The central European nation of Slovenia has become the first country on the continent to officially declare an end to its COVID-19 epidemic. Over the last several months, Slovenia has had over 1400 cases of COVID-19 and 103 deaths. The Slovenian National Institute for Public Health has now reported only 35 cases and zero deaths in the last 14 days and believes the reproductive rate of the virus is now below one. This means that every person who contracts the virus will transmit it to less than one person, on average.
With this declaration, bars, restaurants, and schools will re-open or partially re-open and European citizens will be able to cross into Slovenia without a mandatory quarantine period. However, some of the country’s protective measures will remain in place. For example, the government will still restrict all gatherings of more than five people.
When I first came across this story, I wasn’t sure whether I could comfortably label it as “good news.” And honestly ,I am still struggling with it. If the United States is any example, many politicians are likely too quick to believe the danger has passed, blinded by their desire to get the economy up and running. We could very well open up too soon and in doing so lead to tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths.
On the other hand, I do not have the data or understanding to make that judgment for Slovenia. All I can do is trust that they’ve made the right decision for their country. With very few new cases being reported in the country, I believe it’s worth celebrating that now the nation’s two million citizens can start rebuilding their lives, see their loved ones, and enjoy all the luxuries they’ve gone without for the last couple months. I suppose only time will tell whether they made this decision in wisdom or ignorance.
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