By: Sara Kovač / Nova24tv
Prime Minister Robert Golob has apparently become a self-proclaimed infectious disease specialist who has offered some revolutionary solutions to the people in their fight against the fifth wave of COVID. “We can all go to the seaside and get better there – I am not joking,” he said quite seriously. “This is a mockery of the health of the nation and a dereliction of responsible behaviour. We know that these variants of the virus can also be fatal,” Dr Alenka Forte, a medical doctor, was critical of Golob’s statement in her response. The National Institute of Public Health and the Medical Chamber of Slovenia were also critical of Golob’s statement, emphasising the importance of protective behaviour.
Recently, we have noticed an increasing trend in the number of Covid-19 infections. On Thursday, with 724 PCR tests and 5304 rapid antigen tests, we confirmed 1592 infections. There are currently 78 patients in hospitals, requiring medical treatment, of whom ten are being treated in intensive care. One patient has unfortunately lost the battle with Covid-19. Given that the Robert Golob government came into office promising how they would not slack off during the summer, in light of the fifth wave of the epidemic, this begs the question of when will they take any action? Especially in light of the recent warnings from the World Health Organisation, which has recently warned again that the Covid-19 epidemic is not finished yet and that protective behaviour is more than necessary.
But what had actually happened? Well, in a recent interview on the show “24ur zvečer,” our Prime Minister shared an interesting piece of advice – he said that the recipe for fighting COVID are two natural remedies: sunshine and sea salt water. IT did not occur to him, however, to stress the importance of protective behaviour, which is what the experts advise everyone to do. And according to Dr Alenka Forte, this is a mockery of the health of the nation and a dereliction of responsible behaviour. “We know that these variants of the virus can also be lethal. This seems to be a kind of populist, people-pleasing attitude towards the Slovenian nation, rather than a caring and responsible one,” Dr Forte said of Golob’s message to the public. She pointed out that autumn is coming, when children will also be returning to schools again, which will make it even easier for infections to be transmitted. However, it will ultimately be up to the people to assess whether they buy into such advice, and then they will also be able to judge it accordingly. Dr Forte said, however, that another thing we need to realise is that doctors and nurses are burnt out. “There is no guidance, no measures being adopted. This is unbelievable. If not politics, at least the advisory group could do much more than what they are currently doing.”
Mario Fafangel, epidemiologist and head of the National Institute of Public Health’s Covid-19 Advisory Group, more than obviously disagrees with Golob’s advice. In his response on Twitter, Dr Fafangel listed the measures that help in the fight against the virus, according to the medical experts. He stressed the importance of vaccination for all citizens, especially those over 60, testing when symptoms appear, wearing a protective mask in crowded areas (including in healthcare institutions and nursing homes), ventilation and outdoor activities. Treatment of the disease and solidarity or care for the community are also important. The Medical Chamber of Slovenia also agrees with Dr Fafangel. In response to Golob’s statements for the media outlet N1, infectious disease specialist Bojana Beović explained that while it is true that normal levels of vitamin D are important in our defence against the disease, “this is not like a drug that could cure someone who is already ill; it is not like the drugs that act directly on the virus,” she made it clear.
“As a doctor, I am appalled that the Prime Minister would make such a statement,” said Federico V. Potočnik, an infectious disease specialist registrar critically.
At this point, we want to draw attention to a recent article by professor Dr Janez Tomažič, PhD, of the Clinic of Infectious Diseases and Febrile Conditions of the University Medical Centre Ljubljana, who wrote the following in his article for the “Delo” newspaper: “Public health measures are the most important when trying to contain an epidemic. Vaccination is still the most crucial, most important measure we have against the virus. We should constantly be reminding people that if they are sick, they need to stay at home, and we should also often point out the importance of using protective masks indoors or in places where large numbers of people congregate (surgical masks of the IIR or FFP2/FFP3 type). These must be properly fitted, changed at appropriate intervals, and other basic precautions must also be taken.”
Apparently, it is not just the Slovenian public that was shocked by the recent statements of the Prime Minister, as Golob’s flippant advice did not go unnoticed abroad either. “Slovenian Prime Minister Golob caused quite a scandal in the country. On TV, he said that vitamin D, the sun and the sea can cure coronavirus.” Since the medical profession has sent a clear message that protective behaviour is essential in the fight against Covid-19, it is not surprising that the Prime Minister’s office was forced to react to the backlash. “[Clarification] The Prime Minister, Dr Robert Golob, wanted to stress that summer is more favourable for fighting the virus, as we can naturally obtain more vitamin D, which has a positive effect on strengthening the immune system. In addition, the positive effects of seawater on human health and well-being are well known. He stressed that we must get used to living with the virus without closing down our society, without closing schools, and without compulsory vaccination. However, vaccination remains the best protection against the severe course of Covid-19.”
The Prime Minister’s reckless words are like the wind in the sails of the anti-vaxxers and those who do not care about behaving in a protective manner. Given that our healthcare is already severely overburdened, it would be a good idea for everyone to think about how they communicate with the public before they actually do it. Especially in light of the fact that the leftists loved to complain about and criticise Jelko Kacin’s communication during the time of the Janez Janša government. Let’s leave the last word to the medical profession.