Slovenia declares the end of COVID-19 epidemic; no quarantine for EU citizens
The Government of the Republic of Slovenia adopted an ordinance declaring the end of COVID-19 epidemic effective from 15 May, based on a joint assessment by healthcare professionals and the Government Slovenia is thus the first country in Europe to take this step. Since the risk of spreading COVID-19 still persists, the general and specific measures adopted pursuant to the decision on the application of measures under the Communicable Diseases Act will continue to apply based on expert opinion until 31 May 2020.
The current epidemiological situation makes it possible to ease measures that were urgent to contain and control COVID-19, but they cannot yet be totally lifted. The first confirmed case of SARS-CoV-2 infection was recorded in Slovenia on 4 March 2020, and up to and including 14 May, 1465 confirmed cases of infection were recorded. The cumulative 14-day incidence has been 35 cases, and the effective reproductive number is currently less than one.
In its assessment, the National Institute of Public Health has pointed out that measures to limit the spread of infection include testing, isolating patients, finding contacts, quarantining high-risk close contacts, hand and cough hygiene, and respecting physical distance. The measure of wearing masks or covering the mouth and nose in public enclosed spaces continues to be in force. Moreover, not all children and students will return to schools and nursery schools on Monday, 18 May.
As of today, lifting of the seven-day quarantine upon entry into Slovenia for EU citizens
Yesterday, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia also lifted the mandatory seven-day quarantine for EU citizens. At the same time, a 14-day quarantine was introduced for:
- all third-country nationals without a permanent or temporary residence in the European Union;
- persons who have permanent or temporary residence in the EU and have left the territory of the EU for more than 14 days. Spokesman Jelko Kacin added that the border police will provide everyone entering Slovenia with the instructions of the National Institute of Public Health on the implementation of measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
Strict measures remain in force for foreign nationals who arrive at Slovenian border with visible signs of upper respiratory tract infection or with a positive test result for coronavirus; they may be denied entry.
If a person with permanent residence in Slovenia indicates being infected with the new coronavirus or show visible symptoms, such person will be instructed by the border police officer to immediately contact the selected personal physician or emergency medical service by telephone.
The government ordinance provides for some exceptions. Quarantine will not be mandatory for:
- persons attending the funeral of a close relative in Slovenia and leaving the country on the same day and submitting a proof of the date and time of the funeral;
- persons carrying out the transport of goods to or from Slovenia to a third country, and the transport of goods from third countries in transit;
- persons with diplomatic passports;
- persons who provide emergency services for which they have been issued a certificate by the competent ministry and if ordering a quarantine could result in major social or economic damage due to non-provision of these services;
- members of the protection and rescue services, healthcare services, police and firefighting service and persons carrying out humanitarian transport for Slovenia who are crossing the border in order to perform their duties.
The Government's official spokesman Jelko Kacin emphasized that the change of regime was mainly triggered by the events in our immediate neighbourhood. In the event of emergence of a major outbreak in the neighbouring countries or if a significant spread of COVID-19 to Slovenia, the Government will respond to the new situation by reintroducing the strict measures to combat the epidemic.