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Covid-19 tracking application to help the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH) and the population

At Monday's session, the Government, in its extended composition, decided on several actions to contain the spread of coronavirus infections in the country. At the press conference on the current situation regarding COVID-19, the session's conclusions were presented by the Head of the Communicable Disease Centre at the National Institute of Public Health, Mario Fafangel, the Director of the University Clinic of Pulmonary and Allergic Diseases Golnik, Aleš Rozman, and the government spokesman, Ambassador Jelko Kacin.
Mario Fafangel

Mario Fafangel | Author Nebojša Tejić/STA

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In its extended composition, the Government reviewed the amended national contingency plan in the event of an epidemic. It instructed the Health Inspectorate to monitor the implementation of quarantine decisions more effectively such that 500 inspections of the implementation of decisions are carried out every day. As a priority, the Government will regulate the legal basis for the protection of the most vulnerable groups of the population. Pursuant to the Communicable Diseases Act and on the proposal of the Ministry of Health, homes for the elderly and other social care institutions, such as hospitals and primary health care centres, will be declared threatened areas. The Government also plans to significantly strengthen its laboratory capacity for the testing of infections with the novel coronavirus, thus enabling the state to carry out 2,500 tests per day in the autumn, which will be 1,000 more in comparison to the current situation.  

According to Mario Fafangel, the main features of the epidemiologic situation in the country is that with yesterday's data Slovenia has reached 9.85 cases per 100,000 population in a 14-day cumulative incidence of reported cases, which is slightly below the limit of 10 cases on the basis of which Slovenia places other countries on the green list of Covid-19 safe countries.

In the last week, from 29 June to 5 July, Slovenia recorded 132 cases of infection with the novel coronavirus. The infection came from abroad in 25 cases: 8 from Croatia, 7 from Bosnia and Herzegovina, 4 from Serbia, 3 from Montenegro, 2 from Kosovo and 1 from Kazakhstan. 12 cases were directly related to the infections brought in from abroad, while 73 cases were related to a local source of infection.

Mario Fafangel supported the introduction of an application for tracking contacts with infected persons, which will also help epidemiologists. The workload of the NIPH personnel has already reached its maximum, so additional organisational capacities are sought. The application would also help the population since citizens may use the measure for preventive purposes.  

Aleš Rozman stressed the prevalence of the false belief that the virus has weakened. Although the disease is currently affecting the younger generation, this can change overnight. If the number of patients in the young population is high, the coronavirus will spread among older persons, too. This will raise the number of hospitalisations as well as deaths.

Residents of homes for the elderly who are Covid-19 positive are not automatically sent to hospitals. Transfers are the result of the occurrence of an infection in a home for the elderly, which can thus adapt to the new situation. Hospitals will admit patients in need of such treatment, i.e. those who need oxygen or advanced palliative care, which cannot be provided in a home for the elderly, and those who have serious symptoms of the disease. According to Rozman, most residents of these institutions – i.e. three quarters – will not have such serious symptoms and will stay in their institutions until recovery.

The situation in the Western Balkans has deteriorated, noted Jelko Kacin. Croatia has over 20 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and has opened its borders to certain countries with a bad epidemiological situation. It has not yet begun to implement some measures negotiated with Slovenia; this is expected to happen this week.