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An application to protect people's health and lives to be available for download in mid-August

The press conference on the COVID-19 situation focused on the epidemiological situation in the country and the region, as well as the presentation of an application for the protection of people's health and lives during the pandemic. The main speakers were the Minister of Public Administration, Boštjan Koritnik, the deputy head of the Communicable Disease Centre at the National Institute of Public Health, Nuška Čakš Jager, and the deputy government spokesperson, Špela Horjak.

At the end of the week, due to the extremely low number of tests performed, a significant downward fluctuation in the number of infected people was seen; 6 new coronavirus cases were confirmed out of 480 tests performed on Saturday and 7 new cases out of 371 tests performed on Sunday, as Ms Horjak summed up recent developments. Data for yesterday show an increase of 24 new cases after performing 914 tests. For the third day in a row, one patient died. A total of 22 infected individuals are currently hospitalised, three of which are being treated in intensive care units. There are 238 active cases.

At the end of the week, a new outbreak of the virus was detected in Odranci, where an employee brought the virus into a kindergarten. A virus hotspot still persists in Hrastnik. Representatives of the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Health are in regular contact with the local care home and are monitoring the situation on a daily basis and taking appropriate measures. Today, representatives of both ministries visited the Hrastnik Care Home; the public will be regularly informed of the developments there and the measures taken.

The second troubling epidemiological situation in Slovenia and the region was presented by Ms Čakš Jager. A total of 104 cases were recorded in the week between 13 and 19 July, of which 77 cases originated from a local source, whereas for 27 cases the source is unknown. Only 2 cases were imported. In the weeks between 7 and 20 July, Slovenia reached a 14-day cumulative incidence of 11.44 cases, which is still above the threshold that places Slovenia in the yellow zone. The largest local source of infection remains Hrastnik, with 11 cases out of yesterday's 24 recorded infections – 10 care home residents and 1 employee. By age group, most infections were confirmed in the oldest age category; 7 people over 85 years tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Public Administration selected a contractor to adapt the German model of the application for the protection of people's health and lives for use in Slovenia. The use of the application will be voluntary, stressed Mr Koritnik, adding that the application will operate based on the principle of notification (Bluetooth) and not on the GPS system, therefore it will not be possible to obtain geolocation data and perform tracking.

The purpose of the application is to warn the user if they have been in the presence of someone with a confirmed COVID-19 infection in the last 14 days. The infected person enters this information into their device on the basis of a code assigned by the NIPH. When two users meet, their smartphones will automatically exchange their randomly encrypted codes. The only information that the codes communicate to the phones is that the two people met, the duration of their encounter and the distance between them. They do not reveal the names or the location of the encounter. After the above-mentioned period, the information is automatically deleted.

As early as this week, a working group will be able to test the application and the user experience for the Android version. This is an open source application, which will enable Slovenian citizens to also use it to detect contacts in Croatia.

The visual identity, name and logo of the application will be presented at the Government's press conference this Thursday. At the conference, chief epidemiologist of the National Institute of Public Health, Mario Fafangel, will present the instructions for use.

The application will be submitted to the App Store and Google Play on 31 July at the latest. Before making the application available for download, Google and Apple must carry out their technical and security inspections. In mid-August, the application will be available for download at both app stores.

Should the epidemiological situation in Europe and the world deteriorate quickly in autumn and winter, the government will be prepared for the possibility of ensuring technical grounds for introducing obligatory input of the code into the application for all persons who are ordered to quarantine or test positive for the virus.

By this application for the protection of people's health and lives, the government is introducing an additional self-protective measure that does not replace the others, such as social distancing, hand-washing and cough etiquette, avoiding mass events and wearing protective masks.