In the nine statistical regions that have a better epidemiological picture, car and bicycle services, as well as specialised children’s stores, will be able to reopen on Monday. As early as Saturday, the ski resorts in the red regions will begin to operate again, and everyone who wants to ski will have to provide proof of getting a negative result on the coronavirus infection rapid test, the Prime Minister Janez Janša announced on Wednesday. In nine of the twelve regions, primary schools for the first three grades and kindergartens will also open next week, the government decided on Wednesday. Schools will remain closed in the Jugovzhodna, Posavska and Goriška regions.
In Wednesday’s statement for the media, following the 50th regular session of the government, which took place in Brdo pri Kranju, Prime Minister Janez Janša emphasised that the Government of the Republic of Slovenia had adopted some decisions, following the consultation with the management of the National Institute of Public Health (Nacionalni inštitut za javno zdravje – referred to as NIJZ), and based on the current epidemiological situation and the plan for the lifting of measures.
The trends of the numbers lowering have prevailed
“As for the situation at the national level, we went from black to red, for a good half a step. This transition is not strong enough to fill us with great joy, but it is progress that in itself would not be enough for any lifting of the measures if it were not for the trends that are indicated for the next seven days, which are also optimistic,” the Prime Minister said, and continued that the trends are optimistic in most Slovenian regions, namely in nine of the twelve statistical regions, where they have crossed the limits which allow for certain measures to be lifted. “In these regions, starting next week, classes for the first three grades of primary school will follow the C programme, meaning in a reduced variant, but in physical form; kindergartens will be opened, preschool care will be provided, but all of this will still be in accordance with the strict measures and instructions of the National Institute of Public Health,” the Prime Minister Janez Janša said.
“All employees in kindergartens and the first three grades of primary schools will be tested on Monday, so school and care will actually start on Tuesday next week,” the Prime Minister Janez Janša said. As the Prime Minister pointed out, the government had lots of discussions about which measures may additionally be needed so that the risk of the lifting of these measures would not worsen the epidemiological picture in Slovenia in the future. “We have examined the measures being taken at this time in the other countries of the EU, and the government will decide on some of these measures in the coming days,” said the Prime Minister Janez Janša.
Joint efforts are needed for the further lifting of the measures
“Given that the epidemiological situation in Slovenia is still extremely serious, that we have moved from the black to the red phase by a good half a step, it is all the more important that in all activities where measures will be lifted, that we strictly follow the instructions,” the Prime Minister stressed, pointing out that both the health inspectorate, as well as the police will tighten the control. “We do not want to have to reintroduce some of the measures we will now lift in a few weeks, due to the deterioration of the epidemiological situation,” he added. According to the Prime Minister, it all depends on our joint efforts – whether the risk we are taking by lifting the measures is correct and reasonable. “It cannot only be the people who work in schools, nor only the people who will directly carry out the activities where the measures will be lifted, who will be able to reduce the risk to the extent that it would be acceptable. It all depends on all of us, on all of us who use the services, we need to take the situation seriously and follow the measures,” the Prime Minister pointed out. He also said that the competent Ministers would explain all of the changes in more detail on Thursday, “and everything is still within the framework of what was announced on the so-called traffic light plan of releasing the measures, and there are no big secrets or dilemmas in this regard.”
When answering additional questions from the press, the Prime Minister said that the trends are such that if there are no significant outbreaks in some of the regions in the next weeks, and if the trends continue, we can expect practically all of the statistical regions in the country to be in the red, in which case the kindergartens and the first three grades of primary schools would also open in the remaining regions, which are currently still in the black phase, and there might also be some additional lifting of the measures for other activities, but this is not certain yet. “If this trend had been reliable enough, we would have made our decision today already, but the risk is simply too great, so the government is strictly adhering to the forecast and the release plan, based on what the latest numbers tell us. We used the data for the last seven days, including yesterday,” he said.
Prime Minister Janez Janša also said that it was clearly recorded which measures will be lifted in the red phase in the regions which already have a good enough epidemiological picture. “The ski resorts in these regions will be able to reopen, following the same protocols as before the holidays, and with the provision of rapid testing and with compliance with all the measures. The same goes for the opening of car repair shops and stores which sell goods for children, which goes hand in hand with the reopening of the schools. Of course, all of the other activities that would possibly come into play and are part of the other colours on the traffic lights scheme of reopening, will not open,” he emphasised.
A plan for the testing of teachers has been prepared
The Prime Minister also explained that a plan for the testing of the teachers has been prepared and that the beginning of school in the regions with a good enough epidemiological picture is scheduled for Tuesday and not Monday, which is entirely dedicated to testing. “The plan was prepared weeks ago, and there should be no major problems here, the schedules will be prepared in a way to avoid long waiting times, the people that will perform the tests have enough experience already, however, all of this does also directly depend on the principles and the people who will be performing the tests,” the Prime Minister said and added that certain people have already been in contact with the authorities. “There is still enough time before Monday for the details to be sorted out. Rapid testing is an activity which is not new, and on Monday, it is absolutely possible to test this relatively large number of people, and it will also be possible to repeat this process in the future as well,” the Prime Minister Janša said.
When asked about it by the reporters, Prime Minister Janez Janša reiterated that the lifting of the measures will begin on Monday next week in the red regions, except when it comes to the opening of ski resorts, which will begin on Saturday, because the ski resorts already have the possibility of performing rapid tests and because on Monday, all capacities for rapid testing will be occupied by the teachers, so for that reason, the reopening was intentionally scheduled in this way. “As far as school is concerned, the plan that will be used this time is the so-called model C, which was prescribed, published and communicated to all school employees in the summer, so five or six months ago. Therefore, this is nothing new and the employees in the education sector should already know this model and be familiar with it,” the Prime Minister said.
According to him, the testing is also not something complicated. “The Minister will explain all the instructions in more detail tomorrow, and at a meeting with the employees in the school sector, we agreed that the government would make a decision on Wednesday, so that before next week when classes will begin, there will be enough time for all of the preparations. So, if there is anything that still needs to be explained, there is still enough time before Monday to clear up any confusion,” Prime Minister Janez Janša concluded.