Coronavirus in Slovenia: Latest Travel Info & Updates

19 May 2020

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Coronavirus in Slovenia: End of Epidemic

As of 19 May the official number of infected in Slovenia is at 1,466  with 104 reported deaths. Slovenia has officially declared the end of the epidemic that had started on March 12, when the government started to imposed restrictions such as movement between municipalities, new initiatives for supporting the economy and rules for using indoor public spaces. Many restrictions have now been lifted - museums, galleries and libraries have been allowed to reopen as of well as a number of shops. As of 11 May buses and trains have restarted but passengers must follow safety guidelines of keeping at a 1,5m distance from others, wear masks and disinfect hands regularly. Life on the streets is gradually starting to go back to normal with many more people walking around and having coffees on bar and cafe terraces. The first reported case of Coronavirus in Slovenia (or COVID-19 as it's called by its friends) was on 4 March. On 12 March, the country declared a national epidemic and set in motion a national emergency response plan which included closing down all educational institutions, implementing work from home, restricting border crossings with neighboring countries and setting in motion restrictions on general public life.

Easing of restrictions due to Coronavirus in Slovenia

Update: As of May 18, schools have reopened for children of the first three and last grade of primary school. As of May 11, public transportation has restarted. While physical distance measures are still in place, as of 30 April people are able to move between municipalities freely.  As of 18 April, several sport activities are being allowed again and sport centers like tennis fields and such have reopened. If cycling was just a week or two ago being demonized on social media it seems like those self-acclaimed sports and morality experts have relaxed a little. 

As of 30 March, the powers that be have prohibited travel to municipalities outside the place of official temporary or permanent residence, with exceptions of needing to get to work, caring for someone in need or accessing food or medical care otherwise not available in their own municipality of residence. These measures were taken after many people apparently mistook self-isolation and the quarantine as freedom for holiday makers and a trip to the most popular of Slovene tourist destinations. 

All public transportation has been halted, but taxis are running and must follow strict guidelines of disinfecting the vehicle after each passenger. As far as we know, horses are allowed, and there are more of those carrying policemen seen walking around.

Shops only allow high-risk groups such as elderly, pregnant women and differently-abled entry between 8:00-10:00 am and the last hour of the shop's opening hours. In addition to keeping your distance to other people in closed public places it is obligatory to wear a protective mask or otherwise cover your nose and mouth with a shawl, scarf or equivalent and disinfect your hands at the provided hand sanitisers. 

We've been trying to make the most of the very serious and depressing situation. Fun Fact: If you're carrying a 6-pack of Corona down the street, approximately 70% of the people you pass will smile and/or laugh at you

Markets, cafes and bars are back!

If two weeks ago everything aside from supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, post offices, petrol stations and newsagents was closed, non-essential food stores, car and bike repair shops, hairdresser salons, beauty parlors and cafe, bar terraces and restaurants have been allowed to reopen. We can once again do the Ljubljana thing and have lazy coffee after lazy coffee by the river. While local farmers have been returning to sell their produce at local markets around town, many had during the quarantine period resorted to local delivery and are still up and running.

What is up and running again?

If 13 March saw the closing of museums, galleries, libraries, cinemas and tourist attractions, closely followed by restaurants and bars, this is no longer the case. While home food, drink and grocery delivery is flourishing, as are a number of online activities gathered on our Events in Ljubljana page, many museums, galleries and outdoor places like Zoo Ljubljana have reopened.

People stuck at home have proven to find all sorts of activities, creative engagements and projects to rebel against loneliness, compulsive cleaning or other results of anxieties related to these crazy times of quarantine. Now is the time for watching movies, playing games and supporting local businesses.

Regardless of a tsunami of pictures of homemade bread on social media, Home Delivery Restaurants in Ljubljana have not lost their game, and delivery companies like Wolt and ehrana.si are hurrying to meet demand. Since they've adapted to a safe, non-contact and risk-free delivery service, there is really nothing to worry about except the competition it poses to your home cooking. 

This photo was actually taken in Sofia, Bulgaria, but it's better than any we've seen in Ljubljana (more info at iyp.me/77571f)

Where can I find more information about the Coronavirus in Slovenia?

The government's official announcements (in English) can be read here, although they are not updated as frequently as the Slovene language one here, which is nothing a little Google Translate can't fix. 
Every day at 14:00 the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) updates the number of conducted test results from the day before as well as an overview of the number of infected, hospitalized, in critical condition and the number of death cases. You can follow some updates, lifestyle tips and other articles of interest here.

Are land borders to Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Italy open?

Current information about which land border checkpoints with Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Italy are open and where it is currently possible to enter or exit Slovenia are listed here.

Italy: As of 19 March, 4 checkpoints have been set up along the Slovene-Italian border that allows entry for Slovene nationals or foreigners with temporary or permanent residence in Slovenia, individuals with a maximum 3-day old negative COVID-19 test results or anyone with body temperature below 37,5 degrees and no clear evidence of coronavirus infection symptoms. An additional temporary border crossing Robič has been opened where Slovene nationals working in Italy can cross over with an official letter from their employer. 

Austria: As of 25 March, 13 checkpoints have been set up along the Slovene-Austrian border. Nationals and foreigners holding a maximum 3-day old negative COVID-19 test results or anyone with body temperature below 37,5 degrees and no clear evidence of coronavirus infection symptoms are all allowed entry.

Hungary: Entering Slovenia from Hungary is possible via three checkpoints and all vehicles on the Hungarian side are examined. Upon entering Slovenia, no other measures are being taken except for drivers keeping away from each other and carrying protective gear.

Croatia: The Croatian government has announced partially opening its borders to Slovenia starting May 18th. 

Studies have shown that a majority of people really like colourful maps, even if they can't tell exactly what's going on with them

Can you give me some historical perspective?

Sure, why not. The most famous deadly disease to ever run roughshod over Europe was the 14th century's Great Bubonic Plague, or Black Death, which killed an estimated 75-200m people worldwide, and some 30-60% of Europe's population. Like most things in those days, it took the original plague years to spread across Europe (see map above). While the 2020 incarnation of the pestilence is spreading much faster, the fatality rate is estimated to be around 2% - much higher than the standard flu, but much lower than the history's worst pandemics. So while you should definitely be taking this situation very seriously, including taking all reasonable preventative measures, freaking out isn't going to help things. We recommend listening to the Bobby McFerrin's classic tune on repeat (see below), or ordering some uplifting books like the Dali Lama's Art of Happiness, pretty much anything from the School of Life, or any of these stunners from our friends at The Slovenia Publishing.

Where can I get additional info?

The most reputable source for detailed information on the Coronavirus worldwide is probably the World Health Organisation, who have pages with general info on COVID-19 here, advice on stopping the spread of Coronavirus here, and a Q&A page here. If you like looking at hard data and very scary maps, Johns Hopkins University in the US has this live updated world map, while this site has all the same data without the scary map covered in red circles. 

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