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Slovenia imposes new COVID-19 restrictions to boost vaccination rates

Xinhua English

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LJUBLJANA, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) --In a drive to increase COVID-19 immunization coverage, the government of Slovenia on Wednesday introduced new restrictions for those not vaccinated.

According to Slovenia's National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), only 944,443 inhabitants, or 44.8 percent of the population, have been fully immunized by Sept. 15, which places the country among the EU states with the lowest vaccination rates.

From Sept. 15, only people who have been vaccinated, tested negative in the past few days or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months will be able to attend public events or visit public places like restaurants, bars, shopping centers, hairdressers or petrol stations. The few exceptions include children under the age of 12, visits to food shops or pharmacists and urgent visits to the doctor.

Domen, a 61-year-old engineer who was filling up his car at a petrol station in Ljubljana, said he agreed with tougher restrictions.

"It is necessary to impose stricter measures, otherwise we will never get rid of this epidemic," he told Xinhua.

The 50-year-old journalist Darja contracted COVID-19 six months ago. "It was not easy for me to overcome the disease, therefore I do not plan to get vaccinated as I fear I could develop serious health problems," she told Xinhua.

"I work from home, so I can afford to avoid places where I could get infected. From now on, I will simply avoid all places where I would have to show a certificate of vaccination or a COVID-19 test result," she argued.

On Sept. 14, Slovenia recorded 1,364 new COVID-19 cases, up from 97 new daily cases a month earlier. To date, 4,479 Slovenians have died of COVID-19. Over the past year, the number of deaths registered in Slovenia increased by 18.1 percent compared to the average number of deaths in the years between 2015 and 2019, the Statistical Office reported, with analysts attributing excess deaths mostly to COVID-19. Enditem

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