Slovenia in for at least a month of tough battle with coronavirus

Ljubljana – In his address to Slovenian citizens, PM Janez Janša said on Tuesday that the winter will be long and that “we are in for at least a month of a hard battle with the virus and then months of great caution”. Nevertheless, he is convinced that Slovenia can successfully weather the health crisis.

He said the government is limited by a Constitutional Court ruling to assess restrictive measures weekly, but “it is clear already that some measures will have to be in place for longer”.

“If we are successful in the coming weeks, we will be able to spend Christmas and the New Year in a more normal way than the autumn holidays.”

The prime minister believes that as fast antigen tests become more accessible, it will be possible to contain individual outbreaks of the virus more easily.

While the European Commission expects a vaccine could be deployed for all Europeans in April-June 2021, he said that if it is available earlier, it would be used for vulnerable groups.

“It will be tough, but we can do it. Because the great majority of us is aware that with the urgent measures, we protect everything we have as a community.”

He said that unlike the pessimism and anger transpiring from many posts, concrete work on the front line and an enormous readiness of many to help prove that we increasingly understand what is at stake.

Yet Janša believes that just a majority is not enough to succeed. “It takes all of us or at least a very big majority. A plebiscite majority of reason and solidarity.”

The prime minister moreover urged “various influencers who claim that the government takes the measures to scare people” to stop.

“It was enough. The entire democratic world takes the measures because it values and protects lives,” he stressed.

“Using the global health crisis for undermining is exploiting distress, it is a mean, worthless doing,” said Janša.

He added that a longer period of restrictions affecting education, culture, spiritual and all the other activities is bound to have negative consequences.

“So our common, urgent and mandatory strategic goal is to contain the epidemic as soon as possible to the point where it will no longer pose a threat to the normal functioning of healthcare and where we can again control it with consistently tracing contacts as we did during the summer months.”

Janša urged people to refrain from non-urgent contacts and socialising, saying “no law or measure can defeat the virus”, only reason and mutual solidarity can.

He said the sixth package of measures to mitigate the consequences of the coronavirus was being drafted, which will “unfortunately not be the last one”.

Although Slovenia does not have the best healthcare system in Europe, nor is it the richest country in Europe, it has the most altruistic people working in healthcare.

“This is the reason for which nobody will be left without the necessary healthcare or intensive care,” he stressed.

Turning to his government, which has been doing “an extremely hard double job full of hard decisions and sleepless nights, warranted and unwarranted criticism, media pogroms and weighing beyond double standards ever since March”, Janša pledged it will continue to do its job.

“We are as enduring as the Slovenian nation, which hundreds of storms have not uprooted from its land,” Janša concluded his address.