An 11-day strict lockdown has come into force in Slovenia on Thursday as authorities are seeking to stem the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic and the surge in new cases, as the country has registered 1,355 new infections over the past 24 hours.
Although the number of confirmed new infections is lower than on Wednesday, the percentage is higher, 23.7%, which is worrying and justifies the imposition of the lockdown, the government said.
Restrictive measures that will be in force for the next eleven days include online classes, a ban on travelling between regions and to countries on the “red” list of epidemiologically unsafe countries, public administration and public transport working at a minimum capacity, as well as the closure of most services and sports activities. Employers are advised to allow working from home or taking holiday, all in order to put a halt to the dangerous third wave of the epidemic and reduce the number of new hospitalisations.
As of Monday, a PCR test is required to enter Slovenia, and Slovenian residents are banned from travelling to countries on the “red” list of epidemiologically unsafe countries and will face high fines if they do.
According to the latest data from the health ministry, the number of active cases in Slovenia stands at 13,395, and there are 518 COVID patients in hospitals. The number of COVID-related deaths has gone up by seven to 4,054.
The main cause of the third wave of the epidemic in Slovenia is the now dominant British variant of the virus, due to which the reproduction number is above one, so it is impossible to control the epidemic without a lockdown, said Dr Leon Cizelj from the Jozef Stefan Institute.
The effects of the lockdown will be felt after its end, Cizelj said.
Protest against lockdown staged in Ljubljana
In the centre of Ljubljana, several Slovenian associations and NGOs staged a protest rally against the lockdown, saying that the latest measures were “illogical and irrational” and calling on the government to reconsider them and come up with new solutions.
Among those who took part in the protest were education workers, hospitality workers, parents whose children are switching to online classes, taxi drivers, sportspeople and others, Slovenian media outlets reported this afternoon.