The Slovenia Times

PM says govt to discuss plan for easing lockdown tomorrow


Janša tweeted on Tuesday that current data on the course of the epidemic allow a sober reflection on lifting certain restrictions to movement and a gradual revival of activities for which "a safe distance, the disinfecting of hands and meeting points and safe use of protective equipment" can be secured.

It is not clear which restrictions could be eased and to what extent. The bulk of the criticism coming from part of the public and politics has been directed at the limiting of movement to municipal borders.

There have also been calls to restart public transport, while a big question mark are kindergartens and schools, although one date circulating is 11 May.

The government's spokesperson Jelko Kacin indicated today that the government was considering reopening schools, but that it would wait to see the results in countries that had already done it before taking a final decision.

Some restrictions have meanwhile already been lifted, with recent new exceptions to the lockdown including takeaway restaurants, DIY stores, car showrooms, car washes, stores selling bicycles, technical goods and furniture stores, dry cleaners, some repair shops, and insurance agents.

As of today, weddings in restricted format are possible. As of tomorrow, museums, libraries and galleries will reopen and partners will again be allowed to be present during childbirth.

Yet more services will be available from 4 May, with the reopening of hair salons, beauty parlours, dog and cat grooming salons and shops of up to 400 m2 sales space, except for those in shopping centres. Outdoor facilities of bars and restaurants will also reopen on Monday and so should churches.

The government is also expected to discuss tomorrow a report on the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE), requested by Janša after a wave of accusations about dodgy procedures and faulty equipment.

The report was compiled by the Economy Ministry on the basis of reports by the economy, defence, health and foreign ministries plus the Agency for Commodity Reserves.

Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said it featured all relevant information and data about the PPE procurement since 27 February (that is under the previous government), including between 13 March, when the new government took over, and 10 April, "when there was a terrifying shortage of protective equipment" and when everyone was under pressure from health workers to procure PPE. The report also covers the period after 10 April, when the situation eased off, he said.

The minister again rejected the allegations about pressure to close deals with certain suppliers, noting the majority of contracts had been signed by Agency for Commodity Reserves employee Ivan Gale.

Gale last week spoke to TV Slovenija revealing pressure on the agency and some potential irregularities, but Počivalšek said today Gale would have to explain at least three contracts.

The government is expected to send the report to parliament and expectedly also to the law enforcement.


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