Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Record Summer Season is Possible, But It's Too Early to Be Certain

February 15, 2022 - It is reasonable to believe in a possible record summer season in 2022 due to the number of reservations. However, low vaccination rates, rising energy prices, and other factors may still interfere, warns Tomislav Fain, head of the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies.

All EU countries are still on the map of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in dark red, but most of them with higher vaccination rates are expected to drop more over time than expected in Croatia. Our tourism workers hope that despite low vaccination, rising energy prices and other things, all previous efforts to invest in the season will not "melt", but due to many open questions they do not dare to predict whether we'll have a good start to this season, writes Slobodna Dalmacija.

Booking is better than for 2019, but there is no guarantee that part of these reservations will not be canceled.

''From the current perspective, the view of this year's tourist season seems quite optimistic, especially when it comes to peak season, July and August. Demand is high, reservations are constantly arriving, but we must be very careful because they are all made with the possibility of cancellation and no advance payment'', says Tomislav Fain, owner of the Zadar travel agency "Terra Travel" and president of the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies.

He reminds that the situation with COVID has greatly changed the previous way of doing business and everyone must be flexible, so reservations are accepted without payment.

''We had to adapt to this pandemic. We don’t know what could happen tomorrow, whether there will be an increase in contagion and some new measures again and we had to allow people to cancel their reservations. So we still have to be careful with optimistic announcements, but I say that if everything remains as it is now, there could be a record summer season'', Fain says.

The pre-season is filling up a bit less but he emphasizes that it is a good signal that most airlines left their flights at the beginning of April, which is an indicator that their seats are filling up.

''Our guests are accustomed to having enough capacity and there will probably be a lot of "last minute" reservations'', said the president of the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies.

Vaccination is holding us back

Along with COVID, the rattling of weapons on the border between Russia and Ukraine is not in favor of more frequent trips.

''At the moment, we do not know how the situation will unfold there by the summer or how and how much it can affect the arrivals. We, like everyone else, follow what is happening there'', Fain points out.

The interest of the population in vaccination in Croatia is miserable; those who wanted to get vaccinated did so a long time ago, and in the persuasion of those who do not want to do so, the announcement of the ECDC, which will include the parameters of vaccination of the population in the map of European countries, does not help.

''In terms of vaccination, we are the worst of all countries that are our strongest tourist competition. These are "landmines" that can reduce the possibility of a record summer season because even if we do not have a lot of infected people, data on poor vaccination can significantly affect the arrival of guests. If we stay in the red because of that, we will close the door to some markets for ourselves. It is enough for Germany to mark us as undesirable, and here we are in trouble'', concluded Fain.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Croatia Logs 6,538 New Coronavirus Cases, 47 Deaths

ZAGREB, 15 Feb 2022 - Croatia reported 6,538 new coronavirus cases, out of 9,694 tests, and 47 related deaths on Tuesday.

There are 29,308 active cases, including 2,026 hospitalised patients, of whom 138 on ventilators, while 14,630 persons are self-isolating, the national COVID-19 crisis management team said.

To date Croatia has registered 1,021,777 coronavirus cases and 14,584 related deaths, and 56.73% of the total population has been vaccinated, or 67.49% of adults, of whom 65.23% fully.

Monday, 14 February 2022

Croatia Reports 1,061 New Coronavirus Cases, 64 Deaths

14 February, 2022 - Croatia has registered 1,061 new coronavirus cases and 64 COVID-related deaths in the last 24 hours.

The number of active cases in the country currently stands at 31,000, and 2,097 of them are being treated in hospitals, including 146 who are on ventilators, while 16,642 persons are self-isolating, the national coronavirus response team said on Monday.

Since 25 February 2020, when the first infection with the new SARS-CoV-2 virus was confirmed in Croatia, 1,018,367 people have been registered as having contracted the virus, of whom 14,537 have died and 972,830 have recovered, including 6,477 in the last 24 hours.

So far, 4,409,465 people have been tested for the virus, including 2.081 in the last 24 hours.

By 13 February, 5,159,918 COVID vaccine doses had been administered, with 56.72 per cent of the total population, or 67.48 per cent of adults, having been vaccinated. A total of 2,301,799 persons have received at least one dose and 2,219,165 of them have been fully vaccinated, which is 65.21 per cent of the adult population.

Sunday, 13 February 2022

Infectious Disease Specialist Goran Tesovic: Covid Passes No Longer Make Sense

February the 13th, 2022 - Goran Tesovic, an infectious disease specialist at the Dr. Fran Mihaljevic Clinic for Infectious Diseases in Zagreb told N1 that he doubted that any new vaccination strategy would help those who have already made their choices, for whatever reason.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Dr. Goran Tesovic said that he doesn't know what the strategy will be. He says he has now been claiming for a long time that whoever wanted to be vaccinated, has already been vaccinated, and that there are a lot of anti-vaxxers around.

“How much we medical professionals, or some of us, have contributed to that is hard to say, but we probably have. The media has played a role, and the basis of everything is that people's decisions about vaccination have shown that at least 30 percent of people are either anti-vaxxers or are suspicious about coronavirus vaccines. With a well-developed strategy, proper promotional measures, and consistent behaviour by healthcare authorities, perhaps someone who is hesitant would be persuaded to get vaccinated. You won't succeed with those who have a clearly defined attitude, no strategy can help an anti-vaxxer. 30 percent of people in this country have this anti-vaxx attitude even when it comes to mandatory vaccines in Croatia, and the coronavirus vaccine isn't mandatory, so it's only logical that this percentage will increase,'' he said.

Asked what could have been done in the beginning of the vaccine rollout, or what we missed, he said: "I'm not saying that much more could have been done because it is clear that there was a strong anti-vaxx mood from the very beginning, look at Bulgaria, Romania and other Eastern European countries. I think that this is, for the most part, a reflection of the overall situation in society and the lack of trust in the authorities. Whatever strategy may turn out to be wrong in the end, I'm afraid that there's no right advice,'' said Goran Tesovic.

He also spoke about compulsory vaccination in Croatia: “I think making vaccination mandatory wouldn't significantly solve this problem. Perhaps one could try to be more active towards older groups and emphasise how devastating this disease can be for these people more. Unfortunately, some of these people were initially afraid of the vaccine's side effects, which are exaggerated, and no one told them that if they get covid with their comorbidities, they're more likely to develop a severe clinical picture. I don’t think the introduction of compulsory vaccination would change much, it might encourage further incitement of the anti-vaxx atmosphere too. If introduced, it couldn't be for the entire population, and then the question arises as to whether it's mandatory vaccination at all in such a case. I'd stick to what's recommended and insisting that the elderly and those with comorbidities be vaccinated.''

Finally, he commented on the emergence of the Omicron variant: “I'm not in favour of removing the rule about masks, at least until we see what will happen when Omicron subsides completely. Covid certificates probably no longer make any sense given the variant that has unfolded in this way. This isn't a virus that will naturally provide immunity to us. The fact that most people get over Omicron without many issues doesn't mean that they're immune and can't be reinfected with another new variant,'' Goran Tesovic concluded.

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Saturday, 12 February 2022

Croatia Logs 5,212 New COVID-19 Cases, 51 Fatalities

ZAGREB, 12 Feb 2022 - In the last 24 hours 5,212 coronavirus cases, out of 11,947 tests, and 51 related deaths have been registered in Croatia, the national COVID-19 crisis management team said on Saturday.

There are 41,261 active cases, including 2,092 hospitalised patients, of whom 168 are hooked up to ventilators, while 21,275 persons are self-isolating.

To date 56.71% of the total population, or 67.47% of adults have been vaccinated, with 65.18% of adults fully.

Since 25 February 2020, when the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Croatia, 1,015,185 people have contracted the disease, of whom 14,424 have died.

Saturday, 12 February 2022

Capak Presents New Croatian Vaccination Strategy: House to House

February the 12th, 2022 - There is a new Croatian vaccination strategy on the cards according to Croatian Public Health Institute director Krunoslav Capak - going from door to door.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Health Minister Vili Beros stated that they had first looked at the number of newly infected people, however, that number is no longer so important, especially with the arrival of the Omicron variant. Then they looked at the number of hospitalised people. Given the impact of Omicron, which doesn't cause so many initial respiratory problems, but can still put the elderly who are unvaccinated and who have comorbidities in hospital, the most important thing for him personally is how many people are in intensive care. He said that the infection rate is no longer really as important as the number of people in hospital beds.

''As of January the 10th, when Croatia started using the new methodology of counting deaths, we've had 1,529 of our fellow citizens who have died, for 1,107 of those people, we can say that they did die from covid, and for 422 others, we can say that they died with covid,'' the minister said.

''We've had several important meetings at the Ministry of Health, first about the waiting list for oncology patients, everything that this pandemic has brought us, and especially what will happen when it ends. Then all the problems, and especially the epidemic of oncological problems and mental health issues that will follow, we must prepare for that. Another important meeting was to look at the current situation with the epidemic in the context of vaccination,'' Beros said.

A new Croatian vaccination strategy

He added that the CNIPH had expressed its views, which were supported by others. Then the head of the CNIPH explained what those views regarding vaccination were about.

“Since we've reached one plateau of vaccination, it is now very difficult to move towards larger numbers and coverage. The last time we had a wave was in November where people were more interested in getting their first doses, but now we've come to a situation where the numbers are very small for the first doses (primary vaccination) and booster doses and we're now talking about what we could do to improve this shift towards greater vaccination coverage of the population,'' said Capak, H1 reports.

They identified certain weak points and made suggestions for resolving them with a new Croatian vaccination strategy.

"What is very important to say is that we've changed our plans in parallel with how we implemented vaccination so far and there is nothing here that we didn't already mention in that plan, but we're now basing it on some weak points of our implementation that we would like to improve," explained Capak.

When people claim they don't want to be vaccinated, those who aren't simple anti-vaxxers say things like that they have fears about an 'insufficiently tested vaccine' and secondly, the fear of the side effects. That’s why we’ve opened counseling centres, where people can consult a doctor about their fears,'' Capak said.

In addition to that, the availability of vaccines has been being worked on, so Capak explained that there are now mobile teams that would go around the houses and vaccinate people who could not go to the vaccination point to receive their dose for whatever reason. "We've done a lot when it comes to the availability of vaccines, but now we have decided to strengthen our mobile teams, so that anyone who cannot come for vaccination for any reason, can just get vaccinated at home," he said.

"We'll also stimulate drive-in vaccination, we will strengthen that part and make sure people know they don't even have to get out of their cars," said Capak.

"For those chronically ill patients who come to hospitals, we'll ask hospitals to ask them if they have been vaccinated and to vaccinate them in hospitals where there are facilities to ensure that," added the head of the CNIPH when discussing this new Croatian vaccination strategy.

“We also have the experience that where settlements are scattered, in more rural areas, vaccination coverage is lower. We'll talk to our colleagues in the field to enable either a bus or a van, these mobile teams to get to a local post office or school, so that all those who cannot get to the county centres can get vaccinated there,'' said Capak.

When asked what numbers people think they can come up with with a new Croatian vaccination strategy, Capak said he wouldn't like to try to predict. "We'll certainly not achieve the 90 percent figure that Norway and other developed countries have, but we hope to succeed with between 70 and 80 percent," Capak said.

Responding to the comments of many experts, who believe that the number of vaccinated people living in Croatia will not increase, Capak said that they at the CNIPH do not share this view and that is why they are adopting this new Croatian vaccination strategy.

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, 11 February 2022

Student Self-Testing Video Published by Croatian Public Health Institute

February 11, 2022 - The Croatian Public Health Institute has released a student self-testing video with instructions on the simple 4-step process. 

The Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ) released a video with instructions for student self-testing, which is carried out in four main steps, reports 24 Sata.

The goal of student self-testing is to increase the probability of holding classes in person, on the school premises, for as long as possible by abolishing self-isolation measures (quarantine).

"An additional goal is to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19 in school and the family. The regular self-testing measure is voluntary. However, for its successful and effective implementation, it is important that as many students as possible participate in regular self-testing," says the Croatian Public Health Institute.


Self-testing is conducted in four main steps:

1. Read the instructions for use and wash your hands.

2. Take a test sample.

3. Conduct testing.

4. Find out the result in 15-20 minutes.

What if the result is positive, and what if it is negative?

- negative result - the student goes to school,

- positive result - the student stays at home, reports to the doctor and the school.

Recall, on February 9, the Ministry of Science and Education sent instructions to principals regarding student self-testing in Croatia. 

Index.hr reported that the Civil Protection Headquarters would deliver rapid antigen tests to schools, after which the schools distribute the tests to parents or guardians or students. Testing is conducted once a week by a parent, guardian, or student. If the test result is positive, information about the positive test is reported to the educational institution's selected family doctor or pediatrician.

All students with a negative result continue to attend classes regularly, and if they test positive, they do not come to school. Testing is repeated for the entire class in which positive test results are determined the first day after a student receives a positive Covid test.

Minister of Science and Education Radovan Fuchs commented on student self-testing in an interview with HRT, confirming that the distribution of tests had begun.

Fuchs called the process of rapid antigen testing "a de facto process of abolishing self-isolation for students so that all those who are not ill are in school." However, he also said that this was not a step towards mandatory testing or vaccination.

Fuchs said the first part of the tests, about 300,000, went to Dalmatia on February 8.

"Of course, we are going to the islands as a priority, as it is a bit more challenging to distribute there, and that's why we went to the Dalmatian regions first.

The rest, up to a million, were expected to arrive at civil protection warehouses on February 9, and the moment these tests were received, they immediately moved on to schools. So I think by the end of the week or early next week, all schools will have tests available," Fuchs said a few days ago.

“We have said that this student testing is voluntary and that parents will declare in one piece of paper whether or not they will conduct testing of their child,” he said.

"All those who refuse, nothing will happen to them, nor the children, of course, except that the moment a positive student appears in the class, or possibly someone from that child's environment becomes ill, that child will have to go into isolation," Fuchs said.

He also said that these tests are very similar to those that can be bought in pharmacies and that, unlike PCR, it is not inserted deep into the nose with a test cotton swab or stick. Still, a swab is taken from the front of the nasal cavity, and it is a straightforward procedure.

Fuchs also said that parents who will not test their children and say that they were negative would not be traced because they do not intend to apply any repressive measures.

“I hope the parents are responsible enough and won’t cheat because this is done so that the education system would virtually abolish self-isolation using a self-testing system,” he said. 

Fuchs also said that if the number of positive results dropped significantly, in February, they would switch to the testing variant only in those classes when it is ordered. After that, it would be ordered when a positive case occurs.

"And after that, we would go for the complete abolition of both testing and self-isolation if the data from the field justify it," Fuchs said. He also said that they did not consider testing children in kindergartens.

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, 11 February 2022

Croatia Reports 7,578 New Coronavirus Cases, 44 Deaths

ZAGREB, 11 Feb 2022 - In the last 24 hours 7,578 coronavirus cases, out of 11,976 tests, and 44 related deaths have been registered in Croatia, the national COVID-19 crisis management team said on Friday.

There are 43,520 active cases, including 2,133 hospitalized patients, of whom 171 are hooked up to ventilators, while 22,155 persons are self-isolating.

To date, 56.7% of the total population, or 67.46% of adults have been vaccinated, with 65.15% of adults fully.

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, 10 February 2022

Minister Says New Infections Down, but Restrictions to Remain

ZAGREB, 10 Feb 2022 - Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Thursday new coronavirus cases were on a downward curve but that due to the low vaccination rate, easing protocols and changing the role of COVID certificates was not under consideration yet.

We must be aware of the fact that there is still a large number of unvaccinated citizens who can become seriously ill, which is why Croatia cannot follow the examples of Denmark, Sweden or Great Britain, where sufficient vaccination rates allow for easing the restrictions, he said at a cabinet session.

Sharpest fall in new infections in the fifth wave

Beroš said that today Croatia had nearly 32% fewer daily new cases week on week and that this was the sharpest fall in the fifth wave of the epidemic.

In the last 24 hours, 45.81% of PCR tests and 10.69% of rapid antigen tests have come back positive.

The highest numbers of new cases have been recorded in Bjelovar-Bilogora, Šibenik-Knin and Zadar counties.

There are 57 fewer hospitalised COVID patients than yesterday and 13 fewer on ventilators.

There has been a mild fall in hospitalisations in the past few days, including fewer patients in intensive care units and on ventilators, the minister said.

To date 2,215,898 persons have been vaccinated, including 829,638 with a booster shot or 21.33% of the population.

COVID certificates continue to reduce the risk of infection spreading in hospitals, care homes and some work environments, Beroš said.

Despite sufficient vaccines and vaccination points, interest in vaccination is increasingly low, although Croatian Institute of Public Health data show that those who received a booster shot and later have been infected accounted for a mere 0.4% of  the total population.

Beroš said the ministry continued to monitor the provision of all emergency medical services and that special protocols existed for oncology patients to schedule checkups.

He said the expected rise in the number of oncology patients would not bypass Croatia and that the necessary steps were being taken to deal with the problem.

"The availability of health services for vulnerable groups is our priority. Priority waiting lists are being adjusted to additionally expand the possibility of urgent diagnostics for oncology patients," he added.

Coexisting with a virus which could stay long in the community

The head of the national COVID-19 crisis management team, Interior Minister Davor Božinović, said one could say that infection with the Omicron variant, which caused a surge in new cases and threatened to overload the health system, was decreasing.

"If such trends continue, while specially following the situation in the health system, the crisis management team will closely analyse a possible pace of easing the restrictions and creating the prerequisites for coexisting with a virus which could stay long in the community."

It will be very important to work on the education of citizens and define recommendations for the effective protection of every individual, with emphasis on greater caution for at-risk groups, Božinović added.

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, 10 February 2022

Croatia Records 8,971 New Coronavirus Cases, 48 Deaths

ZAGREB, 10 Feb 2022 - Croatia has recorded 8,971 new coronavirus cases and 48 COVID-related deaths in the last 24 hours, the authorities reported on Thursday.

The national coronavirus response team said on Thursday that currently there are 46,346 active cases in the country, among whom are 2,131 people being treated in hospitals, including 173 placed on ventilators, while 21,865 people are self-isolating.

Since the start of the pandemic in Croatia, 1,004, 804 people have been registered as having contracted the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, of whom 14,329 have died and 944,129 have recovered, including 7,477 in the last 24 hours. 

To date, 4,375,754 people have been tested and 5,147,524 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered. 56.68 per cent of the total population, or 67.44 per cent of adults, have been vaccinated. A total of 2,300,234 people have received at least one dose and 2,215,898 have been fully vaccinated, which is 65.12 per cent of the adult population.


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