Wednesday, 31 March 2021

New Coronavirus Restrictions to be in Force Until 15 April

ZAGREB, 31 March, 2021 - The national coronavirus crisis management team on Wednesday announced new epidemiological restrictions to be in force until 15 April, including a ban on indoor training, restrictions on the work of children playrooms and a temporary ban and restriction of cross-border travel.

The ban on indoor training does not apply to top competitions and athletes.

Certificates of vaccination with Russian, Chinese vaccines valid

Croatian border authorities will accept fast antigen tests as well as certificates about vaccination with the Russian and Chinese vaccines, and certificates proving their holders' recovery from COVID-19 and those certificates will be considered valid for 180 days, the team's head, Davor Božinović, said.

Border crossing has been regulated due to tourist visits, the exception being digital nomads and children.

"Considering restrictions in neighbouring countries, we do not expect a large number of arrivals," said Božinović.

He noted that the tighter restrictions were being introduced following a proposal to that effect by county COVID-19 response teams.

Apart from nationwide restrictions, the national team also made decisions on restrictions for Šibenik-Knin and Split-Dalmatia counties.

In Split-Dalmatia County, which has seen a big increase in new infections, the mandatory wearing of face masks at outdoor venues with an increased flow of people will be introduced, as will a ban on the sale of alcohol from 8pm to 6am. The work of cafes will be restricted until 8pm, and it will be possible to serve food and drinks only in the open. Foreign language schools will switch to online classes again.

Božinović said that restrictions could be additionally tightened since the epidemiological situation was not good.

Restrictions to be tightened if number of infections continues to grow

"We have a significant increase today and we cannot ignore the possibility of the scenario in neighbouring countries happening here as well. These restrictions will be in force for a few days but should statistics be worrying, we will introduce new measures," said Božinović.

The latest restrictions go into force on Thursday and will be in force until 15 April.

In the last 24 hours, 2,623 new coronavirus cases and 19 COVID-related deaths have been registered in Croatia, the national coronavirus response team said earlier in the day.

The number of active cases now stands at 11,306. Among them are 1,337 people receiving hospital treatment, of whom 144 are placed on ventilators.

Croatian Public Health Institute head Krunoslav Capak warned that today the number of new infections was 47% higher than last week.

Istria County has the lowest incidence, while Primorje-Gorski Kotar County has the highest. Croatia is currently 18th in the EU in terms of the number of deaths per one million inhabitants, while in terms of the 14-day incidence it is 12th.

Speaking about the start of the third phase of vaccination, Capak said that care would be taken of the order in which people had registered for vaccination at the online platform.

"All people older than 16 can be inoculated in the third phase, but a certain priority will be given to people in services in which they come into contact with a large number of people," he said, adding that the third phase could start in May.

He noted that cases of infection with coronavirus after vaccination had been reported. "We have about 20 such cases. Forty-four people in aged care homes got infected after receiving the first dose and 22 got infected after the second dose, but the symptoms were mild."

Commenting on an announcement by the Zagreb COVID-19 response team about the wearing of face masks outdoors, Capak said: "If you are outdoors and alone, there is no need to wear a mask."

"Outdoor mask wearing refers to places where there are a lot of people, in the farmers' market, on the waterfront," he said, noting that the recommendation to wear a mask outdoors had been in force so far for places where physical distancing was not possible.

For more about Covid-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Croatia Reports 2,623 New Coronavirus Cases, 19 Deaths

ZAGREB, 31 March, 2021 - In the last 24 hours, 2,623 new coronavirus cases and 19 COVID-related deaths have been registered in Croatia, the national coronavirus response team said on Wednesday.

The number of active cases now stands at 11,306. Among them are 1,337 people receiving hospital treatment, of whom 144 are placed on ventilators.

Since 25 February 2020, when the first case was confirmed in the country, 271,632 people have been registered as having contracted the novel virus, of whom 5,947 have died and 254,379 have recovered, including 920 in the last 24 hours.

Currently, 29,706 people are in self-isolation. A total of 1,549,854 people have been tested to date, including 10,622 in the last 24 hours.

By 30 March, 463,003 doses of vaccine have been administered and 374,399 people have been vaccinated, including 287,228 who have received one dose and 87,171 who have received two doses.

For more about COVID-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

All Vaccines Allowed in Croatia? Latest Developments for Vaccinated Travelers

March 31, 2021 - A look at the vaccines allowed in Croatia and the latest developments for vaccinated travelers wanting to cross the Croatian border.

After Greece made a decision on vaccinated travelers, all travelers who have been vaccinated with two doses, regardless of whether it has been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), will be able to cross the Croatian border tomorrow, Jutarnji List unofficially finds out.

Anyone with a vaccination certificate will be able to cross the border without presenting a negative PCR test, regardless of whether they have received AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, or, for example, Sputnik or the Chinese vaccine which are not approved for use in the EU.

However, Jutarnji writes that the decision will be subject to change if the European Union is set differently according to vaccines that are not approved in Europe. Also, the Decision on Borders, which will be presented today by the National Headquarters, will include the possibility of crossing the border with the presentation of a rapid antigen test, but only one that has been validated and approved by the EMA. Persons who have contracted the coronavirus within a maximum of six months, and if they have a negative PCR test, not older than 48 hours, will also cross the border without quarantine. Children under the age of seven can still cross the border without restrictions.

The news comes just a day or two after the head of the Croatian National Public Health Institute, Krunoslav Capak, told Croats that he did not advise them to go to Serbia for vaccinations, among other things, because vaccines not approved by the EMA are being used in Serbia. Still, it seems that in the Croatian case, the advantage that vaccines have for the economy, primarily tourism, has prevailed.

Before Croatia, the decision to release people vaccinated with Sputnik and Chinese vaccines across the borders was announced by our competitor Greece, which, as the media reported so far, agreed to accept the vaccination certificate with these two types of preparations with Serbia. Greece will generally begin to recognize certificates to all their holders, all in pledge to save the tourist season that left Greece empty-handed last year.

As Ivan Pukšar, a tourism consultant and owner of Coned turizam, explained to Jutarnji List, it is good for Croatia to go in the direction of facilitating border crossings and allowing people who have been vaccinated with both Chinese and Russian vaccines to enable as many tourists as possible.

This decision is important to us, among other things, because of the Hungarian market, which has already enabled its citizens to be vaccinated with Russian and Chinese vaccines, so it would be desirable for these tourists to spend the summer on the Adriatic without the need to go to quarantine or perform testing, said Pukšar, adding that he is not surprised by the great engagement of Greece in this regard, given that they work extremely actively on the promotion and image of their country.

"There are several reasons for this, and the first is certainly the fact that Greece is highly dependent on tourism, and it is also an air destination that, along with domestic guests and visitors from ships, cannot compensate for tourist traffic, so it is imperative to attract every possible guest. Third, Greece is dependent on British tourists who this year threaten not to travel before the end of July, which is why Greek tourism is in a much worse position than Croatian," Pukšar believes.

Greek Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis and Serbian Minister Tatjana Matic reached an agreement on Monday, and it will take effect on May 14. Unfortunately, Jutarnji did not receive information from the Greek Ministry of Tourism of whether this decision will be applied to citizens of other countries. However, the unofficial information Jutarnji has about Croatia says that today, the public will be presented with new conditions for entering Croatia, which will make it as easy as possible for foreign visitors to visit our country.

Formally, there are no obstacles to such a decision that would prevent EU member states from making their own decisions on recognizing certificates for Chinese and Russian vaccines, as recently announced by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen when, presenting the Covid-passport project, she noted that EU members will have to cross the borders with a digital - green certificate, but that this decision can be extended to other vaccines. 

Neighboring Slovenia was the first country in the region to allow vaccinated people to cross the border in general. Still, this decision currently applies only to vaccines registered in the EU. The Slovenian border rules say that entry is possible for everyone who has been vaccinated with the second dose of Astra Zeneca 21 days before traveling, or seven days with Pfizer and 14 days with Moderna.

For the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Boost for Istrian Tourism as Die Welt Tells Germans They May Travel

March the 31st, 2021 - Istrian tourism could be given a breath of fresh air amid the ongoing pandemic as an influential German publication publishes an article detailing where German tourists may travel without the need for quarantine.

The coronavirus pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to the entire world, but those countries which typically rely heavily on tourism have suffered tremendously. Croatia, with tourism being its strongest economic branch, hasn't been immune to the devastating economic effects of the pandemic, lockdowns and travel uncertainty. Istrian tourism, however, has been given a new spring in its step as the influential German publication Die Welt tells German tourists, who are otherwise great lovers of Istria, that they may enter.

As Morski writes, Nera Milicic, Head of the Croatian Tourist Board's representation over in the German city of Munich, explained the following: This publication in Die Welt, which is one of the leading ''opinion makers'' among German media, and whose readers have higher purchasing power and higher demands, will certainly contribute to the additional perception of Istria, but also Croatia, as a desirable holiday destination for German guests.''

The author of the article, Sonke Kruger, stated that it is possible for German tourists to travel to Istria without the need for self-isolation or quarantine upon entering Croatia and returning to Germany, but there is still the obligation to present a negative PCR test at the border. The author additionally emphasised the fact that Istria is the most attractive and the most accessible Croatian region for German visitors, many of which tend to come by car.

The article also conveys information from German tour operators who are very interested in Istrian tourism and holidays in Istria, and pointed out that many Istrian hotels are already open, while the number of accommodation options available to tourists will only increase even further in the coming months.

It's worth adding that in addition to Croatia and the mention of Istrian tourism for German visitors in that particular article, it also lists the parts of Spain and Portugal where German tourists can currently travel without mandatory quarantine on returning home to Germany, but it is noted that various regulations related to the prevention of the spread of the novel coronavirus are still in force, from mandatory testing to strict hygiene rules and the wearing of protective masks.

For all current coronavirus information specific to Croatia, including travel and border rules, as well as testing centres across the country, make sure to bookmark this page.

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

US Embassy Donates GeneXpert Machine to Zagreb's Infectious Diseases Hospital

ZAGREB, 30 March, 2021 - The US Embassy in Croatia has donated a medical device to the Fran Mihaljević Hospital for Infectious Diseases in Zagreb that can detect the coronavirus in less than 45 minutes, the hospital's director Alemka Markotić said on Tuesday.

Four samples can be placed in the GeneXpert machine at the same time. However, it is not used for mass testing, but is useful in quickly dealing with certain situations, Markotić said.

US Embassy official Victoria Taylor said that this is not about just a piece of equipment, but also about the partnership between Croatia and the United States.

We are happy that our small contribution can help the Fran Mihaljević Hospital and the healthcare system in time of need, Taylor said, commending all Croatian health workers for their tireless work during the pandemic.

Markotić said that most of the patients in the hospital's COVID ward were between 50 and 65 years old and had underlying conditions. She noted that the hospital was nearly filled to capacity.

Markotić said that for now there was no substantial number of young people infected with the British variant of the coronavirus in the hospital, but noted that this variant was proved to be spreading faster among young people because of "their greater nonchalance, mobility and socialising."

She warned that the number of new cases was growing and called on the citizens to avoid "risky situations".

Markotić expressed hope that patients would not be left without medicines, after wholesale drug suppliers warned last week that they might restrict drug deliveries because of HRK 6.5 billion debt owed by the hospitals.

Drug wholesaler Medika said today it had suspended drug deliveries to the hospitals.

Markotić said that her hospital had sufficient drug supplies for now. "We hope that we will not find ourselves in a situation where we, or rather our patients, will be left without medicines."

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said earlier that Finance Minister Zdravko Marić and Health Minister Vili Beroš would meet with drug wholesalers to discuss the debt and that they would be paid a certain amount of money in the coming days.

For more about health in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Croatia Logs 1,487 New Coronavirus Cases, 17 Deaths

ZAGREB, 30 March, 2021 - In the past 24 hours 1,487 new coronavirus cases and 17 COVID deaths have been registered in Croatia, the national COVID-19 response team said in a press release on Tuesday.

The number of active cases is 9,622, including 1,289 hospitalised patients, of whom 127 are on ventilators, while 27,940 people are self-isolating.

Croatia has registered 269,009 coronavirus cases to date, 5,928 COVID deaths and 253,459 recoveries, including 1,138 in the past 24 hours.

To date 1,539,232 people have been tested for the virus, including 9,064 in the past 24 hours, and 367,458 people have been vaccinated against COVID-19, with a total of 453,710 doses administered, including two to 86,252 people.

For more about COVID-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

3T Conference – Tourism, Travel & Tech - Slow and Uneven Recovery from COVID-19

March 30, 2021 - The fourth 3T conference was an online event held last week that covered current topics related to the tourism sector. The tourism experts shared their opinions regarding the recovery of the tourism industry and potential market opportunities.

"When we launched the 3T conference, the idea was to creatively merge the two most important and most successful Croatian sectors - tourism and IT. Last year was hard on tourism, while tech didn't feel the consequences of the pandemic. Although nobody expected 2020 to happen, it might be even better motivation for cooperation between tech and tourism, said Oleg Maštruko, director of the conference.

The first keynote speaker was Hotel Development Specialist Zoran Pejović with the topic "How to keep the best people in tourism in the post-covid world? "Pejović pointed out the disastrous consequences of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic related to the loss of talented staff in the tourism industry and sudden fluctuation in other activities, which will leave long-term consequences bigger than the financial losses in tourism. He said that the industry that makes up the largest share of Croatian GDP and connects numerous other sectors could not be non-essential. Finally, he talked about finding and hiring tourism staff according to the old models, which do not correspond to trends in industries that are increasingly applying digital technologies in business. 

The second keynote speaker was Robert Sedlar on Post-covid tourism, who said it would take a longer time to reach pre-pandemic tourism numbers, but this year might bring better results than 2020. After the keynote lectures, participants could hear about Smart hospitality from Siniša Staničić, who showed options for applying digital technologies in tourism.


The central part of the conference was a panel discussion How to Survive after a pandemic? Oleg Maštruko moderated the conversation, and participants were Ivan Gabrić, General Manager for Business Users of A1 Croatia, Gea Kariž, Xborder participated Marketeer At Mastercard, Andrea Andrijanić, Aviation Industry Expert, prof. dr. sc. Domagoj Bebić, associate professor at the Faculty of Political Science, and Zoran Pejović.

The afternoon part of this year's conference program included Trash Talk with the topic "Branding Croatia on the global scene". Dragan Petrić from Bug magazine and famous Croatian chef Mate Janković pointed out numerous shortcomings of branding Croatian tourist offer primarily related to Croatian cuisine. He gave ideas on branding Croatian konoba and various indigenous Croatian dishes that are not yet recognized globally. 


Other lecturers during the afternoon part of the conference included Karlo Guštin, Mirela Holy, Ilija Brajković, Robert Ilijaš, Marko Mišulić and Mosor Prvan. They all covered topics related to tourism sustainability and the potential of new technologies and digitalization in tourism. 

Hopefully, this conference inspired participants to make their tourism business more sustainable and adapt to new circumstances on the global travel market and how to resist the consequences of the pandemic by use of technology. If you want to re-watch the conference you can access it here.

For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Croatia Airlines Mask Rules Change Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

March the 30th, 2021 - Croatia Airlines mask rules change slightly as the situation with international travel continues to be plagued by problems.

The vaccine may finally be here, but with the rollout being slow and problematic across Europe (with the exception of the United Kingdom), the coronavirus crisis is still continuing to cause tremendous issues for the airline/travel industry. Croatia Airlines, which has faced issues since long before the pandemic struck, isn't immune to these problems but has managed to keep its head above water.

Croatia Airlines mask rules have changed as the situation continues to unfold, both in terms of the spread of the virus itself and in terms of the various lockdown measures different European countries are introducing. 

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatia Airlines has announced that as of Tuesday, March the 30th, 2021, only protective medical/surgical masks are allowed on all their flights, meaning that ordinary cotton masks are no longer enough to be accepted for boarding.

''Acceptable face coverings are medical (surgical) face masks and masks with filters (FFP2, N95 or KN95 without valves) - they stated from the Croatian national carrier, before urging passengers to please pay the proper attention to this and other measures for flights as the responsibility to do so lies solely with them.

From March the 30th, 2021, the use of protective medical/surgical masks only are allowed on all Croatia Airlines flights, read a post by Croatia Airlines on Monday the 29th of March 2021.

- On all Croatia Airlines flights, wearing a mask over the nose and mouth is mandatory.

- Visors and scarves are not allowed as a replacement for face covers on our flights.

- Children under the age of six are not required to wear face masks.

- If for health reasons you cannot wear a face mask, you must have a medical certificate as well as a negative test for COVID-19.

- Bring your own ballpoint pen to fill out the forms or to pre-fill the form needed to enter your destination.

For all current information on coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel and border rules, as well as testing centres up and down the country, make sure to bookmark this page.

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.

For current coronavirus information specific to Croatia, including border and travel rules, as well as testing centres across the country, bookmark this page.

Monday, 29 March 2021

Croatia Confirms 300 New Coronavirus Cases, 18 Deaths

ZAGREB, 29 March, 2021 - A total of 300 new coronavirus cases and 18 COVID-19-related deaths have been registered in Croatia in the last 24 hours, the national coronavirus response team said on Monday.

The number of active cases currently stands at 9,290. Of them, 1,247 people are receiving hospital treatment, including 126 who are placed on ventilators.

Since 25 February 2020, when the first case was confirmed in Croatia, 267,522 persons have been infected with the novel virus, of whom 5,911 have died and 252,321 have recovered, including 1,084 in the last 24 hours.

Currently, 29,191 people are in self-isolation. A total of 1,530,168 people have been tested to date, including 2,848 in the last 24 hours.

To date, 348,648 people have been vaccinated against COVID-19, including 266,900 who have received one dose of vaccine and 81,748 who have received two. A total of 430,396 doses have been administered.

For current coronavirus information specific to Croatia, including border and travel rules, as well as testing centres across the country, bookmark this page.

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