Ljubljana related

07 Jul 2020, 19:25 PM

STA, 7 July 2020 - Slovenia's count of active coronavirus cases has increased to 205 after 23 of the 1,325 tests for Sars-CoV-2 came back positive on Monday, fresh official statistics show. The total case count stands at 1,739.

Twelve patients are hospitalised with Covid-19, one more than the day before after one patient was discharged and two more were admitted yesterday, government data show. None of them need intensive care.

According to the tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org, most of the new cases were recorded in Cerknica (5) and Maribor (4) with 11 further municipalities recording one or two cases each.

With Cerknica apparently a new hotspot, Radio Slovenija reported that Covid-19 had been transmitted at a private party with some 30-40 people aged around 30.

The local authorities fear there are more infections in the municipality since, following National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) instructions, the party goers who had no signs of infection were allowed to go to work, except those working in healthcare and education.

The municipality has already advised locals against using playgrounds, benches and sports facilities to prevent the youth, who seem to be the most affected group in the second Covid-19 wave in the country, from socialising.

One of the latest cases in Slovenia was also a resident of the Vipava care home, discovered from 81 tests there. This brings the number of infections in that outbreak to 11 residents and seven staff members, Martin Kopatin, the facility's director, told the STA on Tuesday.

All 108 residents of the Pristan home for the elderly and 45 staff have been tested, but tests will be repeated.

Five of the 11 infected elderly residents have been moved to the Ljubljana UKC hospital's department of infections diseases. Only one of them has some health problems, while the others feel fine.

The remaining six residents are isolated in the care home and other residents need to remain in their rooms.

Meanwhile, Mario Fafangel, the chief epidemiologist at the NIJZ, told today's press briefing that a resident of a small Kras care home unit in Postojna had also tested positive.

Slovenia has not recorded Covid-19 related fatalities for over a month now when the death toll reached 111. A large majority of those fatalities were at homes for the elderly.

06 Jul 2020, 19:25 PM

STA, 6 July 2020 - The government has re-instated France and the Czech Republic, with the exception of the Moravian-Silesian Region, to the green list of the epidemiologically safe countries, with the decision effective as of Tuesday.

Announcing the news, the Government Communication Office said that the decision had been made following a briefing on the Covid-19 situation in the two countries by the National Public Health Institute.

France and the Czech Republic were put on the so-called yellow list along with Croatia on Saturday. The Moravian-Silesian Region in the east of the Czech Republic remains on the list.

Slovenian citizens and foreigners with permanent or temporary residence in Slovenia arriving from yellow-listed EU or Schengen zone members are not quarantined under certain conditions.

These include proving they own a piece of property or a vessel there or producing an original bill for accommodation etc.

If they are not able to prove this, they are considered as arriving in Slovenia from a high-risk country and subjected to two-week quarantine.

Slovenian citizens and foreigners with permanent or temporary residence in Slovenia arriving from green-listed EU or Schengen zone members are not quarantined.

Persons who have temporary or permanent residence in these countries are free to enter Slovenia without any restrictions or quarantine either.

More details on the green, yellow and red lists here - but be sure to click the links for updates

slovenia coronavirus who can enter.jpg

06 Jul 2020, 12:17 PM

STA, 6 July 2020 - Government spokesman Jelko Kacin said that a couple had breached quarantine rules, so they had been reported to police for suspected spreading of the coronavirus out of negligence. They face a fine or even prison, he said at Monday's coronavirus briefing.

A 37-year-old woman was notified her husband had Covid-19 on 20 June, but when calling the 122 emergency number on 3 July for stomach ache she did not inform healthcare staff about the infection. She only did so only after appearing at the UKC Ljubljana hospital's emergency department five hours later, thereby jeopardising other people's health.

Her 40-year-old husband, working for a larger Slovenian company, meanwhile kept going to work despite being sent into quarantine, said Kacin, adding that "a criminal complaint has been filed against both persons for spreading the new disease out of negligence". The couple are foreign citizens residing in Ljubljana.

Under the law on contagious disease, a violation of isolation or quarantine rules is fined with EUR 400-4,000, whereas the penal code carries a prison sentence from six months to up to eight years in case it results in death.

Kacin also presented the latest figures about quarantine orders issued on the border since Saturday. A total of 1,213 such decision were issued at the six border crossings designated for this purpose on the border with Croatia, Hungary and at Ljubljana airport.

Kacin did not say how many people were currently in quarantine, but Health Ministry data as of 29 June show that 7,190 quarantine orders were issued in June.

The spokesperson also said that based on the latest quarantine checks by health inspectors, "the majority of people do stick to quarantine restrictions".

Health inspectors visited over 60 persons in the areas of Maribor and Ljubljana on Sunday, finding quarantine breaches in only four cases.

Two persons were not at the address they had given to authorities, while another two seem to have provided a false address, explained Kacin.

The government's coronavirus task force will discuss the violations this evening while the government is expected to discus changes to its plans to manage the spread of the virus.

The priority is to prevent the spread of the virus to care homes and transmissions from abroad.

Kacin labelled the situation at homes for the elderly a reason for concern. This is after 16 residents and staff of a nursing home in Vipava tested positive for the virus.

"Homes for the elderly are an area at risk, for which we have to introduce a special system. We need to make sure that staff and all their residents are aware of that."

Sixteen new coronavirus cases confirmed, including Vipava care home outbreak

STASTA, 6 July 2020 - Slovenia recorded 16 new coronavirus cases after 530 tests on Sunday, including seven in an outbreak at the Vipava care home where nine elderly residents and seven staff are now infected, the latest data from the government and the care home show.

The number of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 has increased to 11 after four residents from the Vipava care home were moved to the Department of Infectious Disease at the UKC Ljubljana hospital.

None of the patients require intensive treatment.

The latest cases bring the country's total of coronavirus cases to 1,716. The death toll remains unchanged at 111.

Testing will continue today at the Vipava care home; 40 more residents and 12 staff are to be tested in the morning with the results due later today.

The home's director Martin Kopatin said the remaining 20 residents are to be tested late in the afternoon or tomorrow.

The facility accommodates 108 residents and 45 staff. The infection there was first confirmed on Friday with one of the residents. The origin of the transmission is still not known.

All our stories on coronavirus and Slovenia

06 Jul 2020, 11:15 AM

STA, 6 July 2020 - The government has made a coronavirus contact tracing app the centrepiece of its new legislative package aimed at stemming a new coronavirus outbreak, but concerns over the proposal that the use of app be compulsory for infected and quarantined persons has prompted the country's privacy watchdog to urge parliament to discard it.

The legislative package in preparation for a second wave of the coronavirus epidemic, which appears to be unfolding already, will be debated on the parliamentary committee on Monday before being put to the vote at the plenary session starting on Thursday.

Designed as a tool to alert individuals of contacts with infected persons and supervise abidance by quarantine orders, the app is to be available for free and voluntary download and use, except for persons testing positive for the virus or those ordered to quarantine, where it would be mandatory.

"In the opposite case, the mobile app would lose much of its meaning," the explanation of the legislative provision reads. The failure to use the app when compulsory would carry a fine of between 200 and 600 euro.

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Learn more about the red, yellow and green lists here

Representatives of the ministries of health and public administration favour a completely voluntary use of the app although Health Ministry State Secretary Tina Bregant said it would be desirable for the app to be used by between 60% and 70% of the population, which means virtually everyone with a smart phone.

The opposition parties, except for the National Party (SNS), have raised objections to the plans, while the senior coalition Democratic Party (SDS) says the app is urgent or else Slovenia will be forced to reimpose strict lockdown measures, which PM Janez Janša says is the only alternative until an effective vaccine or medication against Covid-19 is available.

The junior coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) finds the app useful, although it expects "certain issues" to be first cleared up. The fellow coalition party New Slovenia (NSi) is yet to take its position on the matter following today's debate and the Modern Centre Party (SMC) is yet to respond.

The opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) would like the provisions on the app to be scrapped altogether, because they see it is yet "another attempt to place the population under surveillance under the pretext of concern for public health".

Similarly, the Left believes the invasion of privacy entailed would be simply excessive, while the Social Democrats (SD) and the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) underscore the app should be voluntary. What is more, the users should be well informed and data processing transparent and lawful. The SD has also questioned the app's efficiency.

Information Commissioner Mojca Prelesnik has called on the National Assembly not to support provisions that would make the app compulsory because this runs contrary to the EU guidelines which say tracing apps "must be voluntary, transparent, temporary, cybersecure, using temporary and pseudonymised data".

Prelesnik says that only voluntary download can be acceptable under the European law, while the legal framework that would impose mandatory use should meet basic standards of protection of individual's rights, meaning it should be lawful, constitutional, temporary and proportionate with respect to the intended goal.

"Particular attention should be given to the question of mandatory use for individuals under quarantine. Those are not confirmed as infected, of which the app would alert other users, so such mandatory use in advance could be questionable from the aspect of being proportionate and needed."

Among other things, the commissioner is also concerned about the proposed fine for those who violate mandatory use, noting that contact tracing apps function reliably only on the latest models of smart phones, so the coercion for everyone to download it even though it would not function on their device is disproportionate.

The mandatory use of the app would also run against the terms of use of technological solutions developed by Google and Apple, which many countries in Europe have used for such apps.

Slovenia's app is to be modelled on Italy's or Germany's. These are based on application interfaces developed by the two tech giants and are used solely to notify of potential contacts with the infected persons, says Dušan Caf, director of Digital Society Institute Digitas.

Noting that Google and Apple want user privacy protected, including their voluntary decision to upload and use the app, he explains that tracing apps that do not use the two companies' interfaces do not work when in sleep mode. For full functioning, the companies would have to allow access to certain functionalities of mobile devices, which they do not want to do.

All our stories on coronavirus and Slovenia are here

05 Jul 2020, 20:42 PM

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.

05 Jul 2020, 11:20 AM

The first thing to note is that this is a dynamic situation, with countries adopting different policies with regard to easing the lockdown and thus different outcomes in terms of surges and second spikes expected. This article thus sets out the facts as they are (or were) on Sunday 5 July. For the very latest news, here’s all our stories on the coronavirus in Slovenia

Slovenia has a traffic light system of green, yellow and red countries, meaning free to enter, enter with some restrictions, and enter only under special circumstances.

The Green List

The green list (zeleni seznam) includes safe countries (or administrative units of countries) from which people can enter without quarantine. It’s produced based on the epidemiological status for individual countries, any bilateral technical agreements with neighbouring states, other EU Member States or members of the Schengen area.

As of 5 July there are just 21 countries on the green list: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. A regularly updated list can be found, in English, on the Ministry of Health website.

The Red List

The red list (rdeči seznam) contains those countries where the covid-19 situation is getting worse or already bad. Anyone entering Slovenia from one of these nations – regardless of citizenship or residency status – has to undergo a 14-day mandatory self-quarantine period, with some exceptions (see here). The red list currently includes the following 36 countries (and the related police site, in English, is here, if reading this later in the summer):

Albania

Andorra

Armenia

Bahrain

Belarus

Bolivia

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Brazil

Cayman Islands

Chile

Djibouti

Dominican Republic

Gabon

Gibraltar

Iran

Kosovo

Kuwait

Maldives

Moldova

Northern Macedonia

Oman

Panama

Peru

Portugal

Puerto Rico

Qatar

Republic of South Africa

Russia

Saint Thomas and Prince

Saudi Arabia

Serbia

Singapore

Sweden

United Arab Emirates

United Kingdom Great Britain and Northern Ireland

United States

The Yellow List

The yellow list (rumeni seznam) includes all those countries not on the green or red lists, with recent additions being Croatia, France, and Czechia (aka the Czech Republic). In principle, yellow countries are those with between ten and 40 active infections per hundred thousand inhabitants. For Slovenian citizens or foreign residents, nothing changes when a country moves from the green to yellow list, and no quarantine is required on returning to Slovenia.

My country is on the yellow list – can I come to Slovenia?

Non-resident citizens of countries on the yellow list will need to undergo mandatory two-week self-quarantine on entry unless they’re just transiting the country or booked accommodation here while their country was still green, and also have a valid certificate proving they have tested negative for covid-19. There are some exceptions for work, medical treatment, family matters and so on (more details here, and the official border police site is here).

What about Croatia?

Croatia is a favourite holiday destination among Slovenes and others who live in the country, due to its vastly greater coastline. It’s currently on the yellow list, which means – as noted about – that no real restrictions apply when re-entering Slovenia if you’re Slovenian, a foreign resident, or citizen of an EU or Schengen state. However, because of the surge in cases in the Western Balkans you’ll need to show some evidence that you spent your time in Croatia, and not further south, such as a hotel bill or property ownership papers. Border police officers will have a discretion to decide whether your proof is valid, or else they’ll assume you’ve come from a red-listed Balkan country, and thus order you to undergo a two-week quarantine period.

You can find all our stories on coronavirus and Slovenia here.

Yellow list exceptions

Remember that Slovenian citizens and residents don’t need to worry about the yellow list, but others will need to self-quarantine for 14-days unless they can prove that they’re travelling for work, a medical examination, education, to attend a funeral, see a close family member, or have booked accommodation in Slovenia , persons crossing the border due to involvement in education, persons crossing the border due to funeral, persons maintaining contact with close family members, persons with urgent personal affairs, land tenants, persons booking accommodation in Slovenia, also need a negative a covid-19 test result not older than 36 hours and performed in a Member State of the European Union or the Schengen area or in an organization or individual authorized by the National Institute of Public Health.

Red list exceptions:

A 14-day quarantine is ordered for all persons entering Slovenia who have permanent or temporary residence in countries with a worsened epidemiological situation (the so-called red list) and for all persons regardless of citizenship or country of residence coming to Slovenia from these countries.

Exceptions (i.e., access without restrictions and quarantine) apply only to:

  • a person in commercial traffic or activities who, upon crossing the border, can provide evidence of this and returns across the border within 24 hours of entry or submits a negative SARS-CoV-2 test (COVID-19). In the case of a person employed by a foreign company providing a service in the Republic of Slovenia, this person must also submit the address of their esidence in the Republic of Slovenia and a negative SARS-CoV-2 test result when crossing the border. (COVID-19)
  • a person seconded to or from a mission in the international transport sector who demonstrates this at the border crossing point with the "Certificate for Workers in the International Transport Sector"
  • a person who carries out the transport of goods to the Republic of Slovenia or from the Republic of Slovenia, and for freight transport in transit, and who leaves the Republic of Slovenia within 12 hours after entry
  • a person traveling in transit through the Republic of Slovenia to another country within 12 hours of entry
  • a person with a diplomatic passport
  • a person who provides services for which a certificate has been issued by the competent ministry and which, due to non-performance of these services, could result in major social or economic damage due to the quarantine order (Item 7 of Article 10)
04 Jul 2020, 21:28 PM

STA, 4 July 2020 - Slovenia has recorded as many as 30 new coronavirus infections from 1,456 tests on Friday, a new high since mid-April, fresh government data show.

On the up side, only six Covid-19 patients remain in hospital, after four were discharged yesterday. None of them requires intensive treatment.

According to the national Covid-19 tracker site, Slovenia now has 160 active infections out of the total case count of 1,679. As many as 105,652 tests for Sars-CoV-2 have been performed so far.

The list of countries on the green travel list is here

Bojana Beović, the head of the Covid-19 advisory group at the Health Ministry, said the latest numbers came as a negative surprise. She told Radio Slovenija they had expected about 20 new cases.

"This is a reflection of the situation about a fortnight ago and we hope the measures recently taken, such as border restrictions and return to mandatory face masks, will contribute to a better situation over the coming days," said the epidemiologist.

The dilemma faced by the group she heads and the government is whether to wait for the effects of the latest measures to show or take more drastic steps now.

Her concern is that the prescribed measures are being flouted: "There are continuous reports about inconsistent border checks, about life at bars," she said, warning that the riskiest industries could be forced back into lockdown if the infection curve kept increasing and safety measures were not heeded.

Most of the latest cases, 5, were confirmed in Ljubljana, which has now 30 active cases. Fourteen other municipalities had at least one new case, while three new infections were among foreign citizens.

More than half of the new cases, 18, are young, up to the age of 44, including a child, up to the age of four.

The UKC Ljubljana hospital said a member of the non-health staff at the Paediatric Clinic has fallen ill with Covid-19. The person stayed home as soon as noticing the symptoms, had not been directly involved in the handling of patients and had been wearing a surgical mask at work all the time.

Meanwhile, the number of infected staff at the emergency medical unit of the Maribor community health centre has increased to eleven, including eight doctors and three paramedics, assistant director there Aleksander Jus told reporters today.

He said no infections or symptoms had been detected in patients who had been in contact with the first responders or visited the unit at the UKC Maribor hospital emergency ward on the critical day. Nor have there been any infections among the relatives of the infected health workers.

One of the staff at UKC Maribor has been additionally positive from that cluster, presumably originating in an infection transmitted from abroad.

Data from the National Institute of Public Health published by the tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org show that there have been a total of 190 coronavirus cases confirmed among Slovenian health workers.

There have been no fatalities for over a month now with the death toll at 111.

All our stories on Slovenia and coronavirus

04 Jul 2020, 09:21 AM

STA, 4 July 2020 - Croatia, France and the Czech Republic are no longer deemed green Covid-19 safe countries by Slovenia from today, which entails some restrictions for nationals of these countries when entering Slovenia.

Citizens of the countries demoted to the so-called yellow list will be submitted to a mandatory two-week quarantine on entry unless they are just transiting the country or have booked accommodation here while their country was still green and also have a valid certificate proving they have tested negative for Sars-CoV-2.

The list of countries on the green list is here

Slovenians and EU and Schengen country citizens that are residents of Slovenia who are returning from Croatia can re-enter without restrictions if they can produce some proof at the border that they in fact have been staying there such as hotel bill or a property ownership document.

Border police officers will have a discretion to decide whether the proofs are valid, or else they will assume the arrivals have come from a red-listed Balkan country, which would entail a mandatory two-week quarantine.

The authorities say this was after it turned out some of those entering Slovenia from Croatia had failed to report that they had in fact been visiting one of the countries further to the south.

Slovenia has seen an increase in new coronavirus cases over the past couple of weeks as a result of cases imported from the countries of the former Yugoslavia.

Those who expect to be handed quarantine orders can enter Slovenia by four border crossings from Croatia (Gruškovje, Obrežje, Metlika and Jelšane) and one from Hungary (Pince). Others can use other crossings as well.

Also from today, Belgium and the Netherlands have been promoted to the green list of what are now 21 countries for which no restrictions apply [ed. the official list - now in English - is here, but check when last updated].

All our stories on coronavirus and Slovenia

03 Jul 2020, 11:56 AM

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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Photo: Kickstarter

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.

02 Jul 2020, 19:28 PM

STA, 2 July 2020 - Croatia, France and Czechia will be removed on Saturday from the green list of countries considered epidemiologically safe by Slovenia, government coronavirus spokesperson Jelko Kacin said on Thursday. Belgium and the Netherlands will on the other hand be green-listed. Kacin also announced efforts to serve quarantine orders already on the border.

Being put on the yellow list means that most foreign citizens arriving in Slovenia from these countries need to subject themselves to a two-week quarantine, while this does not apply to Slovenians [ed. or those with a residence card] returning from yellow-listed countries.

Kacin said that the SarS-CoV-2 situation was improving in some countries, in particular in western Europe, with the the number of infected persons falling below 10 per 100,000 inhabitants. This is why Belgium and the Netherlands will be put on the green list.

However, there are also countries where things are deteriorating, which is why the government is to decide at today's correspondence session that Croatia, Czechia and France be put on the yellow list, effective Saturday.

Kacin said that Slovenians returning from Croatia will not have to go into isolation, but he stressed they would be asked at the border if they are really returning from Croatia and not from other Western Balkan countries that are on the red list and entail quarantine in Slovenia also for Slovenian citizens.

"There has been too much misleading. Police will get instructions and our travellers should get ready to reveal a little more about where they have been," Kacin said, explaining it will also be necessary to provide evidence.

He again urged against travel to Serbia, North Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina or Kosovo, where the virus is spreading fast. "Everywhere where they had elections and election rallies, the number of infected persons is rising," he added.

As for Croatian citizens planning a holiday in Slovenia, Kacin said that bookings made before Saturday will allow a holiday without quarantine.

Kacin moreover announced the government would examine today the border regime with a focus on putting in place conditions for the effective serving of quarantine orders and strict controls at entry points into Slovenia.

"The government will do all it can so that these quarantine orders are served already on the border to prevent delays and have everybody informed - the National Institute of Public Health, the Health Ministry, the health inspection and, if needed, the police as well," Kacin said, explaining those affected will have to drive directly to their quarantine location.

Referring to administrative rules that have been preventing an effective serving of quarantine orders and thereby enforcement, he said "it will no longer be the case that the quarantine passes before people even receive the order". He added the relevant ministries and other institutions have until Saturday to organise and adapt.

Kacin said more oversight will also be necessary at health institutions and nursing homes and that instructions will be sent out on Friday on how to avoid infections there.

He did not directly comment on Moravče Mayor Milan Balažic issuing today a decree that prohibits any public gatherings as well as private parties or Church mass in this municipality north-east of Ljubljana.

He said the government is trying to prevent the entering of the virus from abroad, expecting the measures to be effective and thus eliminate any need for individual mayors to take action. "But if such gatherings are really happening in their territory, we understand people's concern," Kacin added.

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