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Use of self-tests importantly contributes to the detection of positive cases

Minister of Health Janez Poklukar held an address for healthcare workers and co-workers and the general public on the occasion of World Health Day, celebrated on 7 April. The current epidemiological data was presented by Government spokesperson Maja Bratuša.

On Tuesday, 4,812 PCR tests were performed and 1,189 cases were confirmed, which means that the share of positive tests was 24.7 percent. In addition, 29,361 rapid antigen tests were conducted. A total of 581 patients (8 more than the day before) are currently in hospitals, of whom 131 require intensive care. Three persons have died. On Tuesday, 71 persons were admitted to hospitals, while 60 persons were discharged.

According to the NIJZ data, the seven-day average of confirmed cases is 889 (down from 943 the day before). The following municipalities stand out in terms of positive cases confirmed the day before: Celje (92), Žalec (26), Ilirska Bistrica (24), Šentjur (22), Domžale (20), Kranj (30), Koper (23), Krško (22), Novo mesto (28), Ljubljana (139) and Maribor (79).

Minister Poklukar: The healthcare system has done a magnificent job during the crisis; we will strengthen healthcare services in the field of mental health

The World Health Organisation (WHO) was established on 7 April 1948, started Mr Poklukar. This year, the organisation is calling for action to eliminate health inequities under the slogan "Let's build a fairer, healthier world for everyone”. According to the minister, all patients received the necessary care during the COVID-19 pandemic and the healthcare system did a magnificent job in a crisis situation. The circumstances that have arisen in the last year left a mark on mental health, so the provision of services in this field will have to be strengthened. The health system will pay special attention to the prevention and control of chronic diseases, including cancer, as the data on lifestyle factors increasing the risk of chronic diseases show a deterioration in this area.

The preventive measure of self-testing for high-school and primary school students will be presented at the end of this week at the meeting with the principals and next week at the meeting with primary school principals. The ministry is following examples of good practice implemented in Germany, England, Austria and the Czech Republic. England is an especially interesting case, as it promotes self-testing with free rapid tests for the general population. It is important to note that self-testing is completely voluntary, so the Slovenian ministry will not follow Austria’s example, where self-testing is a condition for attendance in school. Periodic self-testing contributes substantially to the reduction of positive cases. In bubble environments, testing once every 14 days brings about a 20-percent reduction of positive cases. Tests carried once every 7 days bring about a 50-percent reduction, while testing performed two times each week results in an 80-percent reduction of positive cases.

It is too early to talk about the changes to the measures in the Government’s traffic-light system, as the discussion has been ongoing, while the discussions with the representatives of the Government have not yet taken place. The only change we can confirm is that the reopening of schools, which is the Government’s priority, will take place on 12 April.

The Government will try to perform vaccinations as extensively as possible to offset the inequalities regarding the vaccination before the holidays, when people will start travelling again. Today, the vaccination of persons over 60 years of age with the AstraZeneca vaccine will proceed in accordance with the current strategy. The first inoculations with the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine are to take place on 26 April, as 12 weeks will have passed since this vaccine was first administered on 6 February. The questions regarding the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine will finally be cleared up by the end of this month.

The Ministry of Health is preparing two apps. The first will go live after 15 April and will offer administrative support to vaccination sites performing inoculations. The second will help ensure transparency in the implementation of the vaccination strategy and will be ready by the end of this month. It is, however, too early to give a more detailed description of the apps' functionality, said the minister.