No more free rapid testing, as vaccinated, tested, convalescents to get more concessions

Ljubljana – Slovenia will enable those who have been vaccinated against Covid, have recovered from it or have been tested to have as few restrictions in public life as possible, while rapid tests will be no longer be free of charge from mid-August, PM Janez Janša said on Thursday as he urged vaccination together with the other coalition leaders.

Based on the European Commission’s recommendation, the Health Ministry is drafting changes to a regulation to enable the three groups to have as few coronavirus-related restrictions in public life as possible.

Janša said the government had discussed the epidemiological situation in the country at today’s session, including risks posed by new variants of the virus.

Now that there are enough vaccines and one can choose with which to be vaccinated, it is one’s responsibility to protect themselves and also prevent lockdowns, he said.

Janša believes that “we have enough tools not to close public life again, limit movement, restrict certain businesses, especially not services”.

Together with NSi leader Matej Tonin and SMC leader Zdravko Počivalšek, he urged joining forces “to achieve as high a vaccinated rate as possible”.

Rapid antigen testing will no longer be free of charge, expectedly from mid-August on, while PCR testing will remain free, he said. PCR tests are free on referral from GP.

“We’ve so far spent EUR 60 million on testing,” he said, wondering “whether we can ask those who have been vaccinated to pay for those who have not been when there is free vaccination available”.

The prime minister also noted there was a trend in Europe not to have free testing anymore. Still, the government is not considering making vaccination mandatory.

Janša, Tonin and Počivalšek urged Slovenian residents to get vaccinated, invoking people’s personal responsibility to get protected.

The three welcomed today’s joint call of all deputy groups for vaccination to prevent a potential fourth wave of the epidemic in the autumn.

“I think it is a big deal which still came at the right time,” Janša said.