Coastal-Karst region back in red phase
Today’s press conference on the current situation with regard to Covid-19 was attended by State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology Simon Zajc, State Secretary at the Ministry of Infrastructure Blaž Košorok, Deana Potza of the Health Inspectorate, and Deputy Director General of the Police Tomaž Pečjak.
Official spokesperson Maja Bratuša first stated that a Government session was held yesterday evening in Brdo pri Kranju, at which the members were briefed on the current epidemiological situation. On the basis of the opinion of the expert advisory panel at the Ministry of Health, the Government decided that the current conditions do not permit any further easing of the current restrictions. According to the Easing of Restrictions Roadmap, Slovenia as a whole is still in the orange phase, while due to the deterioration in the epidemiological situation, the Coastal-Karst region is back in the red phase, since the seven-day average number of infections in the region currently stands at 73.
Due to the deterioration in the epidemiological situation in the Coastal-Karst region, the Government will tighten measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in that region, including a temporary restriction of movement.
Yesterday, the Government also began an in-depth review of the vaccination strategy, which will be adopted in the coming weeks.
The official spokesperson then presented the most recent data on cases of Covid-19 infection. A total of 4,565 PCR tests and 25,095 rapid antigen tests were performed on Wednesday. A total of 852 new cases were confirmed through PCR testing, giving a positivity rate of 18.7%. There were 443 Covid-19 patients in hospital yesterday, of whom 103 were in intensive care units, which is two fewer than the figure reported on Tuesday. Seven patients died.
Extension of the Ordinance on the temporary suspension of the sale of goods and services to consumers
State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology Simon Zajc announced that the Government adopted certain amendments yesterday that relate to the Ordinance on the temporary suspension of the sale of goods and services to consumers. The validity of the ordinance will therefore be extended to the period from 27 February to 5 March 2021, meaning that the exceptions in statistical regions with a more favourable epidemiological situation will continue to apply.
Due to the deterioration of the epidemiological situation in the Coastal-Karst region, those exceptions will be reduced in accordance with the plan for the red phase. In the Coastal-Karst region, in addition to the currently applicable exceptions, which are not conditional on testing for the novel coronavirus, the following activities are also permitted, on the condition that employees are tested for the novel coronavirus once a week:
- retail shops that primarily sell food, personal care and cleaning products, including the sale of agricultural products on farms
- shops selling medical and orthopaedic devices
- agricultural supply shops
- specialised shops selling products for children
- shops with a surface area up to 400 m2, regardless of type of goods sold
- movable stalls for the sale of agricultural and farm products
- newspaper and magazine stands and kiosks
- other repair shops with an area of up to 400 m2 and manufacturing, maintenance and installation services
- property brokerage services
- personal hygiene services (e.g. hair salons, cosmetics salons, pedicures, manicures, body care salons)
- individual professional or business education and training services (e.g. tutoring, language schools, professional workshops)
- services in pet care salons
In order to ensure interdepartmental harmonisation for services for which consumers also require a test, the test is now required to be conducted within the last 48 hours, where the previous ordinances required that the test be conducted within the last 24 hours.
Provision of public transport services in Slovenia
State Secretary at the Ministry of Infrastructure Blaž Košorok presented three new ordinances in the area of public transport in Slovenia that the Government adopted at last night’s meeting, which enter into force as of Saturday, 27 February 2021.
Operators can continue to provide public transport on the condition of mandatory weekly testing for both public transport drivers and conductors, and for accompanying personnel on trains. Weekly testing is also required for taxi drivers. Operators of driving schools and users of their services are also required to be tested once a week.
Testing will not be required for people who hold proof of vaccination against Covid-19, and in the case of vaccination with the Pfizer vaccine more than one week has passed since receiving their second dose, in the case of vaccination with the Moderna vaccine more than 14 days have passed, and in the case of vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine at least 21 days have passed since receiving the first dose of the vaccine.
Testing is also not required for drivers and conductors who have recovered from Covid-19 and submit proof of a positive result in a rapid antigen test or PCR test, and at least 21 days and no more than six months have passed since the taking of the swab. Individuals who are able to present certification from a doctor that they have recovered from Covid-19 and that no more than six months have passed since the onset of symptoms are also exempt from testing.
The Government has also amended the Ordinance on the temporary prohibition of conducting exams and the extension of certificates of professional qualifications for management of energy facilities, so that exams can now be conducted, but the persons conducting the exams must be tested once a week.
According to Košorok, the Government has introduced a regional approach to the operation of cableway installations, where the regions in which the operation of cableway installations is permitted are listed.
Conducting inspections to prevent infection with COVID-19
Deana Potza of the Health Inspectorate presented the weekly report on inspections carried out by the Health Inspectorate related to the control of Covid-19 for the period from 15 to 21 February 2021.
The total number of inspections by inspection bodies was 3,576, with violations identified in 10% of the locations, which is the same as the figure from the previous week. The Health Inspectorate conducted 1,083 of those inspections, and issued four minor offence sanctions, 81 warnings and four administrative measures.
A total of 193 inspections were carried out in the hospitality sector. Four minor offence sanctions and six warnings were issued. The Health Inspectorate conducted 323 inspections in outdoor public areas, and issued 61 warnings. No violations were found in 38 inspections in multi-apartment buildings.
In the other service activities sector, 500 inspections were carried out, resulting in 16 warnings and two decisions prohibiting trade. A total of 29 inspections were conducted at schools and kindergartens, related to staff testing, and no violations were found.
The Health Inspectorate carried out the numerically highest number of inspections at hair and cosmetics salons, where the priority was checking whether employees had been tested prior to conducting business activities, and violations were identified in only three cases.
The restriction on individual professional education and training services (tutoring, language schools, professional workshops and private music schools) for up to 10 people was also lifted last week. During the inspections it was found that education and training providers are still providing their services remotely.
Deputy Director General of the Police Tomaž Pečjak presented the report on police activities relating to measures to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic in the period from 18 February to 24 February 2021.
The police conducted inspections at 14,664 locations, which represents 2.0% fewer inspections than in the previous week, when it carried out 14,957. A total of 926 measures were imposed, which is 8.5% fewer measures than in the previous week, when 1,012 were imposed. A total of 641 warnings and 279 penalty notices and expedited procedures were issued. Most cases involved infringements of the ordinance restricting movement, i.e. restrictions on assembly, curfew, or mask-wearing.
At the end, Pečjak called on all Slovenian citizens to adhere to all of the basic preventive measures, including maintaining a safe distance, wearing protective masks and disinfecting hands. He particularly requested that people adhere to the protective measures at ski resorts, which are essential for the protection of all visitors to the ski resorts, and for safe skiing.
“Let’s be a role model for everyone around us through our behaviour and by following the recommendations, and let’s make sure that we get into a safer phase of the epidemic as quickly as possible in the next few days and weeks, and to a lower level of restrictions,” said Deputy Director General of the Police Tomaž Pečjak.