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Following the decision of the Constitutional Court, the Government will again decide on the measures based on expert grounds

The State Secretary at the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Mr Cveto Uršič, representative of the Health Inspectorate, Ms Deana Potza, Deputy Director-General of the Police, Mr Tomaž Pečjak, and the Government spokesman Mr Jelko Kacin participated at the press conference on the current situation regarding COVID-19.

In the beginning, the Government spokesman Mr Jelko Kacin presented the statement of the Government Office for Legislation on the decision of the Constitutional Court on the governmental measures to stem the spread of COVID-19 infections.

The Government of the Republic of Slovenia has received and examined the decision and partial final decision of the Constitutional Court No. U-I-445/20, by which the Court in its review of the constitutionality and legality of the Ordinance temporarily prohibiting gatherings of people in educational institutions and universities and independent higher education institutions (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 152/20) established the invalidity of the Government’s decisions extending the measures taken in the form of decrees to stem the spread of infectious disease COVID-19 and the invalidity of the decision of the Minister in charge of education relating to distance education.

As a preliminary point, the Government notes that all measures to stem the COVID-19 pandemic have been taken based on professional judgement. These measures are necessary to save people’s lives and to preserve their health. They have been taken in a fully transparent and public manner and, in the view of the Government, appropriately presented and published. All of these also apply to the acts by which the Government extended the measures. These measures were also immediately communicated to the public and especially to the National Assembly. The Constitutional Court’s decision is unexpected as it did not take such a position in its previous decisions relating to measures to stem the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government also adds that decrees themselves did not restrict their validity and should therefore remain in force until they were repealed. The Government considers that it was appropriate to take decisions on the extension of the measures. In any case, following the rule of law, the Government will take into account the subject decision of the Constitutional Court and re-decide on the measures based on professional judgement. Based on the position of the Constitutional Court that regulations must be followed, the Government will publish the relevant texts in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, in accordance with Article 154 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia.

The Government spokesman Mr Jelko Kacin further presented the latest data on COVID-19 infections. On Thursday, 6,853 tests were carried out, and 1,784 new cases of COVID-19 infections were detected. The proportion of positive tests was 26.3 per cent. He said that the first condition for loosening the corona measures – on average less than 1,350 infections in the last seven days – had not yet been met.

Yesterday, 123 new patients were admitted to hospitals and 86 people were released. One thousand two hundred eighty-four persons required medical care, which means that the second condition to loosen the measures – fewer than 1,200 occupied hospital beds – is also not met. One hundred ninety-seven persons needed intensive care, and 61 patients died, the most so far. On this occasion, the Government spokesman Mr Jelko Kacin expressed his deepest condolences to all the grieving relatives.

The State Secretary at the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Cveto Uršič, said in the continuation of the press conference that there is an increasing number of recovering patients in nursing homes. From the beginning of the pandemic until yesterday, more than 3,000 persons have returned from the red and grey zones to the white zones.

He continued that a similar positive trend was also reflected in the number of employees – namely, 1,500 returned to work from the beginning of the pandemic to yesterday.

He said that the Ministry maintains regular contacts with nursing homes in the form of regular weekly audio-video conferences, which have proved to be an example of good practice, with the participation of health professionals. At yesterday’s conference, special attention was paid to ensuring safe visits during the festive December. The PKP5 already lays down the legal basis for visits to nursing homes.

The first rule is to ensure safety and health, and the second rule is “home is home”, where a life comparable to living at home must be carried out, and contacts with relatives should be adequately facilitated. The expert commission recommended “one-on-one” visits using appropriate protective equipment available to visitors in the nursing homes.

The State Secretary presented the good practice of maintaining close contact in the case of the Notranja Gorica nursing home where they use a glass barrier between the resident and his/her relative or visitor. He said that “conversation is a close contact that helps, even if there cannot be any physical contact”. During the visits, both familiarity and festive atmosphere will be ensured in the homes.

As regards vaccination against COVID-19, he said that employees in nursing homes would be the first to be vaccinated, and rapid tests in nursing homes are underway. In the end, he thanked the American Embassy in Slovenia, which donated appliances for disinfection to Slovenian nursing homes.

In the beginning, the representative of the Health Inspectorate, Deana Potza, thanked all health inspectors and other staff who works with the Health Inspectorate for the exceptional and professional work they performed this year, and all their sacrifice during the pandemic.

She then presented the joint weekly report of the inspection bodies on the implementation of control to stem the spread of COVID-19 for the period from 23 to 29 November. According to the report, 38 penalties for administrative offences, 252 warnings under the Minor Offences Act, and 101 administrative measure were imposed in the previous week.

In the end, she urged the active population not to go to work, immediately calling their doctor and staying at home to stop the further spread of the infection.

Deputy Director-General of the Police Mr Tomaž Pečjak presented his report on the work of the police in Slovenia during the past week. He thanked the police officers who supervised the implementation of the measures in addition to their regular work.

It reiterated that the police intend to ensure that measures to prevent the spread of the virus are respected. Police find that people respect measures and detect fewer infringements than in previous periods.

From 27 November to 3 December 2020, the police, while carrying out regular tasks under its responsibility, carried out inspections at 16,881 sites for the implementation of the provisions of the Government Decrees on the stem of COVID-19 infections. It issued a total of 1,002 warnings and 617 payment orders and accelerated procedures. In most cases, it was a violation of the decrees on border crossings and movement ban between municipalities. In nine cases, the police conducted an offence proceeding for the violation of the Protection of Public Order Act. In four cases, the police informed the Health Inspectorate because there were violations that were not within its jurisdiction.

Mr Pečjak paid particular attention to the refusal of entry to the country at border crossing points and inspection posts of a total of 194, which is almost five per cent more than in the previous week. There were involved mainly persons who did not qualify for travel through Slovenia in transit or did not have adequate documents for crossing the border.

For this reason, he advised all Slovenian residents and persons travelling in transit through Slovenia to strictly comply with the terms and conditions for crossing the borders during the period of implementation of measures to prevent the stem of COVID-19 infections.

State Secretary at the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Mr Cveto Uršič

State Secretary at the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Mr Cveto Uršič | Author Nebojša Tejić, STA

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