Slovenia becomes first EU nation to declare end of Covid-19 epidemic

Slovenia becomes first EU nation to declare end of Covid-19 epidemic

Bled Island, Slovenia

Frank Bienewald | LightRocket | Getty Images

Slovenia has become the first European country to declare its domestic coronavirus outbreak officially over.

The country’s government confirmed in a statement on Friday that its Covid-19 epidemic had ended, after Slovenia’s National Institute of Public Health concluded “all indicators point to a slowdown in the spread of the virus in the population.”

According to data from Slovenia’s Ministry of Health, just one new case of the coronavirus was confirmed on Thursday, with no deaths reported. Over the past two weeks, just 35 people had been infected with the coronavirus, according to the health authority, while the reproductive number for the virus — known as the R rating or R0 — was below 1.

An R below 1 means each infected individual will on average transmit the virus to less than one other person.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Janez Jansa told the country’s parliament that Slovenia “has the best epidemiological picture in Europe.”

Despite declaring an end to the epidemic, the Slovenian government said it would keep measures such as widescale testing, contact tracing and bans on public gatherings in place pending a review on May 31. It will also remain mandatory to wear face coverings in public spaces until at least the end of the month.

However, Slovenia will relax some of the measures it had put in place at its borders to prevent the virus being imported from abroad.

EU citizens who enter the country will no longer be required to quarantine, provided they have not recently left the European Union for a period of more than two weeks. All other foreign nationals who enter Slovenia will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

Slovenians who have symptoms of Covid-19 or state that they have tested positive for the virus will be instructed by police to contact medical personnel immediately, while foreign citizens who have the virus will not be permitted to cross the border.

Slovenia, which has a population of just over 2 million people, shares borders with Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. So far, the country has a total of 1,464 confirmed infections with 103 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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