Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Brand New Zagreb Infectious Disease Clinic to be Constructed

November the 16th, 2021 - A brand new Zagreb Infectious Disease Clinic is set to be constructed. On top of that, the full renovation of part of the existing hospital will also be carried out next year.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the renovation of part of the current Zagreb Infectious Disease Clinic will begin at some point in 2022, and the construction of a new, modular building with additional insulation units is also planned. The new Zagreb Infectious Disease Clinic complex will cover 15,000 square metres and will be completed within a four to five year period, Vecernji list reported recently.

Every cloud has a silver lining and every evil brings with it, in some sense, some good. On those tracks, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has helped very much to raise people's general awareness of the importance of the Zagreb Infectious Disease Clinic (Dr. Fran Mihaljevic), a pavilion-type institution founded way back in 1893, which today is the central institution in the fight against the novel coronavirus. On the hill on the corner of Mirogojska and Rockefellerova in Zagreb, the construction of a modern clinic for patients infected with the most severe infections is planned.

"There are big plans for the construction of a new, modern hospital, the realisation of which, according to the programme study, will take about four to five years. It should have up to 15 thousand square metres of surface, and a significant increase in the capacity of the clinic itself is planned. Through the National Reconstruction and Development Fund and partly through the World Bank, we've secured the funds to build a modern new Zagreb Infectious Disease Clinic for both adults and children in the central part of the clinic. The value of this stands at about 350 million kuna for the central building, which would consist entirely of insulation units and would contain the largest part of the clinic for both adults and children, an intensive care unit, and a radiology department,'' explained prof. Alemka Markotic, the director of this well known Zagreb clinic.

Some old existing buildings will have to undergo major renovations and the project will go slower also because two major earthquakes which struck Central Croatia and Zagreb back in 2020 have occupied all capacities in the construction profession.

While all of the preparatory works are being carried out for the new Zagreb Infectious Disease Clinic, the project involving renovations is already underway and one complete building is being renovated, also with funds from European Union (EU) funds. The value is 50 million kuna.

"The project documentation is in the final phase and the renovation of the building will begin at the end of next spring," announced prof. Markotic. As part of the project, the clinic will carry out the reconstruction and equipping of Pavilion II, within the hospital complex, for the needs of a day hospital, and thus contribute to improving the availability and effectiveness of treatment.

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Friday, 14 May 2021

Zagreb to be Included in Producing DNA Templates

ZAGREB, 14 May, 2021 - The head of the Zagreb-based Hospital for Infectious Diseases, Alemka Markotić,  said on Friday that the European Commission would in future be authorised for the purchase and distribution of the Pfizer vaccine and that Zagreb would be one of the centres included in producing DNA templates.

That means that only mRNA vaccines will be used in the EU, not because the AstraZeneca vaccine is not of a good quality but to ensure secure production and the possibility of responding quickly to new variants of the virus given that a vaccine can be produced within 100 days, said Markotić.

In addition to a high level of antibodies that remain for about six months, it is worthwhile developing cell immunity, which need not be the case with certain vaccines, she said.

"In 2022 and 2023, Zagreb will be one of the centres that will be included in the phase of producing DNA templates, which is important for Croatia's tradition and for Zagreb regarding the production of vaccines," she underscored.

For more about health in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

New Coronavirus Restrictions to be in Force Until 15 April

ZAGREB, 31 March, 2021 - The national coronavirus crisis management team on Wednesday announced new epidemiological restrictions to be in force until 15 April, including a ban on indoor training, restrictions on the work of children playrooms and a temporary ban and restriction of cross-border travel.

The ban on indoor training does not apply to top competitions and athletes.

Certificates of vaccination with Russian, Chinese vaccines valid

Croatian border authorities will accept fast antigen tests as well as certificates about vaccination with the Russian and Chinese vaccines, and certificates proving their holders' recovery from COVID-19 and those certificates will be considered valid for 180 days, the team's head, Davor Božinović, said.

Border crossing has been regulated due to tourist visits, the exception being digital nomads and children.

"Considering restrictions in neighbouring countries, we do not expect a large number of arrivals," said Božinović.

He noted that the tighter restrictions were being introduced following a proposal to that effect by county COVID-19 response teams.

Apart from nationwide restrictions, the national team also made decisions on restrictions for Šibenik-Knin and Split-Dalmatia counties.

In Split-Dalmatia County, which has seen a big increase in new infections, the mandatory wearing of face masks at outdoor venues with an increased flow of people will be introduced, as will a ban on the sale of alcohol from 8pm to 6am. The work of cafes will be restricted until 8pm, and it will be possible to serve food and drinks only in the open. Foreign language schools will switch to online classes again.

Božinović said that restrictions could be additionally tightened since the epidemiological situation was not good.

Restrictions to be tightened if number of infections continues to grow

"We have a significant increase today and we cannot ignore the possibility of the scenario in neighbouring countries happening here as well. These restrictions will be in force for a few days but should statistics be worrying, we will introduce new measures," said Božinović.

The latest restrictions go into force on Thursday and will be in force until 15 April.

In the last 24 hours, 2,623 new coronavirus cases and 19 COVID-related deaths have been registered in Croatia, the national coronavirus response team said earlier in the day.

The number of active cases now stands at 11,306. Among them are 1,337 people receiving hospital treatment, of whom 144 are placed on ventilators.

Croatian Public Health Institute head Krunoslav Capak warned that today the number of new infections was 47% higher than last week.

Istria County has the lowest incidence, while Primorje-Gorski Kotar County has the highest. Croatia is currently 18th in the EU in terms of the number of deaths per one million inhabitants, while in terms of the 14-day incidence it is 12th.

Speaking about the start of the third phase of vaccination, Capak said that care would be taken of the order in which people had registered for vaccination at the cijepi.se online platform.

"All people older than 16 can be inoculated in the third phase, but a certain priority will be given to people in services in which they come into contact with a large number of people," he said, adding that the third phase could start in May.

He noted that cases of infection with coronavirus after vaccination had been reported. "We have about 20 such cases. Forty-four people in aged care homes got infected after receiving the first dose and 22 got infected after the second dose, but the symptoms were mild."

Commenting on an announcement by the Zagreb COVID-19 response team about the wearing of face masks outdoors, Capak said: "If you are outdoors and alone, there is no need to wear a mask."

"Outdoor mask wearing refers to places where there are a lot of people, in the farmers' market, on the waterfront," he said, noting that the recommendation to wear a mask outdoors had been in force so far for places where physical distancing was not possible.

For more about Covid-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

US Embassy Donates GeneXpert Machine to Zagreb's Infectious Diseases Hospital

ZAGREB, 30 March, 2021 - The US Embassy in Croatia has donated a medical device to the Fran Mihaljević Hospital for Infectious Diseases in Zagreb that can detect the coronavirus in less than 45 minutes, the hospital's director Alemka Markotić said on Tuesday.

Four samples can be placed in the GeneXpert machine at the same time. However, it is not used for mass testing, but is useful in quickly dealing with certain situations, Markotić said.

US Embassy official Victoria Taylor said that this is not about just a piece of equipment, but also about the partnership between Croatia and the United States.

We are happy that our small contribution can help the Fran Mihaljević Hospital and the healthcare system in time of need, Taylor said, commending all Croatian health workers for their tireless work during the pandemic.

Markotić said that most of the patients in the hospital's COVID ward were between 50 and 65 years old and had underlying conditions. She noted that the hospital was nearly filled to capacity.

Markotić said that for now there was no substantial number of young people infected with the British variant of the coronavirus in the hospital, but noted that this variant was proved to be spreading faster among young people because of "their greater nonchalance, mobility and socialising."

She warned that the number of new cases was growing and called on the citizens to avoid "risky situations".

Markotić expressed hope that patients would not be left without medicines, after wholesale drug suppliers warned last week that they might restrict drug deliveries because of HRK 6.5 billion debt owed by the hospitals.

Drug wholesaler Medika said today it had suspended drug deliveries to the hospitals.

Markotić said that her hospital had sufficient drug supplies for now. "We hope that we will not find ourselves in a situation where we, or rather our patients, will be left without medicines."

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said earlier that Finance Minister Zdravko Marić and Health Minister Vili Beroš would meet with drug wholesalers to discuss the debt and that they would be paid a certain amount of money in the coming days.

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Saturday, 13 March 2021

Prof Alemka Markotic Talks Vaccines, Testing, Discrimination

March the 13th, 2021 - Prof Alemka Markotic, the director of Zagreb´s Clinic for Infectious Diseases, has spoken out about vaccination certificates, negative test documentation and discrimination as the coronavirus pandemic rages on.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the entire world has been in engulfed in the coronavirus pandemic for a full year now. 120 million people became infected globally, and tragically, more than 2 million and 600 thousand of those people died. Numerous epidemiological restrictions have been introduced that do not allow for the life to which we´re accustomed - people are tired.

The long-awaited coronavirus vaccines that evoke hope have been created and are now being rolled out, but the spread of the novel infection hasn´t stopped. The situation here in Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia was discussed on HRT.

Infectologist Dragan Delic called in from the Serbian capital of Belgrade.

"We weren´t ready, all the problems that arrived showed in their worst of forms. We´re now suffering the consequences of some misconceptions that exist,¨ he told HRT.

“The solutions that were implemented weren´t an enjoyable thing to do. It was not the most enjoyable thing to have to do, to have to form Crisis Staff. It’s some weird body made up of doctors, health professionals, economists… Some compromises always need to be made, but there can be no compromise when it comes to medicine and science,¨ Delic said of the situation in Serbia, adding that it was inappropriate for doctors to have to weigh things up between public health and economic consequences.

"There are too many compromises being made, I cannot justify for medical reasons to be suppressed because of something else," Delic said. He noted that the problem is that citizens don´t trust the Crisis Staff, which has not always made the best decisions.

"The dominant variants will be those which are the easiest to cope with if infected, but the virus will be able to spread more easily"

"The virus is going to remain with us, it isn´t going anywhere, and it will try to find a balance. The more easy variants will be the dominant one, but the virus will spread more easily. We have no choice in this, we will become sick. The only question is what the consequences of that infection will be,¨ said Delic at the end, emphasising the importance of the vaccine.

Academician Mirsada Hukic, specialist in microbiology and subspecialist virology, reported from Sarajevo. She said that everything about the pandemic in Bosnia and Herzegovina is complicated because there is no common approach.

"The situation is very worrying," said Hukic. She added that there is no one institution that deals with the pandemic, so the situation continues to be very confusing.

In neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, 12 mutations of the novel coronavirus have now been isolated, three of which have become dominant, said Hukic.

Vice-dean of the Medical Faculty in Ljubljana, the head of the Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, Miroslav Petrovec, said that curfew is not popular in Slovenia, but that the movement of people at night should be reduced.

“We have a weekly average of 707 newly infected people, which is not good. We´re the most worried about the new strains of the virus,¨ added Petrovec.

The director of the Clinic for Infectious Diseases here in Zagreb, Prof Alemka Markotic, said that the appearance of mutated strains of the virus has indeed further complicated the situation.

"The British strain has taken over Europe, but it is entering a phase of slower spread now. The South African strain has not yet been detected in all countries, nor has the Brazilian one," explained Prof Alemka Markotic.

"A series of vaccines blocked by other countries did not arrive in Croatia"

The director of KB Dubrava, Ivica Luksic, said that the coronavirus pandemic brought a number of weaknesses up to the surface, but also a few good things. He praised the Ministry and the members of Croatia´s National Civil Protection Headquarters for their diligent work.

“Today, the organisation within hospitals is better, it is now much easier to adapt to the increase in the number of coronavirus patients. Today we´re more equipped and we have a lot of experience underour belts,¨ he said.

Prof Alemka Markotic commented on the situation with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has faced many questions due to some reported side effects.

“It is common for side effects to occur after receiving a vaccination. What is known so far is that one death and one embolism which occured in Austria are not related to the vaccine. You have batches or a series in every production line, it is normal if there is some suspicion about one batch that you stop vaccinating with that batch,¨ she explained.

Prof Alemka Markotic also added that the series that was temporarily blocked by other countries does not exist in Croatia because it never arrived here.

The facilitator asked academician Hukic which vaccine she would prefer. "The best one is the whuch is available, at least to us in Bosnia and Herzegovina," said Hukic.

"They are trying to find new drugs, a lot of steps forward have been made. It will serve not only against the novel coronavirus but also against other diseases. We have good experiences with corticosteroids, as well as with plasma, which is now being given at an earlier stage,¨ said Prof Alemka Markotic when asked what drugs are used to treat serious coronavirus patients here in Croatia.

Hukic stated her view in that she is against the introduction of Covid passports. Petrovec disagreed, he advocates the introduction of such passports for vaccinated individuals. Prof Alemka Markotic said that the reality is that there will be certificates of vaccination and coronavirus testing, but that she believes that it will not be discriminatory.

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Sunday, 28 February 2021

Professor Alemka Markotic to be Crowned Zagreb Woman of the Year

February the 28th, 2021 - The name Professor Alemka Markotic would likely have only been known to patients at Zagreb's ''Dr. Fran Mihaljevic'' Clinic for Infectious Diseases were it not for the coronavirus pandemic. Now that name has become a household one, and she is about to be crowned Zagreb woman of the year.

Alemka Markotic, the director of the aforementioned Zagreb clinic, went from total anonymity to being a public figure in a very short amount of time following the novel coronavirus' arrival in Croatia, and it hasn't always been easy for her to cope with. Now about to be crowned Zagreb woman of the year, it seems the toil has been worth it.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Professor Alemka Markotic, the soon to be Zagreb woman of the year, will be handed the award by the City of Zagreb. The Croatian capital hands out this award each and every year, this year there were twelve candidates, among others was Natalija Prica, a young MP who is regularly seen in the company of late Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic, 24sata reports.

The session of the parliamentary Committee for Public Recognitions will be held on Monday, and then Professor Markotic will be officially voted as Zagreb woman of the year following her efforts in fighting the coronavirus pandemic and dedicating her every waking moment to that cause throughout pandemic-dominated 2020.

The result of course still needs to be confirmed by the Assembly, but it was confirmed by several interlocutors, HDZ and the late Milan Bandic, who all hold power in Zagreb in partnership, that they had all agreed on the winner being Alemka Markotic.

In addition to the recognition as Zagreb woman of the year, this award also brings 50,000 kuna to Dr Alemka Markotic's pocket.

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Sunday, 17 January 2021

Alemka Markotic Discusses Vaccine, Virus, Measures and Earthquake

January the 17th, 2021 - Dr Alemka Markotic, the director of Zagreb's "Dr Fran Mihaljevic'' Clinic for Infectious Diseases discussed the arrival of the coronavirus vaccine, the virus itself, the current anti-epidemic measures and the effect the earthquake has had on the spread of the contagion in a recent interview for Croatian Radio.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Alemka Markotic discussed how the novel coronavirus has succeeded in spread around the world in the past year, she also spoke about the epidemiological situation in Sisak-Moslavina County after the earthquake, how vaccination is proceeding, the various new virus strains and the current epidemiological measures in place.

Alemka Markotic pointed out that the number of new coronavirus patients is falling across Croatia and that this means a lot for patients who do unfortunately require medical care when they become infected because they can now be offered better care. She noted that the negative trend is also excellent for healthcare professionals who were previously under great pressure. She added that we're still deep in the colder winter months and that this is the sort of weather which goes hand in hand with the spread of diseases which can be transmitted via droplets from sneezing, coughing and the like.

She stressed that there are many factors that affect the spread of the virus, but also that certain changes do normally occur in it as well. The population of certain areas and the age of people exposed to various infections are also important to take into account.

''On the other hand, we're witnessing that while the situation is very difficult, no one is questioning the measures. As soon as it is seen that the situation is easing and the number of infected and the number of deaths is falling, both the measures and those who put the measures in place are immediately questioned. We've seen in other countries that have allowed themselves a little more relaxation that the situation has become bad again, with the penetration of the virus spreading rapidly,'' she said.

''There are certain professions, activities, which are unfortunately more affected by this lockdown of sorts. Some of them managed to find an alternative to survive in some way, if nothing else, and sadly some failed to do that,'' stated Alemka Markotic, adding that there is nothing that has no price that comes with it.

''It's the same as when you take medicine, it will in most cases cure and protect you. But it can also have side effects, harmful effects, and even when you know that a particular drug has greater harmful effects, you'll take it because it will save your life, and you agree to the part where that drug will cause some unpleasant consequences for you, which may be permanent,'' she said.

When asked whether the whole of the month of February will continue to go on under anti-epidemic restrictions, Alemka Markotic said that the situation is constantly being monitored and the measures have not been set in stone. That the situation continues to be fluid.

''Everything that can be and tried to be gradually released, as was done back during that first wave, will surely be done in a similar way now. Only now we have an additional problem on our hands because there's a lot more in place. The virus has spread around the world in this one single year. Secondly, as we create obstacles for it, it finds new ways to get to us, genetically, it finds ways to spread faster. It’s a game between us and the virus that is carrying on,'' she said.

Croatia is not an island...

Speaking about the infection rate, Alemka Markotic said that Croatia was among the countries that didn't insist on the so-called traffic light system. She also mentioned that Croatia is not an island and that it is important what the situation is in Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Serbia and other countries.

''It's also important what time of year it is, whether we'll have tourists or not, whether we'll go on trips or not, whether there are some holidays or festivities, whether there are any activities where people will be more mobile. It's mobility that is very conducive to the spread of the virus. These are the times where sometimes you try to be better, sometimes you succeed, and sometimes you're not 100% the best. There's no one who has been perfect in this past year. You saw that Croatia was among the best in the world for a while, and then for a short time, we were among the absolute worst. Most other countries experience the same thing. Unfortunately, there are those countries which are constantly very poor and those who do more or less okay due to some demographic and social characteristics,'' she explained.

Alemka Markotic understands that it is very difficult to live in uncertainty, and she emphasised that she is extremely optimistic that there is now a vaccine. 

''It would be a shame to get the virus now, become seriously ill, and God forbid die, and the vaccine is already there, right at your fingertips. If this dynamic of vaccine delivery is fast enough, some kind of end to the pandemic can now be seen, which again depends on how many people will get the vaccination and how much they will accept it. On the other hand, we could just go ahead an promise that March the 1st will be the day when we lift all of the measures, and then situations happen that prevent that from happening and you just can’t fulfill that promise, I don't know what the greater torment is. They're both awful situations to live in - to wait and not see what the date will be, when you might be able to breathe a little and live easier. Or to have one promise and experience severe disappointment,'' said Alemka Markotic.

She reiterated that a lot of people cannot tolerate the current situation in the long run, that everyone has had enough of everything, but that we simply have to find a way to endure it for now.

Earthquake-affected areas

She also spoke about the epidemiological situation in Sisak-Moslavina County after the earthquake and reminded everyone that after the earthquake in Zagreb in March, not many people came to the capital from all parts of Croatia, as is the case with Banovina, where people from abroad have been coming to deliver aid.

''In the area of ​​Sisak-Moslavina County, even before the earthquake, the number of infected people began to grow sharply. Then the earthquake occurred. A lot of people with the best intentions are coming to visit the area and are coming from all parts of Croatia on their own initiative to help. I think we'll see the consequences of that in the long run. But then again, the situation is different because we have the vaccine and rapid antigen tests, which we didn’t have at the time of the first earthquake in Zagreb last spring. I'm not so pessimistic about the situation, but I believe that some increased numbers could be seen there, as well as the spread of the virus in other environments from which people came,'' she pointed out.

How can we actually achieve collective immunity against the novel coronavirus? When asked whether collective immunity is a myth or a reality, Alemka Markotic said that it isn't a myth, but that the question is with what and how it can be achieved.

She mentioned the example of measles and said that it was also a droplet disease "which can be transmitted in a similar way as the novel coronavirus".

''For centuries now, a lot of people got sick and died until a vaccine came along. When collective immunity was achieved with the vaccine, only then were we able to curb measles. Influenza is transmitted in a similar way, but here we have a situation where the virus is changing. Its genome is composed of several parts, and such viruses are subject to more frequent changes. It changes and collective immunity is never achieved and won't ever be achieved by a lot of people contracting and then recovering from the flu. That's why we have vaccines and we monitor the virus and its changes so that we manage to produce a very adequate vaccine every time it changes. Where vaccination rates are high, we have an excellent level of protection. With the novel coronavirus, there are now two questions - how many people will be willing to get vaccinated, as we've seen it affects all groups of people, as well as the most fragile are the elderly with additional chronic diseases. Another thing is how its changes and its genome will affect those vaccines. Mutant strains of the virus have been recorded in Ireland, the United Kingdom, several in Greece, about 30 in France and Italy, and in Croatia we haven't yet confirmed its existence. Its spread is influenced by the mobility of people,'' Alemka Markotic pointed out.

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Thursday, 14 January 2021

Dr Alemka Markotic Appeals to Those Who Currently Have Coronavirus

January the 14th, 2021 - Dr Alemka Markotic, a professor and director of Zagreb's ''Dr Fran Mihaljevic'' Clinic for Infectious Diseases has issued a warning and an appeal to those who have contracted the novel coronavirus and are now enduring the symptoms of the disease.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Dr Alemka Markotic has stated that some coronavirus patients have a tendency to come to the hospital to seek treatment when it is too late, and when providing relief and treatment for them becomes much more challenging.

''Some patients sometimes come to the hospital too late and then the treatment is much more difficult to administer. I'm issuing a warning and an appeal to all those, especially those who have underlying chronic diseases, to definitely contact their doctor or hospital if they have more pronounced symptoms of the disease,'' Dr Alemka Markotic stated clearly.

"After coronavirus runs its course, there can be more different consequences, one study was published in Lancet, which is the study that covered the longest period and dealt with the most respondents. They followed about 1,733 patients for six months. This is the longest follow-up time with the largest number of respondents. Worryingly, 76 percent of the patients monitored had at least one of some symptoms that affected their quality of life and health. I must mention that females reported more symptoms than men did. What has been most commonly reported so far is that one is very pronounced fatigue and muscle weakness, in 63 percent of patients. 26 percent of them had problems with sleeping, and 23 percent had certain psychological problems, such as depression, anxiety.

If you look at the lung function in a significant percentage of people, things weren't running as adequately as they do in healthy people,'' added Dr Alemka Markotic, warning once again that patients who have any underlying health issues must make medics aware of their infection as soon as possible in order to make their chances of getting the proper treatment for their symptoms higher.

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Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Professor Markotic: Croatian Healthcare System Suffering Less Pressure

January the 12th, 2021 - The Croatian healthcare system is underfunded and on the brink of some sort of crisis at the best of times, but the coronavirus pandemic has thrown it from the frying pan into the fire. The pressure on the system has been enormous, but Professor Markotic has stated that it is now significantly less than it was.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the director of Zagreb’s “Dr Fran Mihaljevic” Clinic for Infectious Diseases, Professor Markotic, has pointed out that there has been significantly less pressure on the enfeebled Croatian healthcare system over the last week, which is very encouraging indeed. She appealed for continued adherence to the current measures in order to maintain this positive trend.

"It’s very encouraging that in other centres who have coronavirus patients there has been a drop in the number of patients in general, and a drop in those needing to be on respirators, so we expect a drop in mortality, too. The good news is that as early as Friday, the University of Texas Galveston showed that the Pfizer vaccine works on new mutated strains of the virus too, and the other good news came from Moderna and their research. 

After four months following infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the antibodies built up as an immune response in a person’s blood are still at a high level. Here in Croatia, information among people who have recovered from the infection speaks of around eight months of immunity. 

Returning to vaccines, such research is expected to be relevant in regard to both vaccines. According to AstraZeneca, immunity should be maintained for up to a year, maybe for even longer after having received their vaccine. We’re remaining patient while it’s winter and the weather is cold, so that we can return to a more normal life in the spring and summer,’’ concluded Professor Markotic, who has become a household name since the pandemic broke through Croatia’s first line of defense back in the spring of 2020.

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Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Civil Protection Headquarters: No Easing Measures in Croatia

January 5, 2021 – National Civil Protection Headquarters members presented the news related to coronavirus in Croatia at today's press conference.

In the last 24 hours, 1071 new cases were recorded, and the number of active cases in Croatia today is 5908. Fifty-three people died, of which one 36-year-old who had asthma and obesity. There are currently 17,448 people in self-isolation.

The Croatian Institute of Public Health director, Krunoslav Capak, said that in a week, we have 23 percent positive cases from those tested, and Slovenia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, and Poland are worse than us.

According to last night's data, 13,798 people were vaccinated, of which 443 were in Sisak-Moslavina County. A total of 1,040 people were vaccinated in Sisak.

No relaxating measures yet

As Index reports, Interior Minister Davor Božinović said that at this point, our numbers are slightly better. However, analyzing our situation and beyond in Europe, Croatia sees something that is already called the third wave of the epidemic.

"Many countries are entering a new lockdown, and we will closely monitor all trends to avoid similar developments in Croatia. We take seriously the experience of easing measures in Europe and the emergence of a new strain of coronavirus discovered in an increasing number of countries. It may appear in Croatia sooner or later," said Božinović.

Alemka Markotić, the Director of the Clinic for Infectious Diseases "Dr. Fran Mihaljević" in Zagreb, said they had not found any associated mutations so far.

"Some samples are still being tested. It is the work of several teams. The analyzes are comprehensive, so we would not like to fly out with half-information. As soon as we get all the necessary information, we will go public with it," said Markotić about the new strain of coronavirus.

Božinović added that they need to pay attention to the effects of earthquakes, Christmas, and the New Year. In that context, they have not yet made a decision, but there are no thoughts about any relaxation of measures yet.

As for local headquarters, Božinović says it is not an option for them to propose easing measures. Passes were revoked due to the known circumstances related to the earthquake, and the Headquarters are not considering reintroducing them.

Vaccination in front of the camera

Today, the National Civil Protection Headquarters members Davor Božinović, Alemka Markotić, and Krunoslav Capak were vaccinated in front of the camera, but not Health Minister Vili Beroš. As he says, he will be vaccinated when his acquired natural immunity drops. Namely, the Health Minister recently overcame the coronavirus himself.

"I was in doubt about what to do myself, and after consulting with the profession, I support vaccination. I will get vaccinated when my acquired natural immunity drops. Seeking extra protection when there is not enough vaccination is not considered ethical, "said Beroš.

As he said, he is not the only one who got over the coronavirus. There are 214,000 people who did. All of them who overcame the disease three to six months ago should not be vaccinated at this time, but when their acquired immunity is degraded.

Beroš also stated that an 82-year-old woman from a nursing home in Čakovec died of a heart attack one day after being vaccinated from coronavirus. Her death has nothing to do with vaccination, the Minister explained. Following the law, the entire event was reported to the Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices HALMED.

"A thousand people die in Croatia every week. When you vaccinate older people because you are trying to protect them from coronavirus, which is very deadly for them, of course, some of them will die. Just before my arrival here, I received information that 13 people died in Europe, and it was proven that it was not related to the vaccine," said Capak.

He added the second phase of vaccination will begin in the second half of January. Minister Božinović emphasized once again that there was still no indication of easing the measures

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