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Epidemiologist Branko Kolaric Discusses Tourist Season and Infection Rates

June the 7th, 2021 - Croatian epidemiologist Branko Kolaric sat down recently to discuss the rapidly approaching tourist season and what that might mean for infection rates in Croatia when all the foreign tourists leave at the end of summer.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, epidemiologist Branko Kolaric commented on the current epidemiological situation for N1 this morning, and when speaking about the restrictions in care homes and nursing homes, he said that for the oldest and most unwell residents of such facilities, visitors should be allowed in for longer than fifteen minutes if the said visitor is vaccinated.

"The only thing left of the restrictive measures in care homes is if the resident hasn't yet been vaccinated, and was in the hospital, that after hospital treatment they go into self-isolation and that unvaccinated visitors can visit them for only fifteen minutes," Branko Kolaric told N1.

He said that the current vaccination rate across Croatian nursing homes is very good.

''We really do have a high turnout and currently there are a total of just twenty infected people living in nursing homes across Croatia. Of those who have fallen ill, the majority are unvaccinated people, but also some people who have been vaccinated. We know that the vaccine doesn't protect anyone at a level of 100 percent, but in the third wave, mortality was reduced by twenty times,'' explained Branko Kolaric, adding that he hoped that this pace of vaccination would continue so that we could enter autumn more calmly.

"We still have enough people interested in getting vaccinated and I hope that we will continue to have those people vaccinated in sufficient numbers," Branko Kolaric added.

''It's possible that we have variations and don't have a descent to zero as we had last summer and that is why it's still important to adhere to the anti-epidemic measures, avoid having too much contact with others, especially people who aren't yet vaccinated, and to avoid larger crowds, because in doing all that you can get infected,'' said Kolaric.

He also spoke about a possible easing of the country's epidemiological measures.

''I do think that the measures will be revised before the summer arrives and it's possible that the provision of wearing masks in areas where people have been vaccinated will be abolished. So, it all depends on how many people get vaccinated. That being said, we can't rely solely on vaccination, but we must also adhere to measures until we achieve collective immunity. Where vaccination coverage is low, at around 30-40 per cent, it remains possible that new waves of infection will occur. We need a very high percentage of vaccination,'' explained Kolaric.

Many countries are currently talking about the new wave of the coronavirus pandemic that awaits them and that the question is not whether or not it will happen, but how strong it will be. Asked if a new wave of infection awaits Croatia after the tourist season, Branko Kolaric said that on the one hand it is a matter of speculation, and that, taking into account the situation in the country's nursing homes, where there are ten times fewer infected people and twenty times fewer deaths, we can expect just that.

''That’s why we need to vaccinate people. We're never going to completely eliminate the virus, but it is important to reduce the number of deaths caused by it,'' concluded Branko Kolaric.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of testing centres and vaccination points across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and choose your preferred language.

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