March 12, 2020 / 9:12 AM / 20 days ago

Slovenia to close schools, reject cargo traffic from Italy

Medical staff checks a passenger in a car for coronavirus (COVID-19) at the border crossing with Italy in Vrtojba, Slovenia, March 11 , 2020. REUTERS/Borut Zivulovic

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Slovenia plans to close all schools and kindergartens for two weeks from Monday in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Marjan Sarec said on Thursday.

He also told a news conference that Slovenia would start rejecting cargo traffic from Italy, as neighbouring Croatia was rejecting some trucks and Slovenia does not want the trucks to be stuck in the country. He did not say what trucks would be rejected and from what date.

Later on Thursday prime minister designate Janez Jansa, who is expected to take over late on Friday or on Saturday after his cabinet is confirmed by parliament, said Slovenia would limit the transport of fruit, vegetables and live animals from Italy and other countries where the virus is present to prevent its spread through those products.

Jansa also said all public events would be cancelled.

The outgoing government said the country would limit vacation for doctors and nurses to ensure proper care for the infected.

“I call upon all citizens to follow the situation and stay home if possible,” said Sarec.

The cumulative total of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Slovenia rose to 82 on Thursday, up from 57 on Wednesday. The first two elementary schools were closed on Wednesday because at least one teacher in each school tested positive.

On Wednesday, Slovenia had limited the number of border crossings with Italy and introduced health checks there.

Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Alex Richardson

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