Policy responses for Slovenia - HSRM


Policy responses for Slovenia

1.3 Isolation and quarantine

Update 20 October:

Because of rising numbers of newly infected in October, the epidemiological service was unable to complete sufficient contact tracing.

As a consequence, some procedural changes have taken place: a person instructed to isolate and enter quarantine will be given detailed instructions by an epidemiologist and how to anonymously upload their data on the Corona App, or #OstaniZdrav (#StayHealthy).

At the start of the epidemic, home isolation was limited to confirmed and suspected cases and their close contacts according to advice on the website of NIJZ (www.nijz.si ) and carried out through case identification and contact tracing. The case criteria for suspected cases has changed throughout the epidemic. From January to late February the definition included asymptomatic travellers returning from lockdown zones in Hubei and Northern Italy as well as symptomatic travellers from other high-risk areas and contacts of confirmed cases. All suspected cases underwent testing and were advised to self-isolate until confirmation of a negative test result. Non-symptomatic persons were advised to seek assistance only if they were to develop symptoms. 

Currently, cases are considered those who are: symptomatic for COVID-19, but do not present a severe course; and those who are symptomatic and require medical assistance – in these cases they are tested and assessed for their condition and either admitted or sent home for self-isolation. Suspected cases are those who were in risky exposure to known cases.

Mandatory quarantine measures were introduced early on for people returning from places with a very high infection rate, including Wuhan and people who had been on cruises with confirmed outbreaks. Asymptomatic persons were mandatorily quarantined on repatriation. Quarantine is based on an assessment by the regional epidemiologist, upon which the Health Inspectorate prepares an order, which is signed by the Minister of Health. 

Citizens repatriated and other persons entering Slovenia after 11 April 2020 are automatically put into a 7-day quarantine. They are tested after 7 days and if negative, they are released. If their test is unclear or cannot get a quick result, their quarantine is extended until this happens. Quarantine for seasonal workers arriving to Slovenia (mostly from Bulgaria and Romania) according to the same rules. Day migrants and those who are in same day transit are excluded from this provision. Persons who have no known residence or clear address in Slovenia are not allowed to enter. At first quarantine was mostly carried out at home with regular check-ups by GPs and regional epidemiologists. Later, when these groups were bigger and the probability of transmission from them to their families or persons living with them increased, they are now placed in hotels for at least 7 days and they are allowed to complete the period at home, should they wish so.

On 6 March 2020 all visits to persons residing in long-term care facilities were forbidden and nursing homes could no longer be accessed by persons not residing or being employed there. Prisons, immigration centres and young offenders’ institutions have also been asked to place suspected cases in protective isolation and request symptomatic staff to isolate at home. Some prisoners with sentences that were about to expire have been released.

People with symptoms and those classified as vulnerable have been dissuaded from visiting health facilities for consultations. Instead, they were asked to call either their GP or visit the closest entry point (also see Section 3.2 Managing cases), report symptoms and follow instructions from the doctor doing the triage. If symptoms are consistent or suspicious for an infection with Covid-19, they are advised to report to one of the 16 ‘entry points’ where swabs are taken. They are then asked to self-isolate until the result of the test is returned. In addition to the entry points, on 2 April, a ‘drive-through’ facility was established next to the primary health centre in Koper on the coast.