Institute of Public Health now in charge of pandemic management

Hand arranging wood block stacking with icon healthcare medical, Insurance for your health concept

Ljubljana – A new advisory group for Covid-19 at the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) has been formed, a move that Health Minister Danijel Bešič Loredan said meant the management of the pandemic has now been taken over by experts. The government will nevertheless be fully responsible for any measures taken.

The group will be headed by Mario Fafangel, the head of the NIJZ centre for communicable diseases, and features health professionals as well as an anthropologist, a communications expert, a mathematician and a sanitary engineer.

Under the previous government, the advisory group was a body almost exclusively staffed by medical professionals that answered to the government and it was often criticised for tailoring its recommendations to the government’s wishes.

Now, the advisory group will work with the Health Ministry and if a ministry decision is different that what the group recommended, this will be clearly communicated, according to Bešič Loredan.

The advisory group, which will first meet in July and present its strategic guidelines in August, will base its recommendations on three scenarios, according to Fafangel.

Scenario A contains the existing range of recommendations – vaccination, isolation, ventilation, remote work and use of protective masks.

This scenario will apply if the existing variant of the virus, which represents a lower risk, continues to spread.

Scenario B would kick in if a more dangerous variant starts spreading. In that case, the group will propose stricter measures.

And scenario C would be applied in the event of a severe deterioration of the situation, according to Fafangel.