State Secretary Zajc: Serving of food and beverages permitted in eight regions as of 19 April
Press conference on the current situation regarding COVID-19 was attended by Simon Zajc, State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, Tjaša Žohar Čretnik, Director of the National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food, Deana Potza from the Health Inspectorate, and Tomaž Pečjak, Deputy Director General of the Police.
A total of 4,278 PCR tests and 24,242 rapid antigen tests were carried out yesterday. The PCR tests confirmed 891 new cases (as many as 1,527 a week ago). The 7-day incidence rate of new cases amounts to 931 according to the data published by the National Institute of Public Health today and is significantly lower than what was reported yesterday. Everything points to the success of the lockdown implemented last week.
The 7- and 14-day incidence rates remain high. On the diagram displaying the 14-day incidence rate by statistical regions, the highest incidence rates are attributed to the Primorsko-notranjska region (813) and the Savinjska region (792), while the Posavska region (483) and the Obalno-kraška region (435) have the lowest incidence rates.
State Secretary Zajc: The additional easing of measures will please caterers and citizens
A new Ordinance on the temporary suspension of the sale of goods and services to consumers in the Republic of Slovenia was adopted at yesterday’s Government session, said State Secretary Zajc initially. The Ordinance will apply between 19 and 25 April and it extends the exceptions that have already been in force. The Ordinance allows the implementation of hospitality activities such as preparing food and beverages and serving same on terraces and in summer gardens of hospitality establishments between 07:00 and 19:00 in the orange statistical regions (the Goriška, the Gorenjska, the Obalno-kraška, the Pomurska, the Posavska, the Podravska, the Koroška and the Zasavska regions).
Zajc highlighted that the serving of food and beverages on terraces and in summer gardens of hospitality establishments would only be permitted at tables while observing the 1.5-metre distance between people and at least three metres between the edges of the tables. No more than four persons may sit at one table. As the curfew has been suspended, no time limit will apply to personal collection of goods, food and beverages at collection locations, including the sale of farming produce on farms.
The remote offering and selling of goods and services to consumers is still permitted in all regions under the new Ordinance, including the preparation and service of food and beverages in organisations implementing hospitality activities for their employees or residents or for delivery to end consumers.
State Secretary Zajc emphasised that the caterers and citizens will be able to breathe somewhat easier as a result of the easing of measures. In the desire to keep the hospitality and other activities open henceforth, Zajc called on everyone to consistently observe the instructions and conditions presented by the National Institute of Public Health. This will contribute significantly to a quicker recovery of the hospitality and other activities and help us approach the green level as a country faster and return to life as we knew it before the epidemic.
When replying to questions from the press, State Secretary Zajc explained that the Government has not yet made the final decision about the PKP9 package.
National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food: The UK strain prevails in Slovenia
Tjaša Žohar Čretnik, Director of the National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food, explained that the UK strain became the main variant of the novel coronavirus in Slovenia and is completely predominant. A 25-per cent growth in comparison with last week was recorded, but it is pleasing to see that all other variants are not spreading so rapidly. It is also positive that the relevant variant is spreading linearly and no longer exponentially, as suggested by the trends a week ago.
Žohar Čretnik also mentioned that 90 cases of repeated infection or infection after vaccination were recorded.
The Health Inspectorate: The daily presence of inspectors improves the situation at vaccination centres
Supervision over the implementation of vaccination is currently the main priority of the Health Inspectorate due to the limited quantities of vaccine and severe epidemiological situation, said Deana Potza at today’s press conference. The Health Inspectorate has changed the supervision strategy at vaccination centres: the inspectors are now present at vaccination centres every day while vaccination is taking place. The purpose of the supervision is consistent implementation of the strategy to consequently ensure equal treatment of individual priority groups at the state level. Some 172 supervision inspections were implemented between 5 and 11 April (of which 171 were regular and one extraordinary inspection on the basis of a report received). According to Potza, it was determined during the inspections that 27 vaccination centres of a total of 61 were actively inviting beneficiaries to vaccination and that vaccination lists in twelve vaccination centres were still maintained manually. She also stressed that, when cross-referencing the data on vaccination organisation in individual centres and the vaccination coverage in individual regions, it was established that the vaccination organisation was not crucial for the vaccination coverage.
Certain inconsistencies were found in seven vaccination centres, especially regarding the implementation of vaccination contrary to the strategy or errors in maintaining the waiting lists. In one case, the data on the vaccination list differed from the actual order of doses.
Otherwise, the inspectors carried out 4,206 supervisions between 5 and 11 April. Fifteen minor offence sanctions, 300 warnings as per the Minor Offences Act and 163 administrative measures were imposed. In conclusion, Deana Potza reiterated that the situation remains serious, and the measures must still be observed despite the fatigue of the public and health workers.
Pečjak: Police officers mainly issue warnings upon violations
Tomaž Pečjak, Deputy Director General of the Police, explained that the Police increased the number of supervisions in the last three weeks (between 25 March and 14 April). In the same period, the number of calls from citizens reporting alleged violations of the measures also increased. When supervising the compliance of measures to prevent the spread of the virus, Pečjak emphasised that the Police are trying to achieve their observance with the most lenient means and measures. The Police always proceed in accordance with the principle of proportionality.
In the relevant period, police officers on average conducted 2,150 supervisions a day and received 294 reports from citizens. Some 5,849 measures were imposed, of which 4,999 were warnings (or more than 85 per cent of all measures). They also issued 824 payment orders and expedited procedures. In most cases, the violations referred to the ordinance on the restriction of movement: restriction on gatherings and movement or the wearing of masks. In 10 cases, proceedings were instigated due to the violation of Article 22 of the Protection of Public Order Act with regard to the non-compliance with police measures. Some 16 violations were handed over to the Health Inspectorate.
Measures when crossing the border
In the last three weeks, the Police issued a total of 9,950 referrals to quarantine at home at all border crossings and control points on the internal borders of the Republic of Slovenia, said Pečjak. Some 76 referrals were later withdrawn because it was determined that people had suitable evidence to permit them to enter the country without being referred to quarantine at home. The data reveals that the largest number of referrals to quarantine at home were issued on the border with Croatia (1,940), and fewer on the borders with Austria (175), Italy (21) and Hungary (48). Additional 65 referrals to quarantine at home were issued to passengers who arrived at Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport.
Some 132 persons who failed to meet the conditions to enter to, or transit through, the Republic of Slovenia were rejected at border crossings and control points (a total of 381 persons in the last three weeks).
Police advice before travelling abroad
Pečjak highlighted that the Police advised everyone to check the conditions of entry into their desired country before travelling abroad and particularly the currently applicable return conditions. He also stressed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs further advises against non-urgent travel to the countries on the red list. If it is essential to travel abroad, citizens are advised to check the conditions for entering the target country and the transit countries.
Pečjak explained that the Government adopted a new ordinance yesterday which will take into account two new vaccines, the application of which will allow the recipients to enter the country without being referred to quarantine. The ordinance also includes certain changes regarding the exceptions when entering the country without a referral to quarantine and without a negative test. It is important to stress that the ordinance does not enable the possibility of cancelling the quarantine after arrival in Slovenia.
There are still control points on the internal borders (with Italy, Austria and Hungary), continued Pečjak. However, according to the new ordinance, local residents or persons, who are citizens of the EU or the Schengen Area with residence in the municipality or administrative unit on the other side of the border, may also cross the border on other roads with no control points or when control points are not active.
At the end, Pečjak called on the use of the application, Enter Slovenia. It is available on the website of the Police (www.policija.si/enterslovenia) and also intended for passengers travelling to Slovenia or entering our country with the purpose of transit. The use of the application is not mandatory, but it provides an overview of the options and exceptions when entering or exiting the country.