Politics

11 Oct 2020, 15:11 PM

STA, 11 October 2020 - A total of 2,956 tests for the novel coronavirus were performed in Slovenia on Saturday, resulting in a record 411 new daily infections, official government Covid-19 spokesperson Jelko Kacin announced on his Twitter profile.

According to data from the tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org, a total of 158 persons are currently hospitals in Slovenia for Covid-19, which is also a new record.

Out of those patients 27 are in intensive care units, while eight persons were discharged from hospital yesterday.

The total number of confirmed cases is 8,663 out of 257,339 tests, of which 3,314 remain active. The 14-day incidence is 159 new cases per 100,000 residents, up 8.3%. The death toll has remained at 167.

New infections were confirmed on Saturday in 105 out of the 212 municipalities in Slovenia, the most in Ljubljana (70), followed by Škofja Loka (21), Kranj (19) and Grosuplje and Sevnica with 11 each.

The highest share of actively infected persons in total population is still recorded in Črna na Koroškem in north (1.01%).

The most of the new infections were detected in the 35-44 age group (82), which is followed by the 45-54 group with 79 cases.

Commenting on the growing numbers, Kacin said that it was time to reflection, solidarity and consistent respect of the restrictions and recommendations of the National Public Health Institute.

Slovenia's Covid-19 green list getting shorter

STA, 11 October 2020 - The government has decided to tighten requirements for arrivals as many countries around Europe continue to post record daily increases in coronavirus numbers. As of 12 October, only four countries will remain on its green list, which means no quarantine is required.

Only travellers from Australia, New Zealand, Serbia and Uruguay can enter without any health restrictions starting on Monday after all six European countries that have been on the green list so far have been moved to orange or red.

The red list has significantly expanded and now includes Belgium, Czechia, Iceland, Luxembourg and Spain. Belgium and Spain, for example, only had individual regions red-listed so far.

On the other hand, arrivals from Austria and Croatia will be smoother. While three Austrian states are currently on the red list, only Vienna remains red-listed after Monday. Two Croatian regions have been moved from red to orange as well.

Italy remains on the orange list, according to a decree that the government adopted on Saturday.

Passengers arriving from countries on the red or orange lists must quarantine as a rule, but there are many exemptions and often a negative Covid-19 test suffices.

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...

11 Oct 2020, 12:07 PM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 9 October 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Janša dividing and not uniting people amid epidemic

STA, 9 October 2020 - Mladina's latest editorial says that PM Janez Janša stayed true to himself and launched an attack on Wednesday on the media and opposition as it became clear that his government failed to contain the epidemic. However, Slovenia's ongoing defeat against the epidemic is the result of a poor and incompetent leader, the left-leaning weekly paper asserts.

While Janša accused the media of encouraging violations of protective measures, this is a "dirty lie", Mladina's editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says, arguing there is not a single serious media outlet in Slovenia that would not be calling for respect of measures and spreading knowledge about the epidemic.

Even more, the media, despite being hammered by Janša constantly, have been rather gentle with regard to some major government blunders and the same holds true of the opposition, which never once sank to the level of Janša who threw insults at the previous government as the epidemic began and threatened with lawsuits even though this instilled even more fear in the already frightened public.

"Thus it needs to be stated before his lie spreads: Janez Janša is the one incapable of handling crises, he does not understand what a crisis situation is, which is something that he already showed in 2012 and this merely got confirmed now. It again showed that Janša is without leadership abilities, without organisational abilities and above all completely incapable of uniting the nation in distress," Repovž says under Back to 2020.

"Instead of working, he puts out 30 tweets a day or more and constantly follows developments on this social platform," adds Repovž, who draws hope from the initiative to form a centre-left government as an alternative to Janša, from the discourse accompanying this effort as well as from the demands of the protest movement.

"The stakes are very high. We are in the middle of the epidemic. But in the middle of such a situation, the current government finds it more important to replace the directors of all oversight institutions than to unite the people in the fight against the epidemic. While everybody is taking the epidemic seriously, Janša is only using it."

Reporter: Search for Janša's replacement speeds up

STA, 5 October 2020 - The right-wing weekly magazine Reporter says in its latest commentary that the opposition's search for a new prime minister is gaining steam, with several scenarios being in play behind the scenes on how to get the required 46 votes for a constructive vote of no confidence in Janez Janša.

Janša is pushing his agenda in an uncompromising fashion and is triggering the left-leaning opposition and its political backing to make plans for how to bring down the current government as soon as possible.

Under the headline to the Last Breath and Further, editor-in-chief Silvester Šurla says that a six-month transitional government until a snap election is out of the question, and that only a new political government until the regular 2022 election is an alternative.

But in the latest plans of the "uncles behind the scenes", some of the current parliamentary party leaders taking over at the government is not an option, either, and the path to the 46 votes is gradual.

With the ousting of Aleksandra Pivec as the head of the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), the DeSUS takeover operation is half-way through, and intensive talks are being conducted with its former leader Karl Erjavec, who is willing to return only under certain conditions.

This would be followed by a merger of DeSUS with the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) and Modern Centre Party (SMC), which would together with the MPs of the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), Social Democrats (SD) and Left then vote Janša out of office.

The problem is that they still do not have a name for prime minister-designate, who would be a supra-party candidate. Two names have been circulated in the media lately - the former European Commissioner Janez Potočnik and Court of Audit president Tomaž Vesel.

But it is expected that the prime minister, while the opposition is digging him a political grave, will not be idle and that he will do everything he can to keep the current coalition together as long as possible, preparing the grounds for the next election.

"In the tense game of political poker, Janez Janša has better cards in his sleeve compared to the political plotters from the left, but the game nevertheless remains unpredictable," the commentary concludes.

All our posts in this series are here

10 Oct 2020, 15:26 PM

STA, 10 October 2020 - Out of a record 4,362 coronavirus tests conducted in Slovenia on Friday, a total of 380 came back positive, an 8.7% positivity rate, show fresh official data. On what was a fourth day in a row that the daily case count has exceeded 300, hospitalisations continued to rise and two Covid-19-related fatalities were confirmed.

The number of Covid-19 patients in hospital increased by nine to 147, whereas the total of those in intensive care remained roughly the same at 21. A total of 14 requires ventilator support and six persons were discharged home.

Two persons infected with coronavirus died, raising the national death toll to 167.

In six municipalities, more than ten new infections were detected. Most latest cases were again confirmed in the capital Ljubljana (69), which also records the greatest number of active cases, 506.

Friday tests confirmed 16 new infections in health workers, 15 in care home staff and eight in residents of care homes.

So far, Slovenia has seen 8,252 coronavirus infections. Currently, there are 3,061 active cases in the country, according to data from the tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org.

Slovenia's coronavirus incidence rate, the number of new cases per 100,000 residents in a fortnight, was 147 on Friday, up 6.8% on Thursday. The latest figure exceeds the threshold that is expected to trigger new restrictions according to government plans.

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...

10 Oct 2020, 10:26 AM

STA, 9 October 2020 - Police stepped up the IDing of protesters at Friday's 25th anti-government rally in Ljubljana over violations of the decree limiting public assembly during the coronavirus epidemic. Several protesters were removed from the site, while protests labelled the police action "repression and a disgrace".

The enhanced IDing comes after Interior Minister Aleš Hojs announced it earlier in the week as the government adopted stricter public assembly measures to contain the virus.

There were again many protesters, including some well-known public figures, among them poet Svetlana Makarovič.

The majority heeded the calls in social media to arrive by bike and wear face masks, while activists called on them to keep a safe distance and avoid confrontation with the police.

A police officer explained to a protester that she could be contacted by a health inspector to explain the facts and circumstances of the offence for which she was IDed.

Some protesters were removed from Republic Square by police officers, among them riot police, while at least one was detained and taken to a police van.

Jaša Jenull, one of the most outspoken protesters, said the protesters were being responsible, wearing masks, keeping the distance and not gathering in groups of more than ten, while exercising their constitutional right to movement.

"Despite this, police have dragged some of them from the square ... and IDed many, including pensioners. This is what a dictatorship looks like, this is Janez Janša's Slovenia in 2020. This has to stop," he said and announced the continuation of the Friday protests.

Some protesters shouted at the police that they were protecting villains while following Hojs's dictate and exerting repression on people.

In support of the protesters who were taken away, the protest ended in front of the police station in Trdinova Street.

10 Oct 2020, 09:00 AM

What follows is a weekly review of events involving Slovenia, as prepared by the STA.

If you’d like to keep up on the daily headlines then follow those here, or get all our stories in your feed on Facebook.

FRIDAY, 2 October
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Janez Janša highlighted after the EU summit the urgency of serious preparations for the autumn and winter season with the novel coronavirus, especially in light of reports that vaccination will likely still not be available early next year, at least not in sufficient amounts.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - The new EU migration pact in the current form is not entirely acceptable to anyone but everyone finds it a good starting point for further negotiations, PM Janez said after the EU summit.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - PM Janša commented on the European Commission's concerns about the lack of resources in Slovenia for key independent bodies like the corruption watchdog and the networks regulator by saying he was much more worried about the lack of funds for healthcare than he was about NGOs and other organisations.
        LJUBLJANA - Unofficial reports suggested that the Slovenian government would classify the Chinese technological giant Huawei as a high-risk supplier shortly. On 6 Oct Huawei expressed disappointment, saying this was unjustified.
        AJDOVŠČINA - Bia Separations, a biotechnology company, was acquired for EUR 360 million by Sartorius, a leading international pharmaceutical and laboratory equipment supplier. The takeover is still subject to regulatory approval but is expected to be wrapped up by the end of this year.
        LJUBLJANA - The government decided that face masks will no longer be required for kindergarten children, primary and secondary school pupils in their class, and for teachers up to the third grade of primary school.
        KRŠKO - The Environment Agency (ARSO) decided that impact assessment and an environmental permit will be needed for the works needed to extend the life of the country's only nuclear reactor beyond 2023. The N-plant operator indicated on 6 Oct that it would not challenge the decision.
        TRBOVLJE - The government and the state-owned power holding HSE signed a concession contract for hydro power plants on the central part of the Slovenian section of the Sava river. Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak said the first three of the planned power plants would built in ten years.
        KOPER - Port operator Luka Koper hosted the ambassadors of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Czechia, with CEO Dimitrij Zadel saying the ambition of the port was to become the main maritime window for the economies of Visegrad Group members.
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor hosted representatives of the Slovenian minority in Austria in the run-up to the centenary of the Carinthian plebiscite on 10 Oct. Pahor said the predominant opinion was the past 100 years should be remembered in a way which would make it easier to build a common future.
        LJUBLJANA - The situation in healthcare and what is seen as its ongoing privatisation was in the centre of what was the 24th consecutive Friday anti-government protest rally in Ljubljana. The protesters demanded the resignation of Health Minister Tomaž Gantar and of National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) director Milan Krek.

SATURDAY, 3 October
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša called on the public to act responsibly and abide by precautionary measures to avoid further restrictions as the coronavirus outbreak in the country is spreading, also suggesting that Slovenia was but a step away from declaring epidemic again.
        LJUBLJANA - The government allocated just over EUR 2.5 million for the European Commission Emergency Support Instrument for advance payments to manufacturers of promising vaccines against Covid-19.
        LJUBLJANA - Rating agency Moody's upgraded Slovenia's long-term issuer and senior unsecured bond ratings by one notch to A3 from Baa1, changing the outlook to stable. Announcing the news, the Finance Ministry said the upgrade showed Slovenia as one of the most reliable countries for foreign investors.
        LJUBLJANA - Defence Minister Matej Tonin stressed the importance of unity as he addressed a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the Tactical Line, a paramilitary unit formed during independence efforts on 17 May 1990 as Yugoslav authorities wanted official Slovenian army units disarmed.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenia climbed one more spot in the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking to 31st among 63 countries.
        LJUBLJANA - Participants in a Hike for Life called for protecting human life from conception to natural death.

SUNDAY, 4 October
        TEHARJE - Celje diocese administrator Rok Metličar gave mass remembering an estimated 5,000 victims of war and post-war summary executions connected to the post-World War Two camp in Teharje.
        LJUBLJANA - Nepremicnine.net, the leading real estate website in Slovenia, was reported being taken over by Real Web, a company owning several leading internet real estate platforms in Europe.
        LIEGE, Belgium - Slovenia's cycling star Primož Roglič added victory at the Belgian one-day classic Liege-Bastogne-Liege to his portfolio of prestigious achievements.

MONDAY, 5 October
        LJUBLJANA - PM Janez Janša presented a draft bill on the National Demographic Fund, a new state fund designed to pool all state assets, around EUR 8.6 billion, to shore up the pension system, to the Economic Social Council (ESS) before the government adopted it later in the day.
        LJUBLJANA - Aleksandra Pivec stepped down as agriculture, forestry and food minister just a few hours before the National Assembly was to vote on her dismissal. State secretary Jože Podgoršek was formally nominated for the job on 6 Oct.
        PORTOROŽ - Central banks do not expect the Covid-19-induced crisis to be as deep as initially feared, but if the situation were to deteriorate, they are ready to step in and react, Boštjan Vasle, the governor of Slovenia's central bank, told the 37th Financial Conference.
        LJUBLJANA - Telecoms incumbent Telekom Slovenije made 5G technology available to its users, having set up the country's first commercial 5G network in late July. Built on existing infrastructure, the network does not yet cover the entire country, with the company expecting to provide coverage to 33% of the population by year's end.
        LJUBLJANA - The registered jobless total in Slovenia stood at 83,766 at the end of September, a 5% drop on August but a 20% increase compared to the registered unemployment figure in September 2019.
        LJUBLJANA - Czech MEP Alexandr Vondra apologised to his Slovenian counterparts for a tweet in which he labelled Slovenians "opportunistic pigs". Franc Bogovič (EPP/SLS) accepted the apology but warned that Vondra had not erased the tweet he posted after a defeat of Slavia Prague in a football match featuring Slovenian referee Damir Skomina.
        LJUBLJANA - Ljubljana's tourism sector suffered a significant blow this year, as the coronavirus pandemic suspended air travel. This summer, the capital saw 160,341 overnight stays, 75% less than a year ago.
        RADEČE - The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted the development of an innovative solution at the Radeče paper mill. The company has started producing antibacterial paper which apart from inhibiting the growth of bacteria also reduces the spread of viruses and is thus ideal for people with weak immune systems.
        LJUBLJANA - Slovenian cyclist Stanko Verstovšek set a new record in the 24-hour time trial by covering a total of 914.02 kilometres in that span on a route in the north-eastern region of Prekmurje. He beat the previous record-holder, Christoph Strasser of Austria, by more than 15 kilometres.

TUESDAY, 6 October
        LJUBLJANA - The government adopted guidelines for further anti-coronavirus restrictions, introducing a sliding scale of measures to be adopted based on the incidence of cases and the strain the virus puts on healthcare.
        LJUBLJANA - Risks to financial stability have increased sharply as a result of the coronacrisis and the accompanying deep economic slump. Income and credit risk have increased as well, showed the Financial Stability Report by Banka Slovenije.
        LJUBLJANA - Uroš Lepoša, the acting director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), tendered his resignation after only some two months on the job, citing personal circumstances. News portal 24ur.com, Lepoša stepped down due to political pressure.
        LJUBLJANA - The two-member board of 2TDK featuring Dušan Zorko as director general and Marko Brezigar resigned in agreement with the company's supervisory board, which appointed Pavle Hevka and Iztok Černoša in their place.
        LJUBLJANA - Anže Erbežnik has been formally nominated for the vacant post on the Constitutional Court and Arjana Brezigar Masten for the vice-governor post at the central bank, the office of President Borut Pahor announced.
        LJUBLJANA - Rating agency Moody's upgraded the credit ratings for the NLB and NKBM banks, for both from Baa2 and Baa1, preserving a stable outlook.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia promotes the launching of the EU recovery and resilience facility as soon as possible and expects no red tape, Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj said after an informal virtual meeting of EU finance ministers.
        LJUBLJANA/MEŽICA - Addressing a symposium entitled Carinthia as Diplomatic Issue 1918-1920, held online ahead of the centenary of the Carinthian plebiscite, Foreign Minister Anže Logar stressed the historic ties between Slovenia and Austria and the importance of dialogue between the countries.
        LJUBLJANA - Every fifth Slovenian was a victim of sexual abuse as a child, shows a recent survey commissioned by the Justice Ministry. Minister Lilijana Kozlovič announced that a bill enabling the country's first Barnahus for child victims of sexual abuse would be likely passed in 2021.
        LJUBLJANA - The 23rd Festival of Slovenian Film (FSF) kicked off. This year, the festival is marked by a drop in film production due to the coronavirus pandemic and a suspension of state funds. Film makers called on the government to release overdue funds and boost and streamline film funding.

WEDNESDAY, 7 October
        LJUBLJANA - Economist Jože P. Damijan, supported by a group of acclaimed scholars and artists, offered to spearhead a centre-left Constitutional Arch Coalition meant to become an alternative to the Janez Janša government that is, they believe, turning Slovenia into "an illiberal democracy". The leaders of the four centre-left opposition parties confirmed talks were under way.
        LJUBLJANA - The Foreign Ministry responded on the enlargement package for the Western Balkan and Turkey, stressing the importance of a credible enlargement policy for peace, stability, security and economic growth of Europe. The package was also welcomed by Slovenian MEPs on 6 Oct.
        SLOVENJ GRADEC - The government formally declared Črna na Koroškem, site of a major coronavirus outbreak at a residential facility for people with mental disabilities, Slovenia's first Covid-19 danger zone.
        BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia's eight MEPs expressed differing views on the European Parliament's somewhat surprising support for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 by 60% compared to 1990.
        LENDAVA - The city council of Lendava, a bilingual municipality on the border with Hungary, honoured Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto by making him an honorary resident.
        LJUBLJANA - The international comics festival Tinta kicked off in Ljubljana and three other cities.

THURSDAY, 8 October
        LJUBLJANA - The government imposed new restrictions following a sharp rise in Slovenia's coronavirus curve, which saw a record 387 new cases discovered on Wednesday as the rate of positive tests surpassed 10% for the first time. A total of 1,640 new cases were reported in the past week and the death toll rose by 8 to 160. The measures include a ban on gatherings of more than ten people, except for organised events sanctioned by the National Institute of Public Health. Slovenian epidemiologists said they have readjusted their contact tracing strategy to focus on contacts of infected persons in care homes, education, healthcare and shared households.
        LJUBLJANA/VIENNA, Austria - The Slovenian and Austrian presidents, Borut Pahor and Alexander Van der Bellen, called for the protection of minorities as an element that enriches as they spoke with the STA and APA ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Carinthian plebiscite.
        LJUBLJANA - The government started debating legislative changes merging eight key regulators into two super-agencies. The regulators were reportedly allowed only 24 hours to give their remarks. The proposal has been strongly criticised by the opposition, the regulators and a public sector unions as an attempt to assert political power, while the government said its goal is streamlining.
        LJUBLJANA - Interior Minister Aleš Hojs told his EU counterparts, who discussed the new migration and asylum pact for the first time, that more focus should be given to an effective EU return policy. He said the European Commisison-proposed new migration pact contained compulsory relocation and that "this can be quite a problem in the talks in the coming months."
        LJUBLJANA - President Borut Pahor received the credentials of the UK's new ambassador to Slovenia Tiffany Sadler and of her Slovak counterpart Peter Zelenak.
        LONDON, UK - Slovenia placed 14th among 128 countries in the World Energy Council's 2020 Energy Trilemma Index, which ranks countries by their ability to provide sustainable energy. The country lost two spots compared with the year before, but the methodology has changed.
        LJUBLJANA - Fuel retailers have only slightly adjusted prices of diesel and regular petrol at service stations outside motorways the first week after full deregulation.
        LJUBLJANA - Lonely Planet selected Bled among the top 10 destinations which offer unique and memorable experiences. The second edition of the list of recommended destinations puts Bled sixth alongside the world's most famous sights such as Petra, Uluru or Yellowstone.

09 Oct 2020, 16:34 PM

STA, 9 October 2020 - The Constitutional Court has struck down provisions of a 2013 law that impose a 70% tax on income that individuals have been found to have failed to report. The court also declared that tax reassessment cannot be made for cases prior to 2009.

The court, in the ruling declared on Friday, said the taxation rate could not be above the rate for that valid for income proved by the taxpayer. The top tax rate in Slovenia is 50%.

The court also quashed the provision under which such a tax reassessment procedure can be launched for one or several years within ten years prior to the start of the procedure when it could lead to taxation of undeclared income from before 1 January 2009.

The contentious super tax was passed in late 2013 as part of the government's legislative package aimed at combating grey economy. It entered into effect in 2014.

It provided for the 70% tax rate to be imposed on the difference between the actual value of assets and the reported value of assets, as opposed to the average personal income tax rate which had been used until then.

However, since the 70% tax rate also entails a penal element, the court has now established that the law should have also included legal guarantees that the Constitution prescribes for criminal proceedings under article 29 in the tax reassessment procedure.

Since the procedure under the tax procedure act does not provides such guarantees, this section of the super tax law contravenes the constitution.

The court says it is up to the legislator whether to include an element of penal or restitutional nature in the future, but if it does, it would need to take into account basic criminal procedure guarantees in that procedure.

The 2013 law also expanded the period for which suspicious assets could be scrutinised from five to ten years. This provision was now quashed as the retroactive effect of legal acts is prohibited under article 155 of the Constitution.

The legislation was challenged by the Administrative Court over an appeal against the Financial Administration's decision to impose EUR 1 million tax plus interest on the plaintiff for a period between 2008 and 2014.

Based on the decision, persons who have already been slapped with such high tax payments could claim their money back. The procedure has been applied in some of the high-profile cases of alleged corporate crime.

All our stories on tax and Slovenia

09 Oct 2020, 13:45 PM

STA, 9 October 2020 - A total of 363 new coronavirus cases were confirmed in 3,682 tests on Thursday, the third day in a row that the case count has exceeded 300. Four people with Covid-19 died, the highest daily figure since the start of the epidemic, the latest government data show.

Slovenia now has a total of 7,879 confirmed cases, of which 2,865 are active, according to data tracker Covid-19 Sledilnik. The four new deaths bring the death toll to 165.

Measured in new cases per 100,000 people over two weeks, a key benchmark used in the EU, Slovenia is now at 137, just shy of the threshold that will trigger new restrictions according to government plans.

The situation in hospitals continues to deteriorate as well. There are 138 Covid-19 patients currently in hospital, up from 131 yesterday, while the number of patients in intensive care rose by one to 22. Twelve are currently on ventilators.

"The situation in hospitals is approaching critical," Jelko Kacin, the government's Covid-19 spokesman, told the press today.

He also said Slovenia was preparing for "even more extensive testing" and currently had no problems either processing the tests or securing the requisite testing materials.

There are no testing delays since labs conducting analyses are sufficiently staffed and work around the clock, according to Kacin.

New cases were reported in almost half of all Slovenian municipalities. The biggest increases were in Ljubljana (74), Kranj (19) and Velenje (14).

In terms of the share of active cases in the population, Črna na Koroškem stands out with almost 1.2% of its residents classified as active.

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...

09 Oct 2020, 12:11 PM

STA, 8 October 2020 - Prime Minister Janez Janša called a session of the National Security Council for Friday afternoon after a record 387 people tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday. Apart from the coronavirus situation, the session, scheduled for 3pm, is also to discuss illegal migrations.

In total, 7,507 have tested positive since the pandemic reached Slovenia in the spring and 160 people have died. Data for Wednesday show some 2,700 active infections in Slovenia.

The share of positive tests has exceeded 10% for the first time on Wednesday and the virus is spreading fast among school and healthcare staff.

Today, the government adopted new restrictive measures, capping the number of people in gatherings to 10 as of tomorrow. Gatherings of up to 500 people will be possible only with the approval of the National Institute for Public Health (NIJZ).

Načrt za spopad z #2val #covid19

Posted by Janez Janša on Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Food and drinks will no longer be served at events, said Interior Minister Aleš Hojs, adding that the police will also conduct strict oversight of compliance with new gathering restrictions at weekly Friday protests.

Moreover, bars and restaurants will only be allowed to serve customers sitting down and observing a personal distance of 1.5 metres, unless they are members of the same household.

The National Security Council session was called a week after Hojs said that the migrant smuggling market was in full swing, also adding that the Interior Ministry still wanted to give the military police powers to help out along the border.

Talking to public broadcaster TV Slovenija tonight, Hojs said the ministry realised "the Schengen code allows some other state bodies to control borders as well". The ministry explained subsequently that this involved the Financial Administration, inspectorates as well as the military.

Between 1 January and 15 September, the police have detected 11,117 attempts at illegal border crossings, compared to 10,906 in the same period last year.

08 Oct 2020, 15:47 PM

STA, 8 October 2020 - The government has imposed new restrictions following a sharp rise in Slovenia's coronavirus curve, including a ban on gatherings of more than ten people, except for organised events sanctioned by the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ).

The ban, which applies to public and private gatherings, will come into effect on Friday, and police will stiffen oversight and fining, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs told the news conference following the cabinet session on Thursday.

Those organising events of up to 500 people, including religious services and sporting events, will need to obtain the go-ahead from the NIJZ, however catering or the serving of food or drinks at those events will no longer be allowed.

Hojs said the reason was that many infections could be linked to various private parties, including weddings.

Hojs answered in the negative when asked whether the police would check on compliance with the ban at private flats, but he did say that the police would be stricter in enforcing the ban, including at Friday's protests.

"Friday's cycling has been one of the most flagrant violations" of the government decree in recent months, said the minister, but could not say how many people have been infected at Friday's protests.

He did say though that Ljubljana was "critical" in terms of the infection rate.

Ljubljana recorded 64 new infections on Wednesday after 60 the day before, and currently has 449 active cases, which puts its infection rate per resident at 0.153%, according to the tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org.

The government today also changed the decree on the providing of goods and services as a result of which guests at bars, cafes and restaurants will only be served at the tables from Friday, except for delivery or take away.

In addition the number of people allowed inside shops, banks, postal and other offices will be limited to one person per 20 square metres, excluding the employees.

This was as Slovenia recorded 387 new coronavirus infections for Wednesday as the rate of positive tests surpassed 10% for the first time. The incidence rate, the number of cases per 100,000 residents in the past two weeks, climbed to 128.80, from 116 the day before.

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...

08 Oct 2020, 12:19 PM

STA, 8 October 2020 - A record 387 Covid-19 tests came back positive on Wednesday, a slight increase from the day before and a new record since the start of the epidemic in March. There were slightly fewer tests performed than the day before, 3,665, with the positivity rate climbing above 10% for the first time, government data, released on Thursday, show.

The number of patients currently in hospital rose from 122 to 131, a new record, despite 15 being discharged from hospital. A total of 21 patients were in intensive care, one fewer than the day before.

One person died, bringing the death toll to 160.

Slovenia now has an estimated 2,426 active cases according to the data tracker Covid-19 Sledilnik, up 10% from the day before, out of a total of 7,120 confirmed cases since the start of the epidemic.

New cases were recorded in more than half of Slovenia's municipalities. The capital Ljubljana now has 449 active cases after a daily jump of 64, but several other municipalities registered double-digit increases, including smaller communities such as Domžale, Vrhnika, Škofljica and Škofja Loka.

Of the new cases, 35 were confirmed among health staff, the continuation of a trend that has forced some hospitals to shut down individual departments or cut services due to staff shortages.

In nursing homes, where the virus has started spreading again in recent weeks, there were 13 new cases.

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07 Oct 2020, 21:12 PM

STA, 7 October 2020 - The government has formally declared Črna na Koroškem, site of a major coronavirus outbreak at a residential facility for people with mental disabilities, Slovenia's first Covid-19 danger zone. The declaration, effective on Wednesday, makes the municipality eligible for aid but does not involve restrictions on movement.

The relevant decree was published in the Official Gazette late on Tuesday and took effect today without the knowledge of the local community, with Health Minister Tomaž Gantar saying the move was urgent due to the deterioration of the situation in the municipality.

"It will make things easier... All it means is the possibility of extra staffing assistance and fewer legal obstacles," the minister said in Slovenj Gradec, one of the stops on the government's day-long tour of the Koroška region.

Črna na Koroškem, a municipality in the north-east along the border with Austria, has had the highest infection rate among all Slovenian municipalities.

According to the latest data, almost 1.5% of the population was classified as active Covid-19 cases yesterday after over 100 the residents, staff and volunteers at the facility for people with mental disabilities became infected.

Gantar visited Črna and the facility for people with mental disabilities today along with Minister of Labour, the Family and Social Affairs Janez Cigler Kralj, with the latter saying that the government was there to help.

He added that the decision to declare the town a Covid-19 danger zone was important as the facility would be able to get assistance from other similar institutions and nursing homes in the vicinity.

A list of ten staff has already been prepared, and an external location has also been secured in a nearby education centre so that this vulnerable group gets the necessary protection, the health minister added.

Gantar was also acquainted with the overall epidemiological situation in Koroška and in particular in Črna, saying he was happy that there were not many hospitalisations despite the relatively high number of infections.

Črna Mayor Romana Lesjak said regarding the declaration that it did not relate so much to the population, but more to the welfare facility, which would be able to get professional and staff assistance, and additional protective equipment.

"If this is so, we welcome the decree, because we think that the centre, whose residents come from the entire Slovenia, deserves state aid and the burden relieved from its overworked staff," she added.

According to her, 79 infections have been confirmed in the facility among the residents and 29 among the staff. When it comes to the overall population in the town, the numbers are comparable to other municipalities of similar size.

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