The Slovenia Times

Officials urge flattening of curve, Slovenia turning Covid-19 yellow

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Fafangel of the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) explained that the cumulative average infection rate per 100,000 inhabitants in the past two-weeks was 9.85, meaning at the 10 threshold "we've been using for other countries when designating them no longer safe".

"This figure is a warning that we now have to do all in our power to stop the trend, stabilise the situation," he said, adding the curve was still not as steep as in March and illustrating that the cumulative figure for Croatia was 20 and 100 for North Macedonia.

Between 19 June and 5 July Slovenia recorded 132 new infections, with 25 designated as imported cases, almost exclusively from the Balkans, 12 cases linked to the imported infections and 26 cases with a local source.

It is evident that a transition is happening to a stage when most cases are transmitted internally, Fafangel said, who finds that honouring the existing measures makes more sense now than stepping up restrictions.

He said 673 proposals for quarantine had been issued since 23 June and that in 33 of the cases people fell ill while in isolation. Thus the measure is producing results, but Fafangel warned that the incidence of risky contacts is increasing and noted a case when 70 such contacts were registered for a single individual.

Fafangel would like to see the number of daily infections contained between 15 and 20, which is also a number that epidemiologists can still process properly. If the number increases, a mobile app could be helpful, he said, adding the use of such an app would need to be voluntary and transparent.

The NIJZ will not propose declaring epidemic until the situation can be controlled with available capacities, he added. If things deteriorate, it will examine this possibility in the coming days or weeks.

Also on hand was Golnik Clinic director AleŇ° Rozman, who said the virus was mostly spreading among younger people for now and that hospitalisation and death figures will rise again once vulnerable groups become affected too.

The government's spokesperson Jelko Kacin did mention the possibility of stricter measures if the situation deteriorates further. "We may soon have to limit gatherings to 10 people," he said.

The situation and plans were discussed by the government on Monday evening, including inspections. Kacin said that up to 500 inspections a day will be possible from now on.

The government is also planning to declare institutions such as care homes, prisons and hospitals as areas at risk, which would create a legal basis for the officials in charge of the facilities to take measures to shield the institutions from the virus.

There are also plans to ramp up testing. While the labs can currently manage up to 1,500 tests a day, Rozman said that the idea is to add another 1,000 by the autumn.

While expressing the expectation that certain measures in Croatia will be enforced now after the elections are over, Kacin moreover called on everybody to consider potential holiday plans there very carefully. If they still decide to go, they should take all the necessary protective measures.

Asked whether night life would be limited in Slovenia, Kacin said that the possibility of shortening the working time of bars had been discussed. He said the downside of this would be a transfer of socialising into private arrangements, where the distance among people is even smaller.

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