Slovenia is preparing for a possible outbreak of Coronavirus as the first victims of the virus were confirmed by the Italian Government.
Many people believe it is no longer a question whether there will be an outbreak of Coronavirus in Slovenia, the real question is only when will Coronavirus reach Slovenia. Slovenian hospitals and health centers are testing people whether they are testing positive for Coronavirus. At all airports, they are measuring passengers temperatures after the arrival of each airplane.
Yesterday we reported on the official statement from the Slovenian health minister who (tried to) reassured the public on Sunday that there was no reason for alarm. The official statement was prompted due to the major outbreak in Italy. The epicenter of the outbreak is in northern Italy, where at least 7 people have died and the number of confirmed cases jumped from three on Friday morning to at least 229 by Monday evening. Northern Italy is a popular skiing destination for many Slovenians. Italy has since closed its borders.
Coronavirus affecting Slovenian tourism and business sectors
It is “safe” to say Coronavirus is affecting the Slovenian tourism and business sectors. In 2019, Slovenia had 6,23 million visitors, which is 5 % more than in 2018. Slovenian tourist organizations and other tourist associations have hoped that 2020 will be another record-breaking year for Slovenian tourism. However, Slovenian Tourism Board, hoteliers, and restaurant owners are all seeing a huge decline in visitors from foreign countries. Many reservations are canceled due to the spreading of Coronavirus from China. The biggest decline and cancellation are coming from the tourist coming from Asia, more specifically China.
Slovenia’s tourism has been worst hit by the outbreak of the coronavirus – mostly due to travel cancellations of Asian tourists. The situation could be exacerbated by the virus spreading to neighbouring countries.
The novel coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak has so far had no profound effect on Slovenia’s economy, but problems have arisen in certain areas. Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said on Monday that the government was deliberating mitigation measures, such as subsidies to compensate for shorter working time.
The Slovenian national postal operator, Pošta Slovenije, has stopped accepting mail for China until further notice after its partner air carriers suspended flights to the country in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Until further notice, Pošta Slovenije will no longer accept letters and packages destined for China. Deliveries already on their way to China are expected to arrive with a delay, the company said. Pošta Slovenije is looking for substitute transport channels so as to be able to resume service and allow users to post all types of mail.
Fraport Slovenija, the company operating Ljubljana airport, has said that some exporters have had difficulties dispatching their deliveries because of suspension of air links with China.
Luka Koper, the operator of Slovenia’s sole commercial port, has told us that the Coronavirus situation in Slovenia is expected to affect transshipment volumes. Container cargo and vehicles are likely to be impacted the most. While it is too early to say anything concrete, Luka Koper pointed out that some global logistics companies have already closed their distribution centers in China and that some shipowners are announcing the cancellation of certain scheduled lines. As regards measures to contain the virus, Luka Koper explained that the monitoring of ships in Slovenia, including of the health situation of crews, is in the domain of the Slovenian Maritime Administration.