The Slovenia Times

Minister says Covid pass mandate introduced to avoid lockdown

Health & MedicineSociety

Ljubljana - Health Minister Janez Poklukar said on Thursday that the introduction of the Covid pass mandate had been the only alternative to another lockdown. The recovered-tested-vaccinated (PCT) rule meant the difference between life and death of more than 1,000 people, he said, calling for unity, tolerance and vaccination.

Addressing the press, Poklukar said the situation in Slovenian hospitals was stable and the number of Covid-19 patients had decreased slightly in recent days.

Currently, 13 hospitals around the country accept Covid-19 patients. Since last week, Brežice is no longer accepting Covid-19 patients but due to a hotspot in the western Primorska region the Sežana hospital was activated. But it seems, it will not be needed for much longer, Poklukar said.

He noted that the PCT requirement had been introduced to prevent a rise in the reproduction number. The decision was made based on the experience from a year ago, when the reproduction number was up by 100% in a month and a half.

"The introduction of the PCT rule was thus the tool we had to keep life normal. The only other alternative was a full lockdown, which none of us can imagine any more, which none of us want and which we as a society cannot afford any more," he said.

Currently, the reproduction number is around one. If the current trend continues, the number of hospitalisations should only drop. However, if the reproduction number increases to 1.2 another peak is to be expected.

If the reproduction number increased to 1.3, which would mean that the PCT rule and other measures are not implemented properly, the number of patients in hospitals could reach 600, including 150-160 patients in intensive care, which would mean hospitals would not longer be able to perform their other tasks, he said.

"The difference between the implementation and non-implementation of the PCT rule would be expressed in the life or death of more than a thousand inhabitants of Slovenia," he said.

The minister noted that 4,910 people had died of Covid-19 so far, and that the epidemiological situation in the country was serious and must not be underestimated.

He admitted that Covid-19 vaccines had side effects and did not provide 100% protection against infection. He said he too thought about Katja, the young woman who died after vaccination, every day.

"But I also think of the 4,910 people who have so far died because of the virus. I also think of the 114 people who currently need intensive care. I think of my colleges doctors and the esteemed health workers," he said, stressing that vaccination was the only protection against the virus available at this point.

"The virus is much more deadly than the vaccine, which has extremely rare side effects with rare individuals."

He urged people to inquire about the vaccination with experts and overcome fear with knowledge, get vaccinated and thus "allow for us to be safe as a society".

"The decision on vaccination is a decision every one of us is free to make. I will always respect your decision," he said, adding that the more people got vaccinated the safer we would be as society and the safer would be those who could not get vaccinated for health reasons.


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