Thursday, 11 November 2021

Delta Plus Variant, 10% More Infectious Than Delta, Detected at Three Locations

ZAGREB, 11 Nov, 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš warned on Thursday that the Delta plus variant of coronavirus was 10% more infectious than the Delta variant and that it had appeared in three locations in Croatia as record high numbers of COVID deaths are being reported, urging citizens to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Delta Plus appeared last week in Croatia and so far it has been reported in Čakovec, Split and Zagreb, Beroš said at a government session, noting that this was an additional reason to get vaccinated.

It is of critical importance for citizens to get the booster dose as soon as possible so they can get maximum protection against the existing and new variants of the novel virus, he said, adding that the third dose was particularly important in areas with a large number of new infections.

Large number of new cases, vaccination records

Beroš went on to say that Croatia was registering needlessly high numbers of new infections, hospitalisations and fatalities, as well as vaccination records. On Wednesday alone, more than 27,000 vaccine doses were administered, including 16,000 that were administered as first shots. In the past 24 hours, the number of new cases among those tested was 42.48%.

So far, 58.67% of the adult population has been vaccinated, Beroš said, adding that 61,356 people had received the booster dose.

Mobile teams have vaccinated 49% of elderly persons whom they had contacted, an increase of 25% from the week before, he said.

COVID certificates not individual rights but protection of life, health

"COVID certificates, testing, compliance with epidemiological measures and vaccination are not about individual rights and freedoms but about a common response to the need to protect the lives and health of citizens in the new circumstances," the minister said, noting that between 1 June and 4 November  2,635,968 COVID-19 certificates had been issued.

Even though hospitals have been restricting non-essential procedures, Beroš said that so far "the provision of healthcare to all emergency and priority patients has been unobstructed at all stages of the epidemic."

The ministry has therefore asked the Health Insurance Institute to analyse the capacity and need for diagnostic procedures and treatment for cancer patients as well as the possibility and need for additional procedures to be carried out by private providers of medical services.

"This is a precautionary measure aimed at securing the highest possible availability of medical care for all non-COVID patients with serious illnesses," he said.

Team to make decision on mandatory COVID-19 certificates on Friday 

The head of the national coronavirus crisis management team, Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović, said that the team would tomorrow make new decisions on the obligation to get tested for coronavirus as a precondition for work and provision of services, the exemption being persons with EU digital certificates.

He recalled that due to the worsened epidemiological situation in the country on 5 November restrictions on gatherings and stricter anti-epidemic rules were introduced, to stay in force until 30 November.

For more on COVID-19, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 5 November 2021

COVID Certificates Only for Those Vaccinated and/or Recovered Announced

November 5, 2021 - Among the new measures announced due to the rise in positive cases in the country, Davor Božinović announced that COVID certificates will be introduced as of January 4, and if the situation does not improve, they will only be valid for those who have recovered and/or vaccinated.

The National Civil Protection Headquarters announced when a new record of 6,932 new cases was broken in Croatia, that the use of covid certificates will be expanded from November 15, which will be mandatory for users and employees of public and state services, and gatherings will be further restricted from tomorrow, reports Index.hr.

From tomorrow new measures for gatherings

"To prevent the spread of the infection, it is necessary to act in three directions: to achieve as much vaccination as possible, to limit gatherings and to achieve as much security as possible when conducting business that will not be limited," said National Staff Chief Davor Bozinovic at a press conference.

He announced that new epidemiological measures would be introduced as a result, gatherings would be restricted from tomorrow, and the use of covid certificates would be expanded from 15 November.

Thus, a certificate of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test from mid-November will be mandatory for all employees of state and public services, as well as for citizens who will use their services and come to their premises. 

If the numbers continue to grow, from November 15, confirmations for cafes, shopping centers ...

The Headquarters announced on Thursday that covid certificates will be used even more widely from mid-November if the number of newly infected continues to grow, and then they will be introduced in catering facilities, such as cafes, restaurants, gyms, recreational and fitness centers indoors. 

Bozinovic announced that testing will be possible only in registered institutions and that, for a start, the cost of testing will be borne by the employer at the request of employees. 

As of January 4, certificates only for those vaccinated and those who have survived COVID-19

He pointed out that, if the situation does not improve, they will introduce covid-certificates from January 4, which will be available only to those who have been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19, and those who have been tested will no longer receive them.

"That gap has been left because it is enough time for all those who have not been vaccinated to get vaccinated by the beginning of next year," Bozinovic said. 

Details of new measures

With a new decision coming into force tomorrow, Saturday, November 6, the headquarters further restricted gatherings indoors and outdoors.

From tomorrow, all public gatherings indoors with more than 50 people are prohibited, except for those attended by people who have a covid-certificate, but from now on it will be mandatory to wear masks and maintain distance. 

Events above 100 participants can only be organized at open-air public gatherings if all participants have an EU digital covid-certificate. Exceptionally, events over 100 people will be able to be held outdoors only with the approval of the CNIPH, which will develop an epidemiological framework. 

All gatherings are limited to 24 hours, with the exception of cinema screenings that begin at 11 pm and wedding ceremonies where everyone has a covid confirmation. The weddings must end no later than 2 o'clock after midnight, and they will consider additional time limits, announced Božinović. 

Congresses and conferences will be able to be held provided everyone has a Covid certificate, wears a mask, and keeps a distance.

Sports competitions will be able to be held in the presence of spectators indoors only if everyone has a Covid certificate and is required to use face masks. Sports participants will also have to have certificates, but they will not have to wear masks, Bozinovic said.

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.

Saturday, 18 September 2021

Aladrović: COVID Certificates Required in Health, Social Care as of 1 Oct

ZAGREB, 18 Sept, 2021 - COVID certificates will be required in the health and social care systems most probably as of 1 October, Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy Minister Josip Aladrović said on Friday.

We can see that neighbouring countries are using COVID certificates much more extensively than we. We have opted for introducing them in the health and social care systems, he told the public broadcaster HTV.

In social care, the certificates will be mandatory for those employed in both the private and public systems.

They will not be mandatory for those working with the youngest beneficiaries, but they will be in care homes, which are the most at-risk and where mortality is highest, Aladrović said. We assume that will occur as of 1 October, he added.

Asked about mandatory vaccination for certain employees on the model of other countries, for example Slovenia, which has imposed it for state administration employees, Aladrović said Croatia was not propagating that and that he hoped people would be responsible so that mandatory vaccination would not become mandatory.

However, COVID certificates are the mildest possible measure we can introduce to ensure a high degree of protection for health and social care beneficiaries, he said, adding that the certificates might be required in other sectors as well, depending on COVID developments and experts' advice.

Aladrović went on to say that he did not expect a new lockdown because of the availability of vaccines.

He said that if some businesses had to close again due to the epidemic, the government would support them as it had during the previous two lockdowns to save jobs.

Speaking of amendments to the Minimum Wage Act, he said the government wanted to provide employees with an additional socioeconomic protection mechanism.

Under the amendments, the wage must be contracted in the gross amount and collective agreements must be honoured, Aladrović said, adding that in the two terms of the incumbent government, the minimum wage was raised by 38%.

Given the trends on the market, with wages generally going up, we expect the minimum wage, which is now HRK 3,400, to go up significantly by 31 October, on which negotiations are under way with the social partners, the minister added.

For more on COVID-19, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 10 September 2021

COVID Certificates to Be Mandatory in Hospitals, Says Minister

ZAGREB, 10 Sept 2021 - All medical workers will soon have to have COVID certificates or be tested once a week, Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Friday, adding that as of Monday the public would be informed differently about the COVID situation in Croatia.

The epidemiological situation is such that we must introduce COVID certificates in the health system, he said at the weekly press briefing of the national COVID-19 crisis management team.

Patients and sick people will not have to have COVID certificates so that access to healthcare is not restricted.

"We wish to reduce the possibility of infection in a health institution. We must ensure healthcare for everyone, and only half the adult population have been vaccinated," Beroš said.

The COVID certificate requirement is being considered for other sectors too, notably social care, but the decision will be made by experts, he added.

Medical workers without a certificate will have to be tested once a week, at first free of charge and later at their expense.

Beroš said that as of next week reporting on the COVID situation in Croatia would focus on the percentage of vaccinated and unvaccinated hospitalised patients.

He said Croatia was "totally unnecessarily" on the red COVID list as of yesterday. "The way out is in increasing the number of those vaccinated."

He said that Denmark, for example thanks to its high vaccination rate, was lifting all restrictions today.

Croatian Institute of Public Health director Krunoslav Capak said infections had been rising considerably week on week since late August. He added that incidence was lowest in Istria County and highest in Split-Dalmatia County.

Capak also said that census takers would not have to have COVID certificates but would have to comply with COVID rules when the population census begins later this month.

For more news, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Third-Country Nationals Entering Croatia No Longer Need Special Reason, Latest on Covid Passports

June 30, 2021 - Croatian Government members held a Cabinet session on Wednesday, after which Interior Minister Davor Božinović stated to the media about third-country nationals entering Croatia and the latest on digital Covid certificates.

New rules for the citizens of Serbia and BiH as well

"Everyone who has these certificates will be able to come and enter the Republic of Croatia without any restrictions," Božinović revealed. "All those who do not have a certificate will have to present a negative test not older than 48 hours, a certificate showing they recovered from COVID-19, or that they have been vaccinated. The news is that people from third countries no longer need to present a special reason for coming to Croatia," Božinović said, as reported by Index.hr.

This means that from now on, citizens of Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina need to have one of three certificates to enter Croatia - one for vaccination, recovery, or a negative test.

Covid certificates as tickets to events

Božinović also spoke about the use of Covid certificates to enter events.

"As for the use of digital Covid certificates at the national level, their use will apply to clubs, concerts, events, and other manifestations that would gather more than 100 people," the minister said.

Covid certificates will also be issued at testing sites

"We have an additional novelty, and that is that all testing sites in Croatia, in addition to performing testing, will be able to issue digital Covid certificates. They will be published by HZZO and all its branches on the e-Citizens website. When you come to test, within those 15 minutes, you have to wait; you can get the Covid certificate. This will also be possible for foreign citizens. Anyone can obtain a digital Covid certificate," said Božinović.

Božinović says that local civil protection headquarters will control traditional gatherings.

“Whoever organizes these events should have an interest in maintaining the tradition, but, on the other hand, not allowing any of these manifestations to become the focus of the coronavirus,” he said.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and choose your preferred language.

Friday, 18 June 2021

Croatia to Relax Restrictions for People with EU Digital COVID Certificates

ZAGREB, 18 June 2021 - New epidemiologicial measures will enter into force in Croatia on 1 July, under which events involving people with digital EU certificates will not be subject to restrictions on the number of people gathered, the head of the national coronavirus crisis management team, Interior Minister Davor Božinović, announced at a press conference on Friday.

People who have been vaccinated, who have recovered or who have a negative test for COVID-19 will be allowed to participate in events without having to comply with special epidemiological measures or with the scope of restrictions reduced, Božinović said.

The new measures mostly concern gatherings of persons possessing EU digital COVID certificates. Events involving such people will not be subject to restrictions on the number of people attending or the duration of the event.

Božinović said that in other cases where people's COVID status will not be checked, the restriction of 100 persons per event and the duration of events until midnight remain in force.

Cafes with outdoor terraces will be allowed to serve only seated customers, to deter crowding and uncontrolled gatherings.

EU digital COVID certificates will not be required at events involving up to 30 persons, but participants will have to observe epidemiological measures. On the other hand, participants in events attended by more than 30 people, such as wedding parties, will have to have COVID certificates.

Božinović said that only people with EU digital COVID certificates would be allowed to attend sporting events.

Follow  the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

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

Friday, 21 May 2021

Lawmakers Divided Over COVID Certificates

ZAGREB, 21 May 2021 - After the European Parliament, Council of the EU chair Portugal and the European Commission approved the COVID-19 certificate, intended to help summer tourism in the EU, the Croatian Sabor on Friday expressed dissenting opinions, from support to warnings that this was a discriminatory decision.

Social Democratic Party MP Arsen Bauk told reporters that SDP's MEPs had supported embarking on an agreement with the European Council with regard to COVID-passports and that the party supports them in the Croatian parliament too if they will facilitate travel and getting back to normal.

"Naturally, we are aware of the dangers of them being a means of discrimination and we will observe that solution with caution, as we did with the (COVID-19) measures, but in principle, we support the idea," he said, adding that the reference to discrimination was in the sense that the certificate serves to diminish someone's rights.

We're aware of that danger and that is why we will take care that that does not happen. We consider that that is primarily a document that facilitates life for citizens and only possibly something that discriminates, Bauk underscored.

If there are contentious things, such as protection of personal information, they are less than the benefits that the certificate can bring for a normal life for citizens, he added.

Marija Selak Raspudić (Bridge) underscored that until there is an equal approach for all EU countries to all three conditions that are set as essential to be issued with the certificates, and considering that Croatia has a low inoculation rate, that decision is discriminatory as it does not put all EU member states in an equal position.

It is also contentious, she added, how long that decision will apply and how it will apply to people who have been vaccinated with vaccines that have not been approved by the EU, which means that some EU citizens will not have the same rights as other EU citizens.

Stjepo Bartulica (Homeland Movement) said that it is necessary to warn that the COVID certificates could pose a threat to fundamental freedoms and rights.

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

Search