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New ordinance imposing mandatory use of masks in enclosed public spaces and public transport

At today’s Government session, the Government adopted an ordinance temporarily imposing mandatory use of protective masks in enclosed public spaces, which includes public transport. The Government also adopted the Act Amending the Environmental Protection Act.

The speakers at the press conference following the Government session were the Head of the Clinic for Infectious Diseases and Fever Conditions at the Ljubljana University Medical Centre, Tatjana Lejko Zupanc, the Minister of the Environment, Andrej Vizjak, and the Government spokesman, Ambassador Jelko Kacin

Mr Kacin first presented the numbers for Wednesday. A record 1653 tests were performed and 53 cases of infections were confirmed. Twenty-six COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, four require intensive care. There were no deaths among hospitalised patients.

Mr Kacin further stated that in order to prevent new outbreaks of COVID-19, the Government adopted an ordinance temporarily imposing mandatory use of protective masks in enclosed public spaces, which includes public transport. Hand disinfection has also become mandatory. Wearing a mask is not mandatory if adequate physical distance is ensured. The mandatory use of protective masks does not apply to educational institutions and sports and recreational activities, to which the current recommendations of the National Institute of Public Health continue to apply.

The current restrictions on gatherings in public places remain in force. The Advisory group warned that these restrictions should also apply to private gatherings.

Ms Lejko Zupanc underlined that face masks are now considered the most effective measure among experts. This is why especially now, at the beginning of fall, when the number of cold infections is expected to increase, influenza season is beginning and COVID-19 infections are still among us, the Head of the Clinic for Infectious Diseases calls upon everyone who experiences symptoms such as cough, increased temperature or malaise to wear a face mask.

According to her analysis, the age structure of hospitalised patients in the past months has been similar to that during the first wave. The average age of hospitalised patients is 63 years with deaths occuring in 50-year-old patients as well as in 90-year-olds.

Those who recovered after a COVID-19 infection are experiencing different medical issues which is why the Ljubljana University Medical Centre is preparing a special rehabilitation plan for all recovered patients.

Mr Vizjak presented the Act Amending the Environmental Protection Act (ZVO1J), which is undergoing changes in three thematic areas. The most comprehensive area will be the regulation of the scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading which will enable such trading even after 31 December 2020. This will put an end to an infringement of EU law. The extended producer responsibility is being regulated on a provisional basis, since for products to which this responsibility applies, producers must ensure and finance the prescribed handling of used products and of all waste produced from these products on Slovenian territory. Lastly, the article on the implementation of operational monitoring is also undergoing changes.