Slovenia first European country to declare an end to Coronavirus

Updated: May 17, 2020, 09:12 IST | Agencies | Ljubljana

Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa 'calls off' epidemic claiming the virus has been 'tamed' and that his nation has the 'best epidemiologic picture in Europe', but experts warn threat still present

A Slovenian citizen plays the accordion during a demonstration to block the centre of the capital Ljubljana, to protest against the centre-right government, for using the COVID-19 crisis to restrict freedom. Pic/AFP
A Slovenian citizen plays the accordion during a demonstration to block the centre of the capital Ljubljana, to protest against the centre-right government, for using the COVID-19 crisis to restrict freedom. Pic/AFP

Slovenia opened its borders after declaring an end to its Coronavirus epidemic, despite new infections still being reported. "Slovenia has the best epidemic situation in Europe, which enables us to call off the general epidemic," Prime Minister Janez Jansa said, two months after the epidemic was declared. The mountainous nation of two million people, which borders Italy, had reported around 1,500 Coronavirus cases and 103 deaths as of Thursday.

But with the rate of new infections trailing off, the government ordered borders open for all EU citizens, while non-EU citizens will have to stay in quarantine. "Since the danger of spreading the SARS-CoV-2 virus remains, some general and special measures will remain in force," it said in a statement. Public gatherings remain banned while social distancing rules and mask wearing remain mandatory in public spaces. Earlier this week, it announced football and all other team competitions could resume from May 23. Despite Slovenia apparently declaring an end to the epidemic, experts clarified that the disease was still present in the country.

"No other European state has so far declared the epidemic was over so we should be cautious in Slovenia, too," infectious diseases expert Mateja Logar said. "The virus remains present," he added. Declaring the end of the epidemic meant the government avoided an automatic extension until the end of June of the first package of economic measures approved to help the population and companies, according to Public Radio Slovenija.

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