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Government coronavirus call centre enjoys high level of public trust

The speakers at today's press conference on the current situation concerning the COVID-19 epidemic were Prof. Mojca Matičič from the Clinic for Infectious Diseases at the University Medical Centre Ljubljana, who is also a professional mentor to students at the government call centre, and government spokesperson Ambassador Jelko Kacin.

On Sunday, 3,682 tests were performed and 1,115 infections were confirmed, which means that the positive test rate was 30.23 percent. A total of 523 patients with COVID-19 are currently in hospital, of whom 82 are in intensive care units. Ten patients died. The 14-day incidence per 100,000 inhabitants is 727.

At the meeting by correspondence yesterday, the Government adopted a decision on the restriction of movement to municipalities, as envisaged in the Action Plan for the Second Wave of COVID-19. The conditions for adopting the measures included in the third package of the red phase of the Action Plan are 360 hospitalised patients and 60 of these patients in intensive care units. Both conditions were exceeded at the end of last week.

The measure prohibiting movement between municipalities was also in force in the spring. Similarly to the spring measure, some exceptions also apply this time: 

  1. travel to and from work and the performance of work duties;
  2. the performance of business, agricultural and forestry activities;
  3. the elimination of immediate threats to health, life and property;
  4. the provision of care and assistance to persons in need of support, care of family members, or parental care or contact with one’s children;
  5. access to pharmacies, health and sanitary services, and health resort treatment;
  6. access to foreign diplomatic missions and consular posts;
  7. access to emergency services;
  8. access to the performance of tasks related to the operation of judicial, administrative and law enforcement authorities;
  9. access to services for persons with special needs;
  10. the performance of maintenance work or seasonal chores on private property for members of the same household;
  11. the travel of persons who have entered the Republic of Slovenia in order to transit to a neighbouring country or to their residence in the Republic of Slovenia;
  12. access to shops or services in another municipality that are closer to the person's residence than the same shops and services in the municipality of their residence or if there are no such shops or services in their municipality;
  13. urgent maintenance of a grave, in which case the person must demonstrate their eligibility with proof of burial plot lease or other appropriate proof.

The Ordinance on temporary partial restriction of movement and gathering also stipulates that it is no longer compulsory to wear a protective mask when taking a walk on green spaces or during sports and recreational activities if it is possible to maintain a distance of at least three metres from other persons throughout the activity.

The temporary restriction of movement between 21.00 and 6.00 is still in force, with the following exceptions: (i) the elimination of immediate threats to health, life and property; (ii) travel to and from work and the performance of urgent work duties; (iii) access to or the provision of emergency services; (iv) food or medicine delivery services; and (v) the travel of people in transit.

The Ordinance still prohibits all events, gatherings, weddings and religious ceremonies and any other gatherings of more than six persons, except for those of immediate family members or members of the same household.

The changes entered into force at midnight on Monday.

Ms Matičič presented the operation of the government call centre, which in only a few days has exceeded the spring record of daily calls received. There are currently 48 final-year students of the Faculty of Medicine, who have already proven their knowledge in the relevant areas and have finished an intensive course on the novel coronavirus, working at the centre.

The call centre is available every working day from 8.00 to 18.00 on the toll-free telephone number 080 1404.

The centre started to operate again one week ago, when the epidemic was declared. On the first day it received 400 calls, on Friday 1,300. The students who participated in the first wave of the epidemic have already graduated and some are already active in the fight against the epidemic. In addition to the medical students, representatives of the National Institute of Public Health, the Government Communication Office, some ministries and the civil protection service participate in the centre.

The call centre tries to provide the best possible information to callers and also communicates initiatives directly to decision-makers. "Every question counts and is taken seriously," concluded Ms Matičič.