At a press conference, the Minister of Health, Janez Poklukar, the head of the advisory group at the Ministry of Health, Mateja Logar, and the Director of the National Institute of Public Health, Milan Krek presented new measures adopted today by the Government to contain the spread of COVID-19.
By way of introduction, Minister Poklukar said that the Government, together with experts, had discussed the proposals and had adopted measures that they believe would have a rapid impact on curbing the epidemic.
The Government adopted the following key measures provided for in the Ordinance on temporary measures for the prevention and control of infections with the infectious disease COVID-19:
- the recovered/vaccinated/tested rule is deemed to be complied with if the person presents a valid identity document and proof of recovery, vaccination or testing;
- the age limit for exceptions to the recovered/vaccinated/tested rule has been changed; the age limit has been lowered to 12 years instead of 15 years, as was previously the case;
- exceptions to the recovered/vaccinated/tested rule include those presenting themselves for vaccination against COVID-19 and influenza, and those presenting themselves for testing for a new coronavirus infection;
- 10 m2 of floor space must be provided for each visitor to a shop with basic everyday necessities, and the maximum number of persons who are permitted to be in the shop at the same time must be displayed at the entrance;
- as of 15 November, self-testing with rapid antigen tests will be carried out in schools for pupils and secondary schools students, who will be able to obtain 15 tests per month from pharmacies for that purpose;
- to make tests more accessible, experts proposed that tests be financed from the national budget, and therefore, rapid antigen tests and rapid antigen tests for self-testing will be free of charge;
- only a surgical mask or a FFP2 mask is recognised and approved for use as a protective mask; fabric masks are no longer approved for use in prescribed places;
- in hospitality establishments (bars and restaurants), services can be provided to customers between 5:00 and 22:00, but customers must be seated; in addition to a notice requiring compliance with the recovered/vaccinated/tested rule, the maximum number of persons who can be in the establishment at the same time must be displayed at the entrance;
- hospitality establishments that provide music for dancing or a social programme are not permitted to operate; discotheques and similar establishments are not permitted to operate while the ordinance is in force;
- gatherings are temporarily prohibited, and are only permitted for groups of persons who are immediate family members or share the same household;
- all public events, public gatherings, celebrations, and wedding ceremonies are temporarily prohibited, unless otherwise provided for in ordinances or other acts of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia;
- the organisation of public cultural events in open public spaces is not permitted, but it is permitted in enclosed public spaces with fixed seating, whereby every other seat must be left vacant, the use of face masks is mandatory, and all participants must comply with the recovered/vaccinated/tested rule.
- the organisation of public sports events is allowed only in spaces with fixed seating, whereby every other seat must be left vacant, the use of face masks is mandatory, and all participants must comply with the recovered/vaccinated/tested rule.
- the collective exercise of religious freedom is permitted provided that participants comply with the recovered/vaccinated/tested rule, wear protective masks and maintain a distance of 1.5 metres between each other.
The ordinance enters into force on 8 November 2021, except in the part relating to the testing in schools three times a week, which enters into force on 15 November 202
The Minister of Health also said that work from home will be implemented in the public administration where possible, and that such work organisation was also recommended across other sectors. Finally, he called on all Slovenians to take a collective approach to vaccination and to comply with the adopted ordinances.
The head of the expert group at the Ministry of Health, Mateja Logar, stressed that the health sector is facing a major challenge, adding that healthcare services should be available to all who need them, not just those who suffer from COVID-19. She said that the measures adopted will not interfere significantly with our lives. She urged everyone to protect themselves and comply with the recovered/vaccinated/tested rule. “These measures must be understood as something that will allow us to return to as normal a state and as sustainable a health system as possible”, she concluded.
The Director of the National Institute of Public Health, Milan Krek, said that the ordinance contains measures that are urgently needed at this moment. He emphasised that if the number of infected people continues to increase at the current pace, we will face very difficult situations in the coming months. “Let us come together and stand united against the virus to preserve health and an open society, allow schools to remain open, and maintain a functioning healthcare system. We ask you to decide to consistently adhere to the protective measures and get vaccinated. It is time to join forces and contain the virus together”, concluded the Director.