COVID-19 & Slovenia, Night 7 April: Numbers, PPE, Ease of Lockdown

By , 07 Apr 2020, 21:16 PM Politics
COVID-19 & Slovenia, Night 7 April: Numbers, PPE, Ease of Lockdown Janja Rozman, Damjana Sušnik / Ljubljanski grad / 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. You can see more of this series of posters here.

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Number of detected coronavirus cases up by 35 to 1,055, death toll at 36

All critical groups have enough protective gear to get by, more shipments expected

PM says easing of lockdown could start in a week

Number of detected coronavirus cases up by 35 to 1,055, death toll at 36

STA, 7 April 2020 - The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Slovenia rose by 35 to 1,055 on Monday and six more people died, bringing the death toll to 36, show the latest statistics released by the government. The number of people in hospital care was 111, 31 of which were in intensive care.

The total number of new positive cases was 23 on Sunday, but only 489 tests were conducted on Sunday compared to 1,202 on Monday.

Health authorities have so far performed 29,455 tests, usually conducting around 1,000 per day.

The number of confirmed cases among health staff is 189, while the number of infected elderly in nursing homes has risen to 219.

The number of people discharged from hospital after being treated for Covid-19 increased by 13 to 115 on Monday.

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All critical groups have enough protective gear to get by, more shipments expected

STA, 7 April 2020 - All critical groups in Slovenia currently have enough protective gear to get by, chief of the civil protection service Srečko Šestan told the STA on Tuesday. However, no accumulation of the equipment is possible yet, he added. More shipments of protective gear are expected in the coming days.

Šestan did not go into detail about the expected new shipments, but he said that the civil protection was making room for the gear in its warehouse.

"We expect quite a few big shipments shortly. When the first arrives in Slovenia, we will present the contract and all the details about it," coronavirus crisis spokesperson Jelko Kacin told the press today.

He added the government was planning to report on new purchases of protective gear on a weekly basis. "But as we all know the situation on the market - especially the Chinese - is very difficult. We can hear in the news every day how countries come, pay more for equipment that has already been paid for, and manage to redirect it.

"In such a situation it is very difficult to talk about transparency. But we will inform you on a daily basis on what has been ordered, and how much we will pay for it when it arrives."

Šestan said there was currently no vulnerable group in the country without protective gear. But he admitted that the stock was still not big enough for every citizen to get a mask as many might expect. "We might even come to that, but not in the next few days."

Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek announced on Twitter on Friday that three millions of three-pleat masks were in, and on Saturday he reported of a shipment of 336,000 three-pleat masks and 10,800 protective suits.

The Slovenian aviation portal Sierra5 meanwhile reported that a Boeing 777-300 of the Russian airline Nordwind Airlines had touched down today at the Ljubljana airport, bringing medical equipment from China.

The portal said that the passenger aircraft had brought 40 tonnes of equipment, mostly three-pleat face masks, to Slovenia.

The 24ur news portal reported that it was a private donation. This was later confirmed for the STA by the Economy Ministry, which added that the donor wished to remain anonymous.

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PM says easing of lockdown could start in a week

STA, 7 April 2020 - PM Janez Janša has announced that some of the restrictive measures related to the coronavirus epidemic could perhaps be eased as early as next Tuesday, provided that certain conditions, including the stability of the healthcare system, are met. Janša was critical of developments in the EU, including of the lack of support for corona bonds.

In a special announcement on Tuesday evening, Janša said that the government was examining the possibility of relaunching manufacturing, part of the services sector, commerce and transport if protective measures are implemented.

Provided that the epidemic eases further, that testing is expanded at critical points such as nursing homes and that infections are better controlled, some restrictions of movement could also be gradually eased, the prime minister added.

"But we must be aware of the undeniable fact that an alternative to loosing supervision of the source of the contagion can only be drastic restriction of contacts."

Janša suggested that the healthcare system was still exposed, as almost a fifth of all infested persons in Slovenia are healthcare workers. "The curve of the spreading of the virus is no longer climbing steeply, it is more horizontal, but it is still not dropping."

He added that without control of infected persons and additional testing of their contacts, it would not be possible to scale down the current movement restrictions only to a few areas.

Janša noted that people sticking to the restriction of movement to the municipal boundaries had significantly reduced the possibility of new infections and creation of new hot spots last week.

He also called for understanding of the "fact that we cannot ease certain measures as quickly as the countries which reacted to the epidemic days or even weeks ahead of us, while they were also institutionally ready, unlike us."

Meanwhile, Janša also voiced criticism of the EU, saying "European solidarity, which depends solely on the institutions of the EU, does not exist in practice when it comes to protective equipment".

"Since the start of the epidemic we've not received a single mask, a single piece of protective equipment, not a single ventilator from the EU. Not a single so called joint European procurement procedure has been completed with even one supply case," he said.

Janša commended the ECB and European commission on easing aid rules, but added: "However, the key instrument, so called corona bonds...still do not have sufficient support from the wealthiest EU members. This is the point where the future of our joint currency is weighed today, as well as the future of the EU."

Meanwhile, the opposition Left and Social Democrats (SD) again called on the government to lift the ban on non-essential travel between municipalities, arguing that a vast majority of people are sticking to the lockdown measures.

The SD said that citizens were disciplined and protected their own health and health of their families, adding that the ban on travel outside the municipality of the permanent or temporary residence was "nonsensical and excessive."

Left MP Matej T. Vatovec said that "we see that the things are moving slightly forward, and we hope that the government will also realise that certain measures were premature and that it will start taking steps back."

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