Ljubljana related

16 Sep 2020, 13:14 PM

STA, 15 September 2020 - The Slovenian music industry, one of the businesses worst hit by Covid-19, has come up with a set of proposals it wants the government to include in its next anti-corona package. Until all restrictions applying to concerts are lifted and beyond, the Music Industry Coalition ad-hoc group wants wage subsidies and a monthly basic income.

Events such as concerts are limited to 50 to 500 people while all strict recommendations must be respected as well, including social distancing.

There is also a requirement of an eight-metre distance between performers and the audience.

However, the group argues singing is no riskier than talking when it comes to contracting the virus, labelling the eight-metre measure "completely incomprehensible".

Until all the restrictions are lifted and for another three months after that, the group, set up in mid-August, proposes exemption from payment of social security contributions for the self-employed and 700 euro in monthly basic income.

For workers on permanent employment contracts, the state should pay all contributions and taxes, while furloughed workers should have their pay subsidised.

The proposals were drafted with the help of a survey which tried to find the extent to which coronavirus restrictions had affected the music and events industries.

The survey has shown that more than 90% of the respondents have had their income more than halved compared to last year, a condition for state aid in previous anti-corona legislation.

It has also shown that 57% of the industry's workers, among them many self-employed musicians, have been left without any aid since 1 June.

The Coalition estimates the music industry in Slovenia employs around 6,000 people, while the figure for the entire events industry is around 15,000.

Based of the information from concert organisers and from Eventim, which has a 50% share in ticket sales, the loss of income from concerts was estimated at EUR 150-180 million.

Matija Prezelj from the GIZ KOS association of concert organisers told the STA the vast majority of the industry had been left out of the first four stimulus packages.

However, the Economy Ministry has now acknowledged the problems and would propose measures drafted on the basis of the group's proposals be included in the new legislation, he said.

The group also proposes a timeline to gradually lift restrictive measures at concerts so that live events could run without any restrictions in the second half of 2021.

The Music Industry Coalition brings together independent musicians, their trade union and several other associations from the music and events industries, from artists to organisers and support staff.

15 Sep 2020, 17:07 PM

STA, 15 September 2020 - The foreign ministers of Slovenia, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia agreed at a Central 5 (C5) meeting in Slovenia on Tuesday that the members of the informal initiative will regularly coordinate their measures to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Coordination meetings would be held every two weeks via videoconference at the level of police commissioners, Slovenian Foreign Minister Anže Logar said.

According to him, the ministers also agreed that the European Commission should create a joint mechanism for measures and standards in the event of an increasing number of infections.

"Our governments are facing the difficult task of limiting the most risky cases in terms of further spreading as much as possible," said Logar, adding that a renewed closure of all borders was not an option for the time being.

But "countries must do their homework", and "a system which would be predictable in advance needs to be created so that measures which affect people on both sides of the border need not be taken," the Slovenian foreign minister added.

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said that the Central European countries had the shared goal of not getting into a situation similar to that in March and April, when borders around Europe had been mostly closed.

"We must show that we have learned something in recent months," said Schallenberg, whose country borders eight countries.

Schallenberg added that cooperation of the Central European countries was very important as a second wave of Covid-19 was about to start. "We are a closely connected economic area," he said, adding that the economy must continue functioning.

Tomaš Petriček, the minister of foreign affairs of the Czech Republic, pointed to the importance of informing other countries of upcoming Covid-19 measures in advance, including because of work migrants and trade.

Asked about migrations and the the fire in the Moria migrant centre on the Greek island of Lesbos, Schallenberg and Petriček agreed that the debate on migration did not divide the Central European countries.

"All of us here agree that Greece will not be left high and dry, we will help it," said the Austrian minister, while his Czech colleague added that "a compromise will be found".

The ministers also discussed the situation in Belarus, and talks on the topic will be continued over the working lunch, Logar said, while Petriček added that a coordinated response of the EU to the crisis in Belarus had been endorsed.

Slovakia's Ivan Korčok added that the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels next Monday would need to send a clear signal to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to stop the violence and start dialogue with the opposition.

"We are shocked with the developments in Belarus," said Korčok, labelling as unacceptable that people are getting beaten and that people who think differently are punished. He also expects that sanctions will be introduced against Belarus.

According to a press release from the Slovenian Foreign Ministry, part of the talks was dedicated to economic matters, with focus being on possibilities of integration of regional infrastructure and connectivity.

Cooperation within various forums and platforms was also on the agenda, as the five Central European countries participate in the Three Seas Initiative, which looks to strengthen cooperation in Central and East Europe.

As for EU topics, the ministers welcomed the consensus on the next multi-year budget and the recovery fund, which will enable the member states' economies to address the pandemic and other challenges such as digitalisation and climate change, the ministry said.

This was the third meeting of the initiative, which also includes Hungary, but was held without Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, who is paying a visit to the US.

15 Sep 2020, 12:55 PM

STA, 15 September 2020 - Slovenia's coronavirus case count passed the 3,800 mark after 82 more people tested positive on Monday, just as the number of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 rose by ten to 50, fresh data from the government show.

Ten Covid-19 patients are being treated in intensive care, one more than the day before.

The latest cases come from 2,247 tests for Sars-CoV-2. Since the start of the pandemic, Slovenia has carried out 185,220 tests.

The country has so far confirmed 3,831 coronavirus cases, of which 907 remain active, according to the tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org.

There have been 135 Covid-19-related deaths, with no fatalities for more than ten days now.

Nurses in Maribor catch coronavirus, shortage of health staff on horizon

STA, 15 September 2020 - Eleven infections were confirmed among UKC Maribor staff at the weekend and around 30 more employees are self-isolating. This leaves the second largest hospital with a shortage of staff, while the number of patients with severe Covid-19 symptoms is increasing. Director Vojko Flis says this is worrying.

Ten nurses and one physiotherapist at the internal medicine clinic got infected from two patients brought in from the Danica Vogrinec Home for the Elderly, one of the hotspots in the country. They were taken to hospital due to an emergency which was however not related to Covid-19.

There are no doctors among the infected staff, but testing continues. Still, UKC Maribor's internal medicine clinic is now working at two-third capacity, Flis told the press in Maribor on Tuesday.

"The situation is rather unpredictable, and unmanageable when it comes to infections getting into the hospital," he said, stressing a large number of infections in the Maribor area made preventing the virus from entering the hospital very hard.

UKC Maribor reintroduced a unit for Covid-19 treatment in mid-July after it had it up and running during the first wave of epidemic, which formally ended on 31 May.

Flis said some new measures will have to be put in place if severely ill Covid-19 patients continue to arrive, including a single entry point to the hospital.

New beds for Covid-19 patients only will also have to be provided.

UKC Maribor expects to provide up to ten more beds for coronavirus intensive care. Once they are full, the Celje Hospital would start receiving Covid-19 patients.

There are currently 20 Covid-19 patients at UKC Maribor and another three in intensive care who require ventilation.

Since additional beds entail staff reorganisation, this affects the hospital's regular treatments. "We have a problem with staff, rather than space," said Flis.

UKC Ljubljana's department of infectious diseases will meanwhile activate plan B if the number of Covid-19 patients continues to rise.

This means non-coronavirus patients from two units and the main intensive care unit for non-coronavirus patients would be moved to another location in Ljubljana.

Having four Covid-19 patients and six with other diseases in intensive care "means our intensive care unit is full", Mateja Logar from the clinic said in Ljubljana on Monday.

The department's other units meanwhile had 15 Covid-19 patients and another 40 with other infectious diseases yesterday.

However, Covid-19 patients represent less than 1% of all hospitalised patients at UKC Ljubljana, the country's largest hospital.

So even if the number of Covid-19 hospitalisations rises, the hospital wants to keep the level of health services for the other patients at the same level as now.

"Today we proposed to the health minister some measures to provide staff for units where Covid-19 patients are treated or processed," UKC Ljubljana director general Janez Poklukar said yesterday.

Speaking at Tuesday's daily coronavirus briefing, the government's spokesperson Jelko Kacin labelled the epidemiological situation as serious.

He announced everything should be ready by Thursday so that the government could take additional measures, should it assess they were needed.

The national healthcare system is gearing up to launch the fourth unit for Covid-19 treatments, he said.

Apart from UKC Ljubljana and UKC Maribor, the Golnik University Clinic is currently also accepting coronavirus patients, but Covid-19 units are running out of beds.

A considerably larger number of hospitalisations is likely as early as the second half of September, said Kacin, warning the virus was also spreading in work environments, pointing to Maribor's Danica Vogrinec Home for the Elderly, the Braslovče Primary School, food-processing company Pivka Perutninarstvo, UKC Maribor and UKC Ljubljana.

UKC Ljubljana told the STA it had six infections among its staff over the past week. However, none of them caught the virus at work.

Anti-corona measures hurting Slovenia's transport

STA, 15 September 2020 - The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a major drop in Slovenia's transport. July saw a 39% decrease in ships year-on-year and zero cruise ships. Only six passengers visited Slovenia by sea, less than 1% compared to the same period last year. Ljubljana airport experienced a 90% plunge in passenger traffic.

The port of Koper, Slovenia's sole port, saw a drop in cargo volume - roughly a million tonnes of cargo were transshipped in July, down almost 35% year-on-year, said the Statistics Office on Tuesday, adding that the precaution measures had had an impact on bus and air traffic as well.

Almost two million passengers used city buses in July, a 43% decrease compared to the same month in 2019. Meanwhile, some 710,200 used intercity and international connections, down 29% year-on-year.

About 21,000 passengers passed through Ljubljana airport in July, as much as 90% fewer year-on-year. Cargo traffic at the airport was also down by 15%.

On the other hand, roads seemed to have been busier in July, with the number of new vehicles on the rise. Vehicles hitting the road for the first time in July were up by 3% year-on-year to 12,800. Among them, some 6,400 were new passenger cars, a 7% increase compared to July 2019.

14 Sep 2020, 13:50 PM

STA, 14 September 2020 - Slovenia has recorded 47 new coronavirus infections from 1,110 tests performed on Sunday, less than half the figure the day before as testing typically slows down during the weekend. However, a public health chief has warned the country's contagion curve is in a phase of growth with the basic reproduction number at 1.4.

The latest figures from the government show the number of Covid-19 hospitalisations has risen to 40 despite six being discharged home. Nine of the patients require intensive treatment.

No Covid-19-related fatalities were reported, which leaves the overall death toll at 135.

The latest cases bring the national case count to 3,749, with 866 remaining active cases, according to the tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org.

Milan Krek, director of the National Institute of Public Health, has revealed that Slovenia's R0, the figure showing the average number of people infected by one infectious individual, has risen to 1.4.

Commenting on the outbreak for RTV Slovenija on Sunday, Krek said Slovenia could see the number of daily infections rise to 165 in the coming days.

Slovenia is already a "red country", having exceeded 40 infections per 100,000 residents in a fortnight, he said in a reference to the colour-coded map Slovenia keeps for other countries.

He reckons the curve of infections will "flatten when we start truly abiding by the recommendations and measures that have been known for a while".

With Covid-19 hospitalisations increasing, he warned the situation at hospitals reflects the state of infections ten or 14 days ago when Slovenia had 18 to 40 infections a day.

"You can imagine what will happen in 14 days," considering almost 100 infections had been confirmed on Saturday.

As the need for hospital beds increases, Krek warned that this could affect beds intended for other patients and reduce access to some health services.

Meanwhile, Bojana Beović, the government's chief Covid-19 adviser, announced a more "radical" approach to crack down on private parties of more than ten people, telling POP TV last night that oversight and fining would be stepped up.

11 Sep 2020, 17:41 PM

STA, 11 September 2020 - Ljubljana Marathon received the green light on Friday from the National Institute for Public Health (NIJZ) to host on 25 October what is known as the largest running event in the country. Although significantly downsized due to coronavirus, the marathon will be held, director Gojko Zalokar confirmed for the STA.

As customary, the tracks will be 10, 21 and 42 kilometres long, Zalokar said.

The organisers started accepting applications for the event in early March, only days before the epidemic was declared in the country. Ever since, talks have been under way on how and whether to carry out the marathon.

Because of coronavirus restrictions, this year only up to 500 participants will be able to take part, including 50 representatives of the organisers. So far, the annual event usually attracted almost 14,000 runners.

This year's marathon will be 25th, but the anniversary will be marked next year, Zalokar said.

Applications for this year's event will be accepted as of 1 October. Only the first 450 runners to apply will be able to take part.

The organisers invite all those who will not be able to apply to take part in the virtual marathon.

Those who had registered in the first round have the option of transferring the registration fee to 2021 or get a refund.

11 Sep 2020, 17:25 PM

STA, 11 September - Slovenia saw 108 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, a record-high daily tally and the first time the total exceeded 100, after conducting 2,758 tests, the highest daily number so far as well, show fresh official data. No new Covid-19-related fatalities were reported.

There are currently 701 active cases in the country, according to national tracker site Covid-19.sledilnik.

A total of 27 persons are in hospital currently, including five in intensive care.

Among the latest cases, there were also six detected in health workers, six in residents of care homes and one in care home staff, show the national tracker's data.

A total of 2,662 persons have recovered from Covid-19 so far.

Mario Fafangel, the chief epidemiologist at the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), said at today's government coronavirus briefing that Slovenia's current 14-day incidence was 34 per 100,000 residents.

He pointed out that the situation was similar to April, however there was no lockdown, instead it was key to adapt to the new normal, heed precautionary measures and keep boosting the testing capacity.

Commenting on the cutting short of the mandatory quarantine from 14 days to 10 days as of Sunday, he said the measure would be shortened in all cases and not merely for arrivals from Covid-19 risky countries, as was the government's decision on Thursday.

Fafangel highlighted compulsory quarantine was a uniform measure regardless of whether the quarantine order was issued by the border police or the NIJZ, so those found to have been in close contact with an infected person would be also recommended a 10-day mandatory self-isolation starting from Sunday.

The epidemiologist pointed out that 7% showed symptoms after 10 days in self-isolation, which is fewer than 10 cases per month and fewer than 1 per day.

Shorter mandatory quarantine poses a somewhat greater risk, but the public health is still protected, he said. The virus is here to stay for now, at least until a safe and effective vaccine, and it is important to slow it down using sustainable measures, Fafangel pointed out.

Coronavirus is mostly spreading within the country, only 35 of the 307 cases confirmed last week were imported, and the sources were often unknown, he added.

The latest cases were mainly confirmed in generations aged between 25 and 44 years, however the infections have been spreading to care homes as well, he warned, urging special efforts to protect the most vulnerable groups, including nursing home residents.

Fafangel said the situation was still more or less under control though since approximately 4% of all tests came back positive. "That is good because it means that there is a lot of testing and that there is no iceberg [of undetected infections] behind us."

At the start of the epidemic, the average time between the first symptoms and the test was four days, but the period has been reduced to three days.

If it is further cut to two days or even one day, epidemiologists could trace 60% of all the contacts of the infected person, thus maintaining the reproduction number at 1 and containing the epidemic, he said.

The NIJZ, which can currently trace contacts of up to 100 infected persons in a day, has boosted its staff capacities, including with the help of 15 medical students, who deal with half of the cases and are constantly supervised by an epidemiologist. The institute plans to further step up efforts to ensure enough testing and tracing, said Fafangel.

The latest infections bring Slovenia's overall tally of cases to 3,498, while the death toll remains at 135.

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10 Sep 2020, 19:34 PM


77 New Cases; New Rules on Testing Children; Quarantine Cut to 10 Days Sunday

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Slovenia sees 77 new coronavirus infections for Wednesday

STA, 10 September 2020 - After a record-high daily increase in coronavirus infections in Slovenia on Tuesday, the number of newly detected cases remains high. 77 out of 2,489 tests came back positive on Wednesday, which is almost level with the day before. No new fatalities were reported.

After one test proved to be falsely positive on Tuesday, the Health Ministry corrected the figure for the record-breaking day from 79 to 78. The figures for Monday were also amended to include another case which was confirmed in Croatia but the Slovenian decided to be quarantined and receive health treatment in Slovenia.

According to the national tracker Covid-19.sledilnik, Slovenia thus currently has 633 active cases. The national Covid-19 death toll remains unchanged since Friday at 135.

A total of 26 Covid-19 patients were in hospital yesterday, of whom five needed intensive care. Two were discharged from hospital, the government said on Twitter.

The UKC Maribor hospital admitted six residents of a care home who tested positive but showed no symptoms. They were transferred to the hospital to isolate them from other residents, the Health Ministry said.

New infections were recorded in 37 municipalities, including 18 in Ljubljana, where the number of active cases is 120. Maribor follows with 10 new infections and 56 active cases. 191 out out Slovenia's 212 municipalities have at least one infection confirmed.

Most of the newly infected persons are active adults, aged between 25 and 54. Nine new infections were confirmed in children aged between five and 14, and five among the elderly, aged between 75 and 84.

Since the first Covid-19 case was recorded in Slovenia, a total of 3,388 infections have been confirmed.

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Rules change for coronavirus testing of children under ten

STA, 10 September 2020 - Medical experts and the Health Ministry have slightly changed the rules for coronavirus testing of children with symptoms of respiratory disease. Children up to nine years old with only mild symptoms of respiratory disease, even if they also have mild fever and diarrhoea, will no longer be immediately tested for Covid-19.

As school started, the issue arose of how to distinguish between Covid-19 symptoms and the symptoms of other infections that are common in kindergarten and school children in the autumn and winter.

Paediatricians proposed that the rule that all children with symptoms of a cold must be tested be re-assessed, so the issue was discussed with ministry officials on Thursday.

Coming out of the meeting, paediatrician Denis Baš told the STA that everyone involved - infectious disease specialists, paediatricians, the National Institute for Public Health and the ministry - had reached a consensus that kindergarten children and children from the first three grades of primary school with a runny or stuffed nose, soar throat and temperature or diarrhoea will stay at home for three days but will not be immediately tested for Covid-19.

However, testing will remain in place for children with these symptoms who have also been in contact with an infected person or whose parents work in health institutions or care homes.

Also tested will be children with fever over 38 degrees Celsius and other signs of Covid-19 disease, Baš explained.

Children aged ten or more will be treated the same as adults, meaning that they will be referred to testing with even the mildest symptoms of respiratory disease.

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Border quarantine orders shortened to 10 days from Sunday

STA, 10 September 2020 - Slovenia is cutting mandatory quarantine imposed on arrivals from Covid-19 risky countries from 14 to 10 days starting from Sunday under a decision taken by the government on Thursday.

Announcing changes to the respective government decree, government spokesman Jelko Kacin said the decision was taken on the proposal of the expert group advising the government on Covid-19.

He said the exceptions to mandatory quarantine rules, for those attending a funeral of a close relative and maintaining contacts with close family members, will no longer be limited to 24 hours.

Parents have additionally been added to count as close family members, said Kacin.

There is also change to the rule when arrivals submit a negative test for Sars-CoV-2 as the test will now need to be conducted over the past 48 hours, rather than 36 as so far.

A certificate confirming such a negative test needs to be issued by an institution whose credibility is recognised by the Slovenian Institute of Microbiology and Immunology and the National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food.

The government also secured EUR 5 million from budget reserves for the cost of swab tests at hospitals and community health centres from 12 March to 31 May. The Health Insurance Institute need to transfer the money to healthcare providers until 21 September.

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10 Sep 2020, 11:58 AM

STA, 9 September 2020 - The operator of the Postojna Cave has been forced to lay off a number of employees as it grapples with a 83% drop in visit due to the coronavirus crisis. The management will announce the exact number of redundancies to employees by Friday, while Primorske Novice reports that up to 60 out of the 174 employees are to be sacked.

Postojnska Jama told the STA on Wednesday that it would need to "dismiss a larger number of workers" as a last-resort measure for the sake of long-term sustainability of operation.

The number to be laid off will first be announced to employees at meetings on Thursday and Friday, added the operator of the cave which has been virtually empty since the spring, as foreign guests, which represent the bulk of the visit, are few and far between.

The Koper-based newspaper meanwhile reported that the company will lay off up to 60 out of the 174 employees. Postojnska Jama has not confirmed the number, while labelling the consequences of the pandemic a "natural disaster".

The Postojna Cave is a global destination and foreign guests represent 93% of total visit. "It is evident that the loss in enormous", the company said, adding that there were also fewer Slovenian guests, with their number dropping by 20%.

Visit to the cave is not covered by the government's tourism voucher scheme and the site was closed for 83 days during the lockdown, which is only the second time it was closed in its 200-plus-year history.

Postojnska Jama said layoffs were inevitable as the future was uncertain, as no major improvement was expected next year.

09 Sep 2020, 13:03 PM

STA, 9 September 2020 - Slovenia recorded 79 new coronavirus cases from 2,560 tests carried out on Tuesday, an absolute daily record for the numbers of both new cases and daily tests since the first case was recorded in the country on 4 March, the latest government data shows. The number of infections among care home residents is again rising, hitting 15 on Tuesday.

The number of yesterday's tests was for instance by 979 higher than the number of those carried out a day earlier, when the daily tally of new cases reached 43.

Until yesterday, the day with the highest number of new cases detected was 26 March, when only 1,075 tests were carried out.

While the national tracker website covid-19.sledilnik.org shows 61 new cases for that day, a database at gov.si/teme/koronavirus-sars-cov-2/ shows 70 cases.

A total of 33 Covid-19 patients are currently in hospital, four in intensive care, and as many as 590 cases are active, shows the data on the national tracker site.

There were no new fatalities, so the national Covid-19 death toll remains unchanged since Friday at 135. A total of 3,312 infections have been confirmed so far.

Government Covid-19 spokesperson Jelko Kacin attributed the record number of new cases to a large number of tests and to full school and business reopening.

What is worrying is that the share of infected older people at care homes is increasing again, with 15 new cases confirmed on Tuesday, Kacin and Nuška Čakš Jager from the National Institute of Public Heath (NIJZ) told Wednesday's daily briefing.

Kacin said the growing number of infections among the elderly called for "additional measures", so Prime Minister Janez Janša had called a meeting of the government's Covid-19 task force for later in the day.

Ten infections have been confirmed since Monday at one of the two units of the Danica Vogrinec Home for the Elderly in the city of Maribor, the biggest elderly home in Slovenia with some 800 beds.

A similar situation has been reported by a care home in Črneče in the Koroška region, north, where five residents and one staff were tested on Tuesday to prove infected. None of the infected persons in either of the two homes showed any signs of the disease.

Čakš Jager, deputy head at NIJZ's Centre of Infectious Diseases, said the structure of infections was changing.

There are considerably more local transmissions, and many infections are of unknown origin, many more than one would have wanted, she said.

The number of those who fall ill with Covid-19 while in quarantine is also rising; as many as 11% of those who were ordered to quarantine fell ill, which Čakš Jager said showed the quarantine measure was warranted.

Apart from the 15 care home residents, three care home employees also tested positive on Tuesday, while the daily tally at schools was ten infected pupils and two teachers, according to Šakš Jager.

Yesterday's infections were confirmed in as many as 40 of Slovenia's 212 municipalities, with Maribor leading the way with 12, followed by Ljubljana with 10, the tracker website shows. Fewer than five infections were recorded in the other 38 municipalities.

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08 Sep 2020, 21:15 PM

STA, 8 September 2020 - Slovenia recorded 42 new coronavirus cases from 1,581 tests carried out on Monday, which brings the overall tally of cases since the first one was confirmed in early March to 3,232. 546 cases are active, according to the latest data posted on the national tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org.

No new Covid-19-related fatalities have been reported, leaving the national total at 135 since Friday.

The number of hospitalisations has meanwhile risen by two to 28; four persons are in intensive care.

The number of new daily cases has been dropping since the recent spike of 55 recorded on 1 September, when 1,608 tests were performed.

The number of tests is not falling, and the number of new cases shows the situation is slowly stabilising, which is encouraging, the government's Covid-19 spokesperson Jelko Kacin told the press on Tuesday.

He said eleven local sources of infections had so far been detected for Monday's new cases, while epidemiologists have a hard time finding the sources as some infected persons would not or cannot tell them how they contracted the disease. 19 cases are thus still being investigated.

However, more worrying trends can be noticed in Italy and Hungary, while the situation also remains worrying in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, said Kacin.

Nevertheless, only one of yesterday's infections has been imported, although the figure could rise once the sources of the 19 mentioned infections have been fully examined, he added.

Still, the government is not considering closing the border like it did in spring. "This is not an option for the time being, it is not being discussed, nor is closing municipal borders".

Kacin also denied rumours that schools would close towards the end of September after several classes around the country have been put in quarantine since the new school year started on 1 September. He said "there is no truth there" and "it has never been discussed".

He explained that individual schools could close in case of infections.

Asked whether any stricter measures were being planned to contain the virus, such as dedicated hours for certain vulnerable groups at shops, he said they were not.

Kacin also presented some statistics about oversight of quarantine orders and of anti-coronavirus measures in public places.

Health inspectors have so far carried out almost 21,500 quarantine oversights, issuing fines in almost 185 cases worth over EUR 70,000.

They have also visited almost 400 shops and restaurants or bars to check face mask wearing and sanitiser use since a relevant decree entered into force on Friday.

Yesterday alone, they visited almost 190 objects, or which 90 bars or restaurants and 96 shops, issuing seven fines at shops and one at a restaurant for non-compliance with face mask rules.

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