Slovenia has decided to tighten entry requirements as of Monday as the Omicron-driven wave of COVID infections continues to surge. Still, it reduced the duration of quarantine out of concern that too many people would be absent from work.
Quarantine-free entry is restricted to the vaccinated, recovered or tested, whereby those who get tested need to present a negative PCR test no older than 48 hours and a rapid test no older than 24 hours.
Quarantine after a high-risk contact or when entering the country without a COVID pass has been cut from ten to seven days. If a person is ordered on the border to quarantine, the time spent in quarantine can be cut to five days with a negative PCR test.
“Over the next month, public life could shut down due to the huge number of quarantines… It is possible that we would have up to 400,000 people sick or quarantined at the same time,” Health Minister Janez Poklukar told the Siol news portal.
With Omicron spreading fast across Europe, the government has also lifted the ban on travellers from several African countries where the highly contagious variant was first detected.
Omicron became the dominant variant of coronavirus in the country last week, and cases have been more than doubling week-on-week almost every day.
While hospitals have not started to fill up yet, the country enters the Omicron wave with almost two-thirds of intensive care capacity filled, overhang from the wave driven by the Delta variant.
“Fact is that countries with a higher vaccination rate have far fewer ICU beds occupied than we do, and we’re worried about that… In the coming weeks, our society and economy will face organisational challenges that we have not seen since we’ve become an independent country,” Poklular added.
(Sebastijan R. Maček | sta.si)