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Slovenia is 1st in Europe to call an end to its coronavirus epidemic

The Slovenian government late on Thursday called an official end to its coronavirus epidemic, becoming the first European country to do so, after authorities confirmed fewer than seven new coronavirus cases each day for the past two weeks.

Country of 2 million people has so far reported 1,464 coronavirus cases, 103 deaths

Cars queue at the Slovenia-Croatia border in Dragonja, Slovenia today after the Slovenian government late yesterday called an official end to its coronavirus epidemic. (Reuters)

The Slovenian government late on Thursday called an official end to its coronavirus epidemic, becoming the first European country to do so, after authorities confirmed fewer than seven new coronavirus cases each day for the past two weeks.

People now arriving in Slovenia from other European Union states will no longer be obligated to go into a quarantine for at least seven days, as was the case from early April, the government said in a statement.

The country of two million people, which borders Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, has so far reported 1,464 coronavirus cases and 103 deaths. It declared an epidemic on March 12.

"Slovenia has tamed the epidemic over the past two months. ... Today, Slovenia has the best epidemiologic picture in Europe," Prime Minister Janez Jansa told parliament earlier Thursday.

Some aid measures to end

The end of the epidemic means some measures, including financial aid to citizens and firms hit by the coronavirus, will expire at the end of May.

The government said foreign citizens who show signs of coronavirus infection will still not be allowed to enter the country.

A quarantine of at least 14 days will remain in place for people from non-EU states, except for some exemptions that include diplomats and people transporting cargo.

Citizens will still have to follow basic rules to prevent a possible spread of infection, the government said without elaborating.

People have been required to wear masks in indoor public spaces, stand at least 1.5 metres apart and disinfect hands upon entering public spaces.

Since the middle of March, Slovenia has closed all schools, sports and cultural institutions, bars, restaurants, hotels and shops apart from food shops and drugstores, while cancelling public transport.

The government started easing its lockdown on April 20. Public transport resumed earlier this week, while next week some pupils will return to schools. All bars and restaurants, as well as small hotels with up to 30 rooms, will be allowed to open next week.

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