STA, 7 March 2020 - Health Minister Aleš Šabeder has issued a decree banning all public indoor events for 500-plus visitors as the number of confirmed coronavirus case increased by four to 12. The ban enters into force at 7pm tonight. A session of the National Security Council has been called by Prime Minister Marjan Šarec for Monday.
National Public Health Institute director Nina Pirnat told the press that the transmission risk was increasing, which is why the institute proposed limitations to public events.
Along with the ban on large indoor events, the Health Ministry is proposing that organisers of smaller events also reconsider.
Asked about events like movie screenings or prom dances, Minister Šabeder told POP TV's evening news show that organisers should consider whether it is urgent that their event be held and consider cancelling it if this is not the case.
He is aware that economic and financial damage is occurring, "but right now it is people's health that matters the most". Šabeder said experts were united in their view on the matter and that Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek also understood the situation.
The Health Ministry told the STA that schools would remain open, but that the situation was being monitored closely. Šabeder argued that classrooms were smaller after all and that Education Minister Jernej Pikalo confirmed closing school was not warranted for now. However, "let us wait until Monday", Šabeder added.
The concert of Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli scheduled today at Ljubljana's Stožice Arena has been postponed. Cankarjev dom, Slovenia's largest cultural and congress centre, also cancelled today's events and while it initially announced it would postpone all events with 100-plus participants, it later said it would wait for detailed instructions from the Health Ministry.
It is not yet clear what will happen to the Ski Flying World Championships scheduled in Planica from 19 to 22 March, but it is possible the events will take place without spectators.
Meanwhile, additional measures have been announced for the Metlika area in the east of the country, where an infected doctor had contact with a large number of people, including at the elderly home, which has been closed. People in Metlika have been advised to avoid any kind of gatherings, including private ones.
The institute also proposed a meeting of the National Security Council and outgoing PM Šarec has already announced it will be held on Monday.
A total of 785 people have been tested for the coronavirus in Slovenia so far. According to epidemiologists, all 12 positive cases established by 2pm today were "imported" into the country, meaning the individuals contracted the virus abroad or were in close contact with somebody who had been abroad, in most cases in Italy.
All of the affected individuals who have been hospitalised are in a stable condition and none of them has been diagnosed with pneumonia, Health Ministry State Secretary Simona Repar Bornšek explained.
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