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.

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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.

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Bookings for Dubrovnik Explode after Boris Johnson's Plan to Ease Lockdown

February 25, 2021 - Bookings for Dubrovnik explode after Boris Johnson's plan to end restrictions by June 21. 

Jutarnji List reports that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement that England is finally moving towards easing measures had a tremendous effect on tourism. According to British and world media, the world's largest travel company TUI recorded an increase in bookings from the British market by as much as 600 percent compared to previous days. Good numbers are coming from other companies.

EasyJet, for example, says that demands from the British market have tripled, and Thomas Cook is recording a 75 percent increase in traffic from the British market.

British interest in travel has also found Croatia, especially Dubrovnik, which is very much looking forward to welcoming Brits on holiday this year.

As Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Franković confirmed for Jutarnji List, booking from the British market increased immediately after Johnson's announcement that England plans to implement the measures in four phases, with the ultimate goal of abolishing all measures by June 21.

"Of course, immediately after that announcement, we felt the effect. Dubrovnik hoteliers have confirmed an increase in bookings from the British market in the amount of 30 to 40 percent compared to previous days, which makes us especially happy. These bookings mostly refer to the summer season, but hoteliers are hoping for a good September and October, especially with regard to vaccinations," Franković said.

According to foreign media reports, most Britons eagerly awaiting travel this year will, logically, opt for their traditional markets - Greece, Spain, Turkey, but Portugal and Italy will also benefit, according to Skyscanner, which on the day of Johnson's announcement saw growth in bookings of more than 100 percent compared to the day before.

Good announcements from the British market come just ten days after TUI UK announced that it would re-launch 15 lines to Croatia from May to three airports, Pula, Dubrovnik, and Split. There will be five direct daily lines from five UK cities to Pula from May to October, eight daily lines from eight UK cities to Dubrovnik, and two daily lines to Split. 

The return of TUI UK is good news for domestic tourism after traffic between these two markets was suspended last year, so in the 2021 season, if the epidemiological situation does not worsen, higher numbers of British tourists are expected than last year.

In the 2020 season, namely, only 127,129 Britons were recorded in Croatia, of which they achieved 685,000 overnight stays, only 14.8 percent of the year before.

In 2019, 898,000 Britons stayed in Croatia, recording 4.6 million overnight stays.

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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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Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Could Desire for Croatian Investment Loans Grow Again in Spring?

February the 16th, 2021 - Could we soon expect a rise in Croatian investment loans being taken out as spring quickly rolls around and the vaccination is rolled out? According to RBA analysts, the answer to that question is yes.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ana Blaskovic writes, placements to companies continued their upward trend at the end of last year; back in December, they grew by 2.5 percent on a monthly basis and by 5.3 percent on an annual basis, reaching 86.3 billion kuna.

Data from the Croatian National Bank (CNB) illustrates that this growth is mainly due to an increase in the kuna amount of foreign currency loans, whose share in corporate loans reached 63 percent, analysts at Raiffeisen Bank noted. As the Croatian national currency weakened against the euro, the amount of foreign currency loans converted into domestic currency increased. A look at the structure reveals visibly continued growth in the share of placements with the longest maturities.

At the end of last year, 63.2 percent of all loans had maturities of longer than five years, followed by medium-term maturities of anywhere between one to five years (slightly more than a fifth of such loans). Only 15.7 percent of placements accounted for periods of less than one year.

Looking back at the second wave of the spread of the novel coronavirus last autumn, which was readily accompanied by yet more new restrictions on both movement and doing business, the RBA pointed out that greater uncertainty about the duration and the type of measures being introduced in an attempt to slow the spread of the disease down is actually altering the demand for corporate lending.

"Due to the delay in people making investments, entrepreneurs and business owners are reducing their overall demand for new loans and instead are increasing their liquidity reserves. The demand of companies for the conclusion of moratoriums, as well as for restructuring and extending the loan repayment period has since increased,'' the RBA stated.

While companies accumulated liquidity back at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis in early 2020, later working capital financing reflected the well-known reduced levels of economic activity, so at the end of 2020, companies' deposits exceeded their net indebtedness.

"At the beginning of 2021, we're expecting a gradual increase in optimism among entrepreneurs and business owners, driven by the start of the vaccination campaign and the prospects for the normalisation of tourist arrivals during the warmer summer season. In the first quarter of this year, people might very well still hesitate to make any investments, so we expect stronger growth in demand for Croatian investment loans in the second quarter,'' explained Raiffeisen's analysts.

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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

PM: As of 15 February Bars Allowed to Sell Everything on Offer, Terraces Stay Closed

ZAGREB, 11 February, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday that as of 15 February bars would be allowed to sell everything on their menus but that their terraces, if they had them, would not reopen, the concept being that customers would order a beverage to go.

Speaking to the press after a cabinet meeting, he said the details of the mild easing of COVID restrictions as of next Monday would be provided by the national COVID response team tomorrow.

Plenković said the sale of coffee to go, which bars would be allowed to sell as of the 15th, did not mean the sale of coffee alone.

"It's a synonym for the opening of completely closed establishments. It means they will be able to sell tea, some other drink or beverage. They will be able to sell what they have on the menu. It's just that there will be no sitting on terraces. You take it to go and walk."

As for compensation for bar and restaurant owners, Plenković said it was too early to say if it would be paid after this month. "If it is possible for them to work, they will work. If the epidemiological situation still isn't good enough, we'll continue with the aid."

He said gyms and fitness centres would reopen on 15 February with epidemiological measures, without crowds, and that betting shops and casinos would have to comply with the same measures.

The opposition keeps politicising

Asked about the opposition's dissatisfaction with the easing of the restrictions, Plenković said he had no message for them.

Two months ago, he said, the opposition demanded the closure of everything and now they are demanding the opening of everything. "That's politicising that doesn't surprise me. If they won't be responsible, we will."

He also commented on the participation of Alemka Markotić, a member of the national COVID response team, in a religious service in the open with more people attending than the 25 allowed under COVID restrictions.

Plenković said it was an outdoor service and that he was confident everyone present took care of distancing. "We have to be realistic in such situations, if they are in the open, distance is kept, people don't stay there," he said, adding that there had been many such gatherings and that the restriction of 25 people still applied.

Plenković said that event could not be compared to a restaurant in Zagreb which worked recently despite a ban. "Restaurants weren't allowed to work at all. Being outdoors and indoors is not the same."

The government won't interfere in decisions on Zagreb University rector

Asked if Zagreb University rector Damir Boras should go because he received a COVID vaccine despite not being in a priority vaccination category, the prime minister said such decisions were in the remit of the university, which was autonomous, and that the government would not interfere.

He said the vaccine was primarily being administered to health workers and patients, adding that if any was left in a vial, it was given to someone else so that it did not go to waste.

Plenković reiterated that those who needed it the most would be vaccinated en masse and that the AstraZeneca vaccine was as effective as Pfizer's and Moderna's.

"It's important that we have faith and trust in the decisions of the World Health Organization, the European Medicines Agency and experts who have assessed that all three vaccines circulating in Croatia as equally effective for what is important. It's important to be vaccinated so as not to die of COVID-19."

Plenković said a decision was made to ease restrictions this month because it was estimated that the epidemiological situation allowed it. He added, however, that if there was a deterioration, the restrictions could be tightened.

"The goal is to go through the winter months with as few consequences as possible so that during the spring, notably in the two remaining months of the first quarter and the three months of the second quarter, we vaccinate as many people as possible."

Plenković said he would insist on the fastest delivery possible of all vaccine doses so that Croatia could be as protected and safe as possible by summer.

"If we are protected and if other countries vaccinate, and all intend to vaccinate as many people as possible, then the arrival of tourists will be safe. Few will come somewhere they don't feel safe and others don't want to import people who could be contagious," he said, adding that the EU would continue talks on this to find a common solution.

Filipović is HDZ's first and only choice for Zagreb mayor

Asked about his party's candidate for Zagreb mayor, Davor Filipović, Plenković said he expected him to win and that he was the HDZ's first and only choice for that post, adding that the party had talked about but that it had not negotiated with Damir Vanđelić, the temporary director of the post-earthquake Reconstruction Fund, about being the HDZ's mayoral nominee.

Asked to evaluate President Zoran Milanović's first year in office, Plenković said "Everyone does their job their own way."

Plenković did not wish to reveal how much Croatia had offered Hungary for energy group MOL's stake in Croatia's INA.

He said the procurement of fighter jets was continuing. "There is no long-term delay with the aircraft, just a logical, reasonable non-adoption of a decision in the month behind us."

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.

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Sunday, 7 February 2021

Hundreds Gathered at Jarun Party, Zagreb Police Report No Violations of Epidemiological Measures

February 7, 2021 - Hundreds gathered at a Jarun party on Saturday night in Zagreb, though the police have reported no violations of epidemiological measures. reports that a new video showing hundreds of young people gathered in Zagreb, this time near Jarun, has circulated on social networks and in the media since Saturday night. The Zagreb Police have announced that the police officers did not find any violations or violations of epidemiological measures.

The video, published on Sunday morning in a Facebook group for students living in the Stjepan Radić Student Dormitory, shows young people hanging out, singing, and dancing to music, with a torch in the background.

The recording has since been deleted.

Hina learned from the Zagreb Police that they received two reports on Saturday night of people gathering in Jarun around the lake, the first time just after 10 pm and the second time around 3 am. There were no more reports after that.


"Police officers did not identify any violations, criminal offenses, or violations of epidemiological measures, i.e., the on-site inspection established that all those gathered adhered to the prescribed measures," the Zagreb Police said. Unfortunately, they left a trail of waste. 

Although some media reported that there were several hundred young people, the police say that those gathered were not in larger groups.

"As soon as it is determined that there are no violations of epidemiological measures, it means that the number is not higher than allowed," they explained.

After 8 pm and shortly after midnight, the Zagreb Polic also had reports of a gathering at the Croatian National Theater. Still, an on-site inspection also established that everyone adhered to the prescribed measures. You can see photos of the Jarun party and the gathering at the Croatian National Theater at Jutarnji List HERE.

Earlier, on Friday night, several young people gathered at the Stjepan Radić Student Dormitory. During this procedure, the police confirmed that they verbally called on everyone present to respect epidemiological measures and that they should disperse, which they did. 

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