The government’s Covid-19 spokesperson Jelko Kacin said on Tuesday that a decision on imposing quarantine on persons returning from Croatia would be made at Thursday’s government session. The measure is expected to kick in by the start of the next week, with enough time given to people to return home before its implementation.
Given the rising numbers of imported coronavirus cases from Croatia in the past week, restrictions have to be implemented to curb that, said Kacin, adding that it was yet to be seen whether there would be any potential exemptions from the measure based on age, region or a negative coronavirus test.
On Wednesday, the government is to meet experts at Brdo pri Kranju to discuss the details of mandatory quarantine for travellers from Croatia and come up with a final strategy. Kacin called for a targeted measure.
On Thursday evening, the government will then endorse the measure, giving people a couple or a few days to return to Slovenia from Croatia in time to avoid the mandatory quarantine.
Kacin expects the measure to enter into force during the weekend. Police officers will be required to issue a quarantine order for everyone returning from Croatia, he added.
Until Monday, the Health Ministry issued 50,500 such orders. The average time of issuing the order at a border crossing is about 14 minutes, the ministry told the STA on Tuesday.
The bulk of quarantine orders is issued to persons coming from countries deemed highly Covid-19 risky. Contacts with those infected with the virus may also prompt such a measure.
There is no detailed data on the number of Slovenians currently holidaying in Croatia though. According to the country’s figures, there are some 160,000 Slovenian citizens in Croatia at the moment, said Kacin.
Croatia has recorded 914,000 arrivals of Slovenian tourists since the beginning of 2020. Slovenians have been topped only by German tourists in terms of generating overnight stays in Croatia’s tourism this year, creating 7 million overnight stays, said the Croatian Ministry of Tourism and Sport.
Kacin said that the government was daily monitoring the coronavirus situation in Croatia and other hotspots in the Western Balkans. The new cases imported from Croatia mainly stem from the country’s southern regions and mostly involve persons aged between 15 and 35. On Monday, 12 infections were confirmed in persons who had returned from Croatia.
Kacin pointed out that the young were attending parties on Croatia’s coast. They get infected and do not disclose who else was with them, adding that it was likely many were not detected and kept on spreading the virus.
Asked whether Slovenia would later upgrade Croatia from the red list of countries, which signals high risk in terms of coronavirus contagion, to the yellow list, which does not require mandatory self-isolation for Slovenian travellers, if Croatia closed nightclubs, Kacin said that Slovenia would welcome any measures stemming the spread of the virus.
He pointed out that the number of imported cases had a great impact on Slovenia’s epidemiologic status. The effective reproduction number, showing to how many people the infected person transmits the virus, would stand at 0.68 if there would be no imported cases. As it is, the number is 1.24.