Slovenia introducing self-testing for students

Maribor – After schools reopen on 12 April, secondary school students will begin self-testing for coronavirus, followed a while later by pupils of the final three years of primary school, Health Minister Janez Poklukar said on Thursday.

While on a visit to Maribor, Poklukar said everything will be done for schools to reopen on 12 April. By then Slovenia will set up a system of rapid self-testing for older students.

Next week, school staff will be coached about self-testing and the project would be launched when the schools reopen.

Tests would be performed on Thursdays and Fridays so that those with a positive result would be able to get a PCR test on Monday to confirm the rapid test result.

The Health Ministry and the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) are also preparing video content for students who will be self-testing.

Commenting on the 11-day lockdown ahead, Poklukar said he would be happy if the incidence figures were the same as today on 11 April.

He underlined the government followed recommendations of the expert advisory group. Commenting on reports that the obligatory face masks outside were not proposed by the group, Poklukar said this was true but that most of its members were not against.

Commenting on the fact that Easter Sunday will be an exception to the lockdown, Poklukar said that this was a risk but many elderly people need the support of their children and grandchildren.

Projections presented today by Leon Cizelj of the Jožef Stefan Institute show the lockdown could relieve the pressure on hospitals by a few hundred patients and by between 50 and 60 ICU cases.

Had the lockdown not been imposed there could be more than 1,100 Covid patients in hospitals by mid-May, while the goal of the measures imposed today is to reduce the figure to between 300 and 800.