The Slovenia Times

Number of new infections drops, new vaccines added to quarantine-free border pass

Health & MedicineSpotlight

Ljubljana - The number of new infections dropped both in daily and weekly comparison in Slovenia on Wednesday. A total of 891 new cases were confirmed in 4,278 PCR and 24,242 rapid tests, while a week ago the figure was 1,527 and on Tuesday it topped 1,000. Seven patients died.

According to data by the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), the rolling 7-day average dropped from 1,021 to 931 yesterday, head of the Government Communication Office Uroš Urbanija told the press, attributing this to the 11-day circuit breaker lockdown around Easter.

This means the country now meets the criteria for orange tier of restrictions, for which the 7-day average and the number of people in hospitals must be below 1,000.

This morning, 624 Covid-19 patients were in hospitals, two more than yesterday, and 150 in intensive care, which is four fewer than yesterday. 55 patients were discharged from hospital.

The cumulative 7-day incidence per 100,000 people stood at 310 yesterday, and the 14-day incidence dropped from 652.5. to 616. The situation is currently the worst in the Primorsko-Notranjska region, where the 14-day incidence stands at 813.7.

Tjaša Žohar Čretnik, the head of the National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food, said that the dominant variant throughout the country was now the UK variant, which caused 70% of all infections last week, including more than 65% in central Slovenia and over 90% in Pomurje in north-east.

So far, 2,820 cases of the UK variant have been recorded. However, growth has been linear and not exponential.

Other strains do not seem to be spreading, Žohar Čretnik said, and the share of the variant that had been the most widespread in Slovenia so far accounts for only 26.9% of infections.

The number of cases of the Nigerian variant has been up by just one, and the number of South African cases remained flat, so together there 26 cases of these two variants. One case of the Brazilian variant has also been recorded.

A new variant, labelled B.1.1.318, which has been described in England and the US, has also been confirmed in Slovenia. It includes some critical mutations yet not the most important ones that the South African, Brazilian and the British versions share, she said.

So far more than 6,000 genomes of the virus have been sequenced, with the number of all versions increasing from 63 to 68.

A total of 229,966 coronavirus infections have been recorded in the country so far, according to NIJZ data, and 12,992 of them are estimated active.

So far, 351,020 people have received the first shot of a Covid-19 vaccine, and 126,764 have received two, for a total full vaccination rate of 6% at the national level.

Sputnik and Johnson & Johnson jabs added to quarantine-free border pass

The government has made several changes to border restrictions, including to expand the exceptions for quarantine-free entry into Slovenia to people vaccinated with the Russian Sputnik V and the US Johnson & Johnson jabs against Covid-19, provided they have received the first dose at least 21 days ago.

Quarantine- or test-free entry is already possible for those producing certificates proving they have been inoculated with Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccines.

At its session on Wednesday, the government also extended the time allowed for transiting Slovenia from six to 12 hours, and added business reasons to the list of urgent reasons that allow quarantine- or test-free entry into the country.

Over 15-year-olds attending school across the border on a daily basis and those bringing commuting pupils or students across the border will no longer need to test weekly if they return right after dropping them off.

The exception for those owning or leasing land in the border area is being expanded to include their close family or same household members when they travel together.

Quarantine-free entry into Slovenia with a negative test taken within the last three days is also being allowed to citizens of EU or Schengen area countries who have been to one of those for up to 48 hours to provide care or assistance to family members or persons in need of care, or to do maintenance work at a private property they own, lease or use.

The exception pertaining to maintenance work on private property also includes household or close family members when travelling together with the eligible person.

The red list of countries was amended to remove Portugal and the UK, while there have also been changes to administrative units of Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Norway and Spain.


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