Criteria met for further easing of coronavirus restrictions

Ljubljana – Slovenia reported 357 coronavirus infections on Monday from a total of 11,253 tests in what continues to be a week-on-week decline. Slovenia has met both thresholds for entering the orange tier of restrictions, an improvement that may also be a result of scaled-down testing over the long weekend. 19 Covid patients died, show fresh official data.

Of the 1,493 PCR tests conducted yesterday 204 infections were confirmed for a positivity rate of 13.7%, down from 15% the day before. An additional 9,760 rapid antigen tests were performed with 153 returning positive for a positivity rate of 1.6%.

On Monday, Culture Day, the total of PRC and rapid tests was above the number of tests usually conducted on bank holidays due to mass testing among teachers and shop assistants, however the figure was still below weekday total.

A total of 945 patients with Covid-19 were treated in hospitals yesterday, one fewer than the day before, after 41 were discharged. 162 patients were in intensive care, two more than on Sunday.

The country has reached the orange tier of restrictions with both the number of hospitalisations and the 7-day daily average of new cases below 1,000.

The latter figure stood at 842 yesterday, the government announced on Twitter. The 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents was 683, show data by the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ).

The orange phase envisages reopening of schools for the remaining primary school pupils and final years of secondary school as well as resumption of exams and seminars at the university level with up to ten people allowed.

Moreover, assembly of up to ten persons would be permitted and a ban on inter-municipal travel lifted.

The government will decide on the further course of restrictions on Wednesday when it is expected to review the epidemiological situation.

Health Ministry State Secretary Marija Magajne told today’s press briefing that it would be sensible to soon introduce PCR confirmatory testing for positive test results produced by rapid tests, as the epidemic seems to be waning. Experts and ministry officials will soon meet to set down relevant protocols, she added.

Asked about a new call for applications for rapid tests, Magajne said it was in the works and would be published in a week. The procedure seems to be at a standstill though since she merely repeated the statement she made more than a week ago.

The supplies provided by the first call are dwindling in the meantime. Less than 20% of the tests supplied were still available last week. Magajne said there were no test shortages though as testing providers could also procure them themselves.

The state secretary said that before making a final decision on the second public call, the ministry was waiting for additional tests that are to be supplied as part of a joint EU order as well as for expert decisions on the testing strategy in the future.

Regarding the EU procurement procedure for rapid tests, she said the price was not yet made public and could not be disclosed hence, however she was able to say that 5% of the delivery would be free of charge for Slovenia.

So far 174,364 infections have been reported in Slovenia since the start of the epidemic, according to the NIJZ, which estimates 14,399 of them active. The death toll is currently at 3,654, show data by the national tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org.