Government to discuss new epidemic measures at Friday meeting

Ljubljana – The coordinator for Covid-19 vaccination Jelko Kacin said on Thursday that the government would hold a special meeting at Brdo pri Kranju on Friday to assess the current situation, discuss the expectations for the next few days and the new measures, which were “to be implemented as soon as possible”.

“The government expects the healthcare system at the basic level to adapt to this situation first, which means that vaccinations should be carried out in the morning, in the afternoon, on Saturdays and Sundays,” Kacin commented on the poor epidemiological situation in the country.

He found it unacceptable that some healthcare representatives wanted the country to be closed down completely, while on the other hand, “the healthcare system is unable to adapt to the needs of people who wait on their turn to be vaccinated for hours”.

Vaccination centres across Slovenia saw increased numbers of people on Wednesday, and they said people were primarily showing increased interest in booster doses, which those vaccinated with vector vaccines can now receive at least two months after their last dose.

Government spokeswoman Maja Bratuša apologised for the long queues, saying that the government would do its best to provide additional vaccination sites and ensure there would be enough vaccines to satisfy the demand. “However, the government expects vaccination centres to adjust their working hours accordingly to the increased needs,” she said.

Responding to Kacin, Health Minister Janez Poklukar warned that healthcare was on the brink of collapse. Measures restricting socialising will be a must in the coming days, he said, labelling Kacin’s statements aimed at healthcare representatives as “disrespectful to all healthcare workers, who are making enormous efforts these days”.

“In the coming days and weeks no one in healthcare will have it easy, neither the employees nor patients,” Poklukar said in a press release.

Kacin believes it might not be possible to admit all patients into Slovenian hospitals, given the high numbers of coronavirus infections, as he announced that “we must prepare for someone else to take care of Slovenian Covid-19 patients as well”.

Health officials are considering the possibility to start sending Covid-19 patients to hospitals abroad with Robert Carotta, the coordinator for Covid hospital beds at the Health Ministry, confirming this for TV Slovenija. The ministry itself refused to comment.

Carotta later told Radio Slovenija that inquiries to send the patients who require intensive care abroad were already underway, adding that the ministry had contacted Italy, Austria and Hungary as well as Germany to inquire about potential cooperation in the event Slovenia’s ICU capacities are exceeded.

Kacin believes the current situation is “a dictatorship of a minority of the unvaccinated and irresponsible over the majority who have been vaccinated on time and who are complying with the measures”.

In his words, “we have therefore come to the point where it will simply no longer be possible for any business to operate without scanning people’s QR codes before they enter”.