Slovenia introduces expanded PCT rule

Under a new government regulation, which comes amid an increasing number of coronavirus infections and hospitals rapidly filling up with patients with Covid-19, the vaccinated cured rule (preboleli, cepljeni, testirani-PCT) in Slovenia will expand into a number of activities from today.

Health Minister Janez Poklukar unveiled the new regulation, which will take full effect within seven days, on Saturday, as he outlined different scenarios according to which the outbreak could spread, depending on vaccination rates.

The PCT requirement is being imposed on anyone who comes into contact with other persons or engages in environments or activities where there is a direct risk of an explosion.

The PCT rule will thus apply to personnel in health care, public administration, education and training, social care, retail and personal services, cultural activities, religious education or the collective exercise of religious freedom.

Other activities and facilities where staff should comply with PCT rules include indoor sports, taxi services, regular workstations, police, security, inspection services, traffic wardens, and cab elevator operators.

The rule will not apply in cases of emergency activities to ensure care, calm and public order, medical assistance, rescue and disaster relief.

Exceptions also include children up to the age of 12, parents who bring young children to kindergarten or school, and customers of retail services and institutions.

However, the PCT would apply to inmates in residential facilities such as care homes, prisons, asylum centers and integration homes, or their visitors, including visitors to hospitalized patients, as well as athletes involved in contact sports inside and out and picked up passengers.

For those who are not vaccinated or cured, the testing requirement will also be satisfied with rapid antigen tests or self-testing once a week. Self-testing can be done at home or at work at a cost covered by the employer.

Tests for those who cannot be vaccinated due to their health condition will be paid for by the state. The same goes for voluntary self-testing of older elementary school children and high school students.

Face masks will be mandatory in all indoor and outdoor public spaces when it is not possible to maintain a distance of at least 1.5 meters.

There will be some exceptions to the mask rule, including children up to the age of 7, students in the first five grades of elementary school or the first two grades of music school, preschool teachers and students and students in dance and certain music classes and physical education.

Masks will also not be mandatory when the PCT rule is being implemented in public spaces for members of the same family.

Presenting the measures, Poklukar reiterated the importance of vaccination, saying that if a sufficient portion of the population is not immunized, Slovenia is in a “tough autumn”. The fourth wave is expected to peak in October.

The reproduction number that indicates how many people on average are infected by each currently infected person is between 1.2 and 1.5. Currently, 47% of the population has received one dose of vaccine and 43% have been fully vaccinated.

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