Moravče Mayor Reintroduces Strict Anti-Corona Lockdown; 16 New Cases in Slovenia Thursday

By , 03 Jul 2020, 11:56 AM Politics
Moravče Mayor Reintroduces Strict Anti-Corona Lockdown; 16 New Cases in Slovenia Thursday Google Maps

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STA, 3 July 2020 - Moravče, a municipality some 30 km north-east of Ljubljana, is in a full lockdown as of Thursday. Its mayor, Milan Balažic, resorted to the strictest measures so as to stop the spreading of the new coronavirus, as three cases were confirmed there in the last week.

Given the number of inhabitants in Moravče, three cases means the situation is graver than in Ljubljana, the mayor said in explaining his decision to ban all public gatherings, including sports trainings, private parties and church masses.

He also restricted access to the town hall to staff only, banned serving of guests inside bars and restaurants, and made face masks mandatory in all closed public spaces.

"We had two cases in the first wave. We took immediate action, introduced a little bit stricter measures and stayed at this number throughout the epidemic," Balažic said.

The mayor said his decision was met with a mixed response among locals. "On the one hand they are not thrilled, because it means limiting their freedom and day-to-day life, and on the other it seems that most of them understand that it is necessary," he said.

Balažic believes that if a hotspot is detected in a municipality mayors are obligated to act. He himself acted based on the local government act and the Moravče municipality statute.

Government spokesman Jelko Kacin would not comment on the Moravče case at yesterday's press conference. He said that the government's latest moves were aimed at preventing the imported infections to spread so that mayors would not have to take any additional measures. "But if people are socialising there, we understand people's concern," he added.

Balažic previously served as ambassador to Australia in 2014 but was recalled due to his contacts with Nicholas Oman, an arms trader and convicted paedophile. He became mayor in 2018.

Since he took over, Moravče made headlines outside Slovenia as well because of a giant wooden sculpture resembling US President Donald Trump that was erected there and later torched.

The statue, standing almost eight metres tall and mimicking the Statue of Liberty, had originally been erected in Selo, a small village some 20 kilometres north of Ljubljana, but was relocated to Moravče due to unease that it was causing among the Selo locals and the media interest that came with it.

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Sixteen Covid-19 cases detected in 1,274 tests on Thursday

STA, 3 July 2020 - In what is in keeping with the slightly raised but mostly flat curve of new Covid-19 cases in Slovenia in the past week, 16 infections were confirmed as 1,274 people were tested on Thursday. One person was hospitalised, taking the total number in hospitals to 10. No patient required intensive care and there were no deaths.

The latest data, released by the government on Friday, thus take the total number of Covid-19 cases discovered so far with 104,201 tests to 1,649, while the death toll remains at 111. The current number of confirmed actively infected individuals is 136.

Following an increase in new cases in the past week, many of which were imported cases, the government decided on Thursday to remove Croatia, along with France and Czechia, from the green list of epidemiologically safe countries, effective on Saturday. They are to be yellow-listed, meaning most foreign citizens arriving to Slovenia from them need to go into quarantine.

The government also announced stricter controls on the Croatian border to make sure people are not arriving from red-listed Balkan countries, as well as a more effective regime for serving quarantine orders, which includes the option to already serve them on the border.

A tightening of protective measures was moreover announced at nursing homes and healthcare centres and at least two hospitals - the UKC Ljubljana, the country's biggest, and the Slovenj Gradec general hospital - issued a prohibition on visits of most hospitalised patients today.

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