Minister urges respect for social consensus to stem epidemic

Šmarje pri Jelšah – After a year and a half of dealing with the coronavirus, there is no need for a formal declaration of epidemic as people know how to act and use common sense to help contain the spread of infections, said Health Minister Janez Poklukar on Wednesday, urging respect for social consensus on solidarity.

Visiting Celje and Šmarje pri Jelšah in the east of the country, Poklukar said that recent epidemiological figures were a sign of what is to come in the next months, calling on everyone to play a part in stemming the epidemic.

The minister visited the Celje hospital, which recently, along with the Golnik hospital, joined Slovenia’s largest hospitals, UKC Ljubljana and UKC Maribor, in admitting Covid-19 patients as hospitalisations have been rising and the fourth epidemic wave escalating.

He highlighted that hospital capacities were not endless and that understaffing was a challenge, warning that without concerted effort to contain epidemic, waiting lines in healthcare might get longer.

To improve the situation in healthcare, he plans to draw up new starting points for amendments to the public sector collective bargaining agreement that will be mainly dedicated to primary healthcare and GPs.

He warned that “projections are not rose-coloured and the situation is serious, so we should all start heeding the agreed measures consistently”, adding: “One of the key measures is certainly vaccination.”