The Slovenia Times

Experts warn about exponential spread of Delta, urge vaccination

Health & MedicineSpotlight

Ljubljana - Exponential growth in coronavirus infections presages a new Covid-19 wave that could continue into autumn, said the head of the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), Milan Krek. He and infectious disease specialist Mateja Logar warned about imported cases, especially in light of the highly-contagious Delta strain, calling for vaccination.

Exponential growth in coronavirus infections caused by the Delta variant "is currently the biggest threat", said Krek, urging people to get vaccinated and to observe prevention measures consistently.

Bojana Beović, the head of the NIJZ vaccination advisory group, said today that health experts should advocate mandatory vaccination or any other method that would ensure more people get vaccinated.

But Health Minister Janez Poklukar noted that the ministry was not considering mandatory vaccination as an option at the moment. It is, however, doing all it can to convince members of all social groups to get a jab, he said.

Asked about a possibility of obligatory vaccination for certain professions, such as health workers, he said that if experts recommended this, politicians could decide on such an approach.

The minister noted that the epidemiological situation had worsened somewhat in recent days, mainly due to people importing cases from abroad.

He suggested that if the situation gets worse, measures might be stepped up as early as next week.

Logar, an infectious disease expert and the head of the government's Covid-19 task force, said it was too soon to say that Delta caused more severe forms of Covid-19 as research into this was ongoing.

In the UK, the spread of Delta has not significantly increased hospitalisations as older generations have been inoculated and thus protected. Slovenia cannot count on this due to its insufficient vaccination rate, she warned.

It is very likely that secondary students who returned from their senior trip to Spain on Saturday are infected with the Delta strain. Logar highlighted the importance of self-isolation for those who develop symptoms and quarantine for high-risk contacts.

The latest report on tracing various coronavirus strains shows that Delta cases are on the rise in Slovenia. Until 27 June, a total of 134 cases had been confirmed, including 70 only in the week between 21 and 27 June. The new Delta plus variant was also found recently in two samples of genomic sequencing for the first time in the country.

The Alpha variant is still predominant in Slovenia though according to the latest data by the National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food (NLZOH) and the Institute of Microbiology and Immunology (IMI).

Reviewing the epidemiological situation, the government changed today the rules for entry into Slovenia. Among other changes, Slovenian residents who arrive from red- or dark red-listed areas will no longer be required to quarantine from Saturday if they produce proof of vaccination or reconvalescence.

Minister Poklukar noted that other measures remained the same, including the rule of mask-wearing indoors. The government also decided today to donate 250,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Egypt.


More from Health & Medicine