Despite the ban on gatherings of more than ten people, protesters flooded the streets of Ljubljana on Tuesday in the (erroneous) belief that they were forming a new “united front.” In the midst of the epidemic, they accused the government of “dictatorship” and “repression,” saying that it was unconstitutional and unjust for the government to put in place the measures to curb the spread of the virus that had been killing people all over the world for more than a year now, regardless of whether they believe in it or not. The reckless protesters were mostly not wearing masks, and we will simply have to wait and see what the situation will be like in the next two weeks regarding new infections and the number of deaths. “We had a lockdown. The number of cases fell; the catering and tourism industry were able to slowly reopen. And now – this,” doctor Bojanka Štern wrote.
Such reckless behaviour will have no other results than the increase of the number of newly infected people and the number of deaths, perhaps even resulting in re-closures of certain sectors. It is unfortunate that the government has been working all year on limiting contacts in order to curb the spread of the virus and make sure we could get back to living more or less normal as soon as possible, and now these protests happened, that will surely set us back again. What is most worrying, however, are the consequences that the reckless protests will have on people’s health and lives. “Could the University Medical Centres of Ljubljana and Maribor tell us how many people are suffocating on oxygen, how many are on ventilators and how many children are hospitalised due to the multi-organ inflammatory syndrome and in the intensive care unit?” dr. Štern added.
Despite the fact that there are currently over ten thousand active infections in the country, many people at the protest were not wearing masks. How many of them were already infected when they came to the protests and how many people got infected there will only be clear in a few weeks. Some of them might not show any signs of illness, but it will be difficult when they bring the virus to their loved ones, their grandparents, who may need medical attention. We can only hope that the closure of certain industries in the past year was not meaningless and that people like Damir Črnčec and many others will not continue claiming that the government “screwed up” the fight with the epidemic. Namely, it has been “screwed up” by those who continue to act recklessly and who do not adhere to temporary measures.
Prime Minister Janša also responded to the protests on Twitter, writing: “With over ten thousand active covid-19 infections in the country and the epidemiological restriction on the gathering of more than ten people, today’s massive spread of the virus will result in hundreds of seriously ill and dead in the coming weeks. #crime.”
We also sent the questions that dr. Bojanka Štern posed to the University Medical Centres in Maribor and Ljubljana, hoping that the number might “wake up” some of the protesters and those who do not adhere to the measures. We are still waiting for their answers.