Thursday, 3 February 2022

Health Minister Defends COVID Certificates, Testing Children

ZAGREB, 3 Feb 2022 - Health Minister Vili Beroš defended in parliament on Thursday the COVID certificate mandate and children testing as part of the fight against the pandemic and underlined the importance of vaccination because the tourist season could depend on it.

"One of the criteria the European Commission might consider for travel recommendations is the vaccination rate of the domestic population. If it is so, we'll have a problem and won't do well," Beroš told Emil Daus of the Istrian Democratic Party, who asked about plans for the summer tourist season.

Last year we were the champions of safety in the Mediterranean, but this summer the tourism situation might be bad and vaccination is the way out, Beroš said, adding that vaccines protect against serious illness and death also with the new variants.

Submitting a report on coronavirus protocols, he dismissed some MPs' claims that COVID certificates were pointless given that the vaccinated are contagious, too.

"COVID certificates don't represent absolute but optimal safety given what is being invested," Beroš said, adding that the vaccinated are far less contagious than the unvaccinated.

He said no EU member state had abolished the certificates and was not jumping to conclusions.

"Great Britain has abolished them, but it's not in the EU. Denmark is considering it but hasn't abolished them. Some countries with high vaccination rates are considering changing the application of COVID certificates, but are not abolishing them," the minister said, adding that the certificates are an instrument of the European Commission and that they enable travel.

As for the testing of children, Beroš said it was being introduced not only for health safety but to allow children to go to school. Testing is harmless and is being conducted in 16 European countries, he added.

Defending the justification of testing, the minister said that since it was introduced in the public sector, 1.6 million tests had been done and that 116,000 came back positive.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Thursday, 3 February 2022

Minister Says Self-testing of Students to Be Conducted in Three Stages

ZAGREB, 3 Feb 2022 - Science and Education Minister Radovan Fuchs said on Thursday that the self-testing of students would start once the Buffer Stock Directorate delivered tests to schools, and that testing would be conducted in three stages, after which they would hopefully no longer be necessary. 

Parents will test their children for coronavirus voluntarily on Mondays, and if a positive case is identified in a class, testing will be done again and students who test negative will continue attending face-to-face classes.

We assume parents will not cheat because the purpose of this measure is to make it possible for as many children as possible to continue attending physical classes, Fuchs said, recalling that entire classes had to go online just because a few students were positive.

The testing will be conducted for a month, and if everything is as we plan it to be, we will switch to testing only in those classes where a positive case is identified, the minister said.

The third stage is the cancellation of self-testing, he said, expressing hope that eventually it would be possible to abolish the mandatory wearing of face masks in schools.

The Buffer Stock Directorate will today open bids for the procurement of tests and the beginning of self-testing will depend on when schools are supplied with the tests, the minister said, adding that he would talk to school principals via video link today and that the Croatian Public Health Institute had prepared instructions for parents.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Free COVID Testing for Homeless to Start in Zagreb

ZAGREB, 4 Jan 2022 - The homeless will be able to get tested for coronavirus for free in Zagreb as of 5 January, which will enable them to get a COVID certificate and thus access social and healthcare services, the city department for social welfare, health, and persons with disabilities said on Tuesday.

"The goal is to provide the homeless with access to social and healthcare services, as well as to services of other institutions in which they can exercise their rights. As of 5 January, testing will take place every Wednesday from 12 to 3 p.m. at 64-66 Heinzelova Street," the city department said.

The campaign is carried out in cooperation with the "Dr. Andrija Štampar" Public Health Institute, the Croatian Red Cross, and the City Red Cross Society Zagreb.

Users will be able to get their certificate at the same location where they got tested.

In case they test positive, the "Dr. Andrija Štampar" Public Health Institute will give them all the necessary instructions on what to do next.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Three in Five COVID-19 Tests in Split-Dalmatia County Positive

ZAGREB, 4 Jan 2022 - In the last 24 hours, 2,205 tests have been conducted for coronavirus in Split-Dalmatia County, and 59% or 1,302 have returned positive, the county's healthcare authorities reported on Tuesday.

Another seven COVID patients -- all of them aged above 80 and with underlying conditions -- have died in this Dalmatian county in the last 24 hours.

Currently, 198 COVID patients are receiving hospital treatment, and of them 41 are on ventilators.

Dr. Diana Nonković of the Split-based county epidemiological service said today that the authorities were braced for a further surge in COVID numbers in the next ten days due to the Omicron variant.

Nonković said that a majority of those infected with the Omicron variant are young people, however, the virus has also started spreading among higher age cohorts.

She confirmed that this was the beginning of the fifth wave, and according to the first indicators, the rate of its transmission is rather fast, which is why she expects this wave to last shorter.

The doctor called on local residents to avoid larger gatherings in January so that the county can go back to a calmer situation.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Friday, 3 December 2021

Public Health Institute Wants These People to Come for Coronavirus Tests

December the 3rd, 2021 - The Omicron variant, a new variant of concern (VOC) which first appeared in Southern Africa has begun spreading across the world, with cases having already appeared across Europe. The Croatian Institute of Public Health (CNIPH) has called upon a certain group of people to come and get coronavirus tests.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, due to the emergence of yet another new variant of the novel coronavirus, which has been named Omicron, the Croatian Institute of Public Health is asking for all people who have recently spent time in several Southern African nations to come and get their coronavirus tests.

For the purpose of timely detection of the introduction and spread of the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 virus variant in the Republic of Croatia, all people who arrived back into Croatia from the Southern Africa region fourteen days ago are invited to apply for their coronavirus tests at their territorially competent public health institute.

This invitation applies to all people who arrived in Croatia on the 18th of November or later on from the Republic of South Africa, Botswana, the Kingdom of Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe or the Republic of Mozambique, regardless of the presence of potential symptoms of the illness, their vaccination status against COVID-19 or whether or not they've previously contracted and since overcome the illness caused by the novel virus.

The call for these individuals to come for coronavirus tests, either PCR testing or rapid antigen testing, has been sent out based on a recently introduced Decision of the Civil Protection Directorate of the Republic of Croatia on the application of special epidemiological measures when crossing the border of the Republic of Croatia from the 30th of November 2021, the statement said.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including vaccination points, testing centres and border crossing rules, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

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.

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Thursday, 18 November 2021

Krunoslav Capak Warns That Free Coronavirus Testing Won't Last Long

November the 18th, 2021 - The director of the Croatian Public Health Institute, Krunoslav Capak, has warned that free coronavirus testing isn't going to be a long lasting offer, and that there are enough doses of the vaccine for everyone who hasn't yet had it.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Krunoslav Capak confirmed recently for the second time that free coronavirus testing, more precisely testing done at the expense of employers will not last long. He also denied that the use of Croatian covid certificates would be expanded even further.

"It's certain that this will be discussed in case the situation continues to deteriorate. For now, we've got stagnant (infection) numbers, meaning that our numbers have decreased somewhat, but in any case we'll continue to talk about it because our strategy is to closely monitor the situation and expand or reduce measures at any given time,'' said Capak, stating that his statement was taken out of context earlier on.

He says the first day of Croatian covid certificates being needed to access state and public services went well.

"Whenever such a measure is adopted, which is related to infrastructure, certain activities carried out by healthcare services, coronavirus testing sites, the willingness of people to accept things... there are always some problems, but I'd say that it went well. What we now know is that the introduction of covid certificates in healthcare and social care facilities went very well, there were only a few people who didn't want to be tested, and many of them were vaccinated. The measure obviously has its effect, and the aim of that measure is to protect people’s health in the workplace. I think this has gone very well, we had almost 54,000 people tested and among them, almost 1300 people who turned out positive, they are now in ten-day isolation and won't continue to spread the disease further which will contribute to a better epidemiological situation,'' explained Capak.

When asked by the manager how long free coronavirus testing will be performed for unvaccinated employees at the expense of their employer, Capak answered that the measure was introduced with an unlimited duration, but that nobody should be under any illusions that it will go on for long in reality.

"It will be discussed, it will be decided, but it will certainly not be for a long time. Everyone will be given the opportunity to think about it and decide to get vaccinated, there are enough vaccines for people, mass vaccination sites are available to everyone to us, everyone can come and be vaccinated. It's necessary to wait for the people who have now decided to get vaccinated to receive their certificates, and then the state should decide to stop paying for this free coronavirus testing and then those who still don't want to be vaccinated will need to pay for it themselves. Those who cannot be vaccinated for various medical reasons are exempt from the testing measure,'' Capak told HRT.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Monday, 15 November 2021

Aladrović: There Is No Rational Reason to Reject Testing

ZAGREB, 15 Nov 2021 - Minister of Labour and Pension System Josip Aladrović on Monday said that there is no rational reason to reject being tested for coronavirus, underscoring that employers would decide on the fate of those who refused to be tested.

"We can try and have understanding, for a certain period of time, for people who do not wish to get vaccinated. However, there is no rational reason to reject testing and I think that we all need to show responsibility here," Aladrović told reporters.

Speaking ahead of the introduction of COVID certificates in all state and public service facilities on Tuesday, Aladrović underscored that the healthcare and welfare sectors, where COVID certificates were introduced in October, had demonstrated a high level of responsibility, adding that he did not believe other systems could encounter any major problems for introducing the certificates either.

Asked what will happen to employees who refuse to be tested, Aladrović underscored that their employers would be the ones to decide.

"The related lay-offs so far have been at the level of statistical errors. I expect a vast majority of employees will be responsible, however, employers will be the ones to decide in cases of non-compliance," he said and added that this was in line with the law.

Commenting on ongoing protests against COVID certificates, he said that they were exclusively politically motivated. "It is really difficult to find any rational reason for the protests," the minister said, adding that he expected them to wane at one point.

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.

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

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

Fuchs Says There Are Three Options for Testing Teachers

November 9, 2021 - Minister of Science and Education, Radovan Fuchs said that the Ministry of Science and Education is currently agreeing on a mechanism and method of testing for COVID in the education system, three options are being considered for testing teachers, and the exact method of testing will be known by Friday.

"A testing variant will be introduced for all who need to be tested. So, those who have covid-certificates will show certificates and will not need to be tested," the minister said.

The mechanism and method of testing are currently being agreed upon, and there are three options on the table, said Fuchs, testing teachers in authorized institutions, such as laboratories, testing in schools, and the possibility of self-testing, reports

"We will know by Friday, after taking into account all the pros and cons in terms of the possible and most effective. We will define and write this in the decision, as well as the decision to act and test in health facilities," Fuchs told reporters on the eve of the sessions of the National Council for Monitoring the Implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy.

It's about 120,000 people

He noted that this is a total of 120,000 people, when kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, and the higher education system are taken into account, and in the primary and secondary education system itself there are slightly less than 60,000 employees.

"If 45 percent of them are unvaccinated, and I don't know exactly how many got over it, then we're talking about testing about 30,000 people. That's not so little'', he noted. 

It must be taken into account, he added, that testing teachers should be done every two days, but also that it should be done before the teacher enters the classroom and starts teaching.

"It's not quite simple, but we intend to write it all down in the instructions so that there aren't too many problems," Fuchs pointed out.

He also said that testing of children is not being considered at the moment, but that it will be considered if necessary.

“Teachers are certainly responsible people,” he pointed out. "I don't think they'll just go by the 'I really care about my students and my kids' system. I believe most of them will, if necessary, conduct rapid antigen tests," he added.

Boras: The University will respect the decisions of the Headquarters

Rector of the University of Zagreb Damir Boras pointed out that the University cooperates well with the Civil Protection Headquarters and that it will "always strictly adhere to things concerning COVID", noting that the University can make an autonomous decision on the introduction of covid certificates.

The university has its own headquarters which is currently sitting and considering the possibility of introducing covid-certificates. "In any case, we must protect ourselves and we will respect the decisions of the Headquarters. So, there will either be covid-certificates, or vaccination certificates or prescribed testing," the rector said.

"My personal opinion is that everyone should be vaccinated. Of course, I accept that there is a right of people not to be vaccinated, but some categories of employees, professionals, no longer have that right. I would say, for example, that medical professionals made their decision when they started practicing medicine and since then they have to respect the profession, "Boras told reporters.

Asked whether the University will give a stronger recommendation than before, Boras replied that the University has already given a strong recommendation, and it is to respect the decisions of the State Staff, which, he reiterated, communicates excellently and daily with members of the University Staff. The university was founded before the state ".

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.

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Thursday, 14 October 2021

COVID-19 Testing and Treatment Has So Far Costed HRK 2.1 bn, Health Minister Says

ZAGREB, 14 Oct 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš said in Parliament on Thursday that HRK 2.31 billion had been paid from contributions for compulsory health insurance for COVID-19 testing and treatment in the period from the start of the coronavirus pandemic to the end of August 2021.

HRK 2.31 billion was paid by the Croatian Health Insurance Institute, Beroš said while presenting a quarterly report on measures taken to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Commenting on concern about the nation's state of health, the minister said that contacts between citizens and their general practitioners had dropped by only 1.9% and that the number of phone contacts and e-mail messages had increased while prevention measures, notably for cancer patients, were largely proceeding normally considering the circumstances.

As for the number of ordered COVID-19 vaccines, he explained that it refers not just to this year but also to 2022 and 2023.

Vaccine effective in 75 to 80% of cases involving new virus variants

Speaking of the correlation between vaccination and mortality, Beroš said that the vaccine was effective against new variants of the virus.

"We have to be grateful to science and the medical profession for producing a vaccine that is effective against new variants in 75 to 80% of cases. This vaccine, just as any other vaccine, does not protect 100%," Beroš said.

Speaking of the June-August period, he said that the epidemic was much less intense, which contributed to the excellent tourism results.

In the period covered by the report, the health system adjusted, reduced the number of COVID wards, and increased the provision of medical services to other patients, continuing to intensively implement testing and monitoring of infected patients as well as vaccination, he said.

1.5 million vaccine doses administered over three months

The minister said that since early June, 249 venues had been set up across the country, mostly in the coastal areas, for rapid antigen testing and issuing of COVID-19 certificates, and that in the June-August period 1.5 million vaccine doses were administered.

"Despite a large number of tourists and domestic residents, we managed to maintain a calm and stable epidemiological situation in the country, securing for ourselves the status of the safest Mediterranean destination," he said, adding that in the three-month period 18,622 cases of infection were recorded.

For the latest news on coronavirus in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

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