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Private gatherings are still happening

The press conference about the current situation regarding COVID-19 was attended by Hugon Možina, head of the emergency internal medicine service at UKC Ljubljana, Deana Potza, from the health inspectorate, and Tomaž Pečjak, deputy director-general of the police.

Tomaž Pečjak

Tomaž Pečjak | Author Danijel Novakovič/STA

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6,453 tests were carried out yesterday, which identified 1,813 new positive Covid cases. The share was 28 percent. 157 patients were admitted to hospitals and 113 Covid patients were released. A total of 1,268 COVID patients were hospitalised yesterday, which is 10 more than on Wednesday. 196 patients were treated in intensive care units, which is 7 more than on Wednesday. 34 persons died in hospitals, 15 in retirement homes, a total of 49 deaths.

The following municipalities have the most new positive cases: Brežice (27), Črnomelj (20), Dravograd (19), Idrija (27), Ivančna Gorica (23), Koper (28), Krško (59), Novo mesto (60), Postojna (30), Sevnica (29), Slovenske Konjice (31), Velenje (37), Vrhnika (20), Zagorje ob Savi (30), Ljubljana (147), and Maribor (82).

106 retirement home residents and 47 employees were confirmed as recovered yesterday, of whom 31 were healthcare workers. 138 more residents and 71 more employees tested positive yesterday. The following retirement homes have the most positive cases: Idrija retirement home (14), Dom Danice Vogrinec Maribor (12), Polzela retirement home (12), Vrhnika retirement home (11). There are currently 2,568 positive residents and 1,122 positive employees, of whom 651 are healthcare workers.

Mr Možina presented the situation at UKC Ljubljana. 372 Covid patients were hospitalised, of whom 56 are in intensive care units, and 49 required ventilator treatment. 6 deaths were reported.

The number of patients in emergency departments reduced in the 1st and 2nd waves due to the fear of contracting the coronavirus. The Emergency Internal Medicine Service recorded fewer cases in November (2017 last year compared to 1,766 this year). The Emergency First Aid Service treated 3,666 cases last November, and 1,000 cases fewer this year. The emergency neurology department had 20 percent fewer cases, while the surgical department reported 35 percent fewer cases. The same number of treatments has been recorded in patients with heart disease, which is good because the condition may lead to a serious threat to life.

Approx. 15 percent of Covid patients returned to hospital weeks after recovering from the disease, due to the occurrence of a severe case of pneumonia, deterioration of health in diabetic patients, kidney function failure, or heart problems.

The health inspectorate carried out 1,341 inspections from 30 November up to and including 6 December, in relation to COVID-19 management. 22 sanctions were imposed under the Minor Offences Act, 164 warnings were given, and 9 administrative measures were taken. The inspectorate received 82 reports, which is in line with the average number of reports in the last couple of weeks. Concerning activities, Mrs Potza firstly pointed out catering services, where 217 inspections were carried out and 1 sanction was issued, as well as a total of 12 warnings. In service activities, cosmetic and hairdressing salons, florists, libraries, and other service activities, 308 inspections were carried out and 5 sanctions were issued under the Minor Offences Act, a total of 14 warnings were given, 1 decree on the prohibition on providing services, and 1 administrative decision was issued.

548 inspections were carried out in outside public areas, 16 sanctions were issued and 140 warnings were given under the Minor Offences Act. 268 inspections were carried out in multi-apartment buildings and 5 warnings were issued.

The report also shows that most inspections were carried out in public places, where the most discrepancies were found. Again, these mainly relate to the incorrect usage of protective masks, and there were some cases when people did not wear them at all.

Inspectors also detected some cases that were highlighted by Mrs Potza:

- gatherings of workers at entrances of large companies while waiting to enter, without respecting the appropriate social distance

- gatherings of children in playgrounds, which was reported many times

- parties in student dormitories

- advertising hairdressing services on flyers in many apartment buildings

- many reports also related to the operation of fitness centres

- a case of a young family that regularly invites other visitors into their home, where they are inviting people to meet in a private space

- there are publications on social media and websites where individuals are boasting about organising gatherings and parties, and publishing photographs of the participants who are not complying with the measures and recommendations

- there are invitations to gatherings in private areas and Christmas parties of companies, which are officially marked as “training sessions”

Mrs Potza also submitted the report of the Association of Urban Municipalities of Slovenia about municipal warden inspections, which concern the time following the adoption of PKP5, i.e. not just last week. The report states that the wardens addressed 1,511 cases and issued 416 warnings. A penalty notice was issued in 21 cases. One of the most frequent violations concerned the prohibition of gatherings, even in interior yards of apartment buildings, not using protective masks in public areas, and the prohibited passage between municipalities.

The market inspectorate also stands out. They carried out inspections on 199 entities, where at least one violation was identified in 53 of them. A total of 43 warnings were issued, and 8 prohibitions on providing services were imposed with an administrative decision. One decision with a EUR 4,400 fine was issued due to trading activities despite the temporary prohibition. 3 more warnings were issued, of which 2 were due to the performance of an activity despite its prohibition, and 1 due to the failure to ensure the necessary distance (30 m2 for each client).

In the last seven days, from Friday, 4 December until now, police officers made 16,341 interventions related to the implementation of the government’s provisions, an average of 2,300 cases per day. They received 169 reports on possible violations of provisions from citizens, and intervened, said Mr Pečjak. They issued 897 warnings and 543 penalty notice and expedited procedures. Most cases related to the violation of the decree concerning the passage across borders or movement restrictions - restrictions of gatherings, movements during night time, passages between municipalities, wearing of face masks. In 11 cases, they initiated minor offence proceedings due to the violation of Article 22 of the Protection of Public Order Act (non-compliance with the police officer’s lawful measures).

Mr Pečjak presented some current examples of violations. Last weekend, they received many calls in Ljubljana about large groups of persons gathering in parks and engaging in snow games. Children were sledging and adults were conversing between themselves without wearing face masks. Police officers in Metlika found that two catering establishments were open. More violations related to the infringement of public order, mainly due to parties, where police officers identified violations of gatherings. Cases of decree violations were also identified during traffic incidents. Police officers were also aware of the gatherings in cottages, where they found some violations, e.g. in Trebnje and Črnomelj, or during other activities, such as the production of sausages.

From Friday, 4 December up to and including Thursday, 10 December, police officers at border crossings and control points issued 1,404 quarantine certificates. Most quarantines were issued at the Croatian (1,213), Austrian (47), Italian (28), and Hungarian (13) border crossings. 103 quarantine certificates were also issued to passengers arriving at the Jože Pučnik airport. Most quarantine certificates were issued for persons coming from Bosnia and Herzegovina (604), Croatia (271), Kosovo (124), Serbia (83), and Northern Macedonia (81).

Based on the information on all the passengers who entered or exited the country, police officers found that the total number of passengers fell slightly (280,645) compared to the week before. Compared to the same period last year, when 823,796 passengers crossed the border, traffic fell by two thirds.