Coronavirus count below 400 over bank holiday

Ljubljana – Slovenia saw 398 people test positive for coronavirus amid scaled-down testing on Tuesday, a public holiday. Another 15 Covid-19 patients lost their lives, official data show.

Of the 2,007 PCR tests performed yesterday, 19.8% came back positive. A total of 4,143 people were screened with rapid antigen tests, according to Maja Bratuša, the government’s Covid-19 spokesperson.

Hospitalisations fell by 28 to 621 after 26 patients were admitted and 40 were discharged yesterday. The number of patients in intensive care fell by six to 155.

Data from the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) show the number of estimated active coronavirus cases in the country has fallen to 9,252.

The rolling 7-day average of new cases fell to 606 from 694 the day before.

The cumulative 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents fell by 40 to 437.

Commenting on the latest trends at the daily press briefing, NIJZ official Eva Grilc said Slovenia was in the group of 16 countries which were seeing falling fatality rates.

Experts believe local transmissions to be the most likely cause of infections with more than a third of the infected surveyed reporting catching the virus in the family, while in over a third of cases the source was unknown.

Over the past two weeks, most infections have been confirmed among 35-44-year-olds and 45-54-year-olds, and quite a few among 15-24-year-olds.

Slovenian laboratories have examined 6,059 samples of coronavirus since the beginning of the year, to detect 47 variants. The UK strain is present in more than half of the samples and is expected to prevail.

Aleš Rozman, director of the Golnik University Clinic of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases, said the UK strain “is not just more virulent, but also causes a somewhat severer course of the disease”.

He said the UK strain causes severer symptoms among younger patients, some of them even without risk factors or underlying conditions.

The double mutant Indian variant strain has not been detected in Slovenia yet, but given that people travel abroad Rozman expects it to find its way into Slovenia as well.

Grilc said little was known about the strain. “We don’t know whether it’s in fact more virulent and whether it causes a worse clinical picture or higher mortality.”

She said the variant had been detected in the north of Italy and Portugal. In the Italian case it was found in two Indians who returned from India in Italy where they got sick.

Rozman also talked about long Covid, or the post-Covid syndrome, which he said was present in 10-15% of people.

Slovenia has so far confirmed a total of 238,421 coronavirus cases.

Data from the Health Ministry puts the overall death toll at 4,541.

According to NIJZ, 410,716 people have received the first dose of a vaccine against Covid-19 and 175,599 have received two, which means 8.4% of the population has been fully immunised.

In the wake of a mass anti-government protest that was held on Resistance Day, the NIJZ today advised against gatherings of more than ten people indoors and outdoors anew.

The institute warned that a group of people who gather outdoors to loudly talk or sing without heeding physical distancing or mask-wearing rules posed a major risk of transmitting the novel coronavirus. Such conduct is even riskier in indoor venues.

The NIJZ told the STA that the government Covid-19 advisory team’s guideline to restrict any gatherings to ten persons, which has been endorsed by the government, was based on epidemiological developments such as the number of active cases and the high prevalence of the highly virulent UK strain.

According to unofficial information obtained by the STA, three members of the 10-member team disagreed, noting that the right to assembly is enshrined in the constitution. Moreover, outdoor gatherings pose a considerably lower risk than those indoors, the members maintained.