Slovenia battling worst surge in infections since start of pandemic

Slovenia is in the midst of the worst surge in coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic. [EPA-EFE / IGOR KUPLJENIK]

Slovenia is in the midst of the worst surge in coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic. The country reported 3,456 new cases for Wednesday, a new record, while 18 patients with COVID-19 died, the highest daily death rate since February.

The 14-day incidence per 100,000 population stood at 1,391, one of the highest in Europe.

Hospitals continue to fill up and intensive care units are near full capacity. The majority of the country’s hospitals have already suspended all elective procedures to make room for Covid patients, of which there are now 670 in hospital.

Bojana Beović, the infectious diseases specialist who heads the national advisory committee on immunisation, said that the virus was currently spreading in the population “almost naturally”, as the vaccination rate was not high enough to curb the spread.

Only 53% of Slovenia’s population are fully vaccinated, one of the lowest rates in the EU, and 56% have received one shot of a coronavirus vaccine.

In recent weeks vaccine uptake has been poor with just a few thousand getting vaccinated per day in a population of two million, and most of those are recipients of booster shots.

The government is expected to decide on new restrictive measures on Thursday. Unofficial information suggests existing restrictions will be tightened out of fears that a lockdown would stifle the recovery of the economy.

(Sebastijan R. Maček | sta.si)

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