Friday, 1 October 2021

Croatia Logs 1,517 New COVID-19 Cases, 10 Deaths

ZAGREB, 1 Oct 2021 - Croatia has registered 1,517 new coronavirus cases and 10 COVID-19-related deaths in the last 24 hours, the national coronavirus response team reported on Friday.

The number of active cases now stands at 8,990, and 738 infected persons are receiving hospital treatment, including 99 who are on ventilators.

Since 25 February 2020, when the first case was confirmed in Croatia, 406,307 people have been registered as having contracted the novel virus, of whom 8,650 have died and 388,667 have recovered, including 1,392 in the last 24 hours. 23,044 people are currently self-isolating.

To date, 2,833,156 people have been tested for the virus, including 10,126 in the last 24 hours.

A total of 3,436,799 doses of vaccines have been administered, with 44.92 percent of the total population, or 53.89 percent of adults, having been vaccinated. 1,822,966 people have received at least one dose and 1,709,647 have been fully vaccinated, which makes up 50.62 percent of the adult population.

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Friday, 28 May 2021

Where Will Croatian Home Coronavirus Test Results be Accepted?

May the 28th, 2021 - Croatia is set to follow in the footsteps of multiple European countries such as the United Kingdom who have made the possibility of testing for the novel coronavirus at home an option for a long time now. While the move will relieve the pressure on testing centres and just be more convenient in general, where will Croatian home coronavirus test results be actually accepted?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, a member of the Management Board of Medika, Jakov Radosevic, was a recent guest on New Day/Novi Dan and commented on the introduction of rapid tests for home use that will appear on the Croatian market very soon.

"These home tests are very reliable, their reliability is over 98 percent," assured Radosevic.

He added that Medika had already started with the distribution of home coronavirus test kits to pharmacies and specialised stores, which will be the only ones able to sell these tests.

"All Croatian pharmacies and specialised stores will have this test in their offer," said Radosevic, and explained what kind of test it is.

"This is the first test approved by the European Union, it is a fast antigen test for at home self-testing. The instructions are tailored to users, which are non-medical people.

Asked whether the Croatian home coronavirus test results could be used before coming to a wedding or other organised event, as part of the conditions for a negative test result for coronavirus, Radosevic said he assumed they would be accepted.

“The information we received is that 120 people are to be allowed to attend an event and that they would have to have proof that they have recovered from coronavirus in the last six months, that they've been fully vaccinated at least two weeks before the event or that they had a negative test result, PCR or antigen. Accordingly, my assumption is that the Croatian Institute of Public Health has recommended that this test be accepted as well,'' said Radosevic.

The price of the Croatian home coronavirus test kits will be between 75 and 80 kuna.

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

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Croatian Home Coronavirus Tests Coming - A Look at Costs and Functionality

May the 23rd, 2021 - Croatian home coronavirus tests are coming. Much like in several other European countries where home coronavirus tests have been the norm for quite some time now, such as in the United Kingdom, Croatia is set to introduce such an option to take the pressure off testing sites and make the entire procedure much easier.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Dolores Peruc, head of the microbiological department of the NZZJZ PGZ, announced the arrival of Croatian home coronavirus tests, which will make life easier for everyone wanting to see if they are infected with the novel virus or not.

“These are screening tests. They're actually designed to be positive in the first five days of illness. They must have a sensitivity of more than 90 percent and a specificity of more than 97 percent.

Another important point is how the sample is taken - this test that will arrive to Croatian pharmacies are intended for use as nasal swabs, nasopharyngeal swabs and those for the oropharynx, but we must say that the nasopharyngeal swab is the most sensitive of all and if the swab is taken correctly we can detect an active COVID-19 infection people,'' explained Dolores Peruc.

All testing tools come in a special package, and according to the announcements, Croatian home coronavirus tests will be sold in pharmacies without any need for a prescription at a price of about 100 kuna.

"In no European Union (EU) country are these so-called self-tests recognised as diagnostic, but if you prove yourself to be positive on one of them then you need to arrange to have a diagnostic test, if you're negative, the instructions also say that this test is not difinitive proof that you are indeed negative," stated the Croatian Institute of Public Health's director, Krunoslav Capak.

The first Croatian home coronavirus tests will probably appear on the shelves of wholesalers next week, and then will be made available for purchase by the general public in the country's pharmacies, Nova TV reports.

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

Friday, 30 April 2021

Croatian MEP Valter Flego Advocates Free Coronavirus Testing

April the 30th, 2021 - Croatian MEP Valter Flego has spoken out in favour of securing free coronavirus tests in order to better facilitate the upcoming summer tourist season and to avoid discriminating against those who aren't vaccinated yet.

As Novac/Ljubica Vuko writes, Croatian MEP Valter Flego (IDS) spoke at a plenary session in Brussels this week and sought free coronavirus testing, which in Croatia currently costs from 500 to 750 kuna per PCR test, and about 150 kuna for an antigen test.

''If we want to travel without restrictions this summer, we'll need an EU certificate. So that this confirmation doesn't lead to inequality and discrimination against citizens who aren't vaccinated - coronavirus testing - just like the coronavirus vaccine - must be free of charge. Otherwise, many families simply won't be able to afford a holiday this summer. In the current situation, testing costs up to 600 euros on top of what they've paid for a holiday for a family of four,'' Croatian MEP Valter Flego stressed, adding that "whoever decides to introduce a certificate must take care that all citizens are equally allowed to have a certificate as coronavirus vaccination isn't mandatory, and not everyone has the opportunity to be vaccinated at the same time."

As reported by Croatian MEP Valter Flego's office, this is exactly what the Resolution on the availability and affordability of coronavirus testing discusses, over which the European Parliament called on the European Commission and the national authorities of individual EU member states to provide free testing to citizens and increase their testing capacities, especially in the main traffic hubs and in tourist destinations.

''The resolution calls for EU member states to ensure universal, affordable, timely and free coronavirus testing in order to avoid discrimination against those who haven't yet been vaccinated and for economic reasons. Otherwise, we're divided into citizens of the first and second order, and that's unacceptable,'' Croatian MEP Valter Flego believes.

A statement from his office also said that the European Parliament had reaffirmed its negotiating position on a proposal for an EU certification for coronavirus, which would allow EU citizens to move freely within the bloc from June.

MEPs believe that the EU certificate should be valid for one year and that it shouldn't be a prerequisite for travel, but only a relief with which citizens don't have to be quarantined or self-isolated upon arrival or return to a country.

The next step is to negotiate between Parliament and the Council, in order to reach a final agreement before the start of the tourist season.

''Tourism is important, but let's not forget to talk about all types of travel. People travel for work, for school, to see family. Now follows a trialogue, and I really hope for a final solution by the beginning of June, because everything coming later means losing part of the tourist season,'' said Croatian MEP Valter Flego, before concluding that "the cost of tests and a more detailed presentation of the epidemiological risk of tourist destinations on the ECDC map are two priorities which we must resolve as soon as possible.''

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

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

45 People With Fake PCR Tests Detained At Croatian Border In One Weekend

January 19, 2021 – 45 people tried to enter Croatia with fake PCR tests this weekend alone. They were caught by Croatian police, detained at the border and reported to the State's Attorney office. If found guilty, each faces a maximum penalty of three years in prison

Some 45 people tried to enter Croatia through the borders of one county with fake PCR tests this past weekend.

Travel from Bosnia and Herzegovina into Croatia currently requires the production of a negative PCR test or a doctor's certificate proving you have successfully passed through a COVID-19 infection in recent months.

Since the ban on entering Croatia from Bosnia and Herzegovina without a negative PCR test was introduced, fake PCR tests are increasingly being forged. Border police and customs officers at crossings in Brod-Posavina County have met many people trying to cross the border with fake PCR tests. But, this weekend a new record number of forged tests were found on the county's border crossings.

According to a statement from the Brod-Posavina Police Department, as many as 45 attempts to enter the country with fake PCR tests were discovered on Saturday and Sunday.


"At the Stara Gradiška border crossing, police officers determined that 43 persons, mostly citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, presented fake PCR tests issued in BiH at the border control. At the Slavonski Brod border crossing, two people were registered who gave forged tests," the Brod-Posavina police reported.

Police officers file criminal charges against all those suspected of committing the criminal offence of forgery of a document with the Municipal State Attorney's Office in Slavonski Brod. If found guilty, such persons face up to three years in prison.

The overall number of people detained on Croatia's border with fake PCR tests this weekend could actually be higher - the figures of 45 persons detained with fake PCR tests were released by the police of just one county in Croatia - Brod-Posavina County. A further eight Croatian counties exist along the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Each has border crossings between the two countries.

Friday, 30 October 2020

Croatia Bringing in Speedy Coronavirus Tests, Results in 30 Minutes

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 29th of October, 2020, given the news of long queues which have become somewhat synonymous with coronavirus tests, it has become more and more desirable to have some alternative to standard laboratory PCR tests. About a month ago, news surfaced about the availability of antigen tests. Such coronavirus tests are fast, the result is obtained in half an hour, it isn't too expensive, with a price of 250 kuna, and they're offered by different manufacturers, according to Vecernji list.

''Yes, they're definitely be recommended. But they must be antigenic, not serological. Although they have a slightly lower sensitivity than PCR tests, they can be done outside of a laboratory, for example in a nursing home, school, anywhere, they're cheaper so many more people can be tested,'' said prof. dr. sc. Branko Kolaric, an epidemiologist and member of the Scientific Council of the Croatian Government. The usefulness of such coronavirus tests has been confirmed by well known Croatian molecular biologist prof. dr. sc. Nenad Ban at ETH in Zurich, Switzerland.

''The test can be used to detect the presence of a viral protein that surrounds the SARS-CoV-2 genome when in our body. It's relatively fast and specific, so it won't detect proteins that exist in other related viruses. Given the sensitivity claims of about 95 percent, it means that it is possible that every twentieth test doesn't detect the presence of the protein despite its existence. This test is significantly different from previous coronavirus tests that detected the presence of antibodies to the virus because antibodies begin to develop much later than when a person becomes ill, so, the antibody test couldn't be used to determine if someone is contagious or not,'' explained the scientist.

Viruses are very small, SARS-CoV-2 is about 100 nm, and consequently they have very little antigen, as was learned from doc. Dr. Vanda Juranic-Lisnic from the Faculty of Medicine in Rijeka.

''There must be enough of the virus to be visible to the antigen test, and usually when a patient has a lot of virus, he has symptoms. Unlike tbe PCR test, previous antigen tests have much lower sensitivity. Clearly, given the efforts of the scientific and medical community, we're sure to get increasingly sensitive antigen tests. Based on past experiences, it may be found that antigen tests are well applied in the rapid testing of symptomatic patients to quickly determine whether they've contracted COVID-19 or some other type of respiratory infection. However, it should be borne in mind that the negative result of the antigen test must be additionally confirmed by a PCR test precisely because they're less sensitive,'' stated Dr. Juranic-Lisnic.

Prof. dr. sc. Zlatko Trobonjaca from the Medical Faculty in Rijeka explained how such a test works.

''These tests are based on the colour change of the reactants in the presence of an antigen that is recognised and captured by specific antibodies. This antigen in the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is a nucleocapsid protein, so its presence and detection also indicates the infection of the subject. The problem with these tests is the fact that the antigen concentration may be too low to detect and therefore they're recommended only in the stages of the disease in which we expect higher levels of the virus on swabs and thus higher amounts of antigen. And that means in the first few days of the disease (up to 7 days), in cases with too little concentration of antigen, we can expect false negative findings,'' said Dr. Trobonjaca.

The American experience is certainly the most extensive, so prof. dr. sc. Maria Skugor of the Cleveland Clinic was asked about these types of coronavirus tests.

''They're very fast and easier to use, but they're not that sensitive yet and a negative result doesn't actually exclude infection. The specificity is about 98 percent, but the sensitivity is, in my conservative estimate, about 60 percent. Therefore, symptomatic patients with a negative test should have an RT-PCR test,'' said Dr. Skugor.

''There's a noticeable difference in experiences when it comes to sensitivity, and the possible reason is the manufacturer. The quality of these tests depends on the quality of the manufacturer and therefore you should test the quality before buying large quantities of tests,'' said prof. dr. sc. Ivan Djikic from Goethe University in Frankfurt.

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