The government announced on Friday that all Slovenians returning to Slovenia from coronavirus hotspots will be put into state-administrated quarantine. The measure has so far affected 445 persons, Jelko Kacin, the government’s spokesman for the coronavirus crisis, told the press.
The announced was made after 41 Slovenian nationals who were flown in from Madrid late on Thursday were not sent into self-isolation but quarantined in a hotel in Velenje for a 14-day period.
It was said that the same quarantine protocol would be used for a second plane from Spain, to be organised on Saturday, but Kacin confirmed today it would apply to all Slovenians returning from coronavirus hotspots.
However, he singled out Spain again, saying that quite a few Slovenians remained there and that these flights would continue almost on a daily basis.
In an effort to assuage locals in Velenje, where the Paka Hotel was made available free of charge by Hisense, the Chinese-based owner of household appliances maker Gorenje, Kacin said this would not be the only town with a quarantine unit.
“There are many more Slovenians abroad and this is a good example of solidarity that is crucial in these difficult times. I hope this will serve as an inspiration to other companies with vacant accommodation facilities,” he said. Railways operator Slovenske Železnice has announced it has made available the holiday accommodation facilities it owns for quarantine purposes.
There has been some resistance in Velenje, with Deputy Mayor Peter Dermol expressing indignation that the local community learnt about the Paka Hotel quarantine from the media and the fact that the local civil protection and health authorities had not been informed about the government’s decision.
In the afternoon, the situation calmed down, with Andrej Šter, the head of the Foreign Ministry’s consular service, apologising publicly for failure to inform the community and Dermol accepting his apology.
What is more, the care for those in quarantine has been taken over by the Velenje municipality. The Civil Protection has also said that 42 people are being quarantined at the Paka Hotel, among them two minors.
All of the people in quarantine will be tested again this evening, then again in six days and once more in a fortnight. Among them is also basketball player Zoran Dragić, who told the press press he believes two weeks’ quarantine was too long and that nobody from the plane was infected.
One of the quarantined persons expressed worry to the STA over not having protective gear and over the danger of legionnaires disease because the hotel had been out of order. “Nobody warned us that tap water wasn’t safe, we only received bottled water in the course of the day.”