Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Coronavirus Croatia: Journalist Details Self Isolation After Japan Return

March 4, 2020 - Ivan Buča, a journalist for 24 Sata, is currently under medical supervision in Croatia, after returning home from Japan, because of the coronavirus outbreak there. There are currently over 2000 people under supervision in Croatia, with some complaining that they feel harassed and stigmatized.

*Follow this article for live updates and this page for updates from Total Croatia News on the coronavirus in Croatia. An archive of updates can be found hereContact numbers for epidemiologists, travel advisories and measures for preventing the spread of the coronavirus can be found here.

“What's up, friend? You're a coronaš now, eh?”

This message was an attempt to cheer me up by a ‘witty’ friend after learning that I was in home isolation because I had just returned from Japan. Unfortunately for my friend, I am not a 'coronaš' because I don't have any symptoms of the disease.

Croatia Journalist Under Supervision After Japan Return

But since Japan was added to the list of countries last week where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not recommend travel to, if not necessary, due to the coronavirus outbreak; I have been put under medical supervision for 14 days, Ivan Buča wrote for 24 Sata on March 3, 2020.

I am like many people who have returned from China, Korea, the affected areas of northern Italy in recent days…

The Ministry issued a travel advisory for Japan in the middle of my one-week visit to that country, where I was staying with about 20 other Croatians. On the same day, the Japanese Prime Minister decided that all schools and kindergartens would be closed for a month, and museums would shut their doors for two weeks. We were immediately aware that, upon returning home, we would be subject to expanded screenings at the airport and would be placed under medical supervision.

“Look at the bright side. At least we won't have to go to work,” some of my companions were cheering as we tried to dispel the discomfort of returning to Croatia by sharing various memes about the coronavirus (and there are some hilarious ones) on the plane.

Because after following the news from the homeland about empty shelves in shops, disguised protective masks and empty stands in HNL (Croatian First Football League) stadiums, we thought we would surely come home to a zombie apocalypse. Therefore, we might face the danger of someone firing upon us upon leaving the airport because we’ve come from the "corona zone".

Then we remembered that the stadiums in the HNL were empty and virus-free, so we didn’t feel so anxious.

“Easy for you. I work for foreigners. When I tell him that I must stay home, it will only make my e-mails even harder,” our guest worker has been inconsolable throughout the flight.


Customs | Franjo Tuđman Airport - Zagreb

Zagreb Airport Border Inspector: Report to Epidemiologist

After landing in Zagreb at the airport on Sunday, there were shared mixed feelings of immense happiness and uncertainty. Immeasurable happiness because, after almost 20 hours of flying, we can finally go to a normal toilet, and uncertainty because we know that we will not be able to leave the airport so easily.

As soon as we stepped off the plane, we headed to the counter of the Senior Border Inspector. There we were told that we would have to fill out the required forms first and then wait.

With all the praiseworthy efforts Croatia is making to curb the spread of the coronavirus, having only one sanitary inspector at the airport appears to be inadequate for the arrivals of large groups of passengers. And even the hand sanitizer fluid on the same counter would be out of the question.

But we patiently filled out the necessary forms - where we had been, where we were going, what we were doing, whether we were in contact with someone who was ill, did we have any symptoms…

At the counter, we also noticed brochures about the coronavirus, which were translated into Chinese, as well as several other flyers for travellers.

The coronavirus may currently be the "star" among infectious diseases, but it is not the only one that is dangerous, so there were also instructions about controlling the spread of the African swine fever.

About an hour later, we received a series of medical surveillance decisions “on suspicion of SARS-CoV-2” (the official name of the virus), ordering us to immediately contact an epidemiologist on duty, by phone or in person, as soon as we arrive.

Epidemiologist: Expect 14 Days in Home Isolation

The epidemiologist on duty, after finding out that I had no symptoms and that as far as I could tell I had not been in contact with someone who was infected, explained to me that I awaited 14 days in home isolation, which meant that I may not go to work, a grocery store, coffee shop or any other public place. I simply must stay home for 14 days.

Since the sanitary inspector's decision states that I will be fined for violating of health surveillance order; I looked up the penalties in the Law on the Protection of the People from Infectious Diseases. A real trifle - up to 5000 HRK (668 EUR) for per person.

That, in my opinion, is enough reason to comply with the decision. As for members of my household, it is my obligation to make sure that I do not cough or sneeze and that I isolate myself from them as much as possible. As I have no symptoms, there is no sneezing or coughing.

How to Self Isolate | Good Morning Britain

2400 Croatians Under Surveillance or Self Isolation

The epidemiologist on duty gave me contact information area epidemiologists, categorized according to address of residence. I need to check in with them on the phone every day during those two weeks and describe my health condition. If, God forbid, symptoms occur, I must call them immediately and without delay. It is estimated that more than 2400 people are currently under surveillance or self-isolation in Croatia.

Some have complained that this environment insults them and stigmatizes them as 'carriers', so it is important to emphasise that being monitored and self-isolated does not mean that these people are ill – but that they are behaving responsibly, to appease their immediate and wider relatives, work colleagues and neighbours based upon the fact that they were in countries where the virus has spread.

And so, during my first two days of home isolation, I appropriately contacted epidemiologists with my health information.

Presently, jet lag is my most troublesome symptom, which makes me wake up at two in the morning without fail because my body clock is still on "Japanese time".

Journalist Spends Isolation Watching TV: Soccer, Eurosong

Since much can be learned from health-conscious Japanese, I have applied some of their theories of healthy living. More than ever, I make sure I drink enough fluid and eat lots of fruit. Although I have no symptoms, I also take my temperature, because what is safe is safe.

And how do you make the time pass in home isolation? Well, writing texts is always an option. I haven't yet seen last year's hit series "Chernobyl", so I think it's somehow appropriate to address this now during this cataclysmic period.

While I was in Japan, Croatia had also consumed by the Dora virus, or the big “hateful” choice of a Croatian song for Eurosong. So, after returning to my own ears and eyes, I had to get acquainted with the musical and visual expressions of every participant. After watching all the performances, I realized that it would be better if I had skipped it because some performances will haunt me in dreams and nightmares.

And in the absence of sporting events, even those empty HNL grandstands from the perspective of home isolation seem tempting. And thank heaven for the televised dual of eternal rivals NK Lokomotiva and Slaven Belupo!

Coronavirus Health Surveillance: About Protecting Yourself and Others

All jokes aside, a level of health surveillance is essential and necessary, as much as it may seem to some to be a hassle. It is equally important to take care of my own and others' health. If I have learned anything in Japan, it is that they are the champions of caring for their own health and the health of others. They approach these difficult situations with a serious dose of caution, and without panic.

So, wash your hands well and preferably with soap and water, not ash, as the all-knowing epidemiologist (Zagreb Mayor) Bandić advised. Use hand sanitizer and cover your mouth sneezing or coughing and act responsibly.

How to Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer

On Tuesday March 3, 2020; the ninth case of the coronavirus was confirmed in Croatia. This is a young man from Varaždin who returned from Milan on February 24. The Croatia Border Inspection put him under surveillance and he’s now in the hospital.

What is Isolation?

For those who are ill: Complete quarantine or isolation refers to patients with coronavirus who are under controlled conditions in hospitals. They are completely isolated from the outside world, which means that they eat in the same space, but also go to the bathroom in the same space. That also has a protocol (before going to the bathroom, a certain agent must be poured into the bowl, and it is necessary to wait 10 minutes before flushing the toilet). This procedure was already reported by the twins, who were first in Croatia to be infected with the coronavirus.

What is Self-Isolation?

Sanitary Guidelines: Self-isolation is usually imposed upon people after a border inspection. We learned from the Professional Association of Drivers and Carriers that a certificate with instructions on self-isolation is issued at the border. These people can go to their homes. HZJZ Director Doctor Capak said such a person should not have contact with other people if possible.

Should you self isolate? | Good Morning Britian

What is Health Surveillance?

Reporting to an epidemiologist: Everyone who has been in the area affected by the spread of the infection is provided with guidance on health surveillance which can be active or passive. With active surveillance, epidemiologists personally call people on the phone and check for any symptoms (even the lowest fever, cough, snoring). Passive surveillance means that they must report to epidemiologists once a day on their own.

*Follow this article for live updates and this page for updates from Total Croatia News on the coronavirus in Croatia. An archive of updates can be found hereContact numbers for epidemiologists, travel advisories and measures for preventing the spread of the coronavirus can be found here.

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Coronavirus Croatia: Outbreak Significantly Reduces Easter Bookings

March 3, 2020 - Because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, bookings for Easter in Croatia have been significantly reduced. However, some companies have figured out how to reduce cancellations of booked travel arrangements. They have decided to give tourists the option of cancelling their trip without penalty up two or three days before their scheduled arrival.

*Follow this article for live updates and this page for updates from Total Croatia News on the coronavirus in Croatia. An archive of updates can be found hereContact numbers for epidemiologists, travel advisories and measures for preventing the spread of the coronavirus can be found here.

Familiar Words: No Reason to Panic in Croatia

On the other hand, tourism experts say that Croatia has no reason to panic according to Martina Pauček Šljivak/Index on March 3, 2020. Although everyone is keeping a close eye on what happens and how the situation develops, they say that the reduced number of Easter bookings is not necessarily cause for concern. But they added that the number of bookings is worse than last year. Nevertheless, they claim that those numbers should not be compared to last year, because these are two different scenarios.

Tomislav Fain, president of the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies, told Index that Easter bookings were slow and not going at the pace they went last year. However, he also said that some companies have made key decisions which have currently reduced the cancellations of travel arrangements for Croatia.

Some Croatia Partners Offer Last Minute Cancellations

"The bookings we have received have still not been cancelled to a large extent, most went to partners with reduced travel cancellation options. Some companies have thus decided to give clients the option of cancelling their trips even two to three days before their planned arrival to Croatia without having to pay a cancellation fee. We are all watching what is happening, both for our guests and us. We are all hoping that this situation will stabilize and that everyone will continue to travel normally. But the fact is that we do not have any new reservations for Easter," Fain told Index.

Index also spoke with Veljko Ostojić, director of the Croatian Tourism Association, who said that because of the coronavirus outbreak, some tour groups from Italy had cancelled their arrivals in Croatia for Easter. Some events in Croatia have also been cancelled, he revealed to Index.



Bookings from Italy Down Significantly

"Easter bookings are down significantly, and inquiries have been reduced. But Easter falls on April 12 this year and all sorts of things are possible. So, if things get under control, we can expect the infected to be healthy within the next few days, so it's too early to assess what kind of results there will be for Easter," Ostojić added.

Last year, he said, there were more bookings at this time of year, but he also added that it was difficult to compare a normal year to this specific situation.

"Easter can be great and it can be bad, now people are monitoring the coronavirus developments in Croatia, and in their own countries. I think we have no reason to panic regarding this topic, and even if Easter is worse than last year, nothing dramatic will happen here. The four summer months are the most important to us and possibly some lost arrivals can be made up for later. There is no reason to panic," Ostojić concluded, echoing a familiar phrase.

Coronavirus Causes Cancellations of March Group Bookings

Croatian Minister of Tourism Gari Cappelli recently said that Croatian tourism is not feeling the downside of coronavirus outbreak for the time being, but that bookings have slowed down slightly, which he said was normal and to be expected. He added that the largest cancellations are currently happening in the business and congress tourism segment for March.

"The further spread of coronavirus in Croatia and the rest of Europe is difficult to project, but it is expected that it will have an impact on the first quarter's tourism results, though not too much, since the tourist turnover is normally lower in that quarter and the share of total annual revenue from tourism is about five percent," Cappelli assessed at a previous government meeting.


2000 Chinese tourists visited Croatia in February 2020, which was 60 percent less than 2019 | Index

2000 Chinese Tourists in February 2020: Down 60 Percent

He stated that there are currently about 24.5 thousand tourists in Croatia, which is similar to last year, and that the decline is mostly coming from Asian markets, especially from China, whose tourists numbered about two thousand, or 60 percent less in February than in the same month last year. However, in January this year there were almost four thousand or 70 percent more. Cappelli says tourism numbers are now about zero from that market compared to last year's results at the same time.

He also pointed out that in relation to the total tourist physical and financial traffic in the first three months of this year, due to the situation with the virus, they do not expect any major negative impact, except for the already mentioned segment of business and congress tourism, which happens in March.

Easter Earlier in 2020: True Tourist Picture Expected in May

"Easter is earlier this year, at the beginning of April, and when the holiday falls earlier it never provides a true picture of what will happen in the tourist season. This year, the real picture will be only be seen around the May holidays, when the largest number of Italian tourists arrive. Like Slovenes and Germans, they merge those holidays with others in their countries," added Cappelli.

He also noted that the last two years has seen a trend of last-minute bookings in May for the summer peak season, and for which he does not currently show any cancellations in Croatia. However, even in some of the major markets, like Germany and Great Britain, there has been a steady demand recorded with low growth compared to the same period in 2019.

Follow our Travel page for updates on Croatia tourism forecasts and statistics for 2020. The website for the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies can be found here, the Croatian Tourism Association here and the Croatia Ministry of Tourism here.

*Follow this article for live updates and this page for updates from Total Croatia News on the coronavirus in Croatia. An archive of updates can be found hereContact numbers for epidemiologists, travel advisories and measures for preventing the spread of the coronavirus can be found here.

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Croatian Post Suspends Delivery of Small Packages from China

Croatian Post (Hrvatska posta) has stopped shipping small packages from China to Croatia, everything ordered through AliExpress will not be shipped.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Bernard Ivezic writes on the 6th of February, 2020, fortunately, the coronavirus epidemic has not yet hit the health of the population in Croatia, but its onset has already hit the domestic economy.

Fuel might well be getting cheaper, but online purchases from China, primarily via AliExpress, has now been discontinued, and Croatian retailers predict that the economic impact of coronavirus, primarily on technological products, may soon be coming in the form of higher prices. Oil prices have fallen below 50 US dollars per barrel (49.92 US dollars), the lowest level in the past year, due to falling demand in China. The world's largest economy is also the world's largest oil importer.

But to curb the epidemic, the Chinese Government is shutting down factories, slowing down domestic and foreign trade, and introducing quarantines, and as such, the demand for oil on that market is falling. Consequently, prices of gasoline and diesel are also falling in Croatia as well. Other economic effects of the coronavirus epidemic will have a bad effect on business in Croatia. For starters, the coronavirus epidemic has temporarily shut down AliExpress's domestic business. Croatian Post first announced that it had received information from KLM, Lufthansa LH and Turkish Airlines that, to prevent the spread of coronavirus, they had suspended flights to China until further notice, and that this would affect the delivery of packages from there.

At the request of Poslovni Dnevnik, Croatian Post confirmed that the delivery of small packages from China to Croatia has now ceased. Therefore, no small packages you order through AliExpress from China will be able to ship to you at this time.

"The postal items from China to Croatia come exclusively by air, and although the carriers have primarily suspended flights because of the passengers, the shipments cannot reach Croatia," Croatian Post explains.

In numbers, this means that from Saturday to Tuesday, more than 100,000 packages, which should have been delivered to customers in Croatia, remained stuck in warehouses in China. By the end of this week, that figure will climb to about 250,000 packages and will not be able to be reduced until they can fly or the Chinese merchants divert air shipping to container shipping.

"About one million shipments come from China on a monthly basis, and the total number of packages has been growing steadily in recent years, by up to 20 percent annually," they say from Croatian Post. They state that this is a direct consequence of the growth of online commerce. However, just delaying deliveries from AliExpress could have a positive effect in the short term, that is, boost the sales of local online retailers. Not in the long run, however, because China is the world's largest factory.

Sime Essert, CEO of, an online service that compares the prices of more than 200 stores in Croatia, says that a real slowdown in direct imports from China will boost domestic online stores in the short term.

"Anyone who works with suppliers who will not be quarantined could profit in this situation or, for example, those who have a supply of limited goods. It's worth remembering the explosion of graphics card prices when the Bitcoin mining mania started," said Essert.

He added that at the moment, they haven't noticed any significant changes in the prices of technical goods, but that this can't be excluded. Essert stated that factories and stores are closing in China, and despite announcing and when they will reopen, it remains to be seen if that will actually happen. However, he points out that prices could also fall.

"Things like this definitely affect supply, but also demand, so it's possible that prices will drop as well," explained Essert.

On the other hand, the prices of certain technological products are expected to rise globally. Informin Tech's IHS service announced that five factories of LCD and OLED screens, located in Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic, have been shut down by the Chinese Government to prevent the spread of the virus. China should produce 55 percent of LCDs in the world by 2020. Informa states that, according to initial estimates in February, only a decline in the production of such displays in China could be between 10 and 20 percent, and this will first affect manufacturers of TVs, laptops and PCs.

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