COVID-19 & Slovenia - Sunday, 5 July: 700+ Quarantine Orders at Border Over Weekend, 21 New Cases Saturday

By , 05 Jul 2020, 20:42 PM Politics
COVID-19 & Slovenia - Sunday, 5 July: 700+ Quarantine Orders at Border Over Weekend, 21 New Cases Saturday Slovnenian Police Facebook

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STA, 5 July 2020 - Slovenian health authorities issued and served almost 340 quarantine orders on the border with Croatia and Hungary on Saturday, the first day of tighter restrictions for arrivals in Slovenia. More than half were issued to Slovenian residents who were returning from Bosnia-Herzegovina. Another 435 were issued today, the Health Ministry told the STA.

The majority of orders for quarantine were served on Saturday on the border crossing Obrežje with Croatia (130), while only five were handed out at Pince on the border with Hungary.

The situation was similar today, when over 270 orders for quarantine were issued at Obrežje and five at Pince.

At Ljubljana international airport, 16 such orders were issued on Saturday and 40 on Sunday.

Four border crossings on the border with Croatia - also Gruškovje, Jelšane and Metlika - are designated as entry points for arrivals from red-listed countries, and one on the border with Hungary plus Ljubljana's airport.

The 775 quarantine orders issued at the six border crossings do not cover 14 persons who entered Slovenia at borders crossings with Italy and Austria and were also sent into quarantine.

Quarantine orders are served on the border with Croatia and Hungary as of 4 July, a day after the government changed a relevant decree to speed up quarantine order serving and moved Croatia, France and the Czech Republic from the green list of safe Covid-19 countries to the yellow one.

Before that, it often happened that a person completed their two-week quarantine before being formally served the order by mail.

The Health Ministry said the work of its almost 20 staff issuing quarantine orders at these six border crossings runs smoothly.

However, waiting times to enter Slovenia got somewhat longer due to the new rules, although they are usually rather long during the summer.

While Croatia was moved from the green to the yellow list yesterday, Slovenian residents can return home without quarantine if they can prove they were indeed in Croatia rather than any other Western Balkan country further south.

More on the green, yellow and red lists can be found here

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Outbreak of Covid-19 at Vipava nursing home, 15 infected

STA, 5 July 2020 - Fifteen Covid-19 cases have been confirmed at a nursing home in Vipava, south-west, since its first resident tested positive on Friday, whereas Slovenia recorded 21 new cases on Saturday from 716 tests carried out. The source of the Vipava infection is not yet known, but the authorities hope the virus has not spread out of the nursing home.

Nine residents and six staff of the Pristan Centre for the Elderly - which has 108 residents and 45 employees - are now confirmed infected, and testing is continuing.

The infected residents fell mostly fine, with only two having fever, the centre's director Martin Kopatin told the STA, but those who tested positive on Saturday are already in hospital, while it is being arranged for the others to join them as well.

The staff have been meanwhile sent into quarantine, including those who have not tested positive or showed symptoms but were in contact with the infected persons.

Until 8am this morning, four residents and five employees tested positive, and Kopatin said the plan was to test all residents and staff.

He also explained the nursing home had had an action plane for such an emergency ready and started implementing it immediately.

The elderly were the most vulnerable group during the epidemic, which was formally in place from 13 March to 31 May.

It was three nursing home, in Šmarje pri Jelšah, Ljutomer and Metlika, that were the hotspots.

The majority of the 111 deaths recorded in the country so far were also senior citizens.

Vipava Mayor Goran Kodelja hopes the virus will be contained within the nursing home, which would make it easier to cope with the outbreak.

He also believes it will be easier to decide how to proceed once the source of the infection is established. "I think we have to wait until tomorrow to see what to do."

If necessary, the local Civil Protection unit will be called in. "If the virus has spread outside the nursing home, and if it proves difficult to establish its source, it will be harder to manage the outbreak and more restrictive measures could be necessary," the mayor told the STA.

The number of new daily infections in Slovenia has started rising recently, with health authorities saying the majority of the cases have been imported.

This is why the government has tightened the restrictions to enter Slovenia, moving Croatia from the list of green to yellow countries and introducing the serving of quarantine orders already on the border with Croatia and Hungary as of 4 July.

On Saturday, 21 new cases were recorded after Friday's record 30 since 16 April. Six persons were in hospital yesterday, none in intensive care.

Only three of the 21 newly infected persons are older than 75, whereas the largest number of the new cases - six - are from the 25-34 age group, National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) data shows.

However, NIJZ director Milan Krek, speaking for public broadcaster TV Slovenija after the recent surge, said there was no need yet to declare an epidemic.

He argued that hospitals, other healthcare facilities and epidemiologists were up to the situation.

Prime Minister Janez Janša meanwhile took to Twitter today saying "the virus is spreading from within," in reference to apparently non-imported cases.

He also said coronavirus restrictions were being severely violated, especially in the hospitality sector and in terms of the 50-person-cap imposed on public assembly.

NIJZ data also shows that 180 Sars-CoV-2 cases are currently active in Slovenia.

The government could further step up restrictions, after Interior Minister Aleš Hojs has indicated the border could be closed if the latest tightening does not bring results and Bojana Beović, the government chief advisor for the coronavirus, hinted at lockdown.

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