Health minister says restrictions could be loosened in 14 days

Ljubljana – Health Minister Tomaž Gantar expects the new, stricter measures, some of which kicked in today, to show their effects in two weeks. The epidemic is currently under control, so the criteria for relaxing the restrictions would start being prepared. “I reckon that in 14 days, as it was estimated, we’l start easing the measures.”

“I think the new measures will help push the curve down. That’s what we want,” Gantar said on the sidelines of today’s National Assembly session.

The loosening of the restrictions is a matter of an agreement between the government and its Covid-19 advisory task force, he said.

Covid-19 still threatens to swamp Slovenia’s healthcare system, which will remain under increased pressure for some time. A large number of infections among health workers pose a major problem, he said.

Responding to those who believe the measures should have been imposed earlier, Gantar said that “it is easy to be wise after the event”.

There have been a lot of measures, but some have not been effective enough. At the moment it is difficult to find reasons why the situation has not improved, he said.

The minister highlighted that it was key to find balance between supporting healthcare and mitigating economic and other ramifications of the epidemic.

“The situation is certainly not black and white,” Gantar said, adding that in hindsight, he would have wanted to see stricter measures earlier.

The epidemiological situation was in the spotlight of today’s questions time in parliament. MP Jožef Horvat of the coalition New Slovenia (NSi) agreed with Gantar, saying even before the session that the epidemic was under control and that the government was doing all it could.

The opposition did not concur, with MP Marjan Šarec, the leader of the eponymous party, said that the situation was not completely under control. “That is why the government has to take such measures,” he said.

MP Maša Kociper of the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) expressed hope the situation was under control. “As far as we know, there has not been a single person who would be left without medical care, which is key,” she said.

The party, however, believes the government has underestimated the second epidemic wave, Kociper said, warning about the ramifications of remote schooling.

“I don’t think finger-pointing is helpful at all now. What matters is to get out of the health crisis as smoothly as possible,” Matjaž Han of the SocDems meanwhile said, adding that the party would cooperate on everything that would be beneficial to citizens.