By: Domen Mezeg (Nova24tv)
On Saturday, January 16th, Prime Minister Janez Janša responded to an invitation for an interview on Planet TV. The journalist initially stated the opinion of immunologist dr. Alojz Ihan, who believes that the country should close completely due to the serious situation in hospitals.
Among other things, the epidemiologist cites the possibility of strictly restricting movement to 50 meters from the place of residence. “I think this is an extreme possibility. Even after talking to colleagues in other European countries where they resorted to this, people were forced to stay in their apartments, with the possibility of exiting only 50 meters from where you live, and even that just once a day for half an hour. This is a drastic measure,” said the Prime Minister. He added that the epidemic is being monitored closely enough so that we, with the help of the profession, i.e. epidemiologists, will know whether this is really necessary in Slovenia and do so in such a case, while hoping that it will not be necessary.
Janša: “It is a concentrated, brutal outburst of ideological hatred”
“It is a concentrated, brutal outburst of ideological hatred, I do not see any facts in what is written there. It is especially funny, however, that the MPs of the party, that had the Minister of Health, signed it, and the text mainly states how the government acted wrongly during the fight against the epidemic. Sorry but DeSUS had a health minister. This minister resigned on the grounds that the party withdrew from the coalition at the most difficult time. Look in the mirror,” Prime Minister Janez Janša told Planet TV regarding the constructive no confidence vote to the government.
“However, the first positive signs are showing in the fact that we have introduced rapid testing over the holidays, and many of those who tested and were positive did not spread the virus during visits to relatives,” Janša described the current situation with testing. That is why it is planned that we will be able to withstand the January and February waves without the most drastic measures, as this has been going on for quite some time. “We all hate restricting freedom and imprisonment. However, it is still true: The more serious we are in taking existing measures, the less need will be for more drastic ones.” The journalist also touched upon the fact that not enough people were issued an order, probably due to the lack of epidemiologists, and asked about the possibility of automatically issuing orders with a positive swab in order to avoid the problem in the future. Janša replied: “The fact that there were no orders issued, does not mean that there were no quarantines.” Legal restrictions have somewhat limited control, but there have been many cases.
Regarding contact tracking, the Prime Minister explained that additional call centres had been set up, however, in the spring part of the epidemic, tracking stopped due to limited capacity for already a few dozen infections, and now we have over 1,500, even over 2,000, more than twenty times the amount before, where there are still some borders and this does not actually work anywhere, the Slovenian situation in this area can be compared with other countries. At the same time, there was a political crisis in Slovenia during the worst health crisis, as one of the government parties was leaving the coalition. And it was this party that had the Minister of Health, who was most burdened by the epidemic, and Janša eventually even took over this department himself. The journalist reminded of the fact that in the third wave of the epidemic we will need up to 1,500 beds for patients with covid-19, and staffing problems are expected to be even greater. “Nurses and doctors are exhausted, many are also on sick leave due to infections, and students, volunteers and retired health workers have already been called in to help.”
Vaccination will at least partially solve the problem of the shortage of health workers
“Where are the personnel reserves anyway? Will we witness an additional closure of activities in health care, can we even afford that?” “Speaking of staff and staff reserves, the whole time of this cold wave, there has also been a large proportion of sick health workers with covid-19, which was partly due to fatigue and partly due to not following the rules seriously enough. As many as a few ten percent of staff were missing for various reasons, but now the situation is improving, this is also why healthcare workers were first to be vaccinated, and the effects of the vaccine are slowly showing. After they get the second dose we stipulate that there will no longer be such a drastic shortage of people in healthcare,” the Prime Minister explained the situation. At the same time, he stressed that there will still be a certain problem, especially if the need for additional capacity increases, but most of the employees there will be able to continue working without being on sick leave due to covid-19.
When asked how realistic the possibility is that in order to travel this summer we will need a so-called vaccination passport or vaccination booklet, Janša replied: “I think this will happen and this is nothing new. Already in this mandate, as well as in previous mandates, for official visits to some countries, our entire government delegation had to be vaccinated, or we had to submit a certificate that we had already been vaccinated against a disease.” As Janša explained further, these rules already apply to individual countries or individual continents. There was no such vaccination for covid-19 because we did not know it. As the Prime Minister added, this will be something that will benefit everyone and he does not understand the fear of it. The journalist also touched upon the sudden departure of government spokesman Jelko Kacin, who will now be in the prime minister’s office.
Kacin did not resign due to “controversial” statements, but will help with the vaccination as an organiser
The journalist also mentioned one of Kacin’s controversial statements that Slovenia is divided into “urban”, where masks are worn, and “rural”, where people are supposedly living as if there is practically no virus. “Is the reason for this decision for personnel change also that you want to reduce the tension in communicating covid crisis?” “No, that is definitely not the reason and it also did not happen overnight. The fact is that Slovenia, since the September European Council, and when we were convinced that the vaccine would be, based on the strategy we adopted in early December, wants to carry out the vaccination process logistically so that it will be completed as soon as possible, and that we will be protected from the disease as soon as possible.” As the Prime Minister explained, that this is an activity for which no country in the world is prepared on a daily basis, so it is necessary to prepare for it specifically and for this they need a logistically top organiser like Kacin.
That is why he and the director of the NIJZ, Milan Krek, asked him to come and help. Kacin was also criticised for a sentence or two, but there was much more praise. Janša sees the former government spokesman as a positive person also because he has been on the opposite political bank for decades and was even sarcastic towards Janša, but nevertheless decided to come and help, while many others were not capable of doing so. Subsequently, the journalist also touched on the constructive no confidence vote that was filed, despite the fact that not all four MPs from his party supported Karl Erjavec, which Janša commented as follows: “It is a concentrated, brutal outburst of ideological hatred, I do not see any facts in what is written there. It is especially funny, however, that the MPs of the party, that had the Minister of Health, signed it, and the text mainly states how the government acted wrongly during the fight against the epidemic. Sorry but DeSUS had a health minister. This minister resigned on the grounds that the party withdrew from the coalition at the most difficult time. Look in the mirror,”
Karl Erjavec, a politician who received less than 400 votes in the elections in his own voting district
The journalist also emphasised that the three DeSUS MPs are signing a constructive no confidence vote, while at the same time are claiming that they are not members of the KUL coalition, and that only Erjavec had managed to enter this alternative coalition so far. “He is a politician who won less than 400 votes in the elections and is collecting signatures under a text where he teaches democracy to others. Let him go to his voting district and first convince his voters,” Janša commented on Erjavec’s conduct. The journalist also said that the Levica party had already announced that if the attempt with Erjavec failed, they would look for a new candidate for prime minister. He also emphasised that it would probably be difficult to work in such a situation of a constant political crisis. He further quoted the words of Minister Zdravko Počivalšek, who said that he could not wait for the parliament to finally be counted and to continue its work. “At some point, are you yourself ready to stop this constant counting and, as you did in 2007, give the vote of confidence to one voting?”
“I can do this at any time, although at the time of the epidemic this seems a little irresponsible. Those who would call for and applaud the most if the move were announced, and if it succeeded, would put me next to Mr. Šarec, who “threw in the towel” at a time when an epidemic was threatening our country, but I am not of that sort,” said Janša regarding his possible resignation, who also agrees with Počivalšek, as the no confidence vote has been announced since April, and it is more and more difficult to work in these conditions. However, Počivalšek is perhaps too optimistic, because he thinks that this will be the end of the matter, although it will not be, as it is an incomprehensible ideological hatred towards Slovenia, which is in a difficult position. We know similar behaviour from other historical periods and it has never turned out well for Slovenia and its inhabitants. Janša is also convinced that, despite them throwing a spanner in the works, the government will control the epidemic, successfully lead the European Union in the second half of this year, and successfully complete its mandate.
Spending European money on various studies and clientele’s sources of funding is, in fact, the only programme of some parties on the left
“All in all, we provided significant amount of European funds for the time of recovery after the epidemic, and it would be a great irony that those who did not put together a single anti-corona package of measures in a year and a half would then spend another 12 billions of European money on various studies and for various clientele’s sources of funding, which is in fact the only programme of some parties on the left.” The journalist also touched upon the latest move of Interior Minister Aleš Hojs, who publicly announced salaries in the police, ministry and inspectorate. His move sparked a debate on the possible complete abolition of the single salary system in the public sector. The journalist was interested in what could it be replaced with and whether this apparatus could cost the country less or maybe even more in the future.
“The idea of the reform is based on the position that it does not cost taxpayers any more money. Nor is it about abolishing the single salary system altogether.” According to Janša it is about keeping the administrative part within the single salary system, but when it comes to individual or specific parts, such as the police, army, health care, etc., this single salary system has long since disintegrated. “By the way, salaries in the public sector are public, my salary is public. The salary of the last employee in the public sector is public, according to the law, according to all principles, according to the constitutional framework. Taxpayers have a right to know how much someone is paid out of their money.”
“Anyone who denies this is at odds with the fundamental principles of democracy,” the Prime Minister explained. By publishing this, however, the matter merely became apparent. These are police officers who risk their health and sometimes their lives in the cold, rain and dangers, and have the same allowances as someone who sits in an office and does not even know what exactly he is supposed to do there, although there are those in the offices who work hard. But if all was well with these ratios, there would be no agitation. Janša was also surprised by the situation, but it is even more important that the matter is settled in health care, as the personnel problem in this area is largely the result of an unfair salary system.