Slovenia to limit movement inside country to curb coronavirus

LJUBLJANA, March 29 (Reuters) - Slovenia will further tighten its restrictions on citizens' movements, imposing restrictions on people moving outside their local municipalities from Monday, as it battles the spread of coronavirus, the government said on Sunday.

The country, which borders Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, has so far confirmed 730 coronavirus cases, with 11 deaths.

People will be able to leave their municipality if their work requires it, or if they need to go to a doctor.

The government also unveiled a 3-billion-euro ($3.34 billion) package on Sunday designed to help citizens and companies hit by the coronavirus. The package is expected to be passed by parliament in coming days.

It said schools, which closed two weeks ago, will stay closed until the epidemic slows, something that will be determined by health experts.

Under the new restrictions, anyone going into a closed public space, like a food shop, has to wear protective gloves and cover his mouth and nose by a mask or a scarf.

Elderly people will be allowed into food shops only from 8 a.m.-10 a.m., a time set aside for people from vulnerable groups.

Over the past two weeks, Slovenia has closed all bars, restaurants, hotels, sports centres, cultural institutions and shops apart from food shops. It also has cancelled all public transport, including air traffic and prohibited all socialising in public spaces.

It has introduced health checks on the borders with Italy and Austria and enforced a 14-day quarantine for all Slovenian citizens returning from coronavirus hotspots such as Spain.


($1 = 0.8977 euros) (Reporting By Marja Novak Editing by Frances Kerry)