Slovenia will reopen ski resorts and some shops and has eased restrictions on people entering the country imposed to help reduce the rate of COVID-19 infections, after coming under pressure over its handling of the pandemic.
From Saturday, daily migrant workers and academics entering Slovenia from European Union countries that have lower 14-day incidences of COVID-19 will not have to present negative coronavirus tests, or be quarantined, the government said.
Also, ski resorts as well as shops and service businesses not larger that 400 square meters will be allowed to reopen next week, with weekly mandatory testing of employees, Economy Minister Zdravko Pocivalsek said.
The Alpine country of 2 million people, which imposed strict lockdown rules in October to tackle rising COVID-19 infections, recorded 990 new cases and 18 deaths on Friday.
The number of daily cases, which in January stood on average at about 1,500, have varied lately and fell in recent days, enabling the government to ease restrictions after having been criticised publicly over a long lockdown that has been hurting the economy.
In January, a member of the centre-right ruling coalition quit the government and called for a non-confidence motion, citing its poor handling of the COVID-19 pandemic among other issues.
But the motion was dropped after some deputies became infected and would not have been able to take part in the vote.
Only citizens of Spain, Portugal and the Czech Republic, which currently have a worse epidemiological situation than Slovenia, will have to present negative coronavirus tests, the government said.
People from EU states or from within the Schengen free movement area arriving for health or family reasons are also exempt from restrictions if they return to their countries within 12 hours.
Slovenia has vaccinated up to 50,000 people with two doses and had 15,742 active coronavirus cases as of Friday. The total number of cases is 173,201, according to its National Institute for Public Health.