Wednesday, 10 August 2022

These were the Key Mistakes in Treatment of Vladimir Matijanić

August 10, 2022 – On August 5, Index’s journalist Vladimir Matijanić, aged fifty-one, tragically passed away due to the negligence of the Croatian health system. With several autoimmune diseases, he tested positive for covid-19 on August 2. Both he and his girlfriend spent days trying to convince the hospital staff to take them seriously. The emergency services only ever looked at him once, refusing to take him into the hospital even when he was extremely ill. Matijanić's colleagues at Index recounted the key mistakes of the system.

For context, TCN first reported the news here, followed by the reaction of the Croatian Health Ministry who ordered an inspection into the medical assistance to the reporter. Understandably, the way the hospital staff treated the dying journalist did not go down well in Croatia, causing public outrage.

At Index, his premature death prompted many of his colleagues to examine the extent to which the poor reaction of the Croatian healthcare system was responsible for this tragic outcome.

It is simply unacceptable that Matijanić, a man with so many serious underlying diseases, which brought him at particular risk for a severe form of covid-19, despite persistent inquiries and even a trip to the hospital, did not manage, over several days, to receive thorough and adequate examination and/or hospitalisation and to receive medicine intended for the prevention of severe forms of disease meant precisely for people of his health profile, which Minister Vili Beroš stated that “we have verified it exists” in stocks in the health system.

We called ten times and begged them to admit Vlado to the hospital. They refused

Questions arise as to how much and in what ways the health care system is responsible for Matijanić's death. In cooperation with several medical experts, Index took to list the key mistakes in order.

Firstly, the main culprit for Matijanić's death, just like for the death of many other patients with covid-19 and other diseases, was a poorly managed health care system, where a part of the doctors and medical staff are its victims, along with regular citizens who need help.

The system did not properly advise Matijanić about vaccination

Matijanić claimed that doctors advised him not to get vaccinated because he had several autoimmune diseases, primarily Sjogren's syndrome and suspected sarcoidosis, as well as dermatopolymyositis, hypergammaglobulinemia and airway abnormalities, including interstitial lung disease, a condition for which sarcoidosis and Sjogren's disease are among the most common causes.

The advice is contrary to scientific conclusions, as studies have shown that people with autoimmune diseases tolerate vaccines well. For example, the Sjogren's Syndrome News page cites the recommendations of the American agency for disease control and prevention, the CDC, according to which most patients with this diagnosis are recommended not only to get vaccinated but also to get booster vaccines.

At the same time, studies have shown that people with autoimmune diseases are a risk group for several reasons, among others because they can get infected more easily, they often have lung diseases, they usually take immunosuppressive drugs, and their reaction to covid-19 can be exaggerated and misdirected, commonly referred to as a cytokine storm.

The fact is that the vaccine against covid-19 in patients with autoimmune diseases, especially in people with dermatopolymyositis, could cause more pronounced side effects, but according to the conducted studies, the risk of side effects is still much lower than from not vaccinating. The doctors who knew about his underlying diseases should have monitored his condition and, in accordance with the development of knowledge and recommendations, should have updated him with them and recommended vaccination with additional monitoring measures. People with such underlying illnesses require more than "routine procedures".

The fact that there are few of them in the population emphasizes, even more, the need for more detailed and expert care. Finally, even if someone in the system had recognised that his condition was such that vaccination was not recommended for him, they should have officially and in writing informed Matijanić about this and then followed it with special attention and updated the recommendations in accordance with the new findings and changes in Matijanić's condition.

On the contrary, it turned out that Matijanić, who went to nursing vocational school and was not an anti-vaxxer, was simply not adequately "guided" by the system in this regard.

Matijanić should have been kept in the hospital with his diagnoses

Matijanić's partner Andrea Topić says that she took him to the Emergency Infectious Disease Department on August 2 thinking that he would be kept there. It is questionable why they didn't do that when they knew about all the diseases he had, but they just let him go home. Topić believes that it is possible that Matijanić's covid-19 developed even before August 2 as his home antigen test already showed he was positive that morning, and a few days earlier he complained to the immunologist about weakness and malaise.

A person with Matijanić's diagnoses should have been admitted to the hospital if he was confirmed to have covid-19 and if he had symptoms such as elevated temperature, weakness, malaise, wheezing, and cough. On the contrary, in patients suffering from interstitial lung disease, these symptoms – no matter what caused them directly (e.g., a common cold) - are a sign that an acute deterioration (exacerbation) has occurred, and this is always an indication for detailed hospital treatment and, typically, hospitalisation.

The fact that he did not feel any better even when his temperature dropped can only be an argument in favour of the fact that something was not right.

The doctor should have taken his case much more seriously

As was reported by Index, recordings of Matijanić's calls to medical professionals show that none of them took his situation seriously enough.

Among other things, the KBC doctor on duty should have reacted urgently when Matijanić told him that he had not been vaccinated and that he had autoimmune diseases. First, he should have asked in more detail about his autoimmune diseases, because patients suffering from them belong to the risk group when it comes to covid-19. The insistence that “Matijanić was not immunocompromised” because he had only started corticosteroid therapy a day before is a result of confusing the terms “immunocompromised” and “immunosuppressed”.

The doctor who knew Matijanić's condition: He was highly immunocompromised

Matijanić’s immune system was certainly long-term compromised in the sense that it reacted unusually, attacking its own tissue, which is a consequence of autoimmune diseases. Therefore, the doctor on duty should have recommended that he come to the hospital so that his condition could be assessed and monitored. Even though Matijanić stated that he was coughing and had a lot of phlegm, the doctor said that it probably would not be serious since it was omicron, regardless of all Matijanić’s conditions, and without having asked about them in more detail. Indeed, omicron causes severe disease in fewer people in the population than some previous variants of the virus. However, due to his characteristics, Matijanić did not fit into the “general population”, but into a specific group of people in whom even a common cold is a potential trigger for life-threatening conditions (e.g., exacerbation of interstitial lung disease).

There is no doubt that in each of his contacts with the health care system, Matijanić had to be admitted or referred for a detailed diagnostic evaluation and appropriate treatment, ideally at the very beginning, but also in every further stage of the disease.

To date, it has been proven certain: 1) that drugs with an antiviral effect intended to prevent the development of a severe form of the disease and intended specifically for people like Matijanić are effective; 2) that anti-inflammatory drugs such as corticosteroids and some others are reasonably effective in those with advanced disease; 3) that supportive treatment - oxygen therapy (including the most dramatic forms such as mechanical ventilation or ECMO device), anticoagulants and possibly antibiotics where there is a basis for this due to bacterial superinfection, are effective and extremely important and that they help reduce mortality.

Overall, if Matijanić had been referred to the hospital at any stage of his condition and treated as recommended by the guidelines, it can be said with high certainty that he would have survived this covid-19 episode.

Problematic administration of corticosteroids

Due to an autoimmune disease, Matijanić took the corticosteroid Decortin, but only for a brief time. The doctor on duty at KBC Split, whom he called, knew about it but did not react, only stating that he could not be immunocompromised since he had been taking it for such a brief time. As already stated, this was wrong – though Matijanić may not have been immunosuppressed since he did not take therapy that reduces the immune response in people with autoimmune diseases, he was immunocompromised due to his underlying diseases.

When the ambulance finally came for the first time, Matijanić's partner Andrea Topić asked the team if it could be Decortin that made him sick, and the answer was no. Moreover, they also gave him an injection with a strong dose of Solumedrol, which is also a corticosteroid.

What is controversial about that? As previously reported by Index, corticosteroids are used in the treatment of covid-19, but mostly only in an advanced stage, around the 7th day of severe disease, to reduce the excessive reaction of the immune system, the so-called cytokine storm. Since they are immunosuppressants, they reduce the body's reaction to viruses, so if they are given too early, they can increase the multiplication of the virus. Due to the above, they should only be given to patients with covid-19 in a hospital, under constant medical supervision and with oxygen, and not at home.

In other words, the emergency doctor should have taken Matijanić to the hospital after the first visit if she believed that his disease had progressed so much that he needed corticosteroids. Also, she should have been aware of how serious the situation was because, unlike the doctor on duty from KBC, who did not get enough information, she had access to Matijanić's discharge letter.

At the Emergency Infectious Diseases Department, they did not even ask about underlying diseases

When on August 5 Matijanić called the emergency department at the Infectious Diseases Department, the employee on duty did not even ask him about possible underlying diseases, even though he complained of feeling extreme weakness and severe pain in his muscles and joints. The doctor simply recommended ibuprofen for pain.

They did not call him into the hospital even when it was apparent that he was very sick

Furthermore, when on August 5 Matijanić called a medical worker at the emergency department of Infectious Diseases, after his condition significantly worsened, on the recording of the conversation it can be heard that his breathing was laboured. He also pointed out that he had Sjogren's syndrome and the resulting interstitial lung disease, and that he was so weak that he could not even get up to go to the bathroom.

But that medical worker did not take him seriously enough either, and to all this, she advised him to urinate in a bed pan that one of the household members could empty.

His diagnoses and the fact that his breathing was laboured, that he was so weak that he could not get out of bed should have been sufficient reasons for the employee on duty to seriously advise him to go to the hospital in an emergency or to insist that the ambulance take him as soon as possible.

The emergency left him at home despite the diagnoses

When the ambulance finally arrived, the doctor refused to take Matijanić to the hospital even though he had serious autoimmune diseases in addition to covid-19, which she had to see based on the discharge letter.

There are certain doubts about whether the doctor who came with the ambulance was qualified for the job. It's possible she was hired even though she wasn't qualified because the hospital was understaffed, which is a chronic problem within our healthcare system.

If she was qualified, she should have known that his case needed to be referred to the hospital despite his blood oxygen saturation of 97% (a result that can change dramatically in less than an hour, as it did in the end), low blood pressure, an increased heart rate did not have to look critical. The usual practice of the ambulance is to take a patient with serious underlying diseases in combination with covid-19 and numerous complaints to the hospital to examine his condition in more detail because even minor deviations of key parameters can result in complications.

It was expected that during the summer, during the national holiday, at the height of the heat wave, the healthcare system in touristic Split was overloaded, but this cannot be an excuse for not admitting seriously ill people like Matijanić to the hospital.

In Croatia, there is a lack of necessary medicines for the seriously ill

Finally, as already reported by Index, Matijanić was told on August 2 that there are no drugs to treat the seriously ill, including Remdesivir.

Minister Vili Beroš denied this claim, with the explanation that there is enough Remdesivir or its version Veklury, and that directors must procure them from other hospitals if they lack them, and for specialist doctors to prescribe it to patients. If it is true that Remdesivir was still available on August 2 when Matijanić should have started it, it is still unclear how he never received it.  

Why didn't Matijanić get the medicine? Beroš: There is enough covid medicine in hospitals

But in this context, the Ministry's answer to the question of why there is no Paxlovid, which was approved by the American FDA at the end of 2021, and by the European EMA in January 2022, is also interesting. It is a medicine that, among others, was recently taken by US President Joe Biden and German Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach.

Since it showed excellent results in reducing hospitalisation and mortality by as much as 89%, it may have been able to save Matijanić's life, as well as that of many other patients who have died in recent days.

Many countries procured Paxlovid outside of centralised procurement

Index asked if there was a shortage of medicines in Croatia and received the interpretation from the Ministry that “the procurement of antiviral medicines Remdesivir and Paxlovid through the EC is currently being centralised” and that the department has done everything in this regard on time. However, it is known that the procurement of medicines does not necessarily have to go through the EC. States can procure medicine approved by the European agency EMA by themselves through direct contracts with manufacturers (by the way, Paxlovid was recommended as a medicine for covid-19 in the Ministry's guidelines back in February).

For example, Index received information that, in addition to centralised procurement, Paxlovid has already been procured by Austria, France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, and Spain, and that Slovenia will receive it at the end of August. Similarly, Croatia could have also bought the drug directly from the manufacturer, at least in some quantity, to bridge the period until central procurement is done and saved several lives, Matijanić's included.

For more, follow TCN’s dedicated News section.

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Social Democrats Call on PM to Dismiss Health Minister Beros

ZAGREB, 10 August, 2022 - The Social Democrats party sent an open letter to Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Tuesday demanding he dismisses Health Minister Vili Beroš, whom they consider responsible for the shortage of an antiviral drug used to treat COVID-19.

The Social Democrats sent the letter following the death of reporter Vladimir Matijanić, who died as a result of COVID-19.

"The reason for his dismissal is his undeniable responsibility for failing to act and his preventing Croatian citizens from using the newest generation antiviral drug, which has been proven to reduce hospitalisation and mortality in a large number of cases for immunocompromised patients," the party said.

The drug that helps COVID patients was approved by the European Medicines Agency in January and has been purchased by most EU member states.

"If such a drug exists, if it has been approved, if it has been clinically established that it successfully prevents the most severe forms of the disease, then we Croatian citizens have the right to that drug," they added.

They believe that this case shows why Croatia has one of the highest COVID mortality rates. This is not about the responsibility of hospital directors, Health Ministry officials or the Health Insurance Fund, but about the direct responsibility of Minister Beroš.

The Social Democrats noted that their demand is not politically motivated, but that they want to see a minimum standard of political accountability, "without which citizens' trust in the institutions and the state will weaken even more, with consequences that are extremely harmful in the long term for our whole society."

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Dinamo Books Champions League Play-off Spot against Bodø/Glimt!

August 9, 2022 - Dinamo Zagreb advances to the Champions League play-off round against Bodø/Glimt! The Zagreb club won 4:2 at Maksimir on Tuesday night against Ludogorets (6-3 aggregate).

Dinamo played the second leg of the Champions League 3rd round qualifiers at Maksimir Stadium against Bulgarian club Ludogorets. Dinamo won 2:1 away in the first leg. Estimates are that around 15,000 fans were at Maksimir on Tuesday night. 

By advancing past Ludogorets, Dinamo secures their spot in the Champions League play-off against Norwegian club FK Bodo/Glimt. And that's not all - securing at least the Europa League group stage means 7.17 million euros in Dinamo's bank account. 

Lineups

Dinamo: Livaković - Ristovski, B. Šutalo, Perić, Ljubičić - Mišić, Ademi - Špikić, Baturina, Oršić - Drmić

Ludogorets: Sluga - Cicinho, Verdon, Plastun, Nedyalkov - Yankov, Piotrowski, Cafunama - Rick, Igor Thago, Despodov

Match report

Dinamo's first good opportunity came already in the 4th minute. Ademi shot from 13 meters, but Croatian goalkeeper Simon Sluga defended for Ludogorets, resulting in a corner for Dinamo.

But it didn't take long for Dinamo to get comfortable. Josip Drmić scored with a header in the 12th minute for 1:0. 

A sense of calm swept over Dinamo after Jankov was sent off with his second yellow card in the 18th minute, forcing Ludogorets to play with a man down for the remainder of the match. And not even 10 minutes later? Dinamo was awarded a penalty when Nedjalkov clipped Špikić from behind. Oršić scored for 2:0 in the 27th minute. 

Ludogorets was mostly helpless for the remainder of the first half, with Dinamo pressing and using their extra-player advantage to tire out the Bulgarian club. And then Dinamo did it again - Oršić dribbed through the Ludogorets defense and nailed the far post for 3:0 Dinamo with just a minute to go in the first half. 

Ludogorets reduced the score to 3:1 when Despodov scored in stoppage time. It was 3:1 for Dinamo at the half.

The second half started with changes for Dinamo. Mišić, Ristovski and Baturina were subbed off and Ivanušec, Gojak and Moharrami entered the match. 

A penalty was awarded to Ludogorets in the 49th minute, and Despodov scored again to bring the result to 3:2. 

Drmić was subbed off in the 70th minute, and Petković entered the match. 

Another blow for the Bulgarian club came in the 73rd minute. Rick received his second yellow card for a foul on Spikic and was sent off, forcing Ludogorets to play with two men down. 

And then a chance for Dinamo's 4th goal came in the 84th minute when a penalty was called for Dinamo. Petkovic scored for 4:2 and Ludogorets received yet another red card, bringing them down 8 players to finish the match! 

And the red cards didn't stop for Ludogorets there - the president of the club was sent into the tunnel in the 88th minute! 

The ref added 5 minutes of stoppage time, in which neither team scored. Dinamo thus won 4:2 with a 6-3 aggregate and advances to the Champions League play-off against Norwegian club Bodo/Glimt! 

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

August in Grožnjan - the Center of the Arts World

August 9, 2022 - Numerous events organized in the small Istrian town of Grožnjan in August will see some of the greatest international artists. 

Tportal writes about the series of events, organized by the International Cultural Center of the Croatian Musical Youth (HGM). Currently, The Musica Antica, an early music workshop, the Michael Chekhov Summer Mentor Training Academy and the International School of Architecture are underway. Before August is over,  the Summer Piano School and seminars on horn, saxophone, oboe and clarinet will be held.

The Early Music Workshop, also called the "Musica Antica" Campus is organized by the HGM and the University of Ljubljana - Academy of Music/Department of Early Music. The Campus follows the growing artistic-performance and educational trend of studying historically aware performance practice and interpretation of the great oeuvre of secular and spiritual music from the Middle Ages until the beginning of the 19th century, taking into account the care of the musical cultural heritage of Istria County and northern Istria, musical ethno- cultural studies, historical musical instruments of the county and region. One of the programme's future goals is the production of original musical and musical-stage productions, performed on authentic instruments and with respect for historical performance practice. The artistic directors of Campus Musica Antica are Tonči Bilić and Egon Mihajlović, and the lecturers are Mihajlović, Bettina Simon, Lucia Rizzello, Franjo Billić and Chiara De Zuani. The final concerts of the Campus participants will be held on August 11 at 9:00 p.m. in the Kaštel hall and on August 12 at 8:00 p.m. in the church of St. Vida, Crešencija and Modesta.

The International School of Architecture, led by the award-winning architects Takaharu and Yui Tezuka and Jim Njoo, is also underway. The Japanese couple Tezuka are experienced in designing spaces for children, which was recognized by the OECD and UNESCO by declaring their Fuji Kindergarten the best school in the world, while Jim Njoo is a two-time winner of the International Urban and Architectural Competition Europan. The final presentation of the school's work will be held on August 13 at 3:00 p.m., through a walk through Grožnjan, and the formal lecture will be held on August 14 at 10:00 a.m. Architect Tezuka's lecture will be available via live streaming on HGM's YouTube channel on August 9, starting at 8:30 p.m.

The programs of the HGM in Grožnjan are supported by the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia, the Municipality of Grožnjan, the County of Istria, the Tourist Board of the County of Istria, the Music School in Varaždin, the Center for Culture and Information Maksimir and others.

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

HUBOL: Croatia Doesn't have Enough Remdesivir for all COVID Patients

ZAGREB, 9 August, 2022 - Croatia is running out of Remdesivir, the antiviral drug used in the treatment of COVID-19, and new supplies have not come in yet, the Croatian Association of Hospital Doctors (HUBOL) warned on Tuesday.

Currently, 613 COVID patients are being treated in Croatian hospitals, which have 483 vials of Remdesivir at their disposal. Given that six vials are needed for the treatment of one patient, the present supplies are enough to treat 80 patients, the organisation said.

The Health Ministry on Tuesday denied media reports about a shortage of drugs used in the treatment of people infected with COVID-19, saying that there are sufficient supplies to meet the present needs.

HUBOL said that the hospitals running out of Remdesivir had ordered new supplies from the Ministry's Service for Medicinal Products in mid-July, after which they were told that the supplies of this drug had been used up and that the Ministry would order more of it.

These hospitals have used up their supplies of Remdesivir and have still not received new ones even though they placed their orders several weeks ago, HUBOL said, noting that the drug Remdesivir can be ordered only via the Ministry and that hospitals cannot get it on their own.

Some hospitals still have this drug, but their supplies are dwindling, and the Health Ministry is the only authority responsible for the redistribution of Remdisivir from the hospitals that still have it to those that do not until a new delivery arrives, HUBOL said.

It was only after the tragic death of the reporter Vladimir Matijanić that the Ministry ordered an inventory to ascertain which hospitals have Remdisivr and which do not. The Ministry is the only authority in charge of the distribution of this drug, HUBOL said.

The organisation said that the drug Ronapreve, which was referred to in the Ministry's statement today, has no effect in the treatment of the disease caused by the Omicron variant of the new coronavirus.

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Croatia's First Half-Year Exports Up by 35.6%, Imports by 51.8%

ZAGREB, 9 August, 2022 - In the first half of 2022, Croatia's commodity exports totalled HRK 90 billion, increasing by 35.6% on the year, while imports went up by 51.8% to HRK 152.5 billion, according to the Croatian Bureau of Statistics (DZS).

The foreign trade deficit was HRK 62.4 billion and was HRK 28.4 billion higher year on year. Coverage of imports by exports was 59.1%, compared to 66.1% in the first half of 2021.

In the first six months of this year, HRK 64.2 billion worth of commodities were exported to the EU (+42.3%), while imports reached HRK 112.3 billion (+44.1%).

Exports to non-EU countries increased by 21.4% to HRK 25.8 billion and imports jumped by 78.5% to HRK 40.2 billion.

Expressed in euros, H1 exports totalled €11.9 billion (+35.8%) and imports reached €20.2 billion (+51.9%). The foreign trade deficit was €8.3 billion.

Croatia exported €8.5 billion worth of goods to EU countries (+42.4%), while importing €14.9 billion worth (+44.2%).

Exports to non-EU countries increased by 21.6% to €3.4 billion and imports jumped by 78.8% to €5.3 billion.

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

13.1m Bed Nights in June, Same as in Record Year 2019

ZAGREB, 9 August, 2022 - There were 2.7 million tourist arrivals in commercial accommodation in June, up 94% from June 2021, generating 13.1 million bed nights, or 100.5% more, while compared to June 2019, there were 9% fewer arrivals while bed nights were at the same level, data from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics show.

There were 2.4 million foreign tourists in June, up by 116.3% from June 2021, and they generated 1.2 million bed nights, up by 114.8%. Compared with June 2019, the number of foreign tourists was down by 11.4% and the number of bed nights was down by 0.3%.

The number of domestic tourist arrivals increased by 16.5% from June 2019, while bed nights increased by 11.4%.

Year-to-date figures indicate that there were 5.4 million arrivals in commercial accommodation and 21.7 million bed nights, which is a year-on-year increase of 134.1% and 127.9% respectively.

Compared to the first six months of 2019, that is 83.4% of arrivals and 94.9% of bed nights generated that year.

Among foreign visitors, the most bed nights were generated by Germans (30.1%), followed by Austrians (11.5%), Slovenes (9.7%), Poles (6.5%) and UK nationals (5.4%).

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Croatia Logs 987 New COVID-19 Cases, 14 Related Deaths

ZAGREB, 9 August, 2022 - Croatia has registered 987 new COVID cases and 14 related deaths in the past 24 hours, the national COVID response team reported on Tuesday.

Currently, there are 6,194 active cases in the country, including 613 hospitalised patients, 20 of whom are on ventilators, while 3,590 people are self-isolating.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 1,194,349 COVID cases have been recorded in Croatia; 16,434 patients have died as a consequence and 1,171,721 have recovered. 

To date, 59.58% of the total population, or 70.85% of adults, have been vaccinated.

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Ryanair Zagreb Base Plans for Weekend-Only Winter Operations

August 9, 2022 - How will the Ryanair Zagreb base work its winter operations this year? A look at how the capital city airport will transform into a weekend-only base for the low-cost airline. 

Simply Flying has revealed what the Ryanair Zagreb base has in store once the seasons change - precisely, the airline's plan to transform the capital city airport into a weekend-only base this winter. A first for the airline. 

Namely, the Irish low-cost airline will not reduce the number of aircraft based in Zagreb, with its three Lauda Europe Airbus A320s staying at Zagreb Airport, but what will change is the number of days the planes fly. Making it a weekend base means that the planes will only operate from Friday to Monday this winter. Thus, all flights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays will be operated from other Ryanair bases.

So, how will this work?

Simply Flying reveals that all routes launched as year-round routes remain on sale and operate throughout the week, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, with Boeing aircraft from its other bases around Europe. The busiest London Stansted-Zagreb route will also continue to run daily. 

Currently, all the three Lauda Europe A320s in Zagreb operate a full day of flights all week. The changes will be made with the end of the summer schedule at the end of October when nearly all routes will be at least partially operated by aircraft from other bases. As it stands now, only the Bratislava, Milan Bergamo, and Malta routes see aircraft from other bases. 

Simply Flying adds that this should not impact the capacity of flights, as Boeing planes actually offer higher capacity than the Lauda Europe Airbus A320s, but since frequencies will decrease after summer, so will the number of seats on offer. 

"Most interestingly, even aircraft that connect Zagreb Airport to airports that are not Ryanair’s bases will see non-Zagreb-based aircraft there.

This will be done with the help of a w-rotation, whereby an aircraft from one base will operate four flight segments on two rotations on two different routes from Zagreb Airport," adds Simply Flying. 

This will be done with a 'w-rotation', or when aircraft from one base operates four flight segments on two rotations on two different routes from Zagreb Airport. You can find examples of how that will look here

The July stats for Zagreb Airport are also in, with 329,203 passengers traveling through the capital last month - almost 175 thousand more than in July last year. When compared to the busiest year, Zagreb Airport hit 90% of the July 2019 figures. 

Zagreb Airport accepted and dispatched 1,628,437 passengers in the first seven months of this year, approximately 100 thousand more passengers compared to Split Airport, reports Croatian Aviation

A total of 1,782,871 passengers passed through 8 Croatian airports (Zagreb, Pula, Rijeka, Zadar, Split, Brač, Dubrovnik, and Osijek) in July this year.

For more on flights to Croatia and other travel announcements, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Croatian Health Ministry says COVID-19 Drug Supplies Sufficient

ZAGREB, 9 August, 2022 - The Croatian Health Ministry on Tuesday denied media reports about a shortage of drugs used in the treatment of people infected with COVID-19, noting that there are sufficient supplies.

In 26 hospitals across Croatia, there are 483 vials of Veklury (Remdesivir) and 236 vials of Ronapreve, medicines used in the treatment of COVID-19 patients, which is sufficient for the current needs, the ministry said.

The ministry on Monday carried out an urgent check of drug supplies in all hospitals following media reports about a drug shortage.

The partner of reporter Vladimir Matijanić, who died on 5 August after contracting COVID-19 and who was an immunocompromised patient, has said in a Facebook post that staff at the KBC Split hospital told them that drugs used for the treatment of COVID-19 symptoms were in short supply in the whole country and that therefore they could not give them to patients with immunological diseases or cancer patients.

"There is a sufficient quantity of medicines for the treatment of COVID-19 symptoms, like Veklury and Ronapreve, for the current needs of hospitalised patients in every medical institution," Health Minister Vili Beroš said.

"There is no justified reason why any hospital would be without a certain drug if treatment needs require it," the minister said, adding that all hospitals could also request emergency additional drug deliveries.

If any of the hospitals has denied appropriate medical care due to a shortage of the drugs in question, additional checks will be made to determine possible responsibility on the part of those in charge of drug supply, the minister said.

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