Saturday, 17 July 2021

Additional Precautions on the Table for Vaccinated Russian and British Tourists in Croatia?

July 17, 2021 - Will there be additional precautions for vaccinated Russian and British tourists in Croatia? Discussions have already taken place. 

After Croatia was upgraded to the UK green list of countries late Wednesday night and announced that the first British tourists would arrive in the Adriatic on July 19, the tourism sector was flooded with concerns.

The United Kingdom is one of the countries with the highest growth in the number of newly reported cases of the Delta Variant, and tourism workers justifiably feared that it could close the season. Thus, the National Headquarters is considering introducing some additional restrictions for the arrival of British tourists.

As Jutarnji List unofficially learned, the possibility of introducing mandatory antigen testing for all vaccinated British tourists is being discussed, while those who have not been vaccinated before crossing the border must be tested anyway, but it is not yet known whether and when this decision will be made.

Arguments for introducing a rapid antigen test are to preserve the season and open borders despite the spread of the Delta Variant that has already ruined the season in some Mediterranean countries, such as Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, and Greece.

Namely, the Headquarters believes that 100 kuna for a rapid antigen test would not be a more significant financial burden for our guests, but on the other hand, it would still increase security and reduce the number of imported cases.

"It is to be expected that at a time when the virus is spreading in many countries, someone who will develop the virus will cross the border, but by introducing additional measures, we want to reduce this to a minimum," said a source close to the Headquarters.

Apart from the Brits, the same is being considered for visitors from Russia.

This year, Croatia has recorded extremely high interest of Russian tourists for holidays on the Adriatic, mainly as a result of the fact that in April this year, we restarted tourist visas for Russian citizens, and the CNTB confirms that the Russian Federation has received a large number of first applications since April.

This is already reflected in tourist traffic: in the first 14 days of July, Russians in Croatia recorded an increase in the number of arrivals of 348 percent and overnight stays of 404 percent. The data are similar at the annual level.

"That the demand for Croatia as a tourist destination is expressed on the Russian market is confirmed by Aeroflot Airlines, the Russian national airline which connects Moscow with Pula, Zagreb, Dubrovnik and Split with daily flights from the beginning of June to the end of September this year. Among the flights are S7 from Moscow to Pula, Split, and Zadar and Nordwind to Zagreb, Pula, and Dubrovnik," confirmed CNTB.

Given that it is the arrival of tourists from outside the EU, i.e., from third countries, Russian citizens who are not vaccinated will have to be tested before arrival. Still, the introduction of mandatory antigen tests for vaccinated Russians would also establish additional security measures, especially given that the number of newly reported cases is continuously growing in Russia. The country also has a minimal share of vaccinated adult citizens. Only 13.1 percent of the total population is vaccinated with both doses.

Jutarnji also learned from the Headquarters that the introduction of testing for vaccinated visitors would be adapted to the epidemiological situation in our key markets, which means that the list of countries that will require such a condition may be further expanded.

Such an attitude is welcomed in the tourism sector as well.

"Given the situation and what is happening in Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, and Greece, additional precautions are needed, and it is up to epidemiologists to decide what those measures will be. But, instructed by last year's experience when we closed the season on August 15, I can only say - better to prevent than to treat," says the director of the Croatian Tourism Association, Veljko Ostojić.

Recall, the tourism sector yesterday appealed to lobby for a change in the criteria by which countries are declared epidemiologically unsafe, that is, instead of the number of newly infected, deaths and hospitalizations are preferred, given the fact that almost half of the European adult population has been vaccinated with both doses. However, this will likely not happen for the time being.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including vaccination points and testing sites, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Friday, 18 June 2021

Croatia to Relax Restrictions for People with EU Digital COVID Certificates

ZAGREB, 18 June 2021 - New epidemiologicial measures will enter into force in Croatia on 1 July, under which events involving people with digital EU certificates will not be subject to restrictions on the number of people gathered, the head of the national coronavirus crisis management team, Interior Minister Davor Božinović, announced at a press conference on Friday.

People who have been vaccinated, who have recovered or who have a negative test for COVID-19 will be allowed to participate in events without having to comply with special epidemiological measures or with the scope of restrictions reduced, Božinović said.

The new measures mostly concern gatherings of persons possessing EU digital COVID certificates. Events involving such people will not be subject to restrictions on the number of people attending or the duration of the event.

Božinović said that in other cases where people's COVID status will not be checked, the restriction of 100 persons per event and the duration of events until midnight remain in force.

Cafes with outdoor terraces will be allowed to serve only seated customers, to deter crowding and uncontrolled gatherings.

EU digital COVID certificates will not be required at events involving up to 30 persons, but participants will have to observe epidemiological measures. On the other hand, participants in events attended by more than 30 people, such as wedding parties, will have to have COVID certificates.

Božinović said that only people with EU digital COVID certificates would be allowed to attend sporting events.

Follow  the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

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

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Current Croatian Measures Expire on Thursday at Midnight, What's Next?

April the 15th, 2021 - The current Croatian measures are set to expire, but what is coming next? Whether or not there will be any significant relaxation depends on the epidemiological picture across the country at any given time. More power has now been given to local headquarters, so there could be some differences in approach.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, back on March the 31st this year, the National Civil Protection Headquarters issued three decisions which, with some minor changes, extended the current Croatian measures in the fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Indoor sports are prohibited, except for those played by top athletes, and the operation of children's playrooms and workshops for children was also prohibited. All other measures remained the same as they were before. Tomorrow, the National Civil Protection Headquarters must make some new decisions, ie extend or change the current Croatian measures that are in force.

No significant changes at the national level are expected

As Index has since found out, there should be no significant changes compared to the current Croatian measures we have at the national level.

At the moment, the headquarters isn't planning to close the terraces of cafes/restaurants or to put the keys back in the locks of gyms, nor does it plan any other significant tightening up of anti-epidemic measures throughout Croatia. There should be no changes in the decision on crossing the Croatian border either. It's worth nothing that two weeks ago, the decision Croatia implemented is what the European Union will soon adopt - crossing the border (in this case entering Croatia) will be permitted with proof of having two doses of the coronavirus vaccine, of proving that you've had coronavirus over the past six months (with a doctor's certificate) or with a negative PCR or antigen test result which is recognised in the EU.

The measures are set to remain primarily adopted at the local level

The final decision, however, hasn't yet been made as a session of the Scientific Council is expected on Wednesday, starting at 09:30. It is certain however that the strategy of the National Civil Protection Headquarters remains that the measures are to be primarily adopted at the local level.

“The local approach has proven to be effective and justified. We have a good example of the Dubrovnik area where stricter measures were in force and they've now begun to open up. It wouldn't make much sense to impose any new restrictions on them. The meeting of the Scientific Council is set for tomorrow, where we'll hear what the scientists have to say,'' said Index's interlocutor who is close to the National Civil Protection Headquarters.

Warnings about the potential tightening up of measures still remains

"Stricter measures at the national level are possible if we end up with dramatic figures. Then, the healthcare system should be taken into account,'' he added.

Unofficially, it can be heard from the headquarters that it is constantly encouraging smaller local headquarters to actively engage in proposing and implementing measures in their respective areas.

"Counties need to lower their incidence, they can certainly do it more efficiently than we could do at the national level. We understand that the elections are coming soon, but the matter is much broader. This is actually the beginning of a fight that will last all summer, so that we have a season, and it's a fight for the lowest possible incidence. This is something that other countries will follow, first of all Germany,'' emphasised Index's source.

Stricter measures were introduced this week in five Croatian counties

This week, new measures were adopted for Zagreb, Osijek-Baranja, Dubrovnik-Neretva, Primorje-Gorski Kotar and Istria counties. The strictest measures were introduced by Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, where a partial lockdown has been in force since Monday. In the coming days, the headquarters expects proposals for stricter measures from more counties.

Zagreb is proposing the easing of current Croatian measures?

It is interesting to note that the City of Zagreb, in which the numbers are also growing significantly, didn't propose any stricter measures after the fiasco with outdoor masks, although the neighbouring Zagreb County did.

The Zagreb City Headquarters, which is now headed by acting mayor Jelena Pavicic Vukicevic (who in the meantime ended up in self-isolation after contracting the disease), asked the National Headquarters to lift the ban on holding outdoor fairs as of Monday, Index has learned.

In its letter, the Zagreb Headquarters states that open-air fairs are a tradition of the City of Zagreb and that they consider it justified to allow them to work in compliance with the epidemiological measures implemented for markets. As an argument, they also stated that markets and shopping centres are open. It has since been unofficially learned from the National Staff that they don't intend to approve the proposal.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including border, travel and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of testing centres across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section.

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."

Friday, 26 February 2021

Cafe Terraces to Work from 6 am to 10 pm, No Music, Says COVID Response Team

ZAGREB, 26 February, 2021 - As of 1 March, cafe bars and restaurants will be allowed to reopen their terraces and can work from 6 am to 10 pm but without any music, and indoor sports training will be allowed provided that strict health protocol are observed, the national COVID response team said on Friday.

The team's head Davor Božinović told a press conference that the new decision means patrons can be served on terraces from 6 am to 10 pm but only on open terraces and barriers on terraces need to be removed to allow the air to circulate.

The distance between tables needs to be at least 3 metres which will enable guests to sit at a distance between each other of at least 1.5 metres.

Music will not be allowed so guests do not have to speak loudly above the music and spread aerosol which increases the chance of infection.

Entry into premises is only allowed to visit the bathroom and patrons are obliged then to wear masks.

Indoor sports training will be allowed but without contact between athletes, and gyms have to be ventilated regularly and at least 20 square metres per person must be ensured.

Masks are mandatory on entering and exiting gyms and a record must be kept of attendance.

Dressing rooms and showers are not to be used but if necessary then only two people at a time.

Other rules previously introduced for shopping centres, transport and border crossings remain in force.

The head of the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ),  Krunoslav Capak said that there was talk of allowing open-air fairs to be held and that will be one of the next decisions to come.

Health Minister Vili Beroš  underscores that the epidemiological situation is uncertain and citizens' behaviour must not relax if measures have been. He called on citizens to get vaccinated.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Index: Cafe Terraces Open In Two Weeks If Numbers Stay Low

February 17, 2021 – Indoor sports return and cafe terraces open on Monday 1st March if infection numbers remain low, learns Croatian media outlet Index.

By the time spring arrives, Croatian coffee lovers should be back enjoying their drinks outside their favourite cafe bar. Cafe terraces open on Monday 1st March 2021 if Coronavirus infection numbers remain low and stay on their current trajectory, according to Croatia media outlet Index.

Indoor sports will also return on the same date, with the same stipulation that infection numbers remain low. Having cafe terraces open again cannot come too soon for frustrated business owners. At the moment, they are only permitted to serve coffee to go. According to Index, from on Monday 1st March 2021, cafe terraces open and people will no longer need to congregate on the street outside, in parks or on benches to enjoy their drinks.

“Measures should be further relaxed throughout Croatia as of March 1, including the much-anticipated opening of cafe terraces,” says the portal. Cafe terraces open and other relaxed measures depend on the prerequisite of figures remaining at the level they are at now. “The share of newly infected in the number tested in recent days is below five percent,” Index adds.

Headquarters and the government had already announced that the next round of concessions could be expected in early March.

restaurant-644504_1920.jpgCafe terraces open in Croatia from March 1st 2021, if Coronavirus numbers remain low, say media outlet Index

Croatian cafe terraces open, the interior of cafes and restaurants remain closed

“As we find out, the terraces of cafes and restaurants will definitely open on March 1,” wrote Index. “However, according to information from a source close to the Headquarters, the closed (interior) parts of cafes and restaurants will not be opened. (This) is realistically expected in April at the earliest.”

“Once cafe terraces open, guests will most likely not be able to enter the interiors of cafes and restaurants, except perhaps for the use of toilets, to prevent indoor parts of cafes and restaurants from being used and guests being served there. Closed spaces are still considered by headquarters (to be) an extremely high risk when it comes to the spread of coronavirus.”


Further relaxation of Coronavirus measures: Indoor sports to return

According to Index, although the first information received said that from March 1, only indoor sports for children would be opened, the portal has discovered that instead all indoor sports should be opened, with prescribed epidemiological measures. They remind that, according to current measures, only gyms, swimming pools and contactless individual ball sports are allowed.


Public gatherings / marketplaces / fairs

“There should be concessions when it comes to fairs, but it is not yet completely clear under what conditions,” says the portal. Like supermarkets, open-air and indoor markets are currently permitted to operate. The newly relaxed measures will pertain to similar, but more irregular events at which arts & crafts, books and other goods are on display for sale. The portal say that the vending and consumption of food – which is traditional at such events – will likely not be permitted for now.

“The headquarters is inclined to open fairs where products are sold or exhibited, but the consumption of food and drinks might be limited to prevent excessive gatherings and socializing,” they say.


Relaxation of Coronavirus measures pertaining to private gatherings

“The allowed number of people at various gatherings should not change significantly, only minor corrections are possible,” claims the portal, adding that the current ban on the gathering of people from more than two households may instead be downgraded to a recommendation. The portal reminds that this measure has not been strictly enforced in any way before.

"To give way on March 1, the numbers have to stay at about the level they are now. But the pressure is great - no one wants to keep something closed that should not be kept closed. Most of it is already open, so there remains a narrow circle of what can still be given,” a source close to the Headquarters is quoted as telling Index.

Friction between regional and national authorities over easing of Covid-19 measures

Even if cafe terrace open on March 1st, Index concludes their article by reminding that a disparity between regional and national authorities is still causing some friction. The friction between two north-westerly regions of the country and national headquarters is specifically addressed.

“The Headquarters believes that the announcement of the Istrian Headquarters that they will open the terraces of cafes and restaurants on March 1 was very incorrect. They (national headquarters) say that this opening is planned at the level of the whole of Croatia anyway.”

“However, the decision of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar headquarters, which postponed the opening of bookmakers and casinos in that county, is perhaps even more critically commented on. The government states that the opening of bookmakers (betting shops) and casinos is a purely financial decision and ironically comments that if the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County wants to leave these facilities closed, they should (themselves) cover the costs that will be incurred,” says the Index article.

Index claims that these moves from Istria and Rijeka (Primorje-Gorski Kotar) are regarded in the National Headquarters and the government as politicking and that they are connected with the upcoming local elections.

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Friday, 12 February 2021

Davor Bozinovic Explains Details of New Measures Valid from 15 to 28 February

February 12, 2021 – At today's press conference of the National Civil Protection Headquarters, Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic presented and explained the details of the new epidemiological measures announced by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković at yesterday's Government session. Namely, from February 15, caterers will be allowed to sell coffee to go, fitness centres, gyms, and bookmakers will be able to open. Students will be able to study in foreign language schools and in workshops.

The new eased measures, created by the Headquarters and the Government's reflection, will be valid until 28 February.

An epidemiologically, but also sociologically and psychologically justified approach

"We know how the situation can get worse in a short time. We don't expect this, but we must be careful. In the last seven days, we've even managed to get into third place in terms of incidence in Europe. But our primary interest is to lower the numbers of new infections so that, compared to other EU members, we now have the least stringent measures in Europe, which means that this effort is paying off. We must not relax totally, and just because we didn't do so before, we're able to ease some measures now.

February 28th is going to be here in less than two weeks, and from today we'll be thinking about measures that could be further relaxed if the trends remain like this. We don't know what that's all going to look like at the moment. Still, we're going to closely monitor everything that is happening, especially in regard to to the new variants, where the profession, primarily epidemiologists, have an essential role," said Božinović.

He added that they're advocating for a gradual approach that is epidemiologically but also sociologically and psychologically justified. From day one, they've been trying to learn as much as possible about the virus and society's behaviour, and they're also taking a new strain of the novel coronavirus and its appearance in Croatia into consideration. He spoke about the easing of the country's measures in five categories.

The delivery of food, beverages, and desserts from catering facilities:

Those who pick up food and beverages must not stay on the terraces and in front of the buildings or enter the buildings. While waiting in line, they should maintain space between each other and wear masks. Staying in front of the building shouldn't be encouraged by things like playing music, the terraces should be fenced off, and tables should be removed or arranged in a way that they can't be used. Notices must be posted on facilities prohibiting entry, the maintaining of social distancing, and so on.

2. Gyms and fitness centres:

The maximum number of people inside - one person pet 20 square metres - should be taken into account, as well as proper ventilation. If the building doesn't have such artificial ventilation, the premises should be ventilated every ten minutes. Exercise machines should be disinfected after each use. Users are allowed to use only their own towels and gym mats etc. They should avoid close contact and maintain a distance of four metres between each other. The use of shared showers is still prohibited. A list of such users must be kept, and masks must be worn on arrival and checkout, as well as during registration.

3. Language schools:

It's necessary to limit the number of users per group to maintain a distance of two metres. In addition, masks are mandatory. Lecturers/teachers must keep their distance from the participants/students, wear a mask or separate themselves totally plexiglas, they must also measure temperatures. A list of participants should be kept here, too.

4. Children's workshops and playrooms:

It's necessary to limit users to one person per seven square metres and highlight that notice at the facility's entrance. You should maintain a distance and wear masks, ensure disinfection, as well as the proper disinfection of devices and toys, and of course, measure people's temperatures when they enter.

5. Slot machine clubs, bookmakers, and casinos:

Betting places/bookmakers – epidemiological measures apply here in the same way as they do for stores, depending on the facility's size. The number of people entering should be limited. Users should wear masks and keep a distance from each other, staff also, who should be separated from users with plexiglas, and they should disinfect the facility.

Slot clubs and casinos – the number of users should be limited to one user per seven metres of gross usable space. The catering part of these facilities must be closed off. Catering services can't be provided in such facilities.

When asked why children who train indoors still cannot go to their training, and bookmakers are allowed to work, epidemiologist Bernard Kaić answered, but before that, Božinović pointed out:

"Graduality means that we can't let everything open at once. We're easing these measures in a certain order, about which we've concluded at meetings. Some arguments prevail a little more in some places, others do so in other places. Epidemiologists will create a framework by which almost anything can be maintained. Still, we're going to take care to adopt our measures that favour children, which was the argument when we opened schools. The profession recommends that when we ease things, we need to first give preference to children, schools, workshops, and playrooms because children are the ones who find living like this the most difficult to grasp. Those who are older can understand the situation better. We aren't comfortable making such decisions either, but we're making them together," said Božinović.

Basic rules: limit gatherings and use your own initiative:

"Every activity carries a risk. The epidemiological framework can provide guidelines for risk reduction, but in some situations, no epidemiological framework can eliminate the risk entirely, and then the priority activities must be determined. This was discussed at the Government and the Headquarters' meeting, and this all resulted from those negotiations. Children's playrooms also pose a risk, as do children's sports and going back to school and kindergarten and the like, as well as me just going to the market. But I prefer to go to the market than to do some other activities. I agree that if all measures were eased up at once, we'd very easily have an increased number of patients. Yesterday, a Government Council member stated that there are only three basic rules: limit gatherings, small groups, and take the initiative. All of these measures that are introduced or relaxed only serve to limit gatherings, smaller and larger ones, to reduce close contacts," Kaić explained.

Božinović also referred to schools and school halls. They allowed offline classes and made sure that different classes don't interfere with each other, and that children don't all come to school at the same time. Since children aren't divided into sports groups as they are in classes, if the school halls are open, there would be more mixing between them, and then the possibility of spreading the virus is increased.

The above decisions will be valid for two weeks, and then the Headquarters will think once again about the further opening up of other facilities if the number of infections continues to fall.


Thursday, 11 February 2021

Four New Measures: Coffee to Go Allowed, Gyms, Foreign Language Schools, Casinos Open

February 11, 2021 – At today's Government session, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković presented four new measures valid from Monday, February 15, 2021. The four new measures include allowing cafes to serve coffee to go and the opening up of gyms, foreign language schools and casinos.

Asked about whether the epidemiological measures would be relaxed after February 15, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said yesterday that "fellow citizens who have shown a great deal of responsibility and patience should be rewarded." At today's Government session, Plenković announced the changes, warning that there is still no room for excessive relaxation nor the cessation of the responsible behaviour of all citizens.

"We monitored the development of the epidemiological situation in Croatia, and after talks with the Civil Protection Headquarters, epidemiologists, and members of the Government, we made several decisions," said Plenković.

The four new measures include:

  • enabling caterers to sell coffee to go and thus allow them to do business; February's fees are valid for the entire month
  • allowing the opening of gyms and fitness centres while respecting epidemiological measures, which is good for physical activity and people's health
  • enabling children to study in foreign language schools so that in addition to their regular school activities, they can also attend extracurricular activities
  • allowing the opening of bookmakers, slot machine clubs, and casinos, with restrictions on the consumption of beverages

Plenković added that the next analysis of the measures' effect would be on March 1, 2021. They will decide whether there will be new relaxations or a new tightening up of those epidemiological measures, depending on the epidemiological situation.

Plenković also reported on the situation with the spread of the novel coronavirus in Croatia and the declining trend of new infections. Today, Croatia is third country in the European Union in terms of the weekly average number of confirmed cases per million inhabitants. We have the fifth largest two-week drop in the number of deaths.

"At the same time, we're still in the winter months, and a strong wave of cold weather has been announced. The British variant of the virus has also been identified in Croatia. Many European countries are extending or tightening up their measures. After the initial delays in the delivery of vaccines, we have indications that Pfizer and AstraZeneca's delivery dynamics will accelerate, and we can expect larger quantities by the end of March. So far, we've received about 150,000 doses, and we expect more than 600,000 doses by the end of March, which means that we will be able to vaccinate a much larger number of our fellow citizens," said Plenković.

He pointed out that all three vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca – are all one hundred percent effective in preventing death from the virus. They are also effective against the need for respirators and the development of more severe symptoms.

"There are no obstacles which would suggest that people over 65 should not receive the AstraZeneca vaccine,'' said Plenković, adding that they want to vaccinate as many people as possible who are at risk.

Health Minister Vili Beroš reported that the vaccine's 669 side effects had been reported, and they were most commonly just mild reactions.

"The number of new cases is continuing to fall from week to week. We're monitoring the spread of new variants of this virus. Continuing the vaccination process is our tool for success. Today, we mark the World Day of the Sick. Special emphasis is placed on emotional struggles, and as such I'd like to thank our healthcare professionals," Beroš said.

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

Thursday, 11 February 2021

PM Says Government Considering a Few Changes Regarding Epidemiological Restrictions

ZAGREB, 11 February, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday that the government was considering a few possible changes regarding the relaxation of epidemiological restrictions after 15 February and that it would present them at its session on Thursday.

Asked by reporters after a session of the HDZ branch in Zagreb if the current restrictions would be eased after 15 February, Plenković said that he believed that in the current situation citizens should be rewarded for demonstrating a high degree of patience and responsibility.

"We are considering several possible changes that will be presented at the government session tomorrow," he said.

As for the new virus strain that has appeared in Croatia, Plenković said that it was epidemiologists' duty to determine and restrict situations where the new strain emerges.

He said that South Tyrol, where infection with the new strain has been on the rise, was treated as a territory from where it is not possible to enter Croatia.

"We will try to protect Croatia with a border regime that will enable us to prevent a more significant appearance of new variants and strains. We will be careful, we have been following developments in other countries," he said.

Plenković surprised by Zagreb University Rector getting vaccinated 

Plenković was also asked to comment on Zagreb University Rector Damir Boras getting vaccinated against COVID-19 at a Zagreb dental clinic despite having previously contracted the disease and therefore not being a priority for vaccination.

Plenković said that he was surprised by that fact, declining to comment on the explanation by a health worker of how it happened that Boras got vaccinated "because I don't know anything about it".

The explanation was that Boras and his wife were vaccinated because, while they were being treated for dental problems they happened to be in the clinic on the day that the clinic's medical staff were being vaccinated. After that, three diluted doses of the vaccine were left over and Boras asked if he and his wife could be vaccinated.

"I can only take note of that explanation," the PM said.

He added that it was important to respect the vaccination schedule determined by the government.

"All county public health institutes, hospital heads and personnel in charge of vaccination and primary health care workers must follow the list of vaccination priorities," he said.

He also said that it was good that the AstraZeneca vaccine had also proved to be good for people over the age of 65 and that it provided 100% protection against death, severe forms of the disease and more severe symptoms.

"All three (available) vaccines are equally reliable and it is good that as many citizens as possible get vaccinated."

During February and March, more than 600,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be secured for Croatian citizens, he said.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

Health Minister Vili Beros: Measures Shouldn't be Tightened

February the 11th, 2021 - Croatia's numbers have continued to tumble as the country gets a grip on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but with measures due to be reviewed over the coming days and the discovery of the new British strain of the virus in Croatia, could plans to re-open be put back on ice again? Health Minister Vili Beros set a few things straight following a recent meeting.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, following the conclusion of a meeting of the Scientific Council of the Croatian Government, at which scientists discussed with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic a possible easing of the country's anti-epidemic measures in light of yesterday's discovery of the new so-called British strain of coronavirus in Croatia, Health Minister Vili Beros made a statement.

"The measures weren't the main topic of our conversation, we were focused on the presence of this new strain of coronavirus in Croatia and the kind of danger that might be incurred as a result of it, so we should be careful. We ended up discussing the vaccines. Everyone emphasises that we need to be vaccinated with the vaccine we have on our hands. All of them are safe for use,'' assured Health Minister Vili Beros.

"There is no significant spread of the epidemic at this moment in time, so we will base our further decisions on common sense. We all agree that the measures shouldn't be further tightened,'' said Beros.

When asked whether there will be mitigation of any of the existing epidemiological measures, Health Minister Vili Beros said that there is currently no unambiguous answer to this question and that it will be discussed later.

"There's no significant spread of the coronavirus epidemic here at this time, we're going to base our decisions on the epidemiological data and of course on common sense. We all agree that the measures should not be further tightened, but relaxation should also be considered very, very carefully. I think that we'll make certain decisions that will be based on the situation and how it all unfolds in the coming days,'' Beros concluded.

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