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Prime Minister Janez Janša: The current epidemiological situation allows for the relaxation of measures in some regions

Prime Minister Janez Janša stressed in today's statement to the media following the 50th regular session of the government that, on the basis of prior consultation with the management of the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) and the Government Advisory Group, some decisions were made stemming from the current epidemiological situation and the plan for relaxation of measures.

"As regards the situation at the national level, we have moved from the black to the red tier by about half a step. This change to the red tier is not so large as to enable us to feel any great joy, but still progress has been made which will allow for some relaxation of measures, with these optimistic trends expected to continue for the next seven days,” said the Prime Minister, adding that the declining trends are good news for the majority of Slovenian regions, namely in the nine out of twelve statistical regions where the threshold allowing for the first partial relaxation of certain measures has been crossed. “In these regions, classes in the first three grades of primary schools will be held in accordance with the C programme, which means to a limited extent, but with in-person teaching; kindergartens will also be open and pre-school care will be provided, though in line with strict measures and instructions of the NIJZ,” said Prime Minister.

He added that all kindergarten and primary school staff of the first three-year cycle will be tested on Monday, so that classes and care will start on Tuesday next week.  The Prime Minister underlined that today the government held an extensive discussion about which additional measures to take in order to mitigate any risk of worsening the epidemiological situation in Slovenia as a result of such relaxations. “We have examined the measures being taken at this time in other EU countries, and the government will decide on some of these in the coming days.

Given that the epidemiological picture in Slovenia is still extremely serious and that we have moved from the black to the red tier by a good half a step, it is even more important that in all activities where specific relaxations of restrictions are expected the remaining measures are strictly observed, without any exceptions,” stressed the Prime Minister, pointing out that both the health inspectorate and the police will tighten controls. “We don’t want some of the measures we are about to ease to be tightened again in the coming weeks due to a worsened epidemiological situation," he added. According to the Prime Minister, our joint efforts will determine whether the risk we are taking with the relaxation of certain measures is prudent and reasonable. “Teachers and all those involved in carrying out the activities in places where the measures are to be eased will not be able to reduce this risk to an acceptable level on their own. All of us, those using the services, will have to take things extremely seriously and observe any restrictions that are still in place,” stressed Prime Minister, and added that the competent ministers would explain all the relaxations in more detail tomorrow, and that they would be in line with what has already been announced according to the roadmap of easing the restrictions, with no great problems or secrets in this regard.

When answering additional questions from journalists the Prime Minister said that according to the trends, if there are no significant outbreaks in specific regions and if these positive changes continue it is possible to expect that next week all statistical regions will enter the red tier. In this case, the first three primary school grades and kindergartens will reopen in the three regions still in the black tier at the moment, and restrictions will be eased for several other activities, although this is not certain yet. "If the continuation of the positive trends was assured, the decision would have been made today, but the risk remains too high. Therefore, the government is strictly adhering to the forecast and the plan for relaxation of measures on the basis of the latest figures for the last seven days, including yesterday.”

Prime Minister Janša also noted that it is clear what measures will be relaxed for those regions entering the red tier. "Ski resorts in these regions will be able to open under the pre-holiday conditions, if rapid testing is provided and all measures observed. Alongside the reopening of schools, car repair shops and shops selling products for children will also be able to open. All other activities that might be relevant and are in other tiers on the roadmap for relaxation of measures will, of course, remain forbidden,” he stressed.

The Prime Minister also explained that a plan for testing teachers and other staff has been prepared, and that classes in schools in the nine regions are scheduled to begin on Tuesday and not on Monday, with that day entirely dedicated to testing. "The plan was drawn up several weeks ago, and there shouldn't be any major problems here as the schedules will be such as to avoid any long queues and those performing the tests have already enough experience. It all depends on the principals and those doing the testing," said the Prime Minister, adding that some of those responsible have already been in contact with the competent institutions. “There is still enough time until Monday to attend to all details. Rapid testing is an activity that’s not new, and on Monday it’s absolutely possible to test a relatively large number of people and repeat this process in the future," he said.

When answering an additional question from journalists, the Prime Minister reiterated that businesses will start to reopen next Monday in regions that have entered the red tier, except for ski resorts, which will be allowed to reopen on Saturday as rapid testing has already been provided there and because on Monday the capacities will be occupied by schools, so that reopening has been scheduled accordingly.  "As regards schools, the plan to be used this time, the so-called C model, was prescribed, published and communicated in the summer, five or six months ago, which means that this in nothing new and teachers are or should be aware of this model," pointed out the Prime Minister. In his opinion, testing is not very complicated. “The Minister of Education, Science and Sport will present all the instructions in more detail tomorrow. At the meeting with teachers two weeks ago we agreed that the government would make a decision on Wednesday, so that by next week, when schools reopen, there will be enough time for all preparations and to resolve any ambiguities that remain, “ concluded Prime Minister Janša.