Janša calls for responsibility, solidarity in battle with Covid
Ljubljana - Prime Minister Janez Janša called for responsibility and solidarity in the face of the pandemic in a video address to Slovenian citizens on Sunday evening. He said a challenging period of cold weather was ahead, which required effective measures.
While in the spring, the virus was spreading only from China and a few hotspots in Europe, now, after the lifting of restrictions on the movement of people in summer, it is spreading locally around the continent, so certain measures that were effective then are not as effective now, he said.
According to the prime minister, Slovenia is still among the less affected EU countries, "but the situation is deteriorating dangerously".
Janša said EU leaders had made a list of priorities for the bloc last week, putting lives at the very top, followed by health and then the economy.
"All the rest, from entertainment to many other activities and some freedoms will have to wait a while. The more we will be able to honour this list of values with our measures and our behaviour, the sooner we will be able to return to our normal lives, at least to a large extent.
"The prepared measures that will be activated if necessary are proportionate. All institutions in the country are functioning and will continue to function even if the situation deteriorates," Janša said, noting the the government was in regular contact with other EU countries, coordinating the measures.
Turning to the development of the much anticipated vaccine against coronavirus, Janša said an efficient vaccine might be available to all in the spring at the latest.
"In Slovenia, vaccination will be free of charge. First, the vaccine will go to the medical staff, then to the most vulnerable groups, employees in critical infrastructure, workers who are unable to keep a sufficient safety distance, and then to everyone else as soon as possible."
However, the prime minister warned the cold season still had to be overcome first, which would require efficient measures, and primarily a lot of responsibility and solidarity.
He again urged everyone, especially those who have tested positive, to download the exposure notification app #OstaniZdrav, and called for solidarity with doctors and nurses who are working day and night in full protective gear to save the lives of Covid-19 patients.
The prime minister also announced a sixth stimulus package, which will "deal with the consequences of the cold wave of the epidemic" as they emerge. He said Slovenia's credit ratings had improved because of the measures taken so far, which improved its position on the financial markets.
Slovenia has also secured additional funds for fast recovery and growth in the coming years in the EU budget framework and in the recovery and resilience facility. "Never before has Slovenia had such investment opportunities available in a comparable period as it has in the next three years."
"If we preserve political stability and remove bureaucratic clutter, we can increase our prosperity in record time: higher pay and pensions, sustainable development, support innovation, build new hospitals and care homes, the missing infrastructure, strengthen our pension system, give better pay to those doing a good job and for good management, create new well paid jobs and update and simplify management at all levels," Janša said.