Thursday, 2 December 2021

Opposition MP Calls for Free Testing for Unvaccinated Undergraduates

ZAGREB, 2 Dec 2021 - The Bridge party's parliamentary deputy, Marija Selak Raspudić, on Thursday called on Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Education Minister Radovan Fuchs to ensure that undergraduates can undergo free testing for coronavirus so that they can attend university classes without additional costs.

The decision that it is up to faculties to decide on their own whether students are required to have COVID certificates to enter the premises of the faculties has caused chaos on the ground, the MP said.

She explained that in the event of the COVID-19 certificate mandate, unvaccinated students would have to pay for their coronavirus tests, which would be an additional cost to them.

"I call on Prime Minister Plenković and Minister Fuchs to take responsibility for the anti-epidemic measures adopted by the para-political body -- the COVID-19 crisis management team -- and to pay for coronavirus tests for students who have not been vaccinated so that they can attend classes without additional costs, which they can't afford and which puts them at a disadvantage in relation to other citizens," Selak Raspudić told a news conference.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 26 November 2021

EC Proposes Ban on Unvaccinated Travelers Entering the European Union

November 26, 2021 - In addition to the extension of the validity time of digital COVID certificates, the European Commission is proposing to EU member countries a ban on unvaccinated travelers in case they wish to enter the European Union, in addition to other possible measures to guarantee safe freedom of movement in the territory.

Yesterday, the European Commission announced a proposal according to which all members of the European Union would allow only vaccinated, recovered, or necessary travelers to enter, reports HrTurizam. In light of the expected progress in vaccination campaigns around the world, the Commission, from 1 March 2022, proposes a simplified approach, which depends entirely on the status of the passenger and not on the country of departure.

In addition, visitors entering one of the EU countries will have to prove that they were vaccinated no more than nine months ago. Namely, the Commission proposes a standard acceptance period of nine months for vaccination certificates issued after the end of the primary vaccination series. The nine-month period takes into account the guidelines of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on the use of six-month doses and provides for an additional period of three months.

Those who have recovered from COVID-19 within 180 days before the trip and have either an EU digital COVID certificate or a certificate considered equivalent, should also be able to travel to the European Union from 10 January 2022.

The revised rules clarify that children between the ages of 6 and 17 should be able to travel to the EU with a negative PCR test done before departure even if they have not been vaccinated. Member States could require additional post-arrival testing, quarantine, or self-isolation. Test and vaccination are not required for children under 6 years of age.

The Council's recommendation covers all Member States (except Ireland), as well as the four non-EU countries that have acceded to the Schengen area: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

Coordinated approach for safer travel

“Based on our common tool, the EU digital COVID certification, which has become a true standard, we are moving to a person-based approach. Our main goal is to avoid different measures throughout the EU. This also applies to the issue of boosters, which will be essential to fight the virus. Among other measures, we propose that the Council harmonize the standard validity period of vaccination certificates issued after the primary batch,” said Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders.

“EU digital COVID certification and our coordinated approach to travel measures have greatly contributed to safe free movement, with the protection of public health as our priority. We have vaccinated over 65% of the total EU population, but that is not enough. There are still too many people who are not protected. In order for everyone to travel and live as safely as possible, we urgently need to achieve significantly higher vaccination rates,” added Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides.

What the European Commission proposes:

  • Focus on the “person-based approach”: a person holding a valid EU digital COVID certificate should in principle not be subject to additional restrictions, such as tests or quarantine, regardless of where you leave the EU. Persons without an EU digital COVID certificate could be required to undergo testing before or after arrival.
  • Standard validity of vaccination certificates: to avoid different approaches. The Commission proposes a standard acceptance period of nine months for vaccination certificates issued after the end of the primary vaccination series.
  • Additional (booster) vaccination: for now there are no studies that specifically dealt with the efficiency boosters to transfer COVID-19 and is therefore not possible to determine the period of acceptance for them. However, given the new data, it can be expected that protection against supplementary vaccination may last longer than that resulting from the primary vaccination series.
  • The EU traffic-light map has been adapted: combining new cases with the use of vaccines in the region. The map would mainly serve for information purposes, but would also serve to coordinate measures for areas with particularly low, green, or particularly high, dark red levels of virus circulation. Special rules would apply to these areas, derogating from the "person-based approach". No restrictions should apply to travelers from "green" areas.
  • Exemptions from certain travel measures should apply to cross-border travelers, children under the age of 12, and emergency travelers. The list of necessary passengers should be reduced as many who were included in the current list have meanwhile had the opportunity to be vaccinated.
  • Simplified “emergency braking” procedurean urgent procedure designed to delay the spread of possible new variants of COVID-19 or to address particularly serious situations should be simplified and more operational.

In order to allow sufficient time for the implementation of the coordinated approach, the Commission proposes that the innovations be applied from 10 January 2022.

For more on flights to Croatia and other travel announcements, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

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

Friday, 26 November 2021

Croatia Reports 5,460 New Coronavirus Cases, 75 Deaths

ZAGREB, 26 Nov 2021 - Croatia has registered 5,460 new coronavirus cases and 75 COVID-related deaths in the last 24 hours, the national coronavirus response team reported on Friday, noting that 60 of the people who died were not vaccinated.

The number of deaths in the last 24 hours is the highest in the fourth wave of the epidemic, while since the start of the epidemic the largest number of deaths in a single day was recorded on 16 December 2020, when 92 people died.

Currently, there are 34,731 active cases in the country. Of these, 2,496 infected people are being treated in hospitals, including 325 who are on ventilators. A total of 27,732 persons are self-isolating.

Since 25 February 2020, when the first case was confirmed in Croatia, 594,475 people have been registered as having contracted the novel virus, of whom 10,644 have died and 549,100 have recovered, including 5,607 in the last 24 hours.

To date, 3,411,379 people have been tested for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, including 13,771 in the last 24 hours.

As of Thursday, 4,073,744 doses of vaccine have been administered, with 53.26 percent of the total population, or 63.57 percent of the adult population, having been vaccinated.

To date, 2,161,370 people have received at least one dose of vaccine, of whom 1,918,691 have been fully vaccinated, which is 56.68 percent of the adult population.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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

Friday, 26 November 2021

Coronavirus Update: National Civil Protection Helds Press Conference

November 26, 2021 - Today, the National Civil Protection offered a coronavirus update through a press conference in which they commented on the latest related to COVID-19 in the country, from the number of infected in the last 24 hours, the COVID certificates, the tests, and the variant discovered in South Africa.

As reported by, the National Civil Protection Headquarters held a press conference at which new data on the situation with coronavirus in Croatia and the world were presented. The conference was delayed by about 15 minutes. First, data on newly infected people were presented, so it was said that today we have 5,460 new cases, and 75 people have died. "Among the dead are 14 vaccinated, one with three doses and one partially," it was said.

Krunoslav Capak presented data on those infected on this day two weeks ago. "We have 10 percent more new cases this week than last. The incidence average is 1619.17. The share of positives in those tested today is 39.6%. In the last seven days, 40.1% and since the beginning 17.4%", he said.

Speaking about the dead, Capak said that out of 75 dead, 60 were not vaccinated with any dose, and 61 did not complete the vaccination in total. “Of the 37 deceased, over the age of 80, 34 were not vaccinated, or 92 percent. In the last 24 hours, 34 people were put on a respirator, 26 of whom were not vaccinated,", he added.

Božinović talks about COVID recommendations

Davor Božinović announced a special decision on border restrictions with regard to the new variant of the virus, as well as that a recommendation from the level of the European Commission will follow. “This applies to people coming from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, and Hong Kong,” he said. He said that entering Croatia from those countries would either be banned or that our people coming from them would have to be quarantined for 14 days, and stressed that the new detected strain has the potential to be more contagious than the delta.

Božinović continued to talk about COVID certificates. Yesterday, the European Commission proposed that certificates after vaccination should last for nine months, and Božinović said that we currently apply 12 months after the booster dose because it is not known how long the immunity will last. The ECDC also announced yesterday that new guidelines are being worked on for COVID certificates, which would also look at the percentage of those vaccinated with regard to those infected.

What about those who got over it and got vaccinated

Journalists asked when it would be decided on the COVID certificates, to which he said it would likely be mid-December. He also confirmed that for all those who have COVID certificates valid for one year, there will be a period for receiving a booster dose.

Some new decisions for Advent are not currently being considered, he confirmed, because it is an outdoor event after all. The journalists also asked what happened to the people who got sick and got vaccinated, what happened to their confirmations. "If someone is vaccinated with two doses after recovering, it is counted as if he received three doses and he is issued aCOVID certificate for one year. "I don't know what the EU practice will be, but we will, if it is mandatory, harmonize with the EU," he said.

Markotić explained the new strain

Alemka Markotić answered questions about the new strain, according to which it is a danger considering the measures that are being introduced and how it affects the vaccine. "Several cases have occurred in several countries, it is known that there are more than thirty different mutations at the spike protein level and that is why all countries are concerned, and the WHO is preparing certain meetings to discuss what this could mean. This large number of mutations, especially on the spike protein, can affect its binding to receptors or the effectiveness of the vaccine'', she said.

Markotić indicated that everything should be examined quickly. "All measures will certainly be taken to obtain results, at least in laboratory conditions. It is good that there are not many cases outside Africa or in Africa itself,” concluding that she hoped to learn more about the virus in the coming weeks.

Capak: 'We only had seven cases of delta plus'

Capak first said that so far we have had only seven cases of delta plus variants and that it does not have a great potential for spread, and for the latest strain he said they could mean that it could have a much higher potential for spread.

"The question is how it will spread from South Africa to countries with more vaccination, the fact that it broke into Hong Kong does not mean that it will be the same in other countries," he said, adding that the best protection is entry bans for foreign nationals from those countries and 14 days of quarantine for our citizens with testing prior departure.

Long debate on amendments to the Act

The journalists also asked about the amendments to the Law, which is in public consultation, and which contains an article according to which the sanitary inspector could order vaccination of persons exposed to the virus. They asked how it was, and they did not receive a concrete answer from the Headquarters, Božinović only said that the law was in consultation and that everything would be analyzed.

When asked to further clarify this, he replied: "We are dealing with other, more urgent aspects, I did not participate in the amendments to the law." Asked if it is not unbelievable that they do not know what is written in the amendments to the Law, Božinović said that he would get an answer to that question during the day. “We can’t give you an answer to that question,” he said, adding that he would clarify that later.

Božinović and Beroš managed to clarify everything

Somewhat later, Božinović returned to this issue, saying that the issue was not clearly formulated, so he explains that two points were added to the Law. "My colleague received an answer in the meantime, it says that I can order the implementation of the security measure of the obligation to present evidence, which means that you have to show COVID confirmation that you have been tested, vaccinated, or recovered. We can also order the removal of people who have entered certain areas", he said.

“If you had seen what I read now, you would have seen that it relates to the obligation to present evidence,” he said. The floor is taken by Minister Vili Beroš, who says that the journalist is commenting on an earlier article that already exists in the Law. "It is not at all a tendency for a sanitary inspector to order someone to be vaccinated. This article exists when a sanitary inspector can order it for hepatitis for example. But, as there is no obligation to vaccinate, no one will be able to order compulsory vaccination to anyone", said Beroš, adding that he thinks that everything has been explained.

Božinović concluded that no one plans to introduce a coronavirus vaccination obligation. The journalists were also interested in whether they were considering changing the recommendations with regard to the new strain of the virus and self-isolation, to which Capak said that he was not thinking about it yet.

Beroš: 'We support testing but it is not the best'

Beroš was asked if there were any plans to expand testing in the health system, to which he said that all the circumstances were taken into account and that the third dose was therefore emphasized. "We support testing, but it is not the best. Only through a combination of recovery, vaccination, and testing can we give a guarantee, but even that is not absolute", he said and added that COVID certificates protect those who fight against them, the unvaccinated.

Capak also referred to the theses that appear in public, especially among the protesters, that the vaccinated and the unvaccinated transmit the virus equally. "It's not true, we need to be aware of that," he said. He added that scientific papers if read should be cited and said that vaccinated people did not transmit the virus during the alpha variant, in the delta they can carry the virus on the mucosa but they are not contagious.

However, he added that they can get sick and transmit the virus or have a virus on the mucous membrane that increases and can be transmitted, and stressed that it is all far less than in the unvaccinated. "People who are vaccinated transmit the virus less, the number of virus particles on their mucous membranes drops very quickly, and thus the contagion. This is scientifically proven," he said, adding that no country in the world tests all health workers on admission to hospitals. In the end, Božinović called on everyone to adhere to basic measures, wearing a mask, distance, ventilation, and maintaining personal hygiene.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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

Thursday, 25 November 2021

EC Proposes Digital Covid Certificates Be Valid for 9 Months

November 25, 2021 - After a first year where the European Commission introduced them to control travel within the continent during the pandemic, the EC proposes Digital COVID Certificates to be valid for 9 months.

The European Commission proposed on Thursday that digital COVID certificates be valid for nine months after receiving the recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

The Commission on Thursday presented a proposal for recommendations for safe travel within the EU, which should apply from 10 January next year.

The Commission calls on the Member States to take the necessary steps immediately to ensure access to the vaccine for those who will soon be nine months away from the last recommended dose they received.

As for additional, booster doses, the Commission says that there are currently no studies on the effectiveness of booster doses in terms of virus transmission and that it is therefore not possible to determine the period of validity of certificates after vaccination.

"However, given the data that emerge, protection from booster doses can be expected to last longer than protection from the first batch of vaccinations," the Commission said, adding that it would closely monitor new scientific evidence and, if necessary, propose appropriate the period in which the digital certificates would be valid after receiving the booster dose.

Persons holding a valid digital covid certificate should not, in principle, be subject to additional restrictions and requirements, such as testing and quarantine, regardless of where in the EU they travel within the Union. Persons without such certificates may be required to be tested before departure and after returning from the trip.

The Commission is also proposing changes to the color-coding of the Europe map, which is mainly for information purposes but can also be used to coordinate measures. The combination of new cases of infection and vaccination rates would be taken into account when marking individual areas with colors.

There should be no restrictions on travel from areas marked in green, while travel from dark red zones should be discouraged, and people traveling from these areas who have not been vaccinated or have survived covid-19 should be tested before traveling and go to quarantine upon arrival.

Exceptions to the proposed measures should apply to people living along the border they cross daily, to children under 12, and to people traveling for important reasons.

For more news related to travel updates to and from Croatia in times of pandemic, be sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

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

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Sovereignists Want Parliament to Approve COVID Response Team's Decisions

ZAGREB, 25 Nov 2021 - The opposition Croatian Sovereignists want the Civil Protection System Act to be amended so that parliament could approve decisions made by the national COVID-19 crisis management team, and began on Thursday to collect signatures to table the motion.

The party wants the decisions the team makes to protect people from infectious diseases to enter into force only after being approved by parliament.

The crisis management team is an artificially created body with artificial powers which, by its decisions, restricts citizens' liberties, and only parliament should decide on that, MP Marijan Pavliček told the press.

MP Vesna Vučemilović said parliament should take a more active part in decision-making on COVID rules, adding that a more active engagement by all political actors would defuse the tensions in society.

Members of parliament should say what they think of any measure proposed by the crisis management team, said MP Hrvoje Zekanović, adding that "decisions should be made in parliament, not by some para-body."

MP Marko Milanović Litre said the government must take responsibility for the team's decisions.

Asked about Austria's initiative to ban the Bleiburg commemoration, Pavliček said Croatia's diplomacy must fight for the commemoration to continue to take place, adding that "in the past few years, that gathering was dignified, without any World War II insignia."

The gathering is held annually in Loibach Field near Bleiburg, Austria to commemorate soldiers of the Nazi-allied Croatian Ustasha regime and civilians killed there at the end of WWII.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Fines for COVID Certificate Rule Violations to Range Between €4,000-6,700

ZAGREB, 23 Nov 2021 - Justice and Public Administration Minister Ivan Malenica said on Tuesday that fines for those flouting the mandate to show their COVID-19 certificates in public law bodies would range between 30,000 and 50,000 kuna ( €4,000-6,700).  

We have envisaged pecuniary penalties for the responsible persons who fail to respect the relevant law. Fines are between HRK 30,000 and HRK 50,000, and we believe that they will prompt those institutions' heads and persons in charge to respect the decisions made by the national COVID-19 crisis management team, said the minister.

The draft amendments to the relevant legislation will be on the agenda of the government's meeting on Wednesday.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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


Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Croatia Logs 4,926 New COVID Cases, 62 Deaths

ZAGREB, 23 Nov 2021 - Croatia has registered 4,926 new coronavirus cases and 62 COVID-related deaths in the past 24 hours, the national coronavirus response team reported on Tuesday.

Currently, there are 30,541 active COVID-19 cases in the country. Among them are 2,591 hospitalized people, including 317 patients placed on ventilators, and 22,304 people are self-isolating.

Since 25 February 2020, when the first case was confirmed in Croatia, 576,633 people have been registered as having contracted the novel virus, of whom 10,438 have died and 535,654 have recovered, including 4,048 in the past 24 hours.

To date, 3,366,965 people have been tested, including 12,862 in the past 24 hours.

As of 22 November, 4,000,957 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, with 52.55 percent of the total population, or 62.74 percent of the adult population, having been vaccinated.

Of that number, 2,132,477 people have received at least one dose, while 1,900,551 have been fully vaccinated, which is 56.16 percent of the adult population.

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


Monday, 22 November 2021

PM Says Saturday Protest Predominantly Political

ZAGREB, 22 Nov 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Monday that the protest against the COVID-19 certificate mandate on Saturday was predominantly a political protest, described as shameful political profiteering from people's fears, COVID-19 deaths, and COVID-19 patients fighting for their lives.

He stressed that he also condemned attacks on reporters during the protest.

"I most strongly condemn the attack on your fellow reporter (Goran) Latković, it is a cowardly and brazen act and it is not clear to me why anyone would bring into question the right of reporters and media to report about a public event. I regret it happened and believe police will identify the perpetrators," Plenković told reporters during a visit to Slovenia.

Noting that it was not problematic to protest and express one's view or disagree with the measures the government was undertaking, Plenković said that the protest was nonetheless of a political nature.

"The gentlemen from the Bridge, the Homeland Movement, the remnants of the Human Shield, and the exhibitionist from the European Parliament whom no one knows there, (Croatian independent MEP Mislav) Kolakušić, have jumped on the bandwagon. (President Zoran) Milanović supported them before and afterward. He is the only president of an EU member country who openly opposes COVID-19 certificates and measures introduced by the government to protect public health," said Plenković.

As for protesters shouting that there was no coronavirus and that they were being denied their freedoms, Plenković said profiteering from people's fears was shameful and called on the protesters to visit an intensive care unit in a Croatian hospital where COVID-19 patients are being treated.

He repeated that vaccination is not mandatory and that testing is being offered as a non-invasive alternative.

"What is invasive about swabbing that lasts half a second? The sole purpose of the protest was to profit from COVID-19 deaths. There are people who try to profit from people's fears while themselves being afraid of a simple test," said Plenković.

Constitution protects Milanović but not his secretary and chief of staff

In a comment on decisions by individual local officials to defy restrictions imposed by the national COVID-19 response team, the PM said that in normal circumstances, everyone fights against disease but that there are know-it-alls who say that there is no coronavirus in Primošten, Sinj, and Čabar, a reference to the three towns' mayors.

"We are dealing here with petty politics and politicians who are sabotaging our measures designed to protect citizens," he added.

As for President Milanović's statements about COVID-19 certificates, Plenković said that the president was protected by the constitution but that his secretary and chief of staff were not.

In a comment on an announcement by the opposition Bridge party that it would organize a referendum on COVID-19 certificates, he said Bridge officials were "the biggest parasites" trying to profit from the current situation, adding that they should be asked if they had got vaccinated as "there are many who are making noise and have protected themselves."

As for a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights pointing to omissions by Croatian police in a case involving the death of a six-year-old Afghan migrant child, Plenković said that he regretted the tragic event and that he respected the ruling.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 22 November 2021

Milanović Say His Office Will Summon Austrian Ambassador

ZAGREB, 22 Nov 2021 - President Zoran Milanović said on Monday his office would summon the Austrian ambassador to convey his concern over "fundamental human freedoms" in that country after the government in Vienna recently summoned the Croatian ambassador over Milanović's comments on COVID rules in Austria.

The Croatian diplomat was summoned last week after Milanović recently commented on the Austrian government's anti-epidemic measures, noting that they were reminiscent of Fascism.

Asked by the press today about Austria's imposing an all-out lockdown and its plan to introduce mandatory vaccination against COVID-19 as of February 2022, Milanović called it a disaster.

"I think the Swedes are much cleverer than they are than their authorities. Considering that our diplomats are being summoned, today the Austrian ambassador will be summoned so that we can convey our deep concern for the fundamental human freedoms in Austria," Milanović said.

"Our ambassadors are constantly summoned over some nonsense, so we will summon theirs," he said.

On 17 November, Croatia's Ambassador to Austria, Danijel Glunčić, was called to the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs over Milanović's statement about the Austrian coronavirus policy. "I can confirm that I was called to the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs," Glunčić told Hina last week, declining to reveal details of the discussion.

According to a statement from the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Glunčić was called over "highly unusual statements by the Croatian president," which were "sharply rejected".

"Comparing the measures against the coronavirus pandemic to fascism is unacceptable. It is our responsibility to protect the citizens of Austria and we are acting accordingly," the Austrian ministry said, as quoted by APA news agency.

Austrian media quoted the Croatian president as saying after an audience with Pope Francis in the Vatican on Monday that the Austrian decision to impose a lockdown on unvaccinated people was "reminiscent of the 1930s" and called it foolish.

Commenting on the latest developments, Milanović said today that the governments of some Western European countries kept criticizing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and the Poles, while some of them behave as if they are "sacred cows that do everything perfectly".

"No, it's stupid. It is not scientific and you terrorize people. Given that this is the European Union and I am a European statesman, I have a problem with that," Milanović said.

He went on to say that if the Dutch can comment on Bosnia and Herzegovina every week, he can comment on the situation in Rotterdam.

"Your people have revolted (against COVID measures). And they are not immigrants but blonde and blue-eyed Dutchmen. Use your head, gentlemen," Milanović said, referring to violent riots in that Dutch city over the weekend.

Commenting on increasingly stringent restrictions being imposed to stop the spread of coronavirus, Milanović accused "dull-witted" Eurocrats in Brussels of such policy, adding that no such restrictions are in place in the Scandinavian countries.

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