Slovenia eyes possible lockdown as COVID-19 infections surge

Oct 26, 2021, 7:24 PM | Updated: Oct 27, 2021, 7:53 am
FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021 file photo, medical workers wearing protective gear wait to a...

FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021 file photo, medical workers wearing protective gear wait to administer the COVID-19 vaccine, at Belgrade Fair makeshift vaccination center, Serbia. Slovenia's health minister on Wednesday, Oct. 27 warned the country could face a nightmare scenario if it does not contain its coronavirus outbreak, which is coming amid a surge in infections in low-vaccination countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Serbian doctors said children and small babies are among those on ventilation, and heath authorities are considering bringing some school classes online instead of in-person. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic, File)

(AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic, File)

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) — Slovenia’s health minister on Wednesday warned that the country could face a nightmare scenario if it does not contain the virus outbreak raging in the small Alpine nation and other low-vaccination countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

Health Minister Janez Poklukar said hospital beds have been filling up as the country logged the highest number of daily cases since January. With more than 3,000 confirmed infections in the past 24 hours, Poklukar said a lockdown is looming.

“While we watched with fear at neighboring Italy at the start of the epidemic, we are now at a turning point because of low vaccination rates and we could easily have a Bergamo scenario,” Poklukar said, evoking the hardest-hit Italian city last year.

Officials say Slovenia has fully vaccinated around 53% of its 2 million people. Authorities plan to open more COVID-19 wards in the European Union nation as intensive care units are 92% full, Poklukar said.

Other nations in Central and Eastern Europe that also have low vaccination numbers have seen infections surge to record levels. Reluctantly, countries have been reimposing some restrictions to get a grip on the situation.

Slovenia so far has required COVID-19 passes for employees to enter their workplaces. Croatia has required them for health care and nursing home workers and in Serbia, the health pass detailing one’s vaccination status is required for late evening hours in bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Romania has reinstated tougher restrictions that also include a curfew and shutting down some venues.

While the European Union’s average vaccination rate is around 70%, countries in Central and Eastern Europe hover around 50% and less. Despite high numbers of COVID-related deaths in recent weeks in the region, it has seen only a slight up-pick in vaccinations.

“We have the weapon and the means, which is vaccination,” Poklukar said. “And we are not using it.”

In neighboring Croatia, health authorities on Wednesday also reported surging daily new cases of around 4,500 in the country of 4.2 million. Every second test in the capital Zagreb came out positive and new testing sites are being opened, authorities said.

Serbian doctors said children and small babies are among those on ventilation as the weeks-long surge of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations shows no sign of abating. Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said there will be no immediate new restrictions but health authorities were contemplating shifting school classes online.

Serbia on Wednesday logged nearly 7,000 new infections and 64 more deaths. More than 1.1 million people have been infected in the Balkan country of 7 million while nearly 10,000 have died.

“The most important thing at this moment is to implement the rules already in place,” said Brnabic. “If we don’t do that, any new measures will make no sense.”


Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at:

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


The logo for Twitter appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Mond...
Associated Press

New Twitter CEO steps from behind the scenes to high profile

Newly named Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal has emerged from behind the scenes to take over one of Silicon Valley’s highest-profile and politically volatile jobs. But his prior lack of name recognition coupled with a solid technical background appears to be what some big company backers were looking for to lead Twitter out of its current […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Man charged in rape on Philadelphia train held for trial

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A man accused of raping a woman on a commuter train outside Philadelphia while other passengers were present was ordered held for trial by a magistrate judge Monday. Fiston Ngoy, 35, is charged with rape and related offenses in the Oct. 13 attack on a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority train that drew […]
15 hours ago
FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2018, file photo, Infowars host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones speaks o...
Associated Press

Jones wants Sandy Hook ‘hoax’ case jury to hear his defenses

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) — Infowars host Alex Jones’ lawyers are trying to get his free speech defense and other claims before a jury to argue that he is not liable for damages for calling the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting a hoax years ago. The effort comes despite a Connecticut judge ruling this month […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Sheriff: Hunter accidentally kills his 11-year-old daughter

HALLSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A hunter accidentally shot and killed his 11-year-old daughter while they were hunting near their East Texas hometown, investigators said. In a statement, the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office in Marshall, Texas, said it received multiple reports shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday of a hunting accident just east of Hallsville, Texas. Callers […]
15 hours ago
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, left, s...
Associated Press

Austin orders new review of deadly 2019 airstrike in Syria

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered a new review of a U.S. airstrike in Syria in March 2019 that killed dozens, including women and children, to assess the extent of civilian casualties and whether the strike violated the laws of war. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Monday that Austin chose the […]
15 hours ago
In this photo provided by GivingTuesday, Asha Curran poses for a picture. (Grant Slater/GivingTuesd...
Associated Press

GivingTuesday CEO talks about campaign, younger donors

In the past 10 years, charities have made splashy fundraising appeals and raked in billions in donations on GivingTuesday, which takes place the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Last year, American donors gave nearly $2.5 billion amid growing needs brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the nation’s racial reckoning. How much money will flood into […]
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Slovenia eyes possible lockdown as COVID-19 infections surge