues to drop and stands at 0.91, which means that one infected person infects less than one person, Kacin said.
Looking at the situation in Slovenia's dozen regions over the past two weeks, Kacin said a rise in new infections had been recorded only in the Podravska and Goriška regions, while in Gorenjska the number was dropping very fast. A slight drop can also be seen in the Pomurska region.
In the past week, Goriška, Zasavska and Pomurska saw a rise in new infections.
In Ljubljana, 221 new infections were detected yesterday, which Kacin said was a relatively low number. In the second largest city, Maribor, 81 tests came back positive.
A total of 1,210 Covid-19 patients are in hospital, which is 18 more than the day before. The number of patients in intensive care rose by two to 200, while 93 were discharged home.
A total of 31 patients died in hospitals, and ten in care homes, Kacin said.
Hospitalisations have been rising since the start of the month but in the last third of this week, the situation has been stabilising, Kacin said.
According to the tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org, there are currently 20,151 active cases in the country, down 2.7% from the day before. The average 14-day incidence is now 961 per 100,000 people.
So far, 50,864 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the country, while the death toll is at 686.
A new outbreak has been reported from the northern Primorska region with 22 of the 270 employees infected at the German-owned Bovec company Mahle Electric Drives.
The company management took measures on the spot including banning socialising during breaks and locking up coffee machines. All employees will be tested, expectedly on Friday.
Several care homes in the region are also battling with infections, as are similar facilities across the country.
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STA, 12 November 2020 - The newspaper Delo examines the reasons for what it describes as "immunity of the safe property market" in the headline of Thursday's front-page commentary as prices of residential properties keep increasing in Slovenia and Europe against the expectations and despite the crisis.
Despite the 7.9% contraction in the country's GDP in the first half of the year and the economic crisis, demand for residential properties remains strong, while demand for hotel, hospitality and office properties is decreasing, the paper notes.
"Most on the demand side are those who spent the spring lockdown in small homes (...), while there are also individuals and businesses with a lot of capital who are looking for safe investment opportunities. An additional stimulus is negative interest rates that may drop further in the future."
The paper goes on to say that despite the demand being increased by some empty properties due to the crisis in the tourism sector, the shortage of real estate in Slovenia for the past 20 years has been such those empty properties do not make much difference.
"What is more, owners of empty properties are now even willing to wait for the country and international space to reopen before they return to rental business.
"Ownership is a major priority for Slovenians as it is, while now it appears to be supplemented with investments in real estate. These will certainly be driven by a chronic shortage thereof.
"It may be an indirect consequence of negative interest rates, or the trends may also be linked to the Europeans being culturally not in favour of venture investment and relying on conservative ways of personal and business finance management."
STA, 11 November 2020 - Several stakeholders have urged the government to withdraw a provision from the sixth stimulus package bill which in effect equals university entry criteria for those who have taken only the vocational secondary school-leaving exam to the detriment of those who have taken the harder, general secondary-school leaving exam.
The National Examinations Centre, the Association of General Secondary Schools and the opposition SocDems believe it would increase discrimination of those who have passed the general matura exam and lower the level of general knowledge in society.
In Slovenia, general secondary schools, known as gymnasiums, offer broader knowledge as opposed to more specialised vocational schools, hence the fear the proposed change would result in a drop in general knowledge.
The call comes on Wednesday, a day after the government adopted the sixth stimulus bill, which is designed to help businesses and residents cope with the health crisis.
Its Article 55 changes the higher education act allowing secondary schools students who have passed the vocational matura exam to enrol, at a time of the changed epidemiological situation, in university courses regardless of which vocational secondary school they have completed.
Under the existing legislation, university courses are open to secondary school students with the general matura exam and with the vocational matura exam but from the same field in which they are enrolling.
The Education Ministry responded to the call, saying it would not insist on the changes which it said had been drawn up on recommendation by the National Agency for Quality in Higher Education (NAKVIS).
The National Examinations Centre said objective circumstances and educational standards remain the same for both groups of secondary school students during the epidemic, so there is no need to change university entry criteria, which would put secondary school students with the general matura in a discriminatory position.
Similarly, the Association of General Secondary Schools said there was no basis for putting vocational secondary school pupils in a privileged position. It noted the topic having been discussed many times before, but all expert bodies having agreed on the importance of broad general education.
It said the damaging practice of allowing vocational pupils to enrol in university courses, which violates the higher education act, had been around for some time, but the epidemic did not call for legislating past irregularities. It thus warned against reckless changes which could have irreparable consequences.
Meanwhile, SD vice-president and ex-Education Minister Jernej Pikalo said this was "an absolutely unacceptable proposal" which had nothing to do with expertise or with efforts to soften the consequences of the epidemic, while bringing the disintegration of the Slovenian educational system.
Both Pikalo and the Pergam association of trade unions said it was unacceptable to address such an important topic as part of an emergency law meant to cushion the epidemic's ramifications.
STA, 12 November 2020 - As a protest turned violent in Ljubljana last Thursday, the police used rubber bullets - typically used in riot control or to disperse protest - for the first time since the country gained independence, the Ljubljana Police Department (LPD) said in a press release on Wednesday.
The LPD gave a news conference already a day after the violent protest, when chief Stanislav Vrečar said 15 police officers had been injured, of whom five needed medical attention. He also assessed that the use of force by police against the rioters had been proportionate.
Yesterday the police provided additional information about the use of force given that rubber bullets had been used against protesters for the first time since 1991 last week.
The LPD said the police had fired 16 gas and five rubber bullets against protesters because the crowd had not heeded the police orders to stop throwing granite pavement cubes, other dangerous objects and pyrotechnical devices into the police officers, endangering their lives and health.
It explained it had used sponge bullets, which are considered to be the safest for persons targeted. They were fired from 30-40 metres and only against those individuals who were seen throwing objects at the police officers.
The sponge bullets were fired with a shoulder-fired B&T GL06 40 mm grenade launcher, the police said, adding that available data showed they had not injured anybody.
The LPD also said that the use of rubber bullets is allowed under the same conditions as tear gas and is set down in the law on tasks and powers of the police.
This summary is provided by the STA:
Coronavirus daily case count up to 2,217, record 40 deaths reported
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded 2,217 new coronavirus cases for Tuesday, more than double the figure the day before, and a record 40 fatalities as Health Minister Tomaž Gantar reiterated his call for tighter restrictions. The latest statistics were first revealed by Gantar on Twitter, with the minister wondering ahead of Thursday's government session dedicated to the restrictions if anyone still doubted the need for stricter measures. A near record 7,515 tests were performed in line with re-expanded testing, which puts the positivity rate at 29.5% after 24% on Monday. Government spokesman Jelko Kacin argued the trends continued to improve despite higher absolute numbers.
Covid-19 on rise in elderly care homes
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 are currently 1,551 active cases among the total of 19,000 residents, and 718 active cases among nearly 12,300 members of staff, he said. Since the the pandemic reached Slovenia in the spring, 277 care home residents died, he said. Total death tally was at 645 on Tuesday. Out of the total of 40 deaths reported for Tuesday, six were in care homes, he said. The virus has made its way into about 80% of care homes in Slovenia.
Govt adopts sixth coronacrisis package
LJUBLJANA - The government has adopted the sixth legislative package meant to alleviate the impact of the coronacrisis on businesses and residents, extending once more the furlough scheme subsidies, measures to help liquidity and help with funding of fixed expenses. The government adopted the package, valued at around EUR 1 billion, late on Tuesday in a correspondence session. One of the most awaited measures in this package, and one that Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek highlighted as the key measure, is the compensation of fixed expenses to businesses whose revenue declined significantly due to the epidemic. Details
Logar says relations with US at highest level so far
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 Prime Minister Janez Janša's Twitter posts on the US election had jeopardised the relations. While opposition MPs spoke of Janša - who endorsed Donald Trump and stated it was pretty clear he was the winner as votes were still being counted - bringing shame on Slovenia and conducting "suicidal foreign policy", Logar told them not to "reduce the debate on Transatlantic relations to one tweet". He said relations with the US "practically did not exist" before he became minister in March.
Makovec to take over high-level EU diplomatic post
LJUBLJANA - Slovenian diplomat Marko Makovec has been appointed 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 of Slovenian diplomacy. The EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell confirmed Makovec's appointment last Friday, the Slovenian Foreign Ministry said, adding that Makovec would take over a senior position dealing with issues key for Slovenia, especially in light of its upcoming EU Council presidency. Makovec, an ambassador at the Slovenian Permanent Representation to the EU, is currently Slovenia's representative in the EU's Political and Security Committee.
Group of opposition MPs proposes abolishing electoral districts
LJUBLJANA - A group of MPs from the opposition Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), the Left and Social Democrats (SD) has filed a motion that would 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 SAB feels that a preferential vote is the only viable way of implementing the top court ruling. President Borut Pahor has been warning that formal democracy in Slovenia might be in danger if there is no reform before the next general election.
Stepping up productivity and digitalisation seen as key to prosperity
LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's future development and prosperity will depend of the country's ability to step up its productivity growth and digital transformation with a report drawn up by the government's economic think-tank suggesting the current trends are not encouraging. This year's productivity report, drawn up by the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development (IMAD), was presented at an online debate hosted by IMAD and the European Commission Representation in Slovenia. As a key message of the report, IMAD's Peter Wostner emphasized the need to attain a much higher growth in productivity in order to catch up with the advanced economies, taking into account the current level of employment and expected demographic change.
Majority in Delo poll blame populace for fast coronavirus spread
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 with the poll showing that respondents' position on the matter depends on their political preferences. Among those who vote for the ruling Democratic Party (SDS) as many as 72% believe the country was well or even very well prepared for the second outbreak, while there are 56% who think so among the voters of junior coalition party New Slovenia (NSi). By contrast, three out of four supporters of the opposition Social Democrats (SD) and Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) believe the country was ill prepared and as many as 79% among the voters of the Left believe the same.
NGO warns against restricting exercise
LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Heart Foundation NGO has urged decision-makers not to restrict people's movement and thus their ability to exercise because of coronavirus, warning that this could have harmful consequences for people's health. Children and adults, especially the elderly, must be allowed to get enough of exercise, the NGO said. The call comes after the Covid-19 task force at the Health Ministry proposed restricting people's movement to a radius of one kilometre from their home as the epidemiological situation in the country remains poor. According to the head of the Slovenian Heart Foundation, Matija Cevc, such a restriction would affect people living in city centres and in apartment buildings the most.
Springwater Capital new owner of Kompas
ZAGREB, Croatia - The new owner of Kompas, Slovenia's oldest travel company, will be Springwater Capital in line with a contract signed between the Madrid-based investment fund and the Croatian group Fortenova, the current owner of Kompas. The signing of the contract on the sale of Kompas Ljubljana and Kompas Poreč comes after the new owner had already notified the Slovenian Competition Protection Agency on the planned takeover days ago through its Luxembourg affiliate Special Sits General Partner. The regulatory approval is the only formal condition still pending for the transaction to be finalised.
Slovenian organisations very successful in Creative Europe
LJUBLJANA - In the last seven years, Slovenian organisations have obtained EUR 24 million in support funds to implement projects from the Creative Europe programme for 2014-2020, and created more than 1,000 international connections. More than 130 organisations, including NGOs, have participated in the programme. In the seven years, the European Commission's programme for the culture and audiovisual sectors supported almost 400 international projects implemented by Slovenian project managers or partners, the Motovila Institute said.
Wood discussed as major part of Slovenia's green future
LJUBLJANA - The main event of the Slovenian wood processing industry heard that the numerous positive features of wood may play a major role in a green future of the country's economy. The state intends to encourage greater use of wood by changing public procurement rules, and to support the national industry with tens of millions of euros. The first day of the Day of the Slovenian Wood Industry event, entitled Wood - Our Green Future, was held on-line and hosted by the trade promotion agency SPIRIT Slovenia, the Economy Ministry and the Wood Industry Cluster.
Entrepreneurs not so pessimistic in second coronavirus wave
LJUBLJANA - Entrepreneurs in Slovenia are not as pessimistic about their businesses in the second wave of coronavirus as they were in the first, the AJPES agency for legal records has said. In October, much fewer private entrepreneurs were deleted from the business registry than in March and much more new businesses were founded. In October, 1,274 small businesses closed down, which is 39% fewer than in March. Meanwhile, more new businesses opened, as 2,009 people decided to start their business, which is 8% more than in September. In March, only 1,285 new businesses were founded.
Employers project 1.3% growth in jobs for first half of 2021
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. The survey, conducted in October among 2,853 companies employing ten or more staff, suggests the most sought after will be labourers in manufacturing, builders, retail staff, welders and lorry drivers. Meanwhile, the biggest decline in employment is projected for the hospitality industry. Considering their responses, employers will be looking for about 26,000 employees over the next six months, most of which to fill for replacements and temporary jobs, and to a lesser extent these will be new jobs.
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STA, 11 November 2020 - Slovenia recorded 2,217 new coronavirus cases for Tuesday, more than double the figure the day before, and a record 40 fatalities as Health Minister Tomaž Gantar reiterated his call for tighter restrictions.
The latest statistics were first revealed by Gantar on Twitter, wondering if anyone still doubted that stricter measures were not urgent. "This is about people's health," he said ahead of Thursday's government session where restrictions are to be reviewed.
A near record 7,515 tests were performed yesterday, which puts the positivity rate at 29.5% after 24% reported for Monday. This was after a new recommendation was issued by the Health Ministry to test everyone suspected of having caught the virus again.
Gantar, who has been calling in recent days for a return to the type of lockdown seen in the spring, said the number of infections was falling too slowly, with one in 22 people infected. The demand for beds is growing, healthcare staff are exhausted, he wrote in his Twitter correspondences.
Data released by the government show a total of 1,192 patients were hospitalised with Covid-19 yesterday, including 202 in intensive care, which is 21 and six more the day before, respectively. Ninety-six patients were discharged home.
Commenting at the daily press briefing, government spokesman Jelko Kacin argued that the trends continued to improve and that despite higher absolute numbers nothing had really changed from Monday while the spike in infections was due to a change in testing strategy.
He said the reproduction number kept improving, offering graphs showing there had been no change in hospital admissions in the past two days and that the daily increase in admissions, discounting discharges and fatalities, was lower than days ago.
He did say though that the situation was worsening in the north east of the country, with the average 14-day incidence in Pomurje already exceeding 1,500 per 100,000 residents. Patients from there were moved to hospitals in other parts of the country.
However, Gantar argued earlier that until there were more admissions to hospitals than releases, it made sense to tighten restrictions for a short period.
The monitoring of the implementation of existing measures is being conducted, but he believes this is not enough given the gravity of the situation. "Better a short tightening that also enables a faster transition to normality."
The minister believes that all non-vital activities should be limited for a two-week period, including public transport. None of the existing restrictions should be softened, which also entails remote education for two more weeks.
Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek has in turn argued that this is a health as well as an economic crisis, meaning compromises are necessary when deciding on measures. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry has also appealed on the government not to adopt new restrictions in order to protect jobs.
The latest infections put Slovenia's coronavirus case count to just short of 49,000 with 20,712 cases still active, according to the tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org. The rolling 14-day average of infections per 100,000 residents has fallen to 988.
The death toll from Covid-19 has risen to 645.
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STA, 11 November 2020 - Entrepreneurs in Slovenia are not as pessimistic about their businesses in the second wave of coronavirus as they were in the first, the AJPES agency for legal records has said. In October, much fewer private entrepreneurs were deleted from the business registry than in March and much more new businesses were founded.
As the government first declared a Covid-19 epidemic in March, the number of small businesses deleted from the business registry rose significantly. As many as 2,088 decided to close their business the same month, which is double the figure that was recorded in February or January.
However, when the National Assembly passed the first package of measures aimed at helping businesses overcome the crisis at the start of April, businesses started extinguishing at a slower rate. But the closing down of small companies was still much higher than in the same period last year.
In April, 1,512 entrepreneurs gave up on their business and the number fell below 1,000 only in August.
At the end of May, the epidemic was declared over, and several more stimulus packages were passed, but as the number of new infections surged again in the autumn, an epidemic was declared again on 19 October.
According to AJPES data, the number of businesses deleted from the registry again exceeded 1,000 but entrepreneurs seem to be less pessimistic than during the first wave.
In October, a total of 1,274 small business were closed down, which is 39% fewer than in March. Meanwhile, more new businesses opened, as 2,009 people decided to start their business, which is 8% more than in September. In March, only 1,285 new businesses were founded.
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