COVID-19 & Slovenia, Mid-Day 21 March: Ban on Leaving Municipality of Residence Coming

By , 21 Mar 2020, 14:30 PM Politics
Izola Izola ©Xenia Guzej

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We can’t have pictures of COVID-19 every day. So instead we’ll try and show the works of Slovenian artists. Today it’sXenia Guzej, with a picture from Izola. You can see more of her work here.

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Slovenia to restrict movement of people to municipal limits

Crisis response unit established to assist hauliers

Slovenians most worried about when covid-19 crisis will end

Slovenia to restrict movement of people to municipal limits

STA, 21 March 2020 - Slovenia will impose a ban on exiting one's municipality of residence in the coming days, Jelko Kacin, the spokesman for the government coronavirus crisis unit, said in a televised statement on Saturday. "We are trying to make it as friendly as possible, so as not to cause problems in the flow of people performing urgent tasks and jobs."

He also advised Slovenians against flooding tourist spots this weekend. "People are still flooding to the coast from all over. Let's be considerate to those who live there and help stop the spreading of the virus," Kacin said, before Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec made a statement and answered a few questions the government received by email.

Vrtovec said that the measures the government is taking to limit the spread of covid-19 would be lifted once the virus is limited or the country has enough protective equipment to restore public transport, which was suspended on Monday.

He assured the public that electricity supply is without disruptions and that this will remain so in the future. He said that the decision to lower the price of electricity will affect 850,000 households and 90,000 SMEs. Their electricity bills will be some 27% lower, due to reduced price of power and network charges, for the next three months.

Vrtovec also said that cargo corridors have been established and that cargo air transport is going as usual. Moreover, despite the ban of passenger air traffic, flights with Slovenians who have been stranded abroad are able to land.

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Crisis response unit established to assist hauliers

STA, 21 March 2020 - The government has established a crisis response unit to deal with issues faced by hauliers as the nation fights to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, Infrastructure Minister Tadej Vrtovec said on Saturday. Among other tasks, the unit will help hauliers manage paperwork and resolve complications in foreign countries.

Trucks with perishable goods cannot be held up on borders for 15 hours, he said a televised statements, a format that has replaced government press conferences as the country is mounting an effort to fight the spread of covid-19.

Vrtovec said that each country was looking after its own interests in the face of the Europe-wide covid-19 threat. He said that Slovenia will allow passage of trucks from Italy if Croatia will grant them entry.

The hauliers crisis response unit was initiated by the Chamber of Craft and Small Business (OZS). The unit features representatives of the foreign and defence ministries and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS).

OZS transport section president Peter Pišek said earlier this week that, as countries were closing their borders due to the pandemic, the unit would deal with various issues, including visas for drivers, creation of corridors and transport policy.

Pišek noted that Vrtovec had contacted Foreign Minister Anže Logar on Wednesday to talk about permits for drivers, adding that a diplomatic cable would be sent to the countries where hauliers faced the biggest problems already that day.

He added that Slovenian cargo transport companies faced many difficulties due to the restrictive measures, including quarantining of drivers. Numerous lorries with medications, meat and other "urgent cargo" headed for Slovenia remain stranded.

As drivers' body temperature is being measured in Germany and other countries, it is expected that "entire fleets will be waiting", said Pišek, who fears up to 50 lorries could end up in quarantine, with replacement drivers hard to find.

All this puts the supply of goods to the country at risk, he said, adding that the country needed to be well prepared for what would come in two or three weeks. Corridors need to be ready, all paperwork needs to be prepared and enough drivers on secured.

One of the problems is how to extend work permits to foreign drivers who work for Slovenian companies as administrative units deal only with the most urgent matters.

Pišek noted that Germany, Slovakia and the Czech Republic last night released cargo traffic, while the situation was worse in Serbia, as drivers needed to fill various forms and wait to be tested.

Meanwhile, there are no more complications in Croatia, and the neighbouring country is thinking about securing corridors to bring lorries through its territory.

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Slovenians most worried about when covid-19 crisis will end

STA, 21 March 2020 - A poll published by the daily Delo on Saturday suggests that Slovenians' biggest worry in the face of the novel coronavirus epidemic is the duration of the crisis. This was listed as concern by 54.1% respondents. Meanwhile, more than two thirds of respondents said that they were following instructions and staying home.

The poll included 536 people and was conducted by the pollster Mediana on 17 and 18 March, before Slovenia imposed bans on public gathering and movement.

Some 58% of the respondents said they thought the measures in place were too mild, some 40% said they were appropriate and 12.5% said they were too strict. Meanwhile, 2.6% said they did not follow the instructions, finding them exaggerated.

Just over 21% said they could not stay at home because of work obligations. About a half of the respondents said they were in employment. Of them nearly 30% said they worked from home, more than 55% said they could not work from home because of the nature of their work, while more than 14% said the employer did not allow this option.

Apart from worrying when the epidemic will end, people are most worried about infections in vulnerable groups (46.4%), about becoming infected themselves (43.6%), about being powerless (33.1%), about not being able to socialise (23.3%) and about losing income (19.5%), while 6.2% fear for their jobs.

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