The zVEM web portal as main access point to acquire a digital COVID certificate
The press conference on the current situation regarding COVID 19 was attended by the Minister of Health, Janez Poklukar, the Minister of Public Administration, Boštjan Koritnik, and the Director of the National Institute of Public Health, Milan Krek.
Decisions adopted at the Government session
Maja Bratuša opened the press conference and first presented the decisions adopted at yesterday's Government session, which focused on controlling the ongoing epidemic. Following consultation with the Ministry of Health's advisory group, the Government determined that at this time the situation does not yet allow any significant further easing of measures. The following decisions were adopted:
With the ordinance temporarily prohibiting the offering and sale of goods and services to consumers, the Government further eases the following restrictions in the business sector:
- from Monday, 7 June 2021, restrictions on chimney sweeping services and construction works are easing,
- the convention industry is reopened in full; however, employees and consumers are required to comply with the recovered‑vaccinated‑tested requirements,
- when collecting goods or foods and beverages in person, the ban on consuming the collected foods and beverages at collection points is being lifted.
The Government has also eased the restrictions on the provision of accommodation services. Accommodation facilities with up to 60 accommodation units may provide accommodation in up to 45 accommodation units from Monday onwards, while accommodation facilities with more than 60 accommodation units may provide accommodation up to 75% occupancy of the accommodation facility; this also applies to campsites.
Another important change is access to swimming pools for all guests who meet the recovered‑vaccinated‑tested requirements; employees must also meet these requirements. However, access is limited to 75% occupancy of available capacities.
Instead of 20 m2 per customer, shopping centres are required to provide 10 m2 per customer throughout the shopping centre.
Another important decision adopted by the Government yesterday are changes to Slovenia's entry requirements. As of Saturday, 5 June, a negative rapid antigen test result is again accepted for entry into Slovenia, provided that less than 48 hours have passed since the swab was taken. Both PCR and rapid tests are deemed sufficient if performed in an EU Member State, a Schengen Area country, Australia, Israel, Canada, New Zealand, Russia, Serbia, the UK or the US, at check points on flight connections of international air transport, and in Turkey. One further condition applies to rapid tests: only tests that are on the common list of COVID‑19 rapid antigen tests recognised by the EU Member States are valid.
There are no changes for persons who have recovered from COVID‑19 or have been vaccinated; such persons may enter Slovenia without being required to quarantine.
A person arriving from an area not on the red or dark red list may enter Slovenia without being ordered to quarantine at home if upon entry they provide proof of having resided in an area that is not on the red or dark red list for at least five consecutive days prior to entry. The change here is that if the period is shorter than five days, the person is only required to provide proof for the period from the time of departure from Slovenia to their return to Slovenia. If they are not able to provide relevant proof, they are considered to have come from an area on the red or dark red list.
According to the latest epidemiological data, 3,837 PCR tests and 27,557 rapid antigen tests were performed yesterday. A total of 273 new infections were confirmed by the PCR tests. According to the data released today, the seven-day average is 260, while the 14-day incidence rate has dropped to 183.
So far, 681,945 people have been vaccinated with a first dose and 432,282 have been fully vaccinated.
The situation in hospitals continues to improve. Currently, 213 people with COVID-19 are being treated in hospital, 60 of whom are in intensive care. Yesterday, 21 people were admitted to hospital and 19 were discharged. Three people lost their lives.
The findings of the weekly report of the National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food show that the English variant of the new coronavirus is still highly prevalent in Slovenia. The number of newly confirmed infections with the English variant during the last testing period was 119.
Introduction of the single digital COVID-19 certificate
Health Minister Janez Poklukar said that both the EU and the Slovenian Government are working to curb the epidemic as smoothly and transparently as possible. To that end, an elementary rule has been introduced at the EU level under which those who have recovered from COVID-19, have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have tested negative will be issued with a uniform, universal and free-of-charge COVID certificate or digital COVID certificate and will be thus able to live relatively freely, even though the virus will still be with us. The COVID certificate will allow all residents to attend events, cross borders and travel more easily.
On the zVEM web portal (link: https://zvem.ezdrav.si/), citizens can access all their health data in one place, i.e. medical reports, tests and prescriptions, and reports that will be the basis for the issuing of the single COVID certificate. Citizens can access all this information using a digital certificate or an "smsPASS mobile digital identity". Data on the zVEM web portal can be accessed using digital certificates such as SIGEN-CA, HALCOM-CA, Postar-CA and SIGOV-CA, which many people already have. These certificates allow access to all digitised content of the state administration.
The smsPASS digital identity can be obtained at vaccination centres (those who are to be vaccinated do not need to make an appointment in advance), administrative units, offices of the Financial Administration of the Republic of Slovenia (FURS), social work centres or the mailroom of the Ministry of Justice. Upon submitting the application, you need to identify yourself with a valid photo ID. You can to turn to public employees from the aforementioned institutions and local communities or municipalities for assistance with the process. The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Public Administration have prepared an information leaflet that will explain the whole procedure.
Once an individual has a digital identity, they will be able to access all digitised content of the state administration, stressed Minister Poklukar, adding that the digital identity is the first step towards the digitalisation of not only healthcare, but also other sectors in Slovenia.
He advised all citizens to contact the Ministry of Public Administration, vaccination centres, administrative units, the Financial Administration of the Republic of Slovenia (FURS) or social work centres if they have any problems in obtaining a digital COVID certificate. Everyone will do their best to make the procedures quick and easy and to enable all citizens to obtain a digital COVID certificate.
In closing, Minister Poklukar called on all citizens of Slovenia to show solidarity and help their fellow citizens in obtaining a digital COVID certificate.
List of points to obtain the smsPASS mobile digital identity expanded
Minister of Public Administration Boštjan Koritnik stressed that the Government would like to make the zVEM web portal, where the EU Digital Green Certificate or the EU Digital COVID Certificate would soon be available, as easily accessible as possible for everyone.
Recently, the Ministry of Public Administration has detected a significant increase in applications for both SIGEN-CA digital certificates and smsPASS mobile digital identities. Around 1,000 SIGEN-CA certificates per day had been issued in previous months, while the number has now almost doubled, according to the minister.
For those citizens who do not yet have their digital certificates or mobile digital identities, the ministry has taken a number of steps to facilitate the procedure. The SIGEN-CA digital certificate and the smsPASS mobile digital identity issued by the Ministry of Public Administration are free of charge for citizens of Slovenia.
The administrative units are responsible for verifying the applicant's identity before issuing them with a SIGEN-CA certificate. Due to epidemic safety measures and the increased workload of administrative units, applicants must make an appointment.
Given that, as a result of that workload, it now takes quite a long time for citizens to obtain their digital certificates or identities at administrative units, the Government has decided to expand the list of application points to obtain a digital certificate or identity. Application services to obtain the smsPASS mobile digital identity have therefore been established at vaccination centres, the offices of the Financial Administration of the Republic of Slovenia, social work centres and the Ministry of Justice.
About 300 clerks from approximately 70 institutions who are undergoing the appropriate training have been appointed to perform this task, and the distribution of equipment needed to carry out their new duties is underway.
Minister Koritnik also said that the Government was considering establishing additional access points to obtain the smsPASS mobile digital identity, realising how important it is in these times to facilitate citizens' access to the zVEM healthcare portal and hence the certificates that everyone needs to live a more normal life. Applications should therefore shortly be processed by all employees at the offices of the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia.
The aim of 60-percent vaccination coverage of the entire population to be achieved by the end of June
Director of the National Institute of Public Health Milan Krek indicated that Slovenia was sixth in Europe when it came to the development of healthcare information systems.
Regarding the epidemic of the novel coronavirus, he said that the number of new infections around the world was dropping but that we were seeing a high increase in Asia, particularly in India. The epidemiological situation in Europe has been stabilising for an eighth week in a row. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Slovenia remains deeply affected by the epidemic, still recording a high number of infections; all self-protective preventive measures must be followed consistently if we wish our lives to be as normal as possible, i.e. free of restrictions.
The number of confirmed cases of infection with the novel coronavirus in Slovenia has been dropping, meaning that the numbers of hospital beds, patients in intensive care, hospitalisations, deaths and active cases have all gone down. He added that the data suggested an increasing infection rate in the City of Ljubljana, which will be closely monitored by the National Institute of Public Health. A trend of rising infections has also been detected in central Slovenia, which is currently in the yellow phase.
In almost 100 percent of infection cases in Slovenia, the strain found is now the English variant of the novel coronavirus, which has overtaken milder variants. It is expected to abate slowly, but another strain could take its place. Krek added that the new variants could be worse as we do not know much about them and they could spread quicker, exacerbating the situation.
By the end of May, Slovenia had received 1,309,275 vaccine doses. Most people have been vaccinated with the Pfizer/Biontech vaccine, followed by AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen, which started arriving in April.
Increased vaccine supply has accelerated the vaccination of the population. By 2 June 2021, 20.5 percent of the population had been vaccinated, compared to 10.2 percent by 1 May 2021, which means that the number of people vaccinated in a month is the same as the total number of vaccinations prior to 1 May 2021. According to the latest data, almost 170,000 people have been vaccinated in a single week. A large share of the population has also received their second dose. Another 30 to 40 percent of people are expected to be vaccinated in June. By the end of June, Slovenia should therefore reach the target of 60-percent vaccination coverage of the entire population.