Politics

17 Oct 2020, 12:30 PM

STA, 17 October - Almost 900 new coronavirus were confirmed on Friday, a new daily high. A total of 897 were confirmed in Slovenia 5,605 tests, one Slovenian citizen tested positive abroad, the government's Covid-19 spokesman Jelko Kacin said on Twitter.

The figures come to a positivity rate of roughly 16%, which is on par with Thursday's rate.

Slovenia now has 6,082 active cases from a total of 12,414 confirmed so far, according to data by the tracker Covid-19.Sledilnik.

The 14-day cumulative rate of infection per 100,000 people is now 290.

Official government data shows there are 250 persons in hospital, up approximately 3% over the day before, while the number of patients in intensive care declined by two to 43.

Four people with Covid-19 died, bringing the death toll to 184.

What the Latest Lockdown Means for Your Region (16/10/20) - if you live in Slovenia you should click here and read this

The latest statistics on coronavirus and Slovenia, and the latest police news on red, green and yellow list countries. All our stories on coronavirus and SloveniaCan I transit Slovenia? Find out from the police...

17 Oct 2020, 11:48 AM

STA, 16 October 2020 - Slovenian epidemiologists will continue establishing contact with those infected with the novel coronavirus, however from Saturday they will no longer pursue their contact tracing strategy or issue proposals for quarantine orders.

The epidemiological service of the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) announced on Friday that as of Saturday it will be up to the infected to notify everyone they have been in contact with of their infection.

Epidemiologists' capacities are not limitless, said NIJZ, adding that they have stepped up their efforts to investigate coronavirus cases, however case numbers are rising and investigation delays are bound to occur.

Currently, epidemiologists can deal with some 350 cases per day, tenfold compared to the spring.

In the morning, there were some 1,300 cases of confirmed infections that had not been yet dealt with, meaning close contacts had not been established.

Epidemiologists will continue notifying the infected of all the key information, including about the quarantine procedure and the code for activating an alert via contact tracing app #OstaniZdrav (#StayWell).

The infected person will also receive instructions to warn all who have been in contact with them and deliver relevant guidelines.

Epidemiologists will thus no longer determine risky contacts themselves nor will they issue quarantine proposals.

Regardless of a change in its protocol, the service will carry on with its work and keep providing key epidemiologic data representing an important basis for deciding on anti-corona measures, added the NIJZ.

All our stories on coronavirus and Slovenia

17 Oct 2020, 11:32 AM

STA, 16 October 2020 - Putting 38% of Slovenian territory under Natura 2000 protection was "a shot in the knee", Prime Minister Janez Janša told the press after an EU summit that had climate goals as one of the items on the agenda. He indicated Slovenia would only support goals that are feasible.

The EU summit on Thursday called for a strengthening of climate ambitions in the next decade in order to achieve the goal of climate neutrality by 2050. There is no specific agreement yet on the goal to reduce emissions, the desire is to reach one in December.

It was agreed this time that the enhanced goal must be reached together in the most cost-effective way. All member states will participate, whereby national circumstances, fairness and solidarity will be considered.

Eleven member states that have pushed for more ambitious targets issued a special statement calling for an agreement on the goal to reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030.

Asked whether Slovenia intended to join the eleven, having once considered itself as a climate-ambitious country, Janša said that "politics can change every day, but we will not change natural conditions, in particular when we shot ourselves in the knee in the past."

He said one such shot in the knee was declaring 38% of Slovenia's territory a Natura 200 area, where it is forbidden to produce energy from natural and sustainable sources. The European average is 18%.

"We'll try to be ecologically conscious and yet not be complete idiots like those who drew these maps at that time not realising what it is actually all about," he said.

"We will not deal with the signing of various statements in which you commit to high targets, but at the same time ... expect that others will achieve them," he said, noting that Slovenia would support goals that will actually be implemented and would not pay triple the price like some neighbouring countries might.

Speaking about the summit debate, Janša said that nobody had major qualms about the 55% target, but there were concerns about how to achieve it, the price, and a fair approach.

"These targets need to be achieved so that they are actually sustainable, it should not just be about achieving some formally determined targets notwithstanding the price and consequences."

This means that "it does not make sense to generously subsidise electric cars and abolish diesel [cars] but then burn coal in thermal power plants to charge electric cars. There are rational boundaries here that simply must be respected."

Janša also highlighted the issue of global competitiveness. If Europe, which produces just over a tenth of global emissions, sticks to the rules and limits its own industry to its detriment, its competitiveness will decline, which will leave less money for research and innovation, the only path to achieving long-term climate goals.

He said it was clear the targets cannot be achieved without nuclear energy, which is a problem for some countries. Slovenia will definitely not have a new generator at its nuclear power plant until 2030, which means a lot will have to be done to approach the target.

All our stories on the environment and Slovenia

16 Oct 2020, 16:25 PM

STA, 16 October 2020 - Two more of Slovenia's 12 statistical regions, Pomurska and Podravska in the north-east, have turned from orange to red on the coronavirus incidence metre, which means that lockdown restriction apply in nine regions in total.

According to data by the National Institute for Public Health, the 14-day average incidence threshold of 140 Sars-CoV-2 cases per 100,000 population has been exceeded in Pomurska and Podravska.

The only regions still designated orange are Primorsko-Notranjska, Goriška and Obalno-Kraška in the west and south-west of the country.

Red-region residents are not allowed to leave their region, although a number of exceptions apply. A total ban on gatherings is in place, bars, restaurants and indoor sports facilities are closed, while hair and beauty salons may admit one client at a time.

More details about what red and orange regions can do are here

16 Oct 2020, 15:27 PM

STA, 16 October 2020 - Coronavirus transmissions keep gaining pace in Slovenia with 834 of 5,196 tests performed on Thursday coming back positive and the rolling 14-day average per 100,000 residents rising by 27 in a day to 257.21.

The Covid-19 death toll has hit 180 after four more fatalities were reported for Thursday, according to fresh data provided at today's press briefing by sombre-looking government spokesman Jelko Kacin.

These show that Covid-19 hospitalisations have risen to 242, up by 20 from the day before, despite nine discharges. 45 patients are being treated in intensive care units (ICU), five more than the day before.

After Slovenia has already passed the 14-day average of 140 cases per 100,000 residents, one of three indicators beyond which the government plans to declare an epidemic, it is fast nearing the other two; 250 hospitalisations and 50 ICU patients.

Kacin said the government was expected to decide on potential new measures tonight, after new restrictions kicked in today in seven out of Slovenia's 12 statistical regions.

The latest cases, coming after 745 and 707 in the previous two days, bring the overall tally to 11,517, of which 5,413 remain active infections, according to tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org.

What the Latest Lockdown Means for Your Region (16/10/20) - if you live in Slovenia you should click here and read this

Kacin noted that the new increase was despite slightly fewer tests being conducted on Thursday (5,196) than Wednesday (5,287) with the rate of positive tests hitting an all time high of 16%.

Joining Kacin in appeals for everyone to abide by precautions such as wearing face masks in order to turn down the curve, infectiologist Tomaž Vovko from the UKC Ljubljana Department of Infectious Diseases, the country's main Covid-19 treatment facility, described the situation as "horrible".

The ICU unit there has four speciality doctors attending to 20 Covid-19 patients, aged between 42 and 85, where normally one doctor would be attending to 1.7 patient.

"We are working much harder than ever before. Our nurses that we have been working with for 20 years say they have never been facing such a burden before. They know what needs to be done for patients, but they simply cannot keep it up," Vovko said.

He repeated that while the number of hospital beds could be expanded, "we cannot clone" the staff qualified to treat the patients. "The situation is grave indeed," he added.

Asked about the suitability of Covid-19 patients from a care home in Škofja Loka (NW) being moved to a sports arena, Vovko said the conditions would be unsuitable everywhere in a fortnight.

Due to the work overload, quarantine orders are being issued with considerable delays so these are no longer being issued to risk contacts, Vovko said, saying that everyone should presume they were exposed and act accordingly.

Kacin also urged everyone to download the coronavirus exposure mobile tracing app. Data as of 14 October show the app has been downloaded by almost 129,000 users with 455 TAN-codes issued in a fortnight, of which 282 were in fact submitted.

The capital Ljubljana again confirmed the biggest surge in cases, with the number of active infections increasing by 119 to 797 for a per capita infection rate of 0.270%, followed by Kranj, where they rose by 34 to 204 (0.357%).

The latest statistics on coronavirus and Slovenia, and the latest police news on red, green and yellow list countries. All our stories on coronavirus and SloveniaCan I transit Slovenia? Find out from the police...

16 Oct 2020, 10:27 AM

STA, 16 October 2020 - Wide-ranging restrictions are taking effect across Slovenia on Friday, with a number of regions going into partial lockdown as a response to a high number of new coronavirus cases over the past fortnight. Among other things, socialising will be restricted to no more than ten people and remote teaching will be introduced for older students.

CLASSIFICATION OF REGIONS

Based on the coronavirus infection rates in individual statistical regions, these are being designated either orange or red. No region has been designated green, as all have a 14-day average of cases per 100,000 residents above 40, the limit at which a region is designated orange. Regions with an incidence of over 140 per 100,000 are designated red.

Seven of Slovenia's 12 statistical regions are currently red: Gorenjska, Koroška, Osrednjeslovenska, Posavska, Savinjska and Zasavska, or 117 of 212 municipalities.

The list will change based on official infections data released by the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) at least once a week; the first will be posted on Friday.

The list, in Slovene, can be found here

GATHERING OF PEOPLE

Temporarily, gathering of people is being restricted to ten persons. Moreover, these are only allowed to meet if a minimal required safety distance prescribed by the NIJZ can be observed.

Exceptions apply to close family members and members of the same household, as well as groups of up to six co-workers commuting to work together, but only if they wear protective masks.

Red regions

A general ban on events, rallies, weddings and religious ceremonies has been put in place in the red regions. Some events which have already been approved by the NIJZ will have to be cancelled.

Exceptions apply to one-time events, such as concerts, that have already been approved by the NIJZ, but not to recurring events, such as film screenings at cinemas, said Interior Minister Aleš Hojs.

INTER-REGIONAL MOVEMENT RESTRICTIONS

Red regions

Red-region residents are no longer allowed to leave their region.

However, a number of exceptions have been put in place: going to work, agricultural and forestry work, providing healthcare and property protection services, care for a family member, access to a pharmacy, healthcare services and hospitals, access to foreign diplomatic and consular representation and access to emergency services, among several others.

Residents of red regions may also cross over into an orange region if they own a piece of property there, or if they are travelling to a foreign country, meaning that a red region's resident may travel across regions to cross into a neighbouring country.

Moreover, people who have previously booked a holiday may also travel across regions, although the government advises against it and has also said that it would extend the tourism voucher scheme beyond 31 December.

People are also allowed to leave a red region to visit a grave, but this is discouraged. Slovenians flock to cemeteries on 1 November, All Saint's Day, often meeting family and friends as they visit the graves of their their loved ones.

To be able to leave a red region, people will need to show some formal proof if they get pulled over in a random police check.

Orange regions

Orange region residents are free to move across regions and may also enter red regions, albeit this is not advised.

Grounds for movement restrictions described above are determined by the government every seven days.

MASK USE

Red regions

Masks are no longer obligatory only indoors, but also outside and in cars, when carrying persons who are not members of the same household.

Exceptions include children up to the age of six, primary and secondary school student in their home class, preschool teachers and teachers up to grade 5 when working with children, and university teachers when using a protective screen; persons in one-on-one fitness training sessions provided that a safety distance of three metres can be observed.

Orange regions

Masks remain obligatory indoors.

EDUCATION

Remote learning will be reintroduced on Monday for students in 6th grade and older. Currently, the plan is for this to remain in place for a week, until the one-week autumn vacation.

Remote teaching will also be in place at music schools and higher vocational schools, in case of the latter until end of October.

Institutions and schools for children with disabilities will continue in person.

Universities have decided to switch to remote teaching wherever possible.

RECREATIONAL SPORTS

Red regions

A ban will take effect on Saturday on services in fitness centres and sports facilities, as well as group exercises.

School gyms will be closed to outside users, exceptions being competitions and club members with registered athlete status training at the facilities.

Orange regions

Fitness centres and other sport facilities remain open, however attendance is capped at 1 person per 20 square metres.

PROFESSIONAL SPORTS

The restrictions do not apply to athletes with registered athlete status without regard for their location, Educations and Sport Minister Simona Kustec said.

BARS AND RESTAURANTS

Red regions

Bars, restaurants, coffee shops and pastry shops will close their on Saturday. They may still prepare food, but only for take away or delivery services.

Tourist accommodation facilities may still serve food and drink, but only between 6am and 10.30pm and only to guests.

Orange regions

Serving of food and drink is allowed between 6am and 10.30pm. Guests are only served at tables, which must be appropriately spaced.

HAIR AND BEAUTY SALONS

Red regions

Only one client will be allowed in the salon as of Saturday.

Orange regions

The number of clients in the salon is capped at one person per 20 square metres.

All our stories on Slovenia and coronavirus

16 Oct 2020, 10:11 AM

STA, 15 October 2020 - The National Assembly passed in a 48:29 vote on Thursday the fifth package of legislation designed to help the society at large, and the healthcare system in particular, cope with the coronavirus epidemic.

One of the principal measures of the legislation, which is estimated at EUR 420 million, is an extension of the furlough subsidy scheme for companies until the end of the year.

The state will continue to cover sick pay for workers in quarantine, including when they are on sick leave to care for quarantined children.

Sole proprietors and freelancers will once again be eligible for a monthly basic income, a measure that was already in place in the spring.

From October until the end of the year they will be able to get EUR 1,100 per month if their revenue in 2020 is 20% lower than last year.

The state will provide funds for personal protective equipment and other equipment for public health institutions and care homes and will also cover loss of income for these institutions due to vacant capacities. A task force will be established to advise the institutions in case of infections.

New bonuses will be introduced for workers in healthcare and social security. Those working directly with patients in grey and red zones, respectively for those with confirmed or suspected infections, will get 30% bonuses, and those assigned to new posts will get 20% higher pay.

Several inspectorates will have the power to monitor compliance with measures related to the epidemic. Police and traffic wardens will be able to complete small offences procedures without having to forward cases to the Health Inspectorate.

Quarantine decisions will be simplified. The National Institute of Public Health will be able to order people to quarantine in the event of contact with an infected person, while police officers will have the power to do that on the border for arrivals from high-risk countries. The quarantine orders may be oral, a solution that the opposition objected to.

The bill introduces free flu shots for everybody with a health insurance and aims to bring some relief to the healthcare system by allowing up to three days of paid sick leave three times a year without having to see a GP.

According to Elena Zavadlav Ušaj of the coalition Democrats (SDS), this will reduce the workload on community health centres.

As of 1 January doctors employed by public institutions will no longer be allowed to work for more than eight hours a week in private practices.

Another healthcare-related solution, an effort to cut waiting periods, is allowing private practitioners without public concessions to apply for public funds. EUR 42 million will be available in a public call in which public and private health care providers will compete on equal terms.

Primož Siter of the of the Left said that nothing will have changed for patients, but a lot of money will go to owners of private healthcare providers. Vojko Starović of the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) believes that public funds should be used to fill up the capacity of public healthcare providers.

Defending the motion, Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Minister Janez Cigler Kralj said the government wanted to make use of any available capacity in healthcare.

"If previous solutions that only saw money being given to the system made no significant changes in cutting waiting periods, in fact they grew longer, it would be foolish to expect a better outcome if we used the same manoeuvre once again," said Cigler Kralj, adding that the measure focused on the patient, who will get fast access to good services.

The opposition National Party (SNS) meanwhile believe this measure to be an experiment which will have no effect whatsoever. "If public healthcare institutions have available capacities, they should work, we don't need a public call for that," said MP Dušan Šiško, who believes the biggest problem is not money but poor organisation and understaffing.

SDS deputy Mojca Škrinjar said: "I don't care if the health service is rendered by a private provider, concessionaire or a public community health centre or public hospital. What I want is fast, quality health service when I need it."

Some of the decisions were decried by the opposition as having nothing to do with the epidemic. One such measure is the repeal of a law that fixes the prices of books for a certain period. Following protests by the opposition, the final solution was that the repeal will be temporary, lasting only until the end of April 2022.

The law also provides the legal basis for a new mobile application for exposure notification. The new app will include a functionality that will inform users about preventive measures.

All our stories on Slovenia and coronavirus

15 Oct 2020, 21:57 PM

STA, 15 October - The Slovenian Press Agency has expressed indignation at Prime Minister Janez Janša's Twitter post in which he describes the agency as a "national disgrace, an evident abuse of the name it carries".

The statement accompanied the retweet of a post by the editor of Demokracija, Jože Biščak, who questioned STA's priorities by noting that a report about the construction of the Cirkovce-Pince power line, which Janša attended, had fewer words than an interview with the rapper Zlatko.

"Judging the quality of reporting work based on word count, the basis for Prime Minister Janez Janša's response on Twitter, is anything but a professional standard," the STA said.

It noted that several news items had been published about the event Janša attended, whereas the interview with Zlatko accompanied the release of his new album. Moreover, these are different genres that cannot be compared either in terms of form or length.

"Such a manner of labelling the work of reporters of the STA, which is owned by the state but performs a public service, is inadmissible, baseless and is far from the kind of stance we would expect from the president of the largest political party and current prime minister," the agency said.

This is not the first time Janša has written about the STA this way. In March he designated the agency as a ventilator of fake news.

The Slovenian Journalists' Association said it was concerned about a new attack on a media outlet by the prime minister on social networks, noting that the STA is "one of the key building blocks of the Slovenian media environment". The association also stressed that the STA wire is used by media across the board, regardless of their world view, which further justifies it being called a national agency.

Rejecting criticism that is based on incomparable benchmarks, the association said it was "additionally surprised that the prime minister, who publicly urges the citizens to act responsibly in fighting coronavirus, invests energy in confrontation with the media, which are key in the dissemination of information about the measures the government is taking".

15 Oct 2020, 15:48 PM

STA, 15 October 2020 - Bars, restaurants and sports facilities will close in most Slovenian statistical regions on Saturday as part of tightened coronavirus measures, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek told the press on Thursday.

While the government decree on the ban will enter into force on Friday, the Economy Ministry explained for the STA that the measure will be enforced as of Saturday, since the National Institute for Public Health needed to first publish updated official data on the epidemiological situation in the individual regions.

The bars and indoor sports facilities ban will apply for all regions designated red, which means all regions in the county bar a few in the west, south-west and north-east which are presently in the orange stage in terms of the 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 residents.

The hospitality ban excludes bars and restaurant at facilities that also provide accommodation, but services will be limited to guests staying there.

Take-away and delivery will be allowed everywhere, the ban applies only to service on location.

Hairdressers will still be allowed to provide services, but the number of clients allowed at a time is one per room.

In orange regions, bars and restaurants will be allowed to stay open from 6am to 10:30pm.

Fitness centres and indoor sports facilities will stay open in these regions as well, but visitor numbers will be limited to one person per 20 square metres. The same restriction will apply for hairdressing and beauty salons.

Počivalšek said he was aware of the impact the restrictions would have on business and announced another stimulus package would be adopted if necessary.

The extension of the tourism vouchers scheme into 2021 has already been announced.

The latest statistics on coronavirus and Slovenia, and the latest police news on red, green and yellow list countries. All our stories on coronavirus and SloveniaCan I transit Slovenia? Find out from the police...

15 Oct 2020, 13:17 PM

STA, 15 October 2020 - Slovenia has logged yet another coronavirus record as the daily tally hit 745 for Wednesday, following 707 the day before, bringing the total case count to well over 10,000.

Government spokesman Jelko Kacin, speaking at a press briefing now under way, said that a record 5,287 tests were performed yesterday, with 14% of the cases returning positive, just slightly below 14.4% the day before.

Hospitalisations increased by twelve to 222 despite 20 Covid-19 patients being discharged home on Wednesday. As many as 40 are in intensive case units, five more than the day before.

Both figures are close to thresholds the government set for declaring an epidemic again, after a third criteria, that is the rolling 14-day average, has already been passed days ago.

The 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents is now 230, up from 203 the day before. The so-called phase-red threshold is 140, along with at least 250 hospitalisations and at least 50 intensive care patients.

Slovenia has so far confirmed 10,683 coronavirus cases, of which 4,818 remain active, data from tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org show.

After another fatality on Wednesday, the Covid-related death toll has increased to 176.

Kacin said that epidemiologists were overwhelmed with new cases, so they were no longer able to conduct enquiries on all new cases in a single day. Out of 707 cases on Tuesday they managed to process about 500 yesterday.

Infections continue to spread among staff in healthcare and at care homes. Tracker data show 26 new infections were among health staff, 18 among care home residents and 13 among staff in the homes.

By far the highest number of new cases, 119, was confirmed in Ljubljana, whose per capita infection rate has risen to 0.271% with 797 active cases.

After a total of 134 municipalities reported new cases for Wednesday, only five remain that have not had any infection yet. Črna na Koroškem in the north continues to have the highest infection rate, at 0.914%.

Older primary school, secondary school students switching to remote learning

STA, 15 October 2020 - Primary school children as of the 6th grade and secondary school students will be schooled remotely as of Monday for at least one week, Education Minister Simona Kustec announced on Thursday as the government has adopted additional restrictive measures.

Children attending the first five grades of primary school will meanwhile continued to go to school, Kustec told the press. Kindergartens will continue to operate normally.

Children up to the fifth grade are exempt because they have only started their education and they need to be taught in-person, while they also have the same teacher all the time so mingling is restricted, she added.

For the time being, remote learning will take place next week, after which primary and secondary school students go to week-long autumn holidays. A reassessment will be made after the holidays.

If the epidemiological situation improves after the holidays, schooling may be back to the system used at the moment, the minister said.

Vocational colleges will switch to remote learning next week all the way until the end of October, according to the letter the Education, Science and Sport Ministry has sent to schools.

Music schools will also be working remotely next week, while all programmes of institutions and schools for children with special needs will be implemented in person.

Sport facilities operated by schools may only be used for competitions and training by registered athletes in the senior and junior categories, Minister Kustec also announced.

All afternoon and extracurricular activities in schools are suspended until further notice.

Apprentices should continue their apprenticeships in line with instructions and measures taken their employer.

It has been left to higher education institutions to decide how they will organise their academic processes. "As we have noticed, this usually means transitioning to remote learning," the minister said.

Dormitories for secondary school students will continue with their work normally, but residents are encouraged to leave them for their homes in order to provide a safer environment to those who do not have conditions for remote learning at home.

Fitness centres and indoor sport facilities will need to secure 20 square metres for a single person during exercise or trainings, Kustec added.

The minister said the infection rate among primary and secondary school employees and students was 0.09%, and the share of quarantined persons is above 1%.

"Perhaps this is a low number, but when compared to the entire epidemiological picture, we can see that it increases at a comparable rate, and this was the main reason for the measures," she added.

At the beginning of September, the ministry distributed 4,000 computers to schools to help them organise remote learning. If there is need for more equipment, the ministry will help, Kustec concluded.

Representatives of associations of head teachers and trade unions expressed surprise at the government's decision not to use a regional approach and introduce the measure only in the red-listed statistical regions.

"Why are the restrictions across-the-board?" wondered the head of the Association of Primary School Headteachers, Gregor Pečan, adding that the measure was disproportionate as it had been envisaged for the epidemic declaration phase.

Branimir Štrukelj of the SVIZ trade union of teachers added that the "government decisions lack consistency" and that he had the feeling that it had no serious strategy for schools and kindergartens.

The latest statistics on coronavirus and Slovenia, and the latest police news on red, green and yellow list countries. All our stories on coronavirus and SloveniaCan I transit Slovenia? Find out from the police...

14 Oct 2020, 21:48 PM

STA, 14 October 2020 - PM Janez Janša announced additional restrictive measures to contain the spread of coronavirus on Wednesday, including remote learning from the fifth grade of primary school as of Monday, an inter-regional movement ban, limited gatherings, and mandatory masks outdoors in red-listed regions as of Friday.

Janša said that given the latest epidemiological situation, the government had to take additional measures, one of them being activating reserves in the healthcare system.

Another measure will be restricting direct work in schools, meaning that children from the fifth grade of primary school up will continue school remotely as of Monday at least until the autumn holiday, when an evaluation will be made.

The week-long autumn holidays start the last week of October.

The same will apply to secondary schools, and colleges and universities are also urged to do as much work as possible remotely.

As for regional measures, the prime minister said that seven out of the 12 Slovenian statistical regions had already exceeded the threshold of 140 cases per 100,000 residents in a 14-day period.

In these seven red-listed regions, inter-regional movement will be banned, and gatherings capped at 10 persons. Masks will be mandatory outdoors, and certain services activities and sport activities will be cancelled.

These regions are Central Slovenia, Gorenjska, Koroška, Zasavje, Posavje, Savinjska and South-eastern Slovenia.

As for inter-regional travel for red-listed regions, Janša said exceptions would be listed in the relevant decree, including work and basic services.

The government also wants to extend the validity of tourism vouchers beyond their current expiry at the end of 2020, Janša said, and this will be added to the fifth stimulus package, which will be discussed in parliament on Thursday.

"Those who have not spent their vouchers should thus not be afraid that they will not be able to do so in the next year," he added.

Janša added that the government had evaluated the latest epidemiological situation and its possible development to assess that "we are between the orange and red phase" as the number of infections was increasing.

The decree detailing the measures which will enter into force either on Friday or Monday is to be published tomorrow, when relevant ministers will also provide explanations of the measures to the press.

A total of 707 new Sars-CoV-2 cases were confirmed in Slovenia on Tuesday, almost a doubling of Monday's figure and a new record by far, which comes on 4,902 tests, a new high as well. The positivity rate hit a record 14.4%.

Janša also called on citizens who have not downloaded the national contact tracing app to do so, saying that consistent use of the app could help avoid certain restrictive measures.

The prime minister said the government had a plan ready in the event the situation deteriorates further, including formally declaring an epidemic.

The latest statistics on coronavirus and Slovenia, and the latest police news on red, green and yellow list countries. All our stories on coronavirus and SloveniaCan I transit Slovenia? Find out from the police...

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