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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Wednesday, 8 December 2021

First Croatian Teacher Fired for Refusing to Test or Get Vaccinated

December the 7th, 2021 - The first Croatian teacher has lost their job at a school following their refusal to regularly test for the presence of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, or be vaccinated against it. The recently introduced rules on the presentation of valid covid certificates to enter such a place of work has seen to it that their employment contract has been terminated.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, as the Bjelovar school principal Dario Malogorski confirmed to Jutarnji list, an agreement to terminate the employment contract of one Croatian teacher was signed with the employee in question on Monday. This was preceded by two warnings before their dismissal.

The individual in question is a younger Croatian teacher who became officially employed at the school on September the 1st this year. He told the school principal that he did not agree with the epidemiological measures against the spread of the novel coronavirus and that he did not agree to present any sort of covid certificates out of his own principles. Principal Malogorski points out that the Croatian teacher, not wanting to give the school any further problems, agreed to sign an amicable dismissal.

"The reason for the termination of this teacher's contract is their disagreement with the measures. I have to say that my colleague didn't make a scene, they didn't threaten anyone or anything, he simply didn't agree with the recently introduced measure about covid certificates and since its introduction he has never come to work,'' says Malogorski. During this time, classes for what would have been his students were organised through substite teachers, a job taken on by his colleagues.

Prior to the termination of the contract, the principal sent a warning to this Croatian teacher from Bjelovar on two occasions by mail before organising for their dismissal, but no return receipt arrived at the school, which means that the person didn't even bother to pick up their mail. Logically, given that a covid certificate is required to even enter the post office. The school principal therefore sent a few warnings via e-mail. He didn't receive a statement from this member of staff on those previously issued warnings either.

"We spoke on Thursday and Friday, and the teacher agreed to the agreed upon dismissal, which means that we have no claims against each other. In this situation, this is the best solution. I can't go into his principles, but I emphasise, my colleague behaved totally fairly, except that they didn't come to class to teach their students, so we had to organise replacements,'' concluded the school's principal.

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Saturday, 4 December 2021

MOST Party Starts Gathering Signatures for Referendum Against COVID Passes

ZAGREB, 4 Dec, 2021 - The parliamentary opposition party Bridge started gathering signatures at over 1,200 venues across Croatia on Saturday for a referendum to regulate the work of the national COVID-19 crisis management team and abolish COVID certificates.

"We have started gathering signatures for this crucial referendum to strip the national COVID-19 team of its powers, restore democracy and abolish unlawful COVID certificates," the party's MP Marija Selak Raspudić told a press conference in front of a signature collection point in Zagreb's main square.

Signatures will be collected at stands in public places until 18 December. The referendum would demand that COVID certificates, which are now mandatory for entry into state and public institutions, be abolished within 30 days and that the powers of the COVID-19 crisis management team be transferred to Parliament.

MP Nino Raspudić said that the referendum questions contained what the opposition had been demanding all along - to return decision making to Parliament. He called on the other opposition parties, both left-wing and right-wing, and all people, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, to join them "on the last line of defence of democracy and the constitutional order."

The questions were formulated in cooperation with constitutional law experts.

Asked what the alternative to COVID certificates was, Selak Raspudić said that it was the testing of vulnerable groups in all health institutions and compliance with the epidemiological measures.

There is enough money for testing, because vaccines are being purchased in excessive quantities and are later donated anyway. That money could partly be used for buying tests, she added.

"We are not against measures. We are in favour of measures that will be consistent, epidemiologically founded and non-discriminating," Selak Raspudić stressed.

The press wanted to know if the Bridge MPs regretted their support for the recent protest rally against COVID certificates after the police announced they were investigating several persons on suspicion of inciting terrorism and some of those people were connected with the protest.

"We supported the people who came out to express their dissatisfaction, and not terrorism. We are the last persons who would advocate violence or any kind of terrorism, because we are fighting for the citizens' rights and freedoms in a democratic and legal way," MP Nikola Grmoja said.

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Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Fines for COVID Certificate Rule Violations to Range Between €4,000-6,700

ZAGREB, 23 Nov 2021 - Justice and Public Administration Minister Ivan Malenica said on Tuesday that fines for those flouting the mandate to show their COVID-19 certificates in public law bodies would range between 30,000 and 50,000 kuna ( €4,000-6,700).  

We have envisaged pecuniary penalties for the responsible persons who fail to respect the relevant law. Fines are between HRK 30,000 and HRK 50,000, and we believe that they will prompt those institutions' heads and persons in charge to respect the decisions made by the national COVID-19 crisis management team, said the minister.

The draft amendments to the relevant legislation will be on the agenda of the government's meeting on Wednesday.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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Sunday, 3 October 2021

Božinović: Everything Is Ready for Mandatory COVID Certificates in Hospitals

ZAGREB, 3 Oct, 2021 - Interior Minister Davor Božinović announced on Sunday that everything was ready for the introduction of mandatory EU digital COVID certificates in the healthcare and welfare systems.

"Everything is ready. ... I am confident that the people working in the healthcare and welfare systems will do their best and that the interests of patients are their priority. I think they will continue to observe the professional and ethical principles as they have so far," Božinović told RTL television during a visit to Velika Gorica, just south of Zagreb.

Commenting on the request by the nurses' union for assessment of the constitutionality of this decision, Božinović said that the purpose of decisions like this was to protect the health of the most vulnerable people, adding that the decisions by the national COVID-19 response team were in line with the constitution and law.

"Mandatory testing of staff before coming to work was in place before. Drawing a parallel between COVID certificates and mandatory vaccination is completely wrong and untrue," Božinović said, adding that the Constitutional Court had confirmed the constitutionality and legality of decisions made by the national coronavirus response team before and "that is what is going to be this time as well."

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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.

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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.

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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

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.

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