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Potza and Pečjak report on the activities of supervisory authorities and the police

Today’s press conference on the current situation with regard to COVID-19 was attended by Robert Carotta, COVID beds coordinator at the Ministry of Health, Deana Potza of the Health Inspectorate, Tomaž Pečjak, Deputy Director General of the Police, and Government spokesperson Jelko Kacin.

Deana Potza

Deana Potza | Author Nebojša Tejić/STA

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Mr Kacin began the press conference with the announcement that the decision was taken at yesterday’s meeting of the Government to extend the state of epidemic in Slovenia for a further 60 days. The relevant ordinance will enter into force on Sunday, 17 January 2021. The Ordinance on the temporary suspension of the sale of goods and services to consumers in the Republic of Slovenia has likewise been extended. Laundries and dry-cleaners have been added to the list of exemptions, while the ban on selling pyrotechnic articles has been removed from the ordinance because this is regulated by other ordinances.

Regarding entry into the country, the Government has decided that if a person fails to submit a negative test result on entering the country, the police will issue them with a quarantine order, while quarantine may be lifted immediately after a negative PCR test or rapid antigen test (until now quarantine could be lifted on the fifth day following the issuing of a quarantine order).

A total of 11,494 PCR tests and rapid antigen tests were performed in Slovenia on Wednesday, with 1,767 new COVID cases confirmed. Of the 5,637 PCR tests performed, 1,415 (25.1%) were positive, while of the 5,857 rapid tests performed, 352 were positive (6%).

The total number of hospitalised COVID patients stood at 1,266, including 199 in intensive care. This means that 22 more people needed hospital care than on the previous day, although there were seven fewer in intensive care. A total of 23 patients died on Wednesday, 19 in hospitals and 4 in nursing homes.

Yesterday’s new positive cases were concentrated in the following municipalities: Celje (41), Šentjur (31), Velenje (30), Žalec (24), Novo Mesto (36), Črnomelj (20), Brežice (27), Krško (47),

Ljubljana (204), Domžale (39), Medvode (28), Kamnik (19), Moravče (18), Brezovica (16), Grosuplje (15), Koper (38), Kranj (42), Radovljica (18), Cerklje na Gorenjskem (16), Tržič (15), Maribor (92), Ptuj (21), Gornja Radgona (18), Nova Gorica (33), Postojna (13), Idrija (13) and Murska Sobota (20).

The 7-day average number of infections at the national level currently stands at 1,540. Yesterday the figure was 1,668. While Slovenia is still a long way from the key figure of 1,350 positive cases, which would allow the country to enter the red tier and begin the relaxation of measures, a fall in the number of new cases can nevertheless be observed. The R number (reproduction number) has also fallen below 1, to 0.99, which is 4% less than the previous day – an encouraging sign.

Ms Potza explained that in the past week, i.e. from 4 January to 10 January, supervisory authorities conducted a total of 4,176 inspections relating to management of the epidemic, resulting in 19 sanctions, 452 warnings and 104 administrative measures.

The Health Inspectorate conducted 1,290 inspections in this period, resulting in 4 sanctions under the Minor Offences Act, 76 warnings and 3 administrative measures. A total of 150 inspections were carried out in the hospitality sector, resulting in 2 minor offence sanctions and 14 warnings.

In the other service activities sector there were 564 inspections resulting in 2 minor offence sanctions and a total of 30 warnings. The Inspectorate conducted 339 inspections in outdoor public areas and issued 33 warnings. Inspections were also carried out in 237 blocks of flats and 2 warnings were issued.

In the period in question, the largest number of inspections carried out by the Inspectorate took place in service sector establishments such as hair salons, car washes, repair workshops, libraries, kiosks, post offices, insurance companies, other service sector establishments and outdoor cultural heritage sites, and identified a number of curious cases.

One notable case involved the provision of hairdressing services in contravention of the temporary prohibition ordinance, where the inspectee was found to be providing hairdressing services to 8 customers simultaneously in a salon measuring just over 60 m2, in other words exceeding the limit of 1 customer per 30 m2 several times over.

In the case of car repair workshops and car washes, the Inspectorate has found that some offices are still not fitted with protective plexiglass screens as recommended by the National Institute of Public Health.

In the case of blocks of flats, inspectors are still finding cases where disinfectant is not available outside lifts on each floor.

The police participated in an inspection in the Mozirje area after receiving a report about an establishment where a New Year’s Eve party was said to be taking place. Although the establishment was closed and shuttered at the time of the inspection, people were visible inside the premises and turned the lights out when the police knocked at the door.

The Inspectorate did not identify any contraventions during controls of religious activities in churches and no violations of the prohibition of gatherings were noted. Some churches offered religious services via Zoom and Facebook or required parishioners to book in advance before coming to church. No violations of the prohibition of gatherings were detected in locations where churchgoers waited outside churches to receive the sacrament. Some churches were open to individual parishioners, but only in cases where they announced their attendance in advance. Conversations with parish priests revealed that the latter are very well acquainted with the relevant measures and with the notices issued by the episcopal conference. Disinfectants have been placed at all church entrances, as have the notices issued by the National Institute of Public Health.

Inspectors were still quite frequently required to issue warnings about incorrectly worn face masks, i.e. masks worn below the nose or chin, and about inadequate social distancing, most commonly when people are waiting in queues. 

During the period of the Christmas and New Year holidays and the first few days of the new year, inspections were carried out at the Krvavec ski resort and at the Mariborsko Pohorje, Ruško Pohorje and Kranjska Gora resorts. A notable case was detected at Krvavec, where, following a failure to observe the operating ban issued on 25 December, the ski lifts were closed and sealed the following day.

The ongoing vaccination is the current priority of the Health Inspectorate. In this connection, inspections were carried out yesterday (13 January) at the 21 vaccination locations defined by the national vaccination strategy, i.e. 15 hospitals and 6 health centres across Slovenia. Further inspections are taking place today, the findings of which will be reported at a later date.

Between 5 and 11 January the police received a total of 89 reports of violations of ordinances and identified 965 violations on their own account, Mr Pečjak told the press conference. The police issued 711 warnings and instituted minor offence proceedings in 491 cases. In the same period the police issued 16,104 quarantine orders at national borders (7,063 following rapid tests).

In the last three weeks (from Thursday, 24 December 2020 to Wednesday, 13 January 2021), police officers have:

  • carried out inspections in 45,132 locations regarding implementation of the provisions of Government ordinances. The average daily number of inspections was 2,150. In the course of these inspections, officers issued a total of 2,988 measures (1,773 warnings and 1,198 penalty notices and expedited proceedings),
  • instituted minor offence procedures in 4 cases in connection with infringements of Article 22 of the Protection of Public Order Act (failure to obey a lawful order from a police officer),
  • informed the Health Inspectorate of 13 violations where these fell outside police jurisdiction.

A review of measures issued in each of the country’s eight police administrations reveals that the largest number of measures were issued within the police administrations of Ljubljana (604 warnings and 374 proposals to institute proceedings) and Celje (526 warnings and 176 proposals), followed by Novo Mesto (139 warnings and 329 proposals) and Kranj (284 warnings and 83 proposals).

This weekend police officers will join forces with traffic wardens, members of fire brigades and others to regulate traffic in popular tourist destinations. In the event of chaos in destinations this weekend and evident violations of provisions regarding crossing regional boundaries, the police will propose to health experts that this form of exemption regarding recreation and outdoor exercise within statistical regions be limited once again to the municipality of residence.

Between Thursday, 24 December 2020 and Wednesday, 13 January 2021, the police issued a total of 38,990 quarantine orders at border crossings and checkpoints. Of these orders, 17,811 were immediately cancelled on submission of a negative test result, meaning that the number of confirmed quarantine orders was 20,911 (16,683 adults and 4,228 minors).

In terms of individual border crossings, the police issued the largest number of quarantine orders at the border with Croatia (19,159), followed by Austria (1,078), Italy (204) and Hungary (234). A further 223 quarantine orders were issued to passengers landing at Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport. In terms of country of arrival, the largest number of quarantine orders were issued to individuals travelling from Bosnia and Herzegovina (12,407), Kosovo (3,154), North Macedonia (1,696), Croatia (945), Serbia (880) and Germany (554). A total of 473 people were refused entry at border crossings and checkpoints because they did not meet conditions for entry to or transit through Slovenia.