Ljubljana related

01 Oct 2020, 14:57 PM

STA, 1 October 2020 - A chain of Ljubljana's most prominent hotels Union Hoteli is changing its business model after the corona crisis slashed its business, pushing the group into a loss of almost two million euros in the first six months of the year. The group will now focus on Slovenian guests and renting.

"The Union Hoteli group was faced with the biggest drop in revenue in all its history in the first half of this year," the group, which consists of the company Union Hoteli and the sheltered company IP Central, said in a report released on the web site of the Ljubljana Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

The trends at the beginning of the year were promising, but the government-sponsored lockdown decree in mid-March changed all that.

"We resumed operations in June but the demand for hotel services dropped drastically," the group said, adding that it was changing its business model to return to profitability.

Now, they are focussing on Slovenian guests and long-term renting of their real estate. Central Hotel and The Fuzzy Log in Ljubljana's city centre will be turned into student dorms.

The Union hotels generated EUR 3.6 million in net sales revenue in the first half of the year, a 69% drop compared to the same period last year. After posting a net profit of EUR 2 million in the first six months of last year, this year the group was EUR 1.8 million in the red in June.

The company Union Hoteli saw a 68% drop in net sales revenue to EUR 3.4 million, while its loss stood at EUR 1.6 million. The company posted EUR 1.9 million in net profit in the first six months of last year.

Union Hoteli is owned by Axor Holding, the hotel arm of the former ACH conglomerate. It manages the Ljubljana hotels Grand Hotel Union, uHotel, Hotel Lev and Central Hotel as well as youth hotel The Fuzzy Log.

01 Oct 2020, 13:11 PM

STA, 1 October 2020 - A total of 175 new coronavirus infections were confirmed in Slovenia on Wednesday after 2,899 tests, meaning 6% of the tests were positive. Yesterday, 86 people were in hospital, including 15 in intensive care, of whom ten needed ventilators. Two people infected with coronavirus died, the government said on Twitter.

Fifteen people were discharged from hospital yesterday.

There are currently 1,807 active cases in the country, while 5,865 infections have been confirmed so far. A total of 152 people infected with Covid-19 have died so far.

Slovenia saw a record in new daily infections on Tuesday when 203 infections were confirmed after 3,391 tests.

On Wednesday, most new infections were recorded in the 35-44 age group, where 41 new cases were detected. Two cases fewer were recorded in the 45 to 54 age group.

Another 29 cases were infections among those aged between 25 and 34, and there were 21 cases confirmed in the 55-64 age group. 15 or fewer cases were recorded in other age groups.

The most infections, 20, were recorded in Ljubljana, while the rest were dispersed around the country.

To cope with a surge in new Covid-19 patients, the UKC Ljubljana hospital will turn a section of its complex which used to house the institute for safety at work into a grey zone for Covid-19 patients. The rooms could be ready by the end of the year, the hospital said.

The grey zone in the basement of the building opposite the Paediatric Clinic will be intended for patients who need hospitalisation but could also be infected with coronavirus.

Nine isolation rooms with own toilets and bathrooms are planned along with four isolation rooms for patients who need constant care.

Koroška region added to Germany's Covid-19 red list

STA, 1 October 2020 - Germany added on Wednesday the northern Slovenian region of Koroška to its list of Covid-19 high-risk areas after doing the same a week ago for the western region of Primorsko-Notranjska.

Passengers entering Germany who spent time in Koroška in the past 14 days must quarantine unless they can present a negative coronavirus test that is not older than 48 hours.

Koroška, one of Slovenia's twelve statistical regions, has recently seen a Covid-19 outbreak in a care centre.

Government spokesperson Jelko Kacin assessed for TV Slovenija on Wednesday that the region is "not a problem, since the infections are limited to a single facility from where the new coronavirus has not yet spread outward".

"But this is simply how any responsible country must act," Kacin commented on Germany's decision.

Germany's red list is determined by the federal ministries of health, interior and foreign affairs. The threshold is 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the past seven days, but other criteria are considered as well.

The latest statistics on coronavirus and Slovenia, and the latest police news on red, green and yellow list countries. All our stories on coronavirus and SloveniaCan I transit Slovenia? Find out from the police...

30 Sep 2020, 14:18 PM

STA, 30 September 2020 - Slovenia reached a new record in daily coronavirus cases, as 203 tested positive on Tuesday in a total of 3,391 tests, while one Covid-19 patient died, the government said on Wednesday. The share of positive tests was 5.99%, according to the national Covid-19 tracker Sledilnik.

There were 1,736 active coronavirus infection in Slovenia on Tuesday, according Sledilnik, with 86 people requiring hospital care, of whom 16 were in intensive care.

The most recent data bring the total count of positive cases to 5,690 and the death tally to 150.

Yesterday, once again, the highest number of new cases was confirmed in Ljubljana (37), followed by Kranj with 9 cases.

Meanwhile, Črna na Koroškem in the north remains the community with the highest share of SARS-CoV-2 infections per capita (1.219%).

There are currently 40 active infections in Črna na Koroškem after the local centre for persons with disabilities became a Covid-19 hotspot, with 45 users and 15 members of staff testing positive.

Coronavirus infection were also confirmed in several staff members and patients at the regional hospital in Slovenj Gradec.

There, four staff member have contracted the virus, all of them in their home environment, the hospital said on Wednesday. Eight employees are quarantining.

Moreover, two patients have also tested positive, both contracting the virus at home. Staff members who were tested following this have all been negative.

The latest statistics on coronavirus and Slovenia, and the latest police news on red, green and yellow list countries. All our stories on coronavirus and SloveniaCan I transit Slovenia? Find out from the police...

30 Sep 2020, 12:13 PM

STA, 30 September 2020 - The government gave its final nod late on Tuesday to the fifth stimulus package designed to help alleviate the consequences of the coronavirus crisis. The government already endorsed the package last week, albeit the bill had not yet been finalised.

The press release issued by the government after a correspondence session late last night indicated no major changes to the previous version of the bill.

This comes a week after trade unions protested that the bill had not been coordinated with them. Meanwhile, employers expressed satisfaction with the measures planned.

Filed into procedure by the Ministry of Labour, the Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, the bill entails measures for healthcare, labour, social security, economy, education, justice, criminal sanctions, agriculture and infrastructure.

Above all, the bill is to extend the crisis measures for businesses, such as furlough funding and 100% pay compensation for those ordered to quarantine after being exposed to coronavirus positive person at their workplace.

The furlough funding has been extended until the end of the year but is now tied to more restrictions.

Meanwhile, sole proprietors and micro companies will once again be eligible to monthly income compensation, the press release said.

The bill will also allow temporary staff reshuffles at elderly nursing homes to help the homes cope in case of outbreaks, and introduce an additional bonus for staff, among other things.

To lessen the workload of GPs, the bill introduces the option of sick leave of up to three days without a visit to the doctor.

Moreover, the bill also ensures funding for personal protective equipment and sanitation in schools and preschools, while parents of children in quarantine will receive a lower preschool bill.

29 Sep 2020, 13:07 PM

STA, 29 September 2020 - A total of 99 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 were confirmed in 2,382 tests on Monday. No deaths were recorded yesterday, according to the most recent data released by the government.

The national Covid-19 tracker Sledilnik says that there were 1,656 active cases in Slovenia in Monday, with 84 patients requiring hospital care, while 16 were in intensive care.

The figures indicate that Slovenia is flattening the curve of contagion, after a record 192 new cases were detected on Thursday and the share of positive cases in total tests performed on a single day climbed to a record 8.24% on Saturday, while on Monday it was 4.16%.

In total, Slovenia has recorded 5,487 coronavirus cases and 149 SARS-CoV-2 deaths.

Janša says stricter measures not needed at the moment

STA, 29 September 2020 - Prime Minister Janez Janša said on Tuesday that despite a higher number of Covid-19 cases than in the first wave, hospitalisation figures in Slovenia were still manageable and did not yet call for stricter measures. Speaking at an AmCham Slovenia event, he announced a plan for different future scenarios would be presented shortly.

At the meeting, which focused on key challenges and reforms ahead for Slovenia and its role in the EU, Janša said that Slovenia was still in "the orange zone".

He said the government had already drawn up plans for the future, with the measures also depending on hospital bed occupancy numbers. On Monday, 84 Covid-19 patients were hospitalised, with 16 receiving intensive care.

Responding to criticism of some of the government's actions, Janša said much had been learned in the spring. "If we hadn't learned, the situation would be much more critical today," he said.

He added health and social welfare establishments had also managed to keep infections at bay much better now than at the beginning. There are still some problem points, but the reason mostly lies in people not keeping to the measures. However, the situation is still manageable without stricter measures, Janša argued.

Commenting on the contact tracing app, whose wide use he had said was the only path to a normal functioning of society until vaccination, the prime minister acknowledged that wide and effective use has not happened.

He argued this was also the result of the app being voluntary. Given Slovenia's location in the centre of Europe, the app would function better if it was pan-European, Janša says, expressing regret the EU failed to come to an agreement on this.

While the app is producing some results, these are not enough to be an alternative to the measures. This is why we wear masks, keep a distance and have other restrictions. This is causing debate, but many of these restrictions would not be needed if the app were used and existing measures were respected more consistently, Janša assessed.

He meanwhile pointed the government's latest stimulus package, announcing that after the vaccine stops the pandemic, additional targeted measures would follow for sectors that will need longer to recover. He feels this will be a much smaller problem, as optimism will be driving European and global economy forward then and everything will be easier.

Man gets into a fist fight with security guard over face masks

STA, 29 September 2020 - A man got into a fist fight with a security guard in one of Ljubljana's shops on Saturday after the security guard warned him and his family that they need to wear face masks if they want to enter the shop.

A couple with a child entered the shop in the Šiška borough without face masks, which are obligatory in all enclosed public areas in Slovenia.

After the security guard asked them to put face masks on or leave the area, the woman followed his instructions, while the man punched the security guard in the face.

According to the Ljubljana police department, the security guard then attempted to keep the man in place for disobeying his warning and attacking him, but the man resisted and started beating the security guard until another security guard intervened.

During the fight, the stroller that the man was holding overturned, but the child did not fall out or got injured.

The injured security guard was rushed to the hospital, police said, adding that investigation is under way.

The latest statistics on coronavirus and Slovenia, and the latest police news on red, green and yellow list countries. All our stories on coronavirus and SloveniaCan I transit Slovenia? Find out from the police...

29 Sep 2020, 11:43 AM

STA, 29 September 2020 - More than 820,000 electronic tourist vouchers worth over 113 million euro, which is a third of the total sum available, were partly or fully redeemed by yesterday, fresh data from the Financial Administration (FURS) shows.

The Economy Ministry, which circulated FURS's data, said a recent survey had shown 90% of Slovenian residents intended to spend the vouchers until the end of the year, the deadline to use them.

The poll carried out by Valicon between 18 and 21 September showed that 36% of all permanent residents had already spent their vouchers, whereas 50% still intended to do so. Only 7% of those polled said they would not use their vouchers, the ministry said in a release on Monday.

As many as 57% of those who paid for accommodation and/or breakfast with vouchers were very happy with the service; the average satisfaction mark on the 1-5 scale was 4.4.

As part of the third stimulus package taken amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the government distributed vouchers worth EUR 345 million to help the tourism industry.

An adult permanent resident received EUR 200 and children and youth under 18 EUR 50. First payments with vouchers were possible on 19 June.

28 Sep 2020, 10:27 AM

STA, 28 September 2020 - Passengers from red or orange-listed countries will be able to avoid quarantine in Slovenia as of Monday if they present a negative coronavirus test no older than 48 hours. Travellers from orange countries in the EU or Schengen will avoid quarantine altogether.

This was decided by the government at the weekend, when it also renamed the yellow list of countries the orange list and green-listed Serbia and Poland. These changes will come into effect on Tuesday.

Apart from Serbia and Poland, Slovenia's green list from Tuesday also includes Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland among EU member states, as well as Australia, South Korea, New Zealand and Uruguay.

Italy was moved from green list to orange. Parts of Croatia along the border with Slovenia were moved to orange from red, while the rest of the country remains red-listed.

Three states in Austria (Vienna, Vorarlberg and Tirol) and two regions in Hungary (Budapest and Gyor-Moson-Sopron), as well as parts of several other EU countries and Switzerland, were red-listed. From Tuesday, the red list will include 16 members of the EU and the Schengen zone, and 114 third countries.

Residents of green countries do not have to go into quarantine when entering Slovenia and under the latest changes, the same applies to anybody who had spent at least a fortnight in the green country from which they are entering Slovenia.

Many of the exemptions to travel restrictions remain in place, allowing several groups of people to avoid quarantine even when entering Slovenia from an orange or red-listed country without a negative test.

This remains the case for workers commuting across the border, hauliers, diplomats, foreign delegations, foreign security services employees, members of the Slovenian armed and police forces, as well as people travelling for urgent personal or business matters, and people who own property in a neighbouring country.

Moreover, persons who test negative after having been ordered to quarantine will be allowed to cut short their quarantine.

The changes will be explained in more detail at a press conference on Monday.

The latest statistics on coronavirus and Slovenia, and the latest police news on red, green and yellow list countries. All our stories on coronavirus and SloveniaCan I transit Slovenia? Find out from the police...

27 Sep 2020, 13:49 PM

The latest statistics on coronavirus and Slovenia, and the latest police news on red, green and yellow list countries. All our stories on coronavirus and SloveniaCan I transit Slovenia? Find out from the police...

STA, 27 September - Out of a total of 1,917 coronavirus tests performed in Slovenia on Saturday, 159 came back positive, while one person died, the government said on Sunday. The share of positive tests reached a record high of 8.29%.

The national Covid-19 tracker shows that there are currently 1,648 active infections in the country, with 17 patients in intensive care.

A total of 80 coronavirus patients were hospitalised yesterday and 15 were discharged, the government said. A total of 5,350 coronavirus cases were confirmed in Slovenia so far in 217,448 tests, while 147 people died.

Government speaker Jelko Kacin expressed concern with the most recent data, saying Sunday afternoon that the government may soon adopt additional measures, maybe already today. He did not, however, say what these could entail.

Yesterday, the largest number of cases was confirmed in Ljubljana (19), followed by Maribor (18), with the second largest city in the country also having the most active cases in Slovenia, as 113 cases were confirmed there in the past fortnight.

Meanwhile, the largest share of active infections per capita was seen in Črna na Koroškem (nearly 1%), Log-Dragomer and Pivka (around 0.5% each).

Črna na Koroškem has developed into a hotspot after an infection was confirmed at the local CUDV centre for persons with disabilities a week ago. By yesterday, 32 people with disabilities and 15 members of staff of the CUDV tested positive.

Slovenia loosening coronavirus travel restrictions

STA, 27 September 2020 - The government has decided to loosen coronavirus travel restrictions for passengers arriving from countries which are not on Slovenia's green list. As of Monday, passengers with a negative test no older than 48 hours and performed by a credible lab either in Slovenia, the EU or the Schengen zone, will not have to quarantine.

Moreover, passengers arriving from orange countries within the EU or the Schengen zone will not have to present a negative test to avoid quarantine, the government decided in a correspondence session on Saturday.

The government's Communication Office said in a press release that the changes were made based on recommendations from the EU.

What has so far been dubbed the yellow list was renamed the orange list last night. The office said that it contained countries whose epidemiological situation was deteriorating. Countries not listed as either green, meaning safe, or red, meaning high-risk, are considered orange.

Government speaker Jelko Kacin said Sunday afternoon that changes to the orange list were being coordinated and that the government would approve an updated orange list soon.

In the evening, the government said it green-listed Serbia, while parts of Croatia along the border with Slovenia were moved to the orange list from the red.

On the other hand, parts of Austria (Vienna, Vorarlberg and Tirol) and Hungary (Budapest and Gyor-Moson-Sopron), as well as parts of several other EU countries, were red-listed.

Many of the exemptions to travel restrictions remain in place, allowing several groups of people to avoid quarantine even when entering Slovenia from an orange or red-listed country without a negative test.

This will be the case for workers commuting across the border, hauliers, diplomats, foreign delegations, foreign security services employees, members of the Slovenian armed and police forces, as well as people travelling for urgent personal or business matters, and people who own property in a neighbouring country.

Moreover, the government decided that persons who test negative after having been ordered to quarantine will be allowed to cut short their quarantine.

The changes will be explained in more detail at a press conference on Monday, Kacin said.

27 Sep 2020, 10:52 AM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 25 September 2020. All our stories about coronavirus and Slovenia are here

Mladina: Education Ministry rebuked for situation at schools

STA, 25 September 2020 – Mladina, the left-wing weekly, criticises the government and Education Ministry for "sending the education system into the corona-autumn completely unprepared". It says in Friday's editorial that all staff at schools, not just teachers, are on the verge of exhaustion and that the system could easily collapse.

No additional teachers and kitchen or cleaning staff - vital to keep the system going in the difficult times - was hired, the idea for teaching in shifts was not examined and no plan was made to adjust teaching for individual subjects in case face masks have to be worn, says editor-in-chief Grega Repovž.

Talking with a face mask for six hours in a classroom is hard and calls for adjustment. "But how could have the ministry made the plan when it had claimed there would be no masks," the editor wonders.

"The ministry has let schools down," he says, adding that teachers who cannot wear masks for health reasons were given no concessions, and while healthcare workers are entitled to coronavirus testing, no such testing was provided for teachers.

Instead of providing masks free of charge for teachers and children, the government provided 500,000 disposable masks for the entire education system. The figure is bizzarely low, given that 200,000 children and youth go to school every day, whereas masks free of charge are said to be provided to small businesses.

Mladina says Education Minister Simona Kustec should not resign because of a minor mistake of not wearing a mask at a gala dinner, but so that somebody who is up to the challenge takes over at her office.

The entire government has failed to deliver, with the education system breaking down three weeks after the new school year started, and a similar fiasco can be observed in other systems, such as public transport, Mladina says.

It suffices to look at healthcare to see what education is in for. While doing nothing to prepare the healthcare system for the autumn, it is clear already that the government will use the situation to quickly and mercilessly privatise it. Laboratories are the first to go.

Reporter: Slovenian healthcare not public but state-run

STA, 21 September 2020 - The right-wing weekly Reporter is critical of an expected rise of the compulsory healthcare insurance, saying it signals a potential continuation of the decline of the healthcare system even under the centre-right Janez Janša government.

Speaking of continuing systemic issues, Reporter argues in its latest commentary Slovenia does not have public healthcare, but state-run healthcare that prevents access to all the doctors available in the country and to direly needed services in time.

Moreover, the system is rife with corruption, with some of those distributing the public funds also representing those vying for them, the weekly says under The Millionaires and the Victims of 'Public Healthcare'.

"People known best in the public for calls for public healthcare can afford fast and private healthcare...When they are told the waiting line for tests is six months or more, they go to a private doctor and get treatment within a few days.

"The 'small people' in whose name the former ones are raising their voice on the other hand cannot afford this. They can stand in line and hope their condition does not deteriorate drastically in the meantime. This happens after years of paying compulsory insurance in order to have access to healthcare."

All our posts in this series are here

26 Sep 2020, 13:42 PM

STA, 26 September 2020 - Slovenia recorded 184 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, the second highest daily increase since the start of the epidemic, as the share of tests that came back positive rose above 6% for the first time.

The new infections were confirmed in 2,775 tests, meaning that 6.6% of all tests were positive. Yesterday, when a record 192 positive cases were confirmed, there were far more tests conducted and the positive rate was 5.3%.

Of the new cases, two were in nursing homes and twelve in health staff, according to the tracker Covid-19 Sledilnik.

The number of hospital admissions has surged. There are now 72 people in hospital, up from 60 yesterday. The number of patients in intensive care rose by one to 17, of whom 13 were on ventilators.

One fatality was recorded, bringing the death toll to 146.

New cases were recorded in 79 municipalities across the country, with the region around Ljubljana, Notranjska and Koroška standing out in terms of pace of growth.

The bulk of the new cases were in the age group 25-44, but there were also eleven in those under 14 and 13 in those over 65.

Slovenia has so far recorded 5,191 confirmed cases in over 215,000 tests. There are nearly 1,600 active cases at present, according to Covid-19 Sledilnik.

The latest statistics on coronavirus and Slovenia, and the latest police news on red, green and yellow list countries. All our stories on coronavirus and SloveniaCan I transit Slovenia? Find out from the police...

Switzerland puts Slovenia on quarantine list

STA, 25 September 2020 - Switzerland has become the latest European country to impose a mandatory quarantine on travellers from Slovenia effective on Monday. A total of 15 countries have been put on the quarantine list, which now includes 59 countries.

The Swiss quarantine list includes countries which have recorded over 60 new cases of coronavirus per 100,000 inhabitants in the past 14-day period, French news agency AFP reported on Friday.

Slovenia is currently at roughly 68 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants after cases started surging in mid-September. Today it reported a record 192 new cases in a single day.

UK imposed a quarantine on all travellers from Slovenia last week, while Germany put one region, Notranjsko-Primorska, on its red list earlier this week.

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