COVID-19 & Slovenia, Night 9 April: Numbers; Plans for End of Lockdown; Flight Ban Extended; Non-Urgent Healthcare Resumes

By , 09 Apr 2020, 20:40 PM Politics
COVID-19 & Slovenia, Night 9 April: Numbers; Plans for End of Lockdown; Flight Ban Extended; Non-Urgent Healthcare Resumes 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, and you can see more of his work here.

Contents

Coronavirus death toll climbs to 43, confirmed cases reach 1,124

PM says substantial easing of lockdown only after key conditions are met

Passenger flight ban extended again

Non-urgent health services to resume

Coronavirus death toll climbs to 43, confirmed cases reach 1,124

STA, 9 April 2020 - The coronavirus death toll in Slovenia has reached 43 as three people died on Wednesday. The number of confirmed infections rose by 33 to 1,124, show the latest government data.

Hospital data indicates the situation is stabilising, with hospitalisations and intensive care cases flat. A total of 108 persons were in hospital yesterday, of whom 34 in intensive care.

So far 128 persons have been released from hospital, eight of them yesterday, government spokesmen Jelko Kacin said.

Two groups stand out: infections have been confirmed in 225 residents of nursing homes and in 208 health workers, of whom 72 work in nursing homes.

The Šmarje pri Jelšah nursing homes, site of one of the first major outbreaks, remains a hot spot as 137 residents and staff have been infected.

The Slovenian government has not been releasing the details of the death cases for a while quoting protection of personal data, but at least in the early stages of the epidemic the vast majority of fatal cases were in retirement homes.

Kacin said today that there were "a lot of elderly people" among the fatalities.

Hospital data shows that the age structure of the infections is strongly skewed towards the older population. At UKC Ljubljana, all fatalities have been in patients over the age of 60 who had underlying health conditions.

The average age of those hospitalised is 68, with the majority falling in the 50-60 age bracket, Mateja Logar of the infectious diseases clinic told the press today.

Testing in Slovenia continues at roughly the same pace as 1,144 tests were performed yesterday, for a total of 31,813 since testing began.

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PM says substantial easing of lockdown only after key conditions are met

STA, 9 April 2020 - Elaborating on the timeline of the announced easing of coronavirus lockdown measures, PM Janez Janša stressed on Thursday a number of conditions would need to be met before any substantial softening is possible. The government spokesperson Jelko Kacin said movement would remain limited to municipal borders for at least eight more days.

Janša wrote on twitter that a softening of measures would need to be preceded by the transmission rate falling below one. Moreover, the healthcare system must not be under excessive pressure, sufficient testing capacities need to be secured and working instruments need to be in place for the transitional period.

He also wants legal and technical possibilities in place and available at sufficient capacity to monitor those who test positive and to manage a potential spread.

Janša pointed to the ever chancing circumstances globally, for instance in Japan where a state of emergency was declared today even tough Japan was thought to have contained the epidemic during the first wave.

Kacin, the government's spokesperson for the crisis, commented on the situation at the regular daily briefing. He said that the movement of people would remain restricted to municipal borders at least until the weekend next week.

"If we lift the movement restrictions too fast, we will all get the false feeling that the epidemic is behind us and that we're safe. We first need to prepare for this mobility," he said.

He explained the announced easing of retail and service sector restrictions after Easter would be reassessed next Tuesday on the basis of the situation in hospitals. The easing would apply for tyre repair shops, car washes, mechanic shops, and technical goods repair services.

The government is also thinking about relaunching public transport, but Kacin could not yet speak of a timeline.

Meanwhile, opposition parties responded to the developments by mostly stressing the measures needed to be coordinated with experts and that results so far have been good, while they also suggested some restrictions could already be lifted.

The SocDems for instance repeated that people should be allowed to move across municipal borders, although possibly not flock to tourist sites, the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) sees no need to still restrict shopping time for vulnerable groups, while the Left feels the expanded police powers should be cancelled immediately.

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Passenger flight ban extended again

STA, 9 April 2020 - Slovenian air traffic remains restricted as the government yet again extended on Thursday a ban on passenger flights that was already prolonged in late March. Under today's decree, flights within the EU are suspended until 27 April, with the rest banned until further notice.

The ban was originally put in place on 17 March, suspending passenger flights from and to EU countries until 30 March and other flights until further notice. In line with the EU law, the government then extended the ban for two weeks.

The ban does not apply to aircraft transporting cargo or mail, aircraft conducting special transport without passengers or ferry flights, or to foreign planes or helicopters on humanitarian or health missions.

Passenger air traffic has ground to a halt across the world as countries try to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

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Non-urgent health services to resume

STA, 9 April 2020 - The government has decided to allow non-urgent health services to resume under certain conditions after these have been suspended in the efforts to contain the coronavirus epidemic in the country.

A release issued after Thursday's government session says services such as out-patient specialist and diagnostic services, rehabilitation and other non-emergency treatments will be resumed for patients "with negative epidemic anamnesis who do not have symptoms of a respiratory infection and whose health condition could worsen should the health service be omitted or delayed".

Detailed instructions on how the patients will be admitted and handled will be drawn up by a group of experts at the Health Ministry.

The instructions determine preventive and other measures to ensure safe handling of patients and efficient prevention of the spread of Covid-19, as well as how the patient's negative status will be checked.

Non-urgent health services can only be provided by those providers who have the staffing, organisational and technical conditions in place to provide suitable, quality and safe health services.

The decision was taken to disburden primary care providers, ensure a smooth flow of patients from primary to secondary level of care and to provide health care for other patients as soon as possible in as much omission of such services could lead to a deterioration in the patient's health condition.

The change in the relevant decree, which will come into affect the next day after being published in the Official Gazette, is also aimed at reducing the impact of measures taken on the prolonging of waiting times.

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