Ljubljana – The government adopted on Thursday a five-tier strategy for the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions based on a proposal by the Health Ministry and the coronavirus task force, Prime Minister Janez Janša announced on Twitter.
“Healthcare is operating at the extreme limit of capacity and it is only by working together and responsibly that we can reduce the burden,” Janša said.
The relaxation of measures will hinge on two factors, the seven-day rolling average of daily infections and the number of Covid-patients in hospital.
The existing measures will remain in place as long as there are over 1,350 daily infections on average and more than 1,200 people in hospital. This is designated as the black tier.
Slovenia will enter the red tier when there are under 1,350 infections and fewer than 1,200 people in hospital, at which point limited public transport will re-start and museums, libraries, galleries, hairdressers, and manicure and pedicure establishments will be allowed to reopen.
Initially, public transportation will operate on a holiday schedule, according to Aleš Mihelič, a state secretary at the Ministry of Infrastructure.
In the orange tier, defined as under 1,000 daily infections and under 1,000 patients in hospital, services activities, stores, kindergartens and the first three grades of primary school plus schools for special needs children will reopen.
Outdoor sports activities, including skiing, would be allowed, gatherings would be capped at 10 persons, and the ban on inter-municipal travel would be lifted in all regions that achieve these figures.
In the yellow phase (fewer than 600 daily cases and under 500 people in hospital) primary schools would reopen and final-year students at secondary schools would return to classrooms. The night curfew and inter-municipal ban would be lifted nation-wide.
In the green phase – when the number of daily infections is under 300 – all restrictions are lifted while general hygienic precautions remain in place. Bars and night clubs would however remain closed.
The seven-day rolling average of daily infections was at 1,461 yesterday and 1,289 Covid-19 patients were in hospital.
Health Minister Tomaž Gantar said the satisfaction of either condition – new cases or hospital figures – will suffice for the shift between tiers. He indicated the transition to the red tier may be achievable in the coming days.
“We cannot relax [the restrictions] until we know reliably that we can provide a sufficient number of beds for the system to work… This is the main limiting factor.”
The exit strategy in effect means that all existing restrictions have been extended as part of the government’s periodic check of the measures.
Slovenia has been in its second lockdown since mid-October and several measures have been tightened since then.