The press conference on the current situation regarding COVID-19 was attended by the minister without portfolio responsible for development and European cohesion policy Zvonko Černač, State Secretary at the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy Monika Kirbiš Rojs, State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology Simon Zajc and Director of the National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food Tjaša Žohar Čretnik.
The day before yesterday, a total of 34,314 rapid antigen tests and 3,937 PCR tests were conducted. The PCR tests confirmed 918 new cases, which is 23.3% of all tested. According to the data published by the National Institute of Public Health today, the 7-day average number of confirmed cases has slightly increased compared to yesterday’s figures, standing at 632. The 14-day incidence rate is almost 439 per 100,000 people.
The conditions in hospitals are not yet improving; the number of beds filled with new coronavirus cases increased compared to yesterday and is currently standing at 636. There are also more patients being treated in intensive care today than there were yesterday. The total number comes to 157 patients, which is two more COVID-19 patients than yesterday.
The day before yesterday, a total of 80 people were admitted into hospital, 59 people were discharged and 6 people died.
The national recovery and resilience plan
The minister without portfolio responsible for development and European cohesion policy Zvonko Černač and State Secretary at the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy Monika Kirbiš Rojs presented the national recovery and resilience plan (NRR).
Minister Černač said that the aim of the the proposed plan for recovery and strengthening resilience is to stimulate the economic, social and territorial cohesion of the European Union, which can be achieved with balanced reforms based on a green and digital transition. In this way, the economy’s resilience will improve, which in turn will make it possible to reach the pre-crisis level of economic growth. Slovenia will achieve this through the digital transformation of certain sectors of the economy and society, together with reduced administrative burdens and the greater openness and flexibility of the Slovenian economy.
He pointed out that a key role will be played by extensive investments into the environmental, transport, energy, education, healthcare, social and other infrastructures, which can significantly contribute to economic growth.
In the first phase, Slovenia will take advantage of funds that are available as non-refundable grants in full, i.e. 1.8 billion euro, and a little under 0.7 billion euro in refundable grants. The funds will be directed into four key areas:
- Green transition,
- Digital transformation,
- Smart and sustainable growth, and
- Healthcare, social security and housing.
The Government has focused on projects that can be realised by the end of 2026. The implementation of measures that will not be able to be financed from the recovery fund will be financed from the multi-annual framework of the current financial perspective, where 1.4 billion euro in funds is still available.
The State Secretary at the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy Monika Kirbiš Rojs presented how the national recovery and resilience plan is being prepared. According to her, the process is very challenging, since this is the first document on the EU level to be drawn up this way.
She further said that the European Commission expects all Member States to set up an effective and transparent system to oversee the use of these funds, therefore the Government set up bodies yesterday to manage the NRR funds and supervise their use. Its coordination and supervision will be placed under the Ministry of Finance, and the implementation of tenders and projects will take place through the line ministries.
In conclusion she emphasised that NRR funds can in no way be used to replace existing public sources or to finance ongoing expenditure.
Further easing of measures for businesses
State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology Simon Zajc said that, due to the somewhat better epidemiological situation, the Government has decided to further ease measures for businesses in accordance with the Plan for Easing Measures upon the Subsidence of the COVID-19 Pandemic from 9 April 2021. He also urged people to continue following all preventive measures.
The easing of measures for businesses will come into effect on 3 May 2021 and are valid up to and including 9 May 2021. The Government has further eased measures throughout Slovenia for the following activities:
- Non-medical counselling and therapeutic services, and
- Professional and business education and training.
Providers of these services can perform their activities under the condition they test employees. These services include tutoring, language schools and professional workshops.
In the following yellow statistical regions, the Government has particularly eased the service sector:
- Goriška and
In these regions, guests of places offering accommodation can eat and drink at tables also inside catering establishments. However, this is possible only under the same conditions as set out for catering establishments that are not part of accommodation facilities, i.e. a negative PCR or rapid test, proof of vaccination or certificate confirming recovery from COVID-19.
Nightclubs, bars and clubs are still not permitted to operate.
In yellow statistical regions, the required space per customer in enclosed spaces is being reduced. As of Monday, the required space per customer will be 20 m2.
In orange regions, the required space per customer remains at 30 m2. The following regions are orange:
- Jugovzhodna Slovenija,
- Gorenjska and
There are also no changes to the space requirement per customer in open markets, which remains at 10 m2 throughout Slovenia.
The National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food has verified the rapid tests for self-testing
Director of the National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food Tjaša Žohar Čretnik began by saying that, in Slovenia, the English variant of the new coronavirus is present in over 90% of the sequenced samples and has reached a plateau. In the regions of Jugovzhodna Slovenija, Pomurska and Primorsko-notranjska, the share of this variant has reached 100%.
Since 1 January 2021, 51 variants of SARS-CoV-2 have been found in Slovenia, while 6,504 cases of the English variant have been detected in the whole period.
With regards to the rapid tests for the self-testing of schoolchildren for COVID-19, Director Tjaša Žohar Čretnik said that following the verification of the rapid tests, the National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food has assessed that they are suitable to be used for their intended purpose. In the process of verification, they were found to be as comparatively effective as the other rapid tests available in Slovenia. She added that the Public Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices of the Republic of Slovenia must now also give their opinion on whether they can actually be used for self-testing.