COVID-19 & Slovenia, Night 21 March: 383 Cases, Shoppers, Home Schooling, New Measures

By , 21 Mar 2020, 21:59 PM Politics
Make art in difficult times Make art in difficult times © Aleksander Sandi

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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’s Aleksander Sandi. You can see more of their work here.

Contents

Number of covid-19 cases reaches 383

Shoppers getting anxious in face of limitations

Education Ministry happy with home schooling during covid-19 epidemic

Govt preparing measures to help households, companies cope

Number of covid-19 cases reaches 383

STA, 21 March 2020 - The number of confirmed covid-19 cases in Slovenia increased by 42 to 383 on Saturday, the National Public Health Institute (NIJZ) said. A total of 12,162 tests have so far been performed.

The highest number of covid-19 cases has been recorded in Ljubljana, 85. 186 women have been infected and 193 men. There has been one fatality, an elderly man with several underlying illnesses.

By age group, the highest number of confirmed cases, 126, has been detected among those between 30 and 46. There are 85 confirmed cases in people over the age of 60.

The Health Ministry issued 180 quarantine orders by Friday. These are issued to people who have been in close contact with infected individuals.

Prime Minister Janez Janša visited the town of Šmarje pri Jelšah, one of the hotspots of the epidemic, on Saturday. 41 cases of covid-19 have been confirmed in this municipality of just over 10,000. The number of patients is second only to the 85 cases confirmed in Ljubljana.

Janša congratulated mayor Matija Čakš for closing the local primary school before the nation-wide school closure was ordered and asked his team to share their experience with other Slovenian municipalities.

Meanwhile, the Civil Protection said that it distributed 1.2 million pieces of protective equipment to medical and care institutions around the country. This included surgical masks, gloves, overalls, glasses and sanitisers.

Some 570,000 items were delivered to hospitals, 186,000 to retirement homes, 356,000 to state bodies, 69,000 to safety and rescue forces, and 18,000 to others.

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Shoppers getting anxious in face of limitations

STA, 21 March 2020 - Retailer Mercator called on shoppers to show patience, keep the recommended safety distance and respect the shopper number limitations on Saturday, after several cases of people shoving and yelling at each other and employees have been reported. In some cases the situation escalated to the point that the police had to be called.

There is enough food for everybody, the retailer said in a press release, adding that vulnerable groups take priority in the time of covid-19 epidemic.

There has been cases of "inadmissible pressure, threats and even physical violence" perpetrated by some shoppers against Mercator employees.

Virtually all grocery stores have remained open after the government declared covid-19 epidemic a week ago. Shops have limited the number of people that can be in a shop at any given time and vulnerable groups are served with priority in the first hours after opening.

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Education Ministry happy with home schooling during covid-19 epidemic

STA, 21 March 2020 - A week after all schools in Slovenia were closed due to the covid-19 epidemic, remote schooling is going very well, Education Minister Simona Kustec said in a statement on Saturday. 380 primary schools, out of a total of 455, are taking part, while others are encouraged do so as well.

There were some toothing problems on Monday, much of which had been addressed by the next day. Kustec said the process was going better than expected.

Some 122,500 primary school students took part this week, as well as 14,000 teachers, while figures for secondary schools, of which there are fewer, are even better: 40,000 students and 4,000 teachers.

Kustec said that some 700 students faced problems because they either do not have a computer or internet access, or there are too few computers for all the children in the household.

This is being addressed with the help of schools, which lend their computers to students, while computers are also being donated. Moreover, operators Telekom and A1 are working with the ministry to provide internet where there is no access.

Kustec also said today that the enrolment deadline will be extended, while the dates for school-leaving exams remain unchanged for now.

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Govt preparing measures to help households, companies cope

STA, 21 March 2020 - Prime Minister Janez Janša has announced that the government would send by Friday to parliament a new legislative package focusing on rapid financial assistance to the population to mitigate the effects of the novel coronavirus epidemic. The government will also cut the salaries of all state officials by 30%.

The government will propose legislative changes to compensate companies that had to close shop because of the epidemic, Janša said, among other things, in several tweets on Saturday.

For the duration of the epidemic, pensioners and other most vulnerable groups will receive a crisis bonus. The pay cuts are also to be in place until the end of the epidemic. The announcement comes after the government classified the salaries of ministers and state secretaries as top salary bracket.

The legislative changes will introduce higher payment to those working in sectors that are key to overcome the epidemic, such as health care, civil protection, security and critical infrastructure. The employees' superiors will be able to increase their basic salary by between 10% and 200%. The government will advise employers to do the same.

The measures will be coordinated with with all the key players, Janša said, with the government Communications Office adding that coalition partners have already agreed on guidelines for the package, which are to be adopted by the government on Monday.

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