Prime Minister Janez Janša: The week ahead of us is intended to stop the spread of the coronavirus
At today's press conference Prime Minister Janez Janša presented an overall assessment of the situation after adoption of some additional measures for the containment of the coronavirus in the last days. "We believe that we are able to cope with the situation and this is mainly because we are now dealing with the virus as it is. Namely as a threat which is symmetrical and does not select by any other criteria than those applicable to the virus," the Prime Minister began his address.
He went on to say that, as already partially predicted, the numbers are rising and will continue to rise for some time, therefore, at this moment it is too early to assess whether the general measures adopted to date, such as the mandatory wearing of face masks everywhere or the restriction of movement at night will significantly or sufficiently contribute to limiting the spread of the virus. "In any case, some additional measures need to be adopted. The week ahead of us is thus intended to stop the spread of the virus. Next week will be extremely important to contain the spread of the epidemic," emphasised Prime Minister Janša.
The measures envisaged in the plan, adopted at the beginning of the month, which will enter into force on Saturday after they have been defined in detail in the ordinances adopted tomorrow, will include:
- the closure of restaurants and bars, food delivery will be allowed,
- the closure of hotel facilities except for business delegations, diplomats and professional sports teams,
- the closure of shopping centres with the exception of food stores, stores with construction and technical material, pet supply stores and agricultural supply stores.
"Next week kindergartens will also be closed, as the number of infections among pre-school teachers has drastically increased; there will, however, be exceptions, where parents work and cannot provide childcare. At this point, I would call upon pre-school teachers in kindergartens to wear face masks and I would also ask mayors to organise care in kindergartens with regard to the situation in their municipalities and towns where this is necessary to help parents who cannot provide care for their children," said the Prime Minister. He appealed to the mayors who successfully resolved the problems during the spring epidemic to also now, as the epidemic has been declared again and the plan for the action of the Civil Protection has been activated, to adopt measures within their own competences which they consider necessary; the measures should be targeted to the local environment and through a precise approach help contain the spread of the virus.
"Student residences will also be closed except for those secondary school and university students who have no other accommodation option. Public transport will switch to Plan B envisaged for the time the schools are closed, which means that only one third of public transport capacities will be available," said Prime Minister Janez Janša.
"As for the details we can all recall the regime introduced in spring; the ordinances about to be adopted will include the regulation which was in force during the spring wave of the epidemic; nothing is new, nothing is unknown, the exceptions that need to be defined will be the same as at that time when we had already gained certain experience; this means that the contacts were as limited as possible while at the same time all the necessary things ran as smoothly as possible, " continued Janez Janša.
“At this point, we are asking businesses to organise work from home where possible, namely where the production will remain open and the services are essential, but also, where this is not possible, especially in the industry, to strictly follow all preventive measures for preventing the spread of the virus,” underlined Janez Janša.
“We haven’t made the final decision on the measure that was in force in the spring, that is the possibility of restricting movement to home municipality, including the same regime and exceptions as in the spring,” highlighted Prime Minister Janša and continued that the decision on activating this measure will be made in the following days, “when we will have additional numbers and will be able to see if this measure is necessary at this stage.”
“We are also looking into the possibility of mass testing and the provision of rapid tests for all risk groups and, in the next weeks, for everyone. This is one of the measures that is also envisaged in other countries,” said Prime Minister Janša and added that with the ongoing discussions with European colleagues about the efficiency of this measure and after today’s discussion at the Government’s session, it is clear that “we are going to examine these possibilities.”
"With regard to testing, a big issue are the waiting times," emphasised Prime Minister Janša and added that the health care system needs to be additionally reorganised to make these times shorter and to put on the top of the priority list persons with symptoms and those who are urgently needed at their jobs.
“The measures in tomorrow’s ordinances will mostly enter into force on Saturday and will remain in force for a week. Next Thursday or Friday, the Government will reassess the situation and decide whether to prolong, revoke or ease the measures,” said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister also called upon people to download the Stay healthy application and reminded that if everyone who owns a smartphone would download it, we could be adopting less restrictive measures. He also pointed out that today, the Government once again underlined that we are in a demanding situation, “but we are doing everything in this situation, so that no one needing urgent medical assistance not only due to COVID-19, but other reasons as well, would be left without it.”
“We also have a mutual assistance agreement with some other EU Members States, in case we needed it, for the time being we can manage, but it doesn’t hurt to have a back-up,” said the Prime Minister and added that today, he had a one hour conversation with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel with whom they thoroughly evaluated the measures to contain COVID-19 in both countries and Germany offered help with critical medical equipment if we needed it.
“I would like to thank all doctors, nurses and all other medical staff. We must offer exceptional support to everyone fighting with the virus and we owe them a thank you. The best way to support them is to respect the measures and to do everything to make their work bearable and as easy as possible,” said the Prime Minister.
Finally, he said that in the last days, guidelines have been prepared for the sixth anti-corona package to remedy and mitigate the consequence of the epidemic. “When the guidelines are available, the legislative package will be prepared for discussion in the National Assembly as soon as possible,” concluded Prime Minister Janez Janša.