Saturday, 29 January 2022

Croatia's Coronavirus Update: 15,416 Cases, 41 Deaths, 10,462 Recoveries

ZAGREB, 29 Jan 2022 - In the last 24 hours, PCR tests have detected 9,904 new cases of the infection with coronavirus plus 5,512 cases detected by rapid antigene tests, Croatia's COVID-19 crisis management team reported on Saturday.

The COVID-related death toll has increased by 41 to 13,731.

There are currently 66,152 active cases of infection with SARS-CoV-2 in the country. Of them, 1,936 are hospitalized patients, including 183 placed on ventilators.

Since the first registered case of the infection with the novel virus in late February 2020, so far, 929,502 cases of the infection have been detected, and of them, 849,619 people have recovered, including 10,462 recoveries in the last 24 hours.

To date, 64.79% of adult Croatians have fully been vaccinated against this infectious disease.

 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.

 

Saturday, 29 January 2022

Could Croatian Public Services Grind to a Halt Under Omicron Pressure?

January the 29th, 2022 - Croatian public services are under a lot of pressure as Omicron puts many ZET (Zagreb electric tram) drivers into self-isolation. Could the situation become unsustainable?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Omicron is spreading like wildfire through Croatian public services, and due to the large number of employees on sick leave or in self-isolation, some basic functioning issues have been caused.

The most dramatic situation at the moment can be found in Zagreb's ZET, which is lacking as many as 390 bus and tram drivers. Every fifth ZET driver is off work.

"I'm familiar with the problems ZET is dealing with at the minute. The new strain of the novel coronavirus has created some major problems in public affairs. A large number of employees working for Croatian public services are in self-isolation. This is difficult to organise properly as we're learning that drivers are becoming infected literally overnight. Some corrections have been made as far as the lines are concerned, the schedule has been reduced, but all in all, I don't think that people are overly affected by this situation,'' said Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomasevic.

Railway traffic is also in trouble, and HZ passenger traffic (putnicki prijevoz) is afraid that this is just the beginning. One line, on the Osijek-Bizovac route, has already been interrupted.

"On Thursday and Friday, passengers will be transported by buses on that line. There's a noticeable upward trend in the illness of our employees and our employees being put into self-isolation,'' they said from HZ. At the moment, 19 workers who are employed as train staff and 21 workers who are machine staff aren't at work, and another 12 of them are in self-isolation owing to coronavirus infection, Jutarnji list writes.

In Zagreb's Cistoca, on the other hand, a concerning number of 70 workers are currently on sick leave, and there are only 2050 of them all together. So far, they say, this doesn't seriously affect their functioning, but it might. Coronavirus is also being regularly encountered at the Student Centre here in the capital. There are currently 45 workers in self-isolation.

"Existing workers are being redeployed to Student Centre restaurants where the sick leave rate has increased, so we're bridging this situation," director Mirko Bosnjak explained.

The situation is a bit better for the Public Fire Brigade in the City of Zagreb, as there are currently only 3 coronavirus positive employees, and 3 more are in self-isolation.

"We have a total of 330 workers, and we've been lucky, if I may say so, that not too many of them became infected at once, it's been happening little by little,'' revealed Commander Sinisa Jembrih.

Other Croatian public services which don't immediately spring to mind like ZET drivers might are also facing issues. Customs officers are very much struggling with the spread of Omicron. At the moment, 106 of them are infected or in self-isolation, but the Customs Administration has assured Jutarnji list that the traffic of goods and passengers across border crossings, as well as at internal customs offices, is being dealt with regularly.

"Constant chaos"

Varazdin County has had no particular problems with people being off sick or needing to be in self-isolation while working for the Croatian public services there, but it does have a problems with school and education system employees. the students of three schools are still taking online classes due to the spread of Omicron among their teachers. This number is posing an issue every day and recently a further 31 teachers became infected, and 15 of them were placed in self-isolation.

Medjimurje residents have a bigger problem with their local healthcare workers, although so far there are have been no real problems with the organisation of their work. There are about 30 employees currently ''out of service'' due to coronavirus.

Over in Pula, due to the current situation with the spread of Omicron, most of the Croatian public services affected are the General Hospital and the Teaching Institute for Emergency Medicine. According to the director of the Pula General Hospital, Irena Hrstic, this month alone, 155 of their staff fell ill, out of a total of about 900 employees. Of course, these aren't all solely health professionals.

"We're in a state of chaos all the time, so that hasn't changed. But, we're working and covering ourselves as much as we can, so we do double, triple and all kinds of shifts,'' she pointed out.

In the Vukovar-based utility company Komunalac, which provides waste collection services in the city, there are 35 workers out of 223 sick or in self-isolation, which is almost 16 percent of the total number of their employees. However, according to the company's director Igor Strangarevic, they're still managing to do everything they need to do.

In the Osijek Public Utility Company, 10 out of 88 firefighters are off work, which is why, according to Commander Zoran Paksec, they've shifted their work into three shifts, so people rotate more often.

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, 28 January 2022

Croatia Had a Poor COVID Vaccination Campaign, Panel Says

ZAGREB, 28 Jan 2022 - Croatia's COVID-19 vaccination rate is lower than the EU average, and the vaccination campaign should have involved more health professionals and fewer footballers, a conference on the future of health care in Croatia was told in Zagreb on Friday.

Professor Stjepan Orešković from the Zagreb School of Medicine said that Croatia has nearly 3,500 COVID deaths per million, while in Finland this number is nearly ten times lower. He said that Croatia should look up to countries like that and their strategies.

"If you ask nurses why they don't want to get vaccinated, you will get some very rational answers, such as fear for a future pregnancy. At the start of the pandemic, we should have answered their questions and led the vaccination campaign through them rather than through, for example, footballers," Orešković said.

He said it was important not to take people who refuse to get vaccinated for fools because such an attitude would only diminish trust in the medical and pharmaceutical professions.

What nearly all European countries did at the start of the pandemic was close their borders, said Professor Iris Goldner Lang from the Zagreb School of Law, adding that several things should be considered when imposing restrictions.

"If we invoke health care, we should examine whether it can be achieved with less restrictive measures and ensure that such measures do not discriminate against anyone on the ground of nationality," she said.

Tomislav Sokol, a member of the European People's Party group in the European Parliament, supported the idea of joint purchases of expensive medicines. "Currently we have a situation where different member states pay different prices for the same medicines. However, we can certainly expect great opposition from the pharmaceutical industry."

Sokol said that Croatia should use all available EU funding to improve the equipment of its hospitals and create better working conditions for its doctors so that they would no longer emigrate to western countries.

Student Mateja Lisjak said that based on what she had learned from other panelists, the situation in most of the health care systems of EU member states was bad. She concurred with Professor Orešković that a solution should be sought in learning from the countries that have been more successful in containing the pandemic.

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, 28 January 2022

COVID-19 Team Head Says Shortening of Self-isolation Being Considered But...

ZAGREB, 28 Jan 2022 - Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović, who heads the national COVID-19 response team, said on Friday that the team was considering shortening the period of self-isolation but that the current wave of the epidemic had still not reached its peak.

"Considering the still high numbers of new infections, we cannot say that the epidemic has reached its climax, especially when compared to other countries," Božinović told reporters at an event at which 28 vehicles for traffic police were handed over at the Police Academy.

Božinović said that one should be optimistic regarding the spring and hope that a new variant of the coronavirus would not emerge.

Commenting on the recommendation by the European Commission on shortening the validity of COVID certificates for citizens vaccinated with two doses, he said that the certificates could be issued under rules applicable to all 27 EU members.

"We must issue certificates as regulated by the EU, otherwise you are not able to cross the border. That also means shorter validity for two doses and recovery," he said, adding that a solution would be sought not to change anything for Croatian citizens.

A number of countries have shortened self-isolation to five days

Commenting on the possibility of shortening the period of quarantine, Božinović said that an important meeting would be held on Saturday between the national COVID-19 response team and representatives of the "Dr Andrija Štampar" public health institute.

"There is room for arranging things differently at the national level. Intensive talks are underway and confirmation is expected on Saturday," he said.

He added that one was considering shortening the period of self-isolation because research increasingly justifies it.

A number of countries have shortened the period of isolation to five days so as not to jeopardise their public services and the functioning of the state, he said, adding that his department did not have problems with labour shortages due to self-isolation and sick leave.

"We are not at risk but we have been thinking about it," he said.

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, 28 January 2022

Croatia Logs 65 COVID-19 Deaths, 15,629 New Infections

ZAGREB, 28 Jan 2022 - In the past 24 hours, 65 people have died as a consequence of the coronavirus infection and 15,629 new cases of infection have been identified in Croatia, the national COVID-19 response team said on Friday.

There are currently 66,751 active cases in the country, including 1,943 hospitalized COVID patients, of whom 187 are on ventilators.

A total of 43,268 people are self-isolating.

Since the start of the pandemic, a total of 4,195,015 people have been tested, including 19,161 in the past 24 hours.

By 27 January 2022, a total of 5,080,835 doses of a vaccine were administered, with 56.49% of the total population or 67.23% of the adult population having been vaccinated.

A total of 2,292,446 people have received at least one dose of a vaccine while 2,202,555 have been fully vaccinated, which is 64.75% of the adult population.

The death toll now stands at 13,690.

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, 27 January 2022

Croatia To Extend COVID Protocols Until February's End

ZAGREB, 27 Jan 2022 - Interior Minister Davor Božinović, who is at the helm of Croatia's COVID-19 crisis management team, said on Thursday that current COVID protocols would remain effective until the end of February if no changes happened in connection with the coronavirus pandemic.

"In the next few days, the crisis management team will consider the protocols on public gatherings, public transport, shopping, protective mask mandate, and cross-border protocols, and they are likely to remain in force until the end of February," Božinović told the government.

Health Minister Vili Beroš said that the PCR tests conducted in the last 24 hours had detected 10,500 new cases, plus 6,375 cases detected by rapid antigen tests, however, the daily caseload is 3.5% smaller than seven days ago.

There are 2,006 hospitalized patients today, 30 more than yesterday, and 185 are on ventilators, seven fewer than yesterday, he said.

Hospital admission numbers are rising mildly but not in proportion to the number of new infections, he said.

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, 27 January 2022

As Many As 390 Drivers of Zagreb Public Transport Company on Sick Leave

ZAGREB, 27 Jan 2022 - Zagreb's public transportation company ZET reported on Thursday that currently 390 tram and bus drivers were on sick leave, mainly due to infection with coronavirus or self-isolation and therefore some delays were inevitable.

This city company has 266 trams and 480 buses in its fleet. The company transports more than a million passengers on a daily basis.

ZET says in its response to Hina's inquiry that it can provide electronic notes of excuses for commuting workers and students who happen to be late to work or school due to the current situation in public transport.

The company also asks the users of its services to have an understanding of these developments.

Mayor Tomislav Tomašević admitted today that the sick leaves were the main problem for ZET to provide services in public transport in a timely fashion.

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, 27 January 2022

Croatia Logs 10,500 New COVID-19 Cases, 59 Deaths

ZAGREB, 27 Jan 2022 - In the past 24 hours, 10,500 new cases of coronavirus infection have been identified in Croatia, and 59 people have died as a consequence of the infection, the national COVID-19 response team said on Thursday.

There are currently 67,376 active cases in the country, including 2,006 hospitalised COVID patients, of whom 185 are on ventilators.

A total of 44,766 people are self-isolating.

Since the start of the pandemic, a total of 4,175,854 people have been tested, including 20,798 in the past 24 hours.

By 26 January 2022, a total of 5,071,377 doses of a vaccine were, with 56.47% of the total population or 67.21% of the adult population having been vaccinated.

A total of 2,291,578 people have received at least one dose of a vaccine while 2,201,139 have been fully vaccinated, which is 64.71% of the adult population.

The COVID-19 death toll stands at 13,625.

A total of 828,673 people have recovered, including 9,092 in the last 24 hours.

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

64 New COVID Fatalities, 11,812 New Cases in Croatia

ZAGREB, 26 Jan 2022 - In the past 24 hours, 64 people have died in Croatia as a consequence of coronavirus, and 11,812 new cases have been identified, which means that there are currently 66,027 active cases in the country, the national COVID response team said on Wednesday.

There are currently 1,976 hospitalized COVID patients and 192 of them are on ventilators while 42,446 people are self-isolating.

By Wednesday 26 January, a total of 4,155,056 tests have been conducted, including 22,524 in the past 24 hours.

As of 25 January 2022, a total of 5,061,724 doses of a vaccine had been administered, with 56.44% of the total population or 67.18% of the adult population having been vaccinated.

A total of 2,290,566 people have received at least one dose of a vaccine while 2,199,638 people have been fully vaccinated, which is 64.67% of the adult population.

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, 25 January 2022

Two Hours Apart, Or Is It? How COVID Put Distance Between London and Croatia

January 25, 2022 - During the Croatian Homeland War, there was a very poignant documentary in the UK about Croatia, titled Two Hours From London, addressing the humanitarian and cultural atrocities happening only two hours flying time from London. Without delving into the topic of human tragedy, I'm using this example to highlight that the authors of the documentary wanted to convey a message that London and Croatia were indeed so close. That happened nearly 30 years ago. 

Today, it seems to me that London and Croatia are further away than those two aforementioned hours. I am a British-born Croatian who grew up in Croatia and is now settled back in the UK. As a student, I envisioned flying back and forth between Zagreb and London a lot. Until COVID changed that. Travelling these days between the two destinations requires multiple steps in preparation pre-and post-flight. And that's only if we're lucky that our flight doesn't get cancelled or rescheduled. A passenger between the two destinations must continuously be checking complex rules written on respective governments' web pages in order to be fit-to-fly.

Moreover, travel expenses go beyond the ticket price. To enter Croatia, one is allowed to enter so long as they possess one of the following: proof of vaccination (no older than 365 days), a negative COVID antigen or PCR test result (no older than 48 or 72 hours respectively), or a doctor's certificate of recovery from COVID. Of course, all passengers have to fill in an Enter Croatia form. 

All international arrivals to the UK must adhere to a different set of rules, which also continuously change. Let's just make a point that the rules among England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are different. As of recently, fully vaccinated travellers to England do not need to take a COVID-19 test prior to arrival. One can choose to take a lateral flow test instead of a PCR test upon arrival to England. Things get a little trickier if the lateral flow test shows positive: one will then need to self-isolate and book a PCR test. Either one of the tests must be booked before the arrival to England. Mind-boggling, doesn't it?

To conclude: there is no longer quick city-hopping between London and Zagreb. Travel requires research, planning, and commitment these days. It is only for the most determined travellers who can afford the newly required travel “luxuries” - my student budget doesn’t exactly allow for those! 

I am now trying to reassure myself with the fact that if I don’t travel I am actually being a responsible citizen on many levels: I do not contribute to the spread of the pandemic internationally nor do I participate in increasing a carbon footprint! However, I do long for the times when travel is easier again so I can go to Croatia to give my grandparents a quick hug and to jump over to Zagreb or Hvar to visit my friends. 

For more updates on international travel news, check out our dedicated travel section.

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