COVID-19 & Slovenia, Afternoon 1 April: Numbers, Nursing Homes, Austrian Border, More Slovenes Repatriated

By , 01 Apr 2020, 12:59 PM Politics
#stayhome #stayhome Janja Rozman, Damjana Sušnik / Ljubljana Castle

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All our stories on coronavirus are here, while those covering covid-19 and Croatia are here. We'll have an update at the end of the day, and if you want newsflashes then we'll post those on Facebook

We can’t have pictures of COVID-19 every day. So instead we’ll try and show the works of Slovenian artists and designers. Today it’s Janja Rozman and Damjana Sušnik from Ljubljana Castle, from a series of posters organised by Tam Tam. You can see more of them here.

Contents

Number of coronavirus cases up by 39 to 841, death toll at 15

Solutions sought as Covid-19 situation in nursing homes escalates

Four more crossings on Slovenia-Austria border to close

Dozens more Slovenians returning home

Number of coronavirus cases up by 39 to 841, death toll at 15

STA, 1 April 2020 - A total of 1,288 tests for the new coronavirus were performed in Slovenia on Tuesday, with 39 new Covid-19 cases confirmed to increase the total number of confirmed cases to 841. The death toll increased to 15 by the end of Tuesday as two more persons died.

The government said on Twitter that a total of 119 Covid-19 patients were in hospital, the same number as on Monday, of whom 31 are in intensive care.

Nursing homes remain hot spots for the disease, with 137 residents and 30 healthcare workers employed in nursing homes having contracted the disease.

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Solutions sought as Covid-19 situation in nursing homes escalates

STA, 1 April 2020 - Nearly a fifth of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Slovenia have been in nursing homes, which have been described by a health official as a "battlefield" that would determine the future course of the epidemic. Authorities are looking for solutions and have also urged families of nursing home residents to secure domestic care if possible.

The latest data put the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases at 841, 137 of which are or were residents of what are around 115 nursing homes in Slovenia. Staff working in nursing comes accounts for another 30 cases.

The nursing homes in Metlika and Šmarje pri Jelšah as the first hotspots have been joined in recent days by the Ljutomer home, where the latest figure of confirmed cases is 22, 20 of which are residents. Confirmed cases have been reported in at least eight of Slovenia's 100-plus nursing homes.

While the confirmed death toll for Šmarje pri Jelšah stands at six and in Metlika at least four have died, new data on lethal cases among nursing home residents is not available as the authorities no longer disclose the age or location details of each death case.

Facing a situation where nursing homes are completely full, meaning it is hard to organise isolation measures, and warnings about insufficient staff and protective equipment at nursing homes, authorities initially responded with an reallocation of healthcare staff.

The government's coronaviurs crisis spokesperson Jelko Kacin spoke on Tuesday of the effectiveness of what had been a timely relocation in Metlika. He said talks were under way on relocation possibilities and that specific solutions would be drawn up for each nursing home.

The director of the Golnik clinic for pulmonary diseases Aleš Rozman spoke at length about the situation as Tuesday's press conference and also called on families of nursing home residents who are able to do that to take them home so as to facilitate relocation.

The call was echoed today by Labour Ministry State Secretary Mateja Ribič: "We call on the families to take this on with all seriousness and with the awareness that it will not be possible to readmit their loved one to he home during the epidemic."

Ribič highlighted a number of protective measures put in place at nursing home, while she also said she could guarantee that all nursing homes that urgently need protective equipment will receive it.

Meanwhile, Rozman described on Tuesday nursing homes as a "battlefield" that would determine the future trajectory of the epidemic.

"We are afraid of small epidemics in nursing homes completely saturating our healthcare system and leave us facing unnecessary casualties," he added.

Task forces have been established, comprising experts from hospitals and primary care, with the priority task of preventing the spreading of the virus in nursing homes with confirmed Covid-19 cases.

They will also examine the transfer routes and try to prevent infections in nursing homes where there are no confirmed cases yet, Rozman added.

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Four more crossings on Slovenia-Austria border to close

STA, 1 April 2020 - Only nine points on the Slovenian-Austrian border will be open as of 2 April after the Austrian government has put in place additional restrictions to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The border points at Karavanke, Šentilj (the motorway and rail crossing), Gornja Radgona and Kuzma will operate around the clock. Trate, Radlje and Ljubelj will be open from 5am to 9pm, while Vič will be open between 5am and 11pm.

Holmec, Jurij, Korensko Sedlo and the crossing in Šentilj that is on the main road will be closed, the Slovenian Foreign Ministry announced on Twitter on Wednesday.

Austria had initially closed dozens on crossing points as of 18 March. On 27 March Slovenia reintroduced police checks on what is the EU's internal border and introduced 13 points of crossing.

There are now restrictions in place on all of Slovenia's borders, either introduced by Slovenia or by the neighbouring countries.

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Dozens more Slovenians returning home

STA, 1 April 2020 - Dozens Slovenians returned home on Wednesday on flights organised by the Foreign Ministry. Around midnight a plane from Lisbon carrying 16 Slovenians touched down, and another 20 citizens arrived home from Thailand, the Philippines and Switzerland by bus from the Zurich airport. They will all go into 14-day self-isolation.

A plane from Helsinki is expected to land in Ljubljana tonight, bringing 45 passengers from Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Italy through Copenhagen. About half of the passengers will be Slovenians.

Prior to picking up the passengers destined to Slovenia, the plane will have carried 29 citizens of Scandinavian and Baltic countries, and Iceland to Helsinki, the ministry told the STA.

According to Andrej Šter, the head of the Foreign Ministry's consular service, a larger, 200-seat plane is to take off from London by the end of the week, carrying Slovenian citizens who want to return from the UK and Ireland.

This week at least ten Slovenians should return from the US to Budapest onboard a Hungarian plane.

The ministry, which has been organising trips home for Slovenians stuck around the world because of the coronavirus epidemic, warns that after 6 April no more special flights will be organised from distant locations. Those who will remain abroad will be assisted only through diplomatic exchange and European aid.

So far, some 360 citizens have returned home on ministry-organised flights. Special buses have so far transported some 120 people. In total, around 1,000 citizens have so far been able to return home with the help of the diplomatic and consular service.

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