Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Traveling to Croatia by Car? Overview of Current Measures

July 14, 2021 - If you are traveling to Croatia by car, this overview of the current measures will certainly help!

It is the holiday season, meaning increased cross-border traffic for travelers. To make it easier for travelers from Slovenia, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland to come and go on vacation in Croatia, HRTurizam outlines the currently valid measures.

Entry into the Republic of Croatia will be allowed to passengers coming directly from EU member states and/or regions, i.e., Schengen member states and/or areas and countries associated with the Schengen area, regardless of citizenship, if they have a valid EU digital COVID certificate.

Exceptionally, passengers coming directly from EU member states and/or regions or countries and/or regions of the Schengen area and countries associated with the Schengen area, and do not have an EU digital COVID certificate, will be allowed to enter the Republic of Croatia with a negative PCR test or rapid antigen test - BAT. With a BAT test made abroad, the test manufacturer and/or the commercial name of the test must be visible. Otherwise, the test will not be accepted as credible for entry into the Republic of Croatia. In addition, the result of the PCR test must not be older than 72 hours, and the BAT test 48 hours from the moment of testing until the arrival at the border.

Entry into Croatia will also be possible for persons with a vaccination certificate and a certificate of COVID-19 infection or with PCR testing or rapid antigen testing - BAT on SARS-CoV-2 immediately upon arrival in the Republic of Croatia (at their own expense), with the obligation of self-isolation until the arrival of a negative result. If testing is not possible, a self-isolation measure of ten days is determined.

From Thursday, 15 July, Slovenia will change the entry criteria. The same measures will apply to all passengers, regardless of their country of origin - they will need to present a valid vaccination certificate, a certificate of illness, or a negative test for COVID-19 not older than 48 hours and 72 hours, respectively, depending on the test. These measures will also apply to professional drivers in freight and passenger transport.

A European digital vaccination certificate or third-country digital certificate will be valid as proof for the entry of passengers into Slovenia without quarantine. The new rules will not apply only to foreigners who own land or real estate in Slovenia and to children under the age of 15 if a parent or guardian accompanies them. All passengers in transit, including professional drivers in passenger and freight transport, must leave the country within 12 hours. Otherwise, they are assigned an epidemiological measure of self-isolation. Detailed information is available here.

Entry into Austria is possible upon presenting a negative test (rapid antigen test not older than 48 hours or a PCR test not older than 72 hours), a vaccination certificate, or a certificate of recovery from COVID-19. If none of the above certifications is available, it is necessary to register via the Pre-Travel-Clearance form and be tested in Austria within 24 hours of crossing the border.

Certificates in German or English are valid as proof of vaccination. As proof of recovery, a medical certificate in German or English is valid, which shows that the person has suffered from COVID 19 in a period of 180 days and which is not older than 90 days. Confirmation of illness is identical to the evidence of neutralizing antibodies, which at the time of entry into Austria must not be older than 90 days.

Children up to the age of 12 are exempted from the obligation to test and present other certificates. Furthermore, passengers for medical reasons can enter Austria without restrictions upon presenting a certificate of necessity to use the medical service in English or German. Likewise, persons in transit, carriers of goods and passengers, emergency vehicles, and the like can enter Austria without restrictions.

According to the existing rules, entry into the Federal Republic of Germany is basically possible for all citizens of the European Union with certain restrictions and compliance with the prescribed epidemiological measures. Germany categorizes areas into risk and areas with mutated variants of the COVID-19 virus, and the current categorization is available here.

The entire territory of the Republic of Croatia - except Zadar County - is categorized as risk-free. Therefore, passengers coming from risk-free parts of the Republic of Croatia can enter the Federal Republic of Germany without the obligation to announce entry, test, certificates, and quarantine.

Passengers coming from the Republic of Croatia from risk areas can enter Germany without quarantine if they have a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours or an antigen test not older than 72 with proof of digital announcement of entry (electronically or in printed form, available at the link) 48 hours before arrival, made in an authorized health institution and printed in German, English or French, a certificate of complete vaccination with a vaccine from the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute list in German, English, French, Italian or Spanish in paper or digital form or a certificate for persons who have survived COVID-19, a medical certificate in German, English, French, Italian or Spanish in paper or digital form proving that at least 28 days have passed since the cessation of the disease, and not more than 6 months. Children up to 6 years of age are exempt from this obligation.

Air passengers, regardless of their area of ​​origin (risk-free or risky), are obliged to comply with the rule of submitting evidence of testing, proof of recovery from infection, or evidence of vaccination before take-off. Information can be found on the website of the German Federal Ministry of Health.

People who come to the Swiss Confederation from Croatia do not need to be quarantined. However, all persons arriving by bus, train, boat, or plane must complete an online form available at the link. In addition, all persons arriving in Switzerland by plane are required to present a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours upon boarding.

Exempted from these obligations are children under 16 years of age, persons who have been fully vaccinated following the recommendations of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health or the country of arrival, upon presentation of appropriate documentation, persons who have survived COVID-19 for 6 months, with appropriate documentation. For travelers coming to the Swiss Confederation, detailed information is available here.

All additional information on entry into the Member States of the European Union and the measures in force in individual countries can be found on Reopen Europa.

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

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 9 July 2021

Which Sectors Relied Most Heavily on Croatian Job Preservation Measures?

July the 9th, 2021 - Croatian job preservation measures which were introduced last year as an attempt to fight the dire economic consequences of lockdowns were a Godsend for many companies who would have gone under otherwise. Who made the most use of them?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, according to announcements from the Government, job preservation measures are set to undergo some quite significant changes. On the one hand, the announced changes, starting with the measures for July, are related to the current modality of approving them exclusively to enterprises from certain industries, but the question is which ones, because it hasn't yet been determined.

Unofficially, it has been learned that travel agencies will continue to receive funds from Croatian job preservation measures, while hopes for the catering and hospitality sector continue to be placed in the shaky hands of a hopefully good and long tourist season.

On the other hand, talks between the Government administration and the trade unions started with discussions on another possibility, which is the introduction of restrictions on Croatian job preservation measures for those employees who haven't yet been vaccinated. This second measure is ethically debatable, both because of human rights and personal data protection, with enterprises and the opposition becoming louder, and a decision on that will be known later on this month.

According to an assessment of auditor Dubravka Kopun, who undertook an analysis of the current Croatian job preservation measures, the Government is going in the right direction, especially in terms of defining the activities that further need these funds. The latest available CES data on approved measures have been concluded for the salary payments for March, and in terms of activities it turns out that the most significant beneficiary of these grants is of course the hospitality sector, which participates with as many as 26 percent of all employees to whom these measures apply.

A significant category are travel agencies that employ 9,578 employees, which is a share of close to 8 percent in terms of these measures, and hotels and camps where there are 6,214 or 5 percent of employees to whom the measures apply.

According to Kopun, however, the segment of construction, architects and surveyors is interesting. While there are continuous talks of a significant labour shortage in the construction sector, almost 4.6 percent of their employees or 5,623 people remain in the total number of those for whom economic measures have been approved.

It is also, as she says, an interesting fact about the number of lawyers who still receive suppoer, although their business isn't significantly affected by the pandemic. There are 417 lawyers who employ 667 employees, which is about 0.5 percent of all employees to whom Croatian job preservation measures are approved.

Of the total number of beneficiaries of Croatian job preservation measures as of March 2021 - 35,900 companies employing 123,547 people for whose jobs the measures are still being implemented, the situation is critical in the most vulnerable group - those engaged in micro-entrepreneurship. The most important in the structure of the use of CES measures, which include co-financing the costs of salaries and part-time work, are micro-entrepreneurs who employ from 1 to 10 employees. According to Kopun's analysis, these entities participate with as many as 63 percent of employees for whom such funds have been approved. One year ago, the share stood at around 85 percent, with about 110,000 employees accounted for.

A comparison of these trends on an annual basis - the realisation of the measure of wages at the beginning of the pandemic for March 2020 compared to March this year shows that the number of beneficiaries decreased by about 4450 companies. A year ago, it was used by 40,350 enterprises who employed 387,372 people, with only 2.5 percent of those companies being in the category of those who employ over 50 people.

Some sectors are still so affected by the current global situation that targeted measures are now under way to replace the horizontal measures at the level of one sector. Such is the latest move by the Ministry of Transport, which recently announced a public call for the allocation of ''small value aid'' to help affected companies operating in the transport sector, worth a total of 60 million kuna. As many as 9,665 people are employed in transport, airports and Croatia Airlines, who receive Croatian job preservation measures (a share of 7.82 percent).

For more, follow our dedicated business section.

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Emmezeta Boss Says Banning Unvaccinated Customers Would be Problematic

July the 6th, 2021 - The Croatian Emmezeta boss has spoken out against the idea of only allowing those who are vaccinated, or those who have covid passports proving their negative test results to enter shopping centres.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Slobodan Skolnik, President of the Management Board of Emmezeta, spoke on N1 Studio live about the announcements that unvaccinated people will not be able to enter shopping centres.

"We're worried, as usual, when measures are being taken that are not entirely clear. We have no details about them. It would be very good for the competent ministries and the Civil Protection Directorate to contact the HUP association and for all measures to be tested by the people who have to implement them in practice. It wouldn't be good to introduce an unenforceable or difficult-to-implement measure and one that would bring an additional burden,'' the Emmezeta boss stated.

He noted that they still don't have the exact details on what the measure should look like.

"I understand that this measure should replace the one about wearing masks. Shopping centres would be entered with a digital green pass and people who have it don't need to wear masks. I guess those who still want to wear masks could get into shopping centres without having a pass, maybe that’s the kind of mix in question.

If it were so drastic that those who aren't vaccinated cannot enter, it would greatly complicate the operation of such facilities. These facilities have a lot of entrances, they need more manpower, these are additional costs at hand. It would probably intimidate some people, some of them will feel that their rights are being violated because we know that vaccination is not mandatory. Every reasonable person advocates and encourages people to get vaccinated. We know that vaccination can reduce the number of people in hospitals and reduce the spread,'' the Croatian Emmezeta boss stated.

About how shopping malls should check who has a digital EU certificate, he said:

"You know how it goes, where a human is involved, there's a possible omission. Just wink at someone and walk inside. China has digitised it, there are readers everywhere. I don't know how long it would take for us to be digitally ready. But again, the problem remains with those who don't have a green certificate and who haven't been vaccinated.

He also said he didn't know if anyone from the shopping centres had actually contacted the government about these proposed new measures. He added that since the beginning of the pandemic, Emmezeta has been monitoring how many employees had to be isolated and how many were infected at any given time, adding that there was very little to speak of when it comes to isolation and infection within the company at all.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Croatian Hospitality Sector Says New Measures Will Destroy Them

July the 6th, 2021 - The Croatian hospitality sector is once again set to face the brunt of the epidemiological measures, stating that this will destroy them and that they may as well close their doors now.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, in addition to working only part-time, they are now no longer allowed to serve customers inside the bars and the current Croatian epidemiological measures have halved the number of tables they have available. As of July the 1st, facilities operating within the scope of the Croatian hospitality sector, such as cafes and cars, are not allowed to serve anyone who isn't sitting down at a table.

Just when some glimmer of hope that 2021's tourist season would be more similar to the one from pre-pandemic 2019 arose, the National Civil Protection Directoate has again stomped on that light.

The ban on serving guests who aren't sitting down at a table, if such a rule is adhered to at all, will see all of the bars on the steps in the Old City of Dubrovnik close their doors, Jutarnji list writes. These are all bars that have most of their tables inside, there are maybe two or three in front of the bar, and their main "terrace" is their steps.

''What they're doing is so funny, these rules have literally nothing to do with anything,'' said Albert, the owner of the Alberto bar in the heart of Dubrovnik's glorious old town. Just a little tucked away from Stradun, the restaurant lives off guests who assume their ''sitting positions'' on hard stone steps coupled with soft, spongy cushions.

''We've got 18 chairs outside, the others are standing or sitting on the steps. If they really insist that we all adhere to these measures, we can just close the bar now. Last year, in June and July, let us work until 02:00 in the morning, and then in August they brought us back to midnight again,'' this angry bar owner explained.

Albert took over this bar back in February last year, exactly 27 days before the pandemic struck Croatia and the very first lockdown.

''The money I had, I invested everything here. About half a million kuna. Until then I worked for others, now I needed it for myself, and I have three children and the bar is the only income for my family,'' he said.

He managed to sustain the business thanks to state support. If he hadn't been getting paid, he doesn't know how he'd have survived it all.

''I'd also like to ask them just where someone will work for 4000 kuna. We’ve done very little since I opened it, and now this. They just don’t let me work. One step forward, five steps back. And how do they intend to ban people from sitting on the stairs? Someone comes here and sits down. Drinks are served. What are they going to do, send the police out to come and arrest people?!'' Albert asked.

Other Croatian hospitality sector workers down in Dubrovnik also agree that the decisions being made by the National Civil Protection Directorate are idiotic and reckless. The issue will likely also affect many other Croatian destinations where sitting on the steps is the norm, including Rovinj in Istria.

For more, follow our business section.

Sunday, 4 July 2021

Josip Aladrovic on Government Aid: Time to Separate Responsible from Irresponsible

July the 4th, 2021 - Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic has stated that it is time to separate those who are responsible and those who aren't when it comes to handing out government economic support to businesses, echoing comments about the link between being vaccinated and receiving government support made by the Prime Minister recently.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the announced possible denial of job preservation/economic aid to companies where workers haven't been vaccinated has provoked many reactions, Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic was among those who offered their view on it.

''As far as harmonisation with the law is concerned, we haven't had any problems with harmonising everything from epidemiological measures to economic measures with the law. Everything was done in full accordance with the law. I'm sure that in the dialogue with the unions and employers, we'll find some good arguments in this case as well, and a quality and legal solution,'' Josip Aladrovic said for RTL.

''We have several models that we're going to present to unions and employers. What's certain is that we have all borne the burden of this crisis. Therefore, everyone living in the Republic of Croatia, all taxpayers financed this crisis with 34 billion kuna. Now is the time to separate those who are responsible from those who are irresponsible, to encourage accountability through vaccination and a greater level of integration of economic and epidemiological measures. And epidemiological measures now mean, in translation, vaccination,'' said Aladrovic.

''We need to be aware that we're in a health and economic crisis. To overcome this we need to raise the level of vaccination so that the tourist season isn't jeopardised at this time, and the economy as a whole and beyond can remain stable. We need to integrate the vaccination process with our economic measures,'' he said.

"This is an affirmative way, not a way to penalise those who don't want to get vaccinated, but we'll arrange our economic measures so that they help those most responsible,'' the minister said.

Does this mean that those who will have one or two unvaccinated people in their company won't be able to count on measures at all, or will that only be the case for those unvaccinated employees?

''It’s too early to say what the model will look like. We'll present it to employers and unions as equal partners in this crisis first, and then we'll know what its final appearance will look like, which will certainly be legal and constitutional, and which will affirmatively promote vaccination in order to minimise damage to the economy,'' he said.

''Employees of my ministry are certainly not all vaccinated, about 50 percent of them are if I'm not mistaken according to the latest estimates, which is slightly more than the average of the Republic of Croatia. But we're affirmative towards all state and public services and we'll also have to find a way for public and state services to function in the future and make a very clear distinction between the rights and obligations of those who are vaccinated and those who aren't,'' assured Josip Aladrovic.

''We will award economic aid to those who are most responsible in society. So, it's affirmative, that those who are most responsible can more easily cope with the economic crisis, that is, the business difficulties they face. As for penalisation, so far we haven't prescribed the obligation to get vaccinated nor have we penalised anyone. We now have a lot of critics on these measures. However, we talked a lot in this study about the measures when they were introduced, and we had an equal number of critics then. Now we have 56,000 more employees than last year, 4,000 more than in 2019, which was the strongest economic year since 2008,'' he added.

If the Government has failed to motivate all public and public sector employees, how do you expect any of the private employers to succeed in motivating their people?

''I expect the motivation to be the same for everyone. Today, we have a million and a half vaccinated citizens, a million and a half taxpayers who have taken joint responsibility for overcoming the pandemic, the economic crisis and the public health crisis. We must make sure other people follow the same path,'' he said.

''So far we're at the level of 11.7 billion kuna, with contributions that amount stands at almost 17 billion kuna. We covered 700,000 people and 120,000 employers. As the weather improves, the pressure on the measures decreases. But we must point out that for April and May, the projected cost is 400 million kuna. Intensive support to certain sectors is still needed. But we have to allocate these funds in a much better way, we have to allocate them to those who need them the most, we aren't running away from that,'' Josip Aladrovic concluded.

For more, follow our politics section.

Saturday, 19 June 2021

Croatian Chamber of Commerce Seeking Aid for Caterers Until End of Year

June the 19th, 2021 - Many are hoping that the Croatian Government's aid and job preservation measures will continue being paid out until the end of the year, and the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) is one of the loud voices in that particular crowd.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the Association of Hospitality Activities of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce is asking that the government measures designed to help enterprises in this sector, which has been among the hardest hit by the anti-epidemic measures in Croatia, continue until the end of the year.

The aforementioned Association within the Croatian Chamber of Commerce desires this outcome regardless of epidemiological measures in place at any given time throughout the rest of this year, warning that in the first five months of 2021, only 50 percent of the turnover recorded back in pre-pandemic 2019 was achieved. This means that there is a continued pressure being placed on the Croatian hospitality and catering sector, despite the more favourable epidemiological situation, eased measures and the gradual return of tourism from abroad.

The Association from within the Croatian Chamber of Commerce suggests that the threshold for granting an exemption from needing to pay contributions on top of employee salaries of 4,000 kuna be lowered to those with a proven 30 percent drop in turnover. They propose the same conditions for the exercise of the right to reimbursement of paid fixed costs, and to ensure the payment of this support for the duration of epidemiological measures, they want this to be the case for the entire period in which the business of those in this line of work is limited.

"Recovery will continue long after the pandemic is over. Therefore, we propose that the permanent reduction of VAT on coffee, beer, wine, soft drinks and beverages and its equating with the accommodation and serving of food/desserts to 13 percent be taken very seriously.

We believe that this is a measure without an alternative that is needed to make the hospitality sector more stable and competitive, which will directly affect the increase of employment and investment,'' says the President of the Association, Drazen Boban, adding that to save tourism in Croatia this year, we need to urgently simplify the employment procedures required when employing third country nationals.

For more, follow our business section.

Monday, 12 April 2021

New Coronavirus Measures Introduced in Four Croatian Counties

April the 12th, 2021 - New coronavirus measures have been introduced across four Croatian counties. Here is a list of what is set to alter and where the measures will be the strictest.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, at the suggestion of local headquarters, to whom more powers have been given, stricter epidemiological measures were introduced in four Croatian counties - Primorje-Gorski Kotar, Dubrovnik-Neretva, Zagreb and Osijek-Baranja.

Of the aforementioned four Croatian counties, in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, from today, April the 12th, to April the 26th, all public events and gatherings are prohibited, gyms and fitness centres, cinemas, casinos and shops selling shoes and clothes are closed. It is currently forbidden to visit the residents of homes for the elderly, and working hours are limited in stores where work is allowed from 06:00 to 19:00.

New two-week epidemiological measures are also being introduced down in southern Dalmatia, more specifically in Dubrovnik-Neretva County, which prohibits public gatherings for more than fifteen people in one place. A maximum of eight people from two households can attend private gatherings for the duration of the measures.

At the suggestion of the local county headquarters, stricter epidemiological measures are being introduced in Zagreb County today and will remain in force until April the 25th.

Among other things, the working hours of catering facilities are being limited from 06:00 to 21:00, the working hours of casinos, slot machine clubs and payment points for betting are being limited from 08:00 to 21:00, and the sale of alcoholic beverages from 21:00 to 06:00 is now prohibited.

In Osijek-Baranja County, until the end of April, recommendations are in place that locker rooms should not be used in sports and fitness facilities, and the increased monitoring of compliance with necessary epidemiological measures at public events and gatherings, public transport, shopping centers and restaurants will take place.

For more on coronavirus in Croatia, including travel, border and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of testing centres across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section.

Friday, 2 April 2021

Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic: Economic Measures Can't Last Forever

April the 2nd, 2021 - Croatian Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic has spoken out publicly about the continued government efforts to help companies keep their heads above water as the coronavirus pandemic rages on. This state aid includes economic help and so-called job preservation measures. Aladrovic stated that they can't simply go on forever.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic was a recent guest on Dnevnik N1, where he spoke about the National Recovery and Resilience Plan and what it means for the country as the pandemic continues.

To begin with, he said the plan envisions 54 percent of the funds going to the domestic economy.

"This is the segment in which we expect the most job creation and the highest quality jobs, and that means that most investments will go to the real sector. 100,000 seems ambitious, but it's also realistic. I must mention that in the last four years, we've created a little less than 110,000 jobs,'' he said and added:

"At the end of the term, we only had 110,000 more jobs than we did at the beginning of the term, so these numbers we want to compare stand at 100,000 more than today, and I'm sure we'llsucceed and we want to reach 70% employment."

New workplaces

"It's up to the state to create the preconditions for jobs to be created. We have several chapters here that show where these investments will be directed. The economy will use these funds to create new jobs. We hope that it will be in industries that are more advanced, that are more technologically aware and of course that these will be jobs that will create more added value. In other areas as well, we've allocated more than a billion kuna precisely in the aspect of the green and digital sectors, where we expect not only to generate 100,000 new jobs but we expect them to better quality jobs,'' noted Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic.

He also explained that they have another month to better set goals, after which the approval of the European Commission (EC) is to be awaited, and after which the implementation of the plan will actually concretely begin.

Reform salaries by the end of the term

Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic also referred to the reform of salaries in the state and public sector.

"The salary reform in the state and public administration is something we've been talking about for a long time now. Last year, which was entirely marked by the pandemic, wasn't the one in which we tackled that reform, but we applied for funding so we could implement that reform and listed it as a priority and a goal.

We'll certainly implement the salary reform in both the state and public administration in two to three years. We've committed ourselves to implement this within these deadlines. It is important to state that a significant aspect of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan are these goals. It's important that these reforms are implemented in parallel with investments. I'm sure that this mix of reforms and investments will be positive for us," he said.

Government measures and state aid cannot be infinite

Aladrovic also said that higher expenditures from salaries for healthcare weren't a topic of conversation. "What the healthcare system is facing is an increase in costs in the middle of a pandemic, but also a multi-year accumulation of liabilities. I must mention that, as far as I know, the increase in contributions wasn't a topic,'' he said.

He also said that government aid measures cannot last indefinitely.

"That isn't going to simply be infinite and we're all aware that can't be the case, given that part of the funds are financed from the state budget. Now we have a challenging epidemiological situation, I want to emphasise that while there are problems in the economy, and when certain segments can't operate at their pre-pandemic levels, we're going to be here to help, but it simply isn't possible for this sort of help to last indefinitely," he warned.

"Our first projections were that we would need help for January or February, now we're already in April, I'm sure that in the second part of April we'll see what the epidemiological and economic situation is and determine possible help for May accordingly. As long as there is a need, we'll do everything to help out workers and employers as much as possible,'' Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic concluded.

For more, follow our politics section.

Monday, 29 March 2021

Decision on COVID Measures Valid Until 15 April to be Made on Thursday

ZAGREB, 29 March, 2021 - The head of the national COVID-19 response team said on Monday a decision would be made on Thursday on epidemiological measures that would be in force until 15 April.

The measures we are applying are serious and we can discuss their application, but we can't be satisfied with the epidemiological situation as the number of new infections is rising, Interior Minister Davor Božinović said at press conference.

"We will consider measures at national level and make a decision that will probably be in force until mid-April. We will follow the development of the epidemic. The measures can be changed even before 15 April, which will depend on how the coronavirus situation unfolds in the days ahead," he said.

Božinović also said that some local response teams "don't show sufficient enthusiasm" in enforcing COVID restrictions.

The director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, Krunoslav Capak, said the week-on-week rise in new coronavirus cases was 47%. "The current incidence is 399.9 per 100,000 inhabitants."

The UK coronavirus variant has been detected in more than 80% of sequenced samples.

500,000 vaccine doses arriving in April

Asked what he would advise people who were going to Serbia to be vaccinated, Capak said the registration of vaccines at the European Medicines Agency provided a certain security as to a vaccine's efficacy and safety.

"I wouldn't advise people to be vaccinated with the Russian and Chinese vaccines until they are registered in the EU," he said, adding that there was no guarantee for vaccines used in non-EU countries.

"I'd advise everyone to wait their turn. During April we will receive 500,000 vaccine doses, this week 121,000."

Capak said more than 50% of the population would be vaccinated by summer, adding that the beginning of the vaccination of tourism workers was yet to be discussed.

Asked about criticisms from some counties that more vaccines would be distributed to tourist counties, Capak said account would be taken of a balanced distribution and that the average was 133.6 doses per 1,000 population.

Health Minister Vili Beroš said the epidemiological situation was not good and again called on citizens to adhere to the COVID measures.

For current coronavirus information specific to Croatia, including border and travel rules, as well as testing centres across the country, bookmark this page.

Monday, 8 March 2021

Božinović: Difficult to Expect COVID Measures to be Relaxed as of 15 March

ZAGREB, 8 March, 2021 - The head of the national COVID response team, Davor Božinović, said on Monday that it is difficult to expect any further relaxation of measures after 15 March considering that numbers of new coronavirus cases are on the increase.

"At the end of the week we should decide on whether to extend the current measures as they expire on 15 March. It is still too early to say anything definite but considering the increase in numbers, it is difficult to expect any further relaxation of measures as of 15 March. We need to focus on maintaining the current measures so we don't have to go back," said Božinović.

Capak: 16% increase in new infections on the week

There were 94 new cases of coronavirus registered on Monday while 19 people died. The share of positive cases of the 2,178 tests conducted was 4.3%. That share was 8.6% in the past 7 days and 8.1% in the past 14 days. There are 805 hospitalised COVID patients, 74 of whom are on ventilators.

We have 16% more people infected on the week, the head of the Croatian Institute for Public Health, Krunoslav Capak, warned.

Croatia is currently in sixth place with regard to the incidence rate in the EU and 18th with regard to fatalities.

Capak said that an analysis of an immunology study conducted by the Zagreb Infectious Diseases Hospital could result in a new policy in the fight against coronavirus.

Anyone who has recovered from COVID-19 and has been given their first vaccine dose need not receive a second dose, he said.

Capak advised that the situation with the supply of vaccines has stabilised over the past two weeks and that another 62,400 doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine is expected in two shipments this week.

Johnson&Johnson's vaccine should be registered by the end of March and the first shipment of 900,000 doses should arrive mid-April.

As far as crossing the border based on a certificate of vaccination is concerned, not one country has introduced that measure as yet.

"There are bilateral talks between countries and we have some bilateral talks too to mutually recognise vaccination certificates," said Capak. 

The look of the certificate, which is used only for medical purposes, has been defined for now while its use for crossing borders is being discussed at the EU level.

Beroš: Massive check points for vaccination test run

Health Minister Vili Beroš said that so far 54,008 people have registered online to be vaccinated and there have also been 4,271 calls in that regard.

"We are witnessing that massive check points for vaccination are a test run for what is to follow in the second and third phases, when more vaccines are expected," said Beroš.

We must not allow this mild increase in new cases to become a trend, he said. "Vaccination is encouraging but it must not be the cause of premature relaxation."

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