Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Bozinovic: List of 15 Countries for Open Borders to Include to Bosnia and Herzegovina

ZAGREB, June 30, 2020 - EU member states will on Wednesday open their borders to 15 countries, including Serbia and Montenegro, while Croatia has added Bosnia and Herzegovina, Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said on Tuesday, adding that there were fewer new cases of COVID-19 in Bosnia than in Serbia and the decision is in Croatia's economics interest.

Bozinovic assessed that this is not a political decision related to the coming election but that it is in the interest of the Croatian economy. He said that the final recommendation from Brussels is still pending.

"We do not expect any additional problems due to opening the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina because the import of infected people was far higher from Serbia than from Bosnia and Herzegovina," said Bozinovic. Twenty-five cases were imported from Serbia and only eight from Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said and added that authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including epidemiologists, were taking the necessary steps.

"The thing that is important is that hotspots are under control in Croatia. It is not unexpected that the number of people infected will increase in some areas of Croatia, just as they are growing in other European countries. Given that the clinical picture is milder, the health services are not overloaded, I think that only one ventilator is currently in use," he said.

Bozinovic reiterated that at the moment decisions were being made in favour of economic activity, primarily tourism. He said that he has noticed that people are adhering more to the recommendations and that this is "a preparatory period for the autumn when more respiratory problems are usually prevalent."

Commenting on night clubs being the source of new infections in Croatia, he said that inspectors would be issuing warnings at first but then would impose sanctions for those breaching measures.

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Coronavirus Cases Rise in BiH: Why is Croatia Opening Borders Now?

June 30, 2020 - The Croatian Minister of Interior Davor Bozinovic announced yesterday that a decision would be made "no later than today" to lift the mandatory two-week self-isolation for those entering Croatia from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Index.hr reports that the announcement came just five days after stricter measures were introduced for Serbia, Kosovo and Macedonia at the same time.

But apart from the fact that the measure, which is now being repealed, was introduced only a few days ago, there are two other important aspects of the story which should not be overlooked.

The first is the situation with the number of patients in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time when stricter measures were introduced, and the second is the situation with the number of patients today when the measures are lifted.

It would be expected that the epidemiological situation in BiH has improved in the meantime, so that the measures will be relaxed, as announced by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic. But that is not the case.

On the day the decision on mandatory self-isolation was made for entry from BiH, there were 84 infections in that country. The day before the decision, there were 63 infected. Even days earlier, moreover, since the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic in that country, the daily number of newly infected did not exceed 100.

So, how are things now that they've decided to lift the mandatory self-isolation for people entering Croatia from BiH?

There were twice as many cases in BiH yesterday than when stricter measures were adopted at the borders.

Yesterday, when Bozinovic announced the easing of measures, BiH had 128 newly infected.

The day before, they had 107 new cases.

They had as many as 179 new cases on Saturday, and the daily number of newly infected was well above 100 in the days before.

When the two-week self-isolation measure was introduced for travelers entering Croatia from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Macedonia, it was explained by the poor epidemiological situation in those countries and the fact that most new cases in Croatia came from those countries.

"As for the decisions, they are based on the opinion of the medical experts. These decisions were made based on the recommendations of epidemiologists with regard to the situation in neighboring countries. We have an increase in those infected, and most of them came from BiH and Serbia. We will monitor everything that happens. We will make decisions faster and change them if necessary. The decision is valid for everyone. All persons who come to these countries, regardless of citizenship, must be in self-isolation," Bozinovic said at the time.

But, as we can see, now that the borders with BiH are reopening unconditionally, the situation there is worse than it was, and the daily numbers of newly infected are much higher than they were when the decision was made. The logical question, therefore, is why the decision on stricter measures at the BiH border was made when the epidemiological situation in that country was significantly better than now, when the decision is revoked.

"We are in the phase of dancing with the virus, and we are analyzing it daily. The EU will probably come out with recommendations, as these talks are underway today. We will probably liberalize the border crossings to some extent when it comes to EU citizens and our neighboring countries. This will mean entering the Republic of Croatia in a way that all those who enter adhere to epidemiological measures and would no longer mean the mandatory self-isolation for those who come from BiH. I expect that no later than tomorrow," said Bozinovic yesterday, which also hinted that the borders with Serbia could be opened, where the number of newly infected people is stagnant and around 250 for several days.

It should also be mentioned that BiH authorities negatively reacted to the decision on stricter measures at the border, and the country's foreign minister Bisera Turkovic announced reciprocal measures, which she withdrew after new announcements from Croatia. However, it is unlikely that the announcement of reciprocal measures from BiH forced the Croatian authorities to withdraw the decision, which leads us to another possible and much more probable reason - the elections to be held on Sunday.

After all, the president of HDZ BiH clearly explained it yesterday: "No border can separate the Croatian being and one nation into two homelands. Thank you to Prime Minister Plenkovic for his quick reaction and rational decision."

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

To read more breaking news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 29 June 2020

Minister Says Croatia in Final Stage of Process of Joining US Visa Waiver Programme

ZAGREB, June 29, 2020 - Croatia is in the final phase of entering the USA's Visa Waiver Programme and despite COVID-19 it has not put its foreign policy priorities on hold, Minister of the Interior Davor Bozinovic said on Monday.

"Despite the crisis caused by COVID-19, we have not neglected a single foreign policy priority," Bozinovic said after the signing of a Croatia-USA agreement on cooperation for stronger aviation safety.

Bozinovic recalled agreements signed between Croatia and various agencies, including the FBI and the DIA, which, he said, "now really makes it possible for us to say that we are embarking on the final stage" of the process of entering the Visa Waiver Programme.

US Ambassador Robert Kohorst said both governments had been working on that goal with great commitment, noting that he was thrilled because, despite COVID-19 and all the problems, the two sides had managed to work together on their partnership and had made a big step towards Croatia's entry into the Visa Waiver Programme.

Kohorst added that Croatia's entry, planned for the end of this year, could be postponed for a few months due to the health crisis but that they would do their best to honor the initial deadline.

The agreement on cooperation for stronger aviation safety between the USA and Croatia is a step towards visa-free travel to the USA for Croatian citizens.

Of the EU member states, only nationals of Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Cyprus cannot enter the USA without a visa.

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Bozinovic Says 350,000 Foreigners Currently in Croatia

ZAGREB, June 28, 2020 - There are 350,000 foreign guests in Croatia at the moment, which is a rarity not only in Europe, the head of the national COVID-19 crisis response team, Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic, said in Novska on Sunday.

He was responding to questions from the press about the recent spread of the novel coronavirus and the possibility of more rigorous restrictions.

"The important thing is that there are no graver symptoms at the moment, nobody is on a ventilator yet, but we are following and analysing the situation daily," Bozinovic said.

Speaking of the hotspot in Djakovo, he said epidemiologists were keeping the situation under control and that they had not requested stricter measures.

He reiterated that the crisis response team had decided that inspectors should visit night clubs to see if instructions were being adhered to and that, if necessary, other measures would be taken.

He said the team was proposing that all travel abroad that was not necessary be postponed so that the situation could be put under control, adding that this did not refer only to Bosnia and Herzegovina but other neighbours too.

Bozinovic would not comment on a recommendation from Brussels to allow the free flow of passengers between the EU and 15 third countries, including Serbia and Montenegro, as of July 1, saying a decision on that was still being discussed.

He was in Novska to visit the PISMO business incubator. He said the government would help the development of new technologies and that by investing in the local gaming industry, it would help the town become a regional gaming centre.

He said the gaming industry "exports 99% of its products" and that it was profitable "in every sense."

Mayor Marin Piletic said PISMO was the only business incubator in Croatia specialising in video games. "To date HRK 25 million has been invested in the project and about 30 companies developing games operate in the incubator."

(€1 = HRK 7.57)

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Bozinovic Says Doesn't Know What Motivates Someone Not To Wear Mask

ZAGREB, June 28, 2020 - Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic on Sunday commented on the arrest of a man who refused to wear a mask in public transport, saying he did not know what motivated a person to do that and that it was not pleasant to watch a video of the arrest.

He was commenting for N1 television on yesterday's arrest at Zagreb's Central Station and the video of it which has been released in the media.

"The passenger refused to put the mask on and we have said that when (a passenger) doesn't wear a mask, the driver must not start the vehicle. Naturally, it wasn't pleasant to watch that. However, I really don't know what motivates a man, who has a mask, not to want to wear it."

Bozinovic said the man was reported for disturbing the peace but that it was necessary to see what had led to that situation.

The N1 reporter noted that experts were not unanimous about wearing masks, to which Bozinovic replied that the World Health Organisation and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control had changed recommendations and standards as they learned more about COVID-19.

Commenting on accusations that the COVID-19 crisis management team, which he heads, has been politicised, Bozinovic said others were politicising it. "I don't know, I can guess their reasons, probably the success the team has had from day one. That bothers them."

Asked if it was politicisation when he addressed the public at 2 p.m. as head of the team and at 3 p.m. as an election candidate, Bozinovic said campaigning was underway, that some members on the team were election candidates but that all had their responsibilities.

"In the campaign, everyone must also do their job. Of course, we won't use that and I'm not sure why that would be seen as benefitting from this situation."

Asked if he was scared of calling on people to vote in the election and inviting them to rallies because of the spread of COVID-19, he said that prior to the campaign the Croatian Institute of Public Health(HZJZ), in agreement with the Electoral Commission (DIP), made recommendations on how to behave in any phase prior to the election, including during campaigns.

Bozinovic said his HDZ party was complying with that, and that he did not think the turnout would be lower.

He said that on Monday the HZJZ and the DIP would say how those in self-isolation would vote and issue instructions for holding the election.

He said there were sick people during every election and that the 2,000 people currently self-isolating were not sick, only in self-isolation. "If it is stipulated that certain categories of voters should wear protective masks, or face masks, that will be ensured."

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Bozinovic: All Voters Will Be Enabled To Vote

ZAGREB, June 28, 2020 - Although over 2,000 people in Croatia are self-isolating, the head of the national civil protection authority said on Saturday that all voters would be enabled to vote in the July 5 parliamentary election.

"That's a query we will forward to the State Electoral Commission, which is in constant contact with the Croatian Institute of Public Health, which will provide a framework for how to organise the election and do everything so that it is a controlled situation," Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said on Nova TV.

Commenting on the coronavirus hotspot in Djakovo, he said epidemiologists had responded promptly and that a certain number of people were in self-isolation, but that there was no need for quarantine.

He said the local civil protection authority would consider some restrictions which would not result in enclosures but the postponement of some events.

Bozinovic said the situation on the border crossings with Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina was being monitored daily and that control had been stepped up until June 30. He said the European Union had recommended that borders with Southeast European countries be reopened as of July 1.

"A balanced solution will be sought that is in the interest of protecting the health of all citizens and maintaining economic activity."

As for the increase in the number of infected young people in night clubs, Bozinovic said inspection teams would continue to visit the clubs, although the goal was not closures and layoffs but health protection.

Monday, 22 June 2020

Bozinovic: Anyone Who Had Close Contact in Zadar Has Failed

ZAGREB, June 22, 2020 - The head of the national coronavirus crisis management team, Davor Bozinovic, said on Monday that anyone who did not adhere to social distancing rules at the tennis tournament in Zadar, who shook hands or had close contact with others had failed and caused damage to themselves and their loved ones.

"Anyone who did that has fallen short for their own health and for the health of their loved ones," Bozinovic told reporters when asked who was to blame for the spike in coronavirus cases in Zadar following the Adria Tour tennis tournament.

Three participants at the tournament have tested positive for COVID-19 after Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov was diagnosed with the novel COVID-19 coronavirus. 

Bozinovic: We are fairly safe if we keep our distance

"We are in a situation that follows after a period of shutdown when Croatia is opening its economy and tourism...the fact is that if we all adhere to at least the basic measures, such as physical distancing, then we are fairly safe," said Bozinovic.

He said that he was certain that in the next few days people would become aware of the necessity to adhere to measures to prevent the disease from spreading.

Asked whether the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) presidency had considered postponing the parliamentary election, Bozinovic said that the matter had not been discussed and that there were no indications that it should be discussed.

"At the moment we have one of the most favorable epidemiological situations in Europe. At the moment we are the third country from the bottom regarding the number of deaths. We do not have anyone on a ventilator. We have a very small number of people hospitalized. If these aren't figures for the success of our work in managing this crisis, I don't know what is," he said.

Beros: It's not the end of the virus, precautions should be mandatory for all 

Because of the spike in the number of coronavirus cases, Health Minister Vili Beros is going to visit Zadar General Hospital today.

"I am going to Zadar. Unfortunately, it's not the end of the coronavirus and that's why precautions have to be mandatory for everyone. One should be responsible for oneself and for the others, particularly the youngest. Prevention is the priority," Beros said on Twitter.

Saturday, 20 June 2020

First Stricter Measures Announced: Tighter Control at Croatian Border, Nursing Home Visits In Question

June 20, 2020 - Passengers who tried to enter Croatia from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina during the last two days without a valid reason supported by documentation were returned to their home country from the Croatian border. 

T.portal reports that this is the result of stricter measures at border crossings with these countries, with which most new patients in Croatia have been connected in the last week. 

The news was confirmed for Jutarnji list by the Minister of the Interior and the Chief of the National Headquarters, Davor Bozinovic, who pointed out that the controls at these borders have been strengthened and the prescribed measures are strictly controlled.

"After new cases of the infection occurred, and most of them were related to those countries, we immediately started to carry out more intensive controls on Thursday. Anyone who wants to enter Croatia must state the reason for the trip and present documentation that supports it, such as the economic interest for our country," said Bozinovic. He also stressed that Croatia had never fully opened its borders to Serbia and BiH, as has been done to ten European countries that have a good epidemiological situation.

The complete borders closure with those countries is not yet being considered.

"Due to the current epidemiological situation, the Croatian Institute of Public Health and the Ministry of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy recommend that visits to residents of nursing homes should be banned in Split-Dalmatia County and the City of Zagreb until further notice. Furthermore, users should not be allowed to visit their family's homes so that they do not become infected during their stay outside the nursing home and potentially transmit the virus to other users upon their return.

In addition, the Croatian Institute of Public Health recommends that local headquarters, in cooperation with the competent public health institutes, monitor the epidemiological situation in their area and that based on continuous situational analyzes, make recommendations on further action regarding banning or permitting visits to users in the social welfare system," reported the Ministry.

Follow more news in Croatia on our dedicated page.

Friday, 19 June 2020

Minister Bozinovic: No Indications that Some Measures Should be Tightened, But Always Possible

June 19, 2020 - On Dnevnik Nova TV, Davor Bozinovic revealed how the National Civil Protection Headquarters will react in case the number of coronavirus patients in Croatia continues to grow, but also whether strict measures will be introduced again.

"You know we have always said that with measures we balance between economic activities and the protection of life. There are currently no indications that some measures should be tightened, but this is always a possibility. We will see in which direction this hotspot is going," he said on T.portal.

He says citizens are not recommended to travel outside the country, unless necessary. "If you travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and other countries in the region, there really must be a reason, and you shouldn't go for something you can do without. We have long noted that cross-border movement carries risks. As far as tourists are concerned, we have prescribed all measures in catering and tourism," says Bozinovic.

Asked whether the measures at the borders will be tightened, Bozinovic said that there is no need for that at the moment because there have been no tourists in Croatia in recent days. He added that tourists fill in the data in the application for tourists coming to Croatia.

"We have opened a headquarters in Zadar and Split that deals with security in the coastal areas," he said, adding that in the event of an outbreak, they would react promptly. "I am sure we have, and if we don't, we will have the answer to every challenge," said Davor Bozinovic.

When it comes to weddings and larger celebrations, Bozinovic says that if everyone adhered to all the prescribed measures, there would be no need to talk about whether it will be possible to hold large celebrations normally. He revealed that the arrival of citizens from third countries would not be allowed soon. "We will certainly not go for liberalization in the foreseeable future. The European Commission has issued recommendations. We will see the epidemiological situation," concluded the Chief of the National Headquarters. 

Asked whether all citizens, including those in self-isolation, will be allowed to go to the parliamentary elections and fulfill their civic duty, Davor Bozinovic said that epidemiologists would make recommendations for those people as well. "But I wouldn't prejudge the numbers or whether there will be any. There is communication between the DIP and the Headquarters," he said.

For more news in Croatia, follow our dedicated page.

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Minister Bozinovic: Do Not Travel Outside Croatia

June 18, 2020 - At today's government session, Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic recommended that citizens not travel outside Croatia.

"It is important that our citizens do not travel abroad, especially to these surrounding countries if it is not necessary, and on their return, they should act responsibly. As for the Headquarters, it is monitoring and analyzing the situation," Bozinovic said on Index.hr.

"Responsible behavior is a condition for keeping the favorable epidemiological situation in Croatia under control, which is a precondition for the smooth functioning of the economy," Bozinovic added.

Recall, at a government session in progress, it was announced that 11 new cases had been confirmed in the last 24 hours.

Four new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Zagreb since yesterday. All four new cases are related to the Hrvoje Požar Institute.

In addition, two more cases were confirmed in Istria, both of which are from Pula.

Three more have been confirmed in Split-Dalmatia County - two people from Split and one from Solin.

We do not yet know where the remaining two cases are from.

The Headquarters will publish the latest data on the situation in Croatia at 2 pm.

Follow the news in Croatia on our dedicated page.

Page 3 of 4