In the last 24 hours, there have been 640 new coronavirus infections in Slovenia and seven COVID-related deaths, with epidemiologists recommending an 11-day lockdown as of 1 April.
The country’s COVID-19 task force proposes to the government a complete lockdown from 1 to 11 April, which is a necessary move due to the renewed rise in the number of infections, epidemiologist Mateja Logar said ahead of a government meeting due on Sunday afternoon.
This is to protect the population and the health system, said Health Minister Janez Poklukar.
Prime Minister Janez Janša supports the lockdown proposal, saying that the vaccines against COVID-19 are coming to Slovenia “with a month’s delay”, which means that the plan to immunise most of the population by the summer will fail, although a larger quantity of the vaccine would arrive in May, when most restrictions could be relaxed again because Slovenia would epidemiologically be in the “yellow” phase.
According to Janša, the government is aware that the lockdown is a difficult decision as it has significant financial and social implications, but the effects of the new measures will be visible only if everyone complies with them.
According to the epidemiologists’ proposal, Easter Sunday would be an exception to the complete lockdown and people would be allowed to socialise even outside the otherwise closed regions. On that day, up to five adults and their children from two households would be allowed to socialise.
In addition to closing the regions, education would move online, but schools and kindergartens would still accept children of parents employed in jobs important to the state.
During the lockdown, public passenger transport would operate at a reduced capacity, as it normally does on Sundays and holidays. Institutions and companies would mainly shift to remote work.
After the lockdown, on 12 April, schools would reopen and other activities would be conducted in accordance with the government’s ‘traffic light’ system, depending on the epidemiological situation in the country.
The government said on Sunday that 640 new cases had been confirmed over the past 24 hours, as well as another seven deaths.
Such an increase in the spread of the epidemic in Slovenia is attributed to the emergence of new variants, especially the British variant of the virus, which is more contagious and causes more hospitalisations, and according to some estimates it is now dominant and present in 60% of all confirmed infections.