Thursday, 17 March 2022

Prime Minister Says More People Allowed at Events, Children no Longer Need to Self-test

ZAGREB, 17 March 2022 - The COVID situation allows for further relaxing restrictions, so more people will be allowed at public events and hospitality establishments to stay open longer, while the self-testing of children in schools is being revoked, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday.

There will no longer be restrictions on the number of people allowed at events for which COVID certificates are required. Bars and restaurants can stay open until 2 am. Also, pre-school children will not have to self-isolate.

Restrictions will also be relaxed for sporting competitions, cultural events, fairs and other economic and tourism events taking place indoors, as well as religious services.

Speaking at cabinet session, Plenković said the consequences of infection with the Omicron variant were much milder than before, "but we must stay on high alert, the virus is still here and has the gravest consequences on some citizens."

He added that 70.6% of adults have been vaccinated with at least one dose.

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.

Monday, 28 February 2022

Božinović: Restrictions on Public Gatherings to Be Relaxed

28 February 2022 - Deputy Prime Minister Davor Božinović said on Monday that the national COVID-19 response team had adopted six new decisions relaxing restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings and abolishing mandatory testing and presentation of COVID certificates when entering public administration offices.

The measures relating to public transport, stores, wearing masks and crossing the border will remain in force until 31 March, Božinović told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

The measure restricting gatherings has been relaxed and as of 1 March, up to 100 people will be able to gather outdoors instead of the current 50, while the number of people allowed to gather indoors will be limited to 50 instead of 25 as is now the case.

Restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings have also been amended regarding the requirement to present a COVID certificate. As of Tuesday, it will no longer be necessary to obtain permission from the local COVID response team to organise such gatherings, said Božinović.

There will also no longer be any restrictions on the number of spectators at outdoor sports events and indoor events can have up to 50% occupancy instead of the current 20%.

As of Tuesday it will no longer be necessary to present COVID certificates or proof of testing or recovery from COVID to enter public administration buildings given the level of immunity in the population and the relatively brief period clients spent in those premises, Božinović said.

He added that COVID certificates were still required in welfare and health institutions, whereas they will no longer be required to enter post offices.

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.

Friday, 8 October 2021

Associations Call for Lifting Restrictions on Work of Night Clubs, Bars

ZAGREB, 8 Oct 2021 - The Voice of Entrepreneurs association and an association of owners of night clubs and bars have called for lifting restrictions on the work of such establishments, which is now limited to midnight, noting that many operate illegally despite the restrictions on working hours.

The two associations warn that the national COVID-19 response team "has been insisting, without real and science-based arguments, on the decision to restrict the work of night clubs and bars until midnight" while some coffee shops and restaurants are turning into night clubs despite epidemiological restrictions and operate illegally.

"We have been witnessing media reports about illegal parties in Zagreb while many indoor clubs and bars remain closed. The ban on the work of night clubs and bars is the reason why thousands of young people travel to neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia as there are no such restrictions there, prices and VAT are lower, and there is no tax on consumption. There are no restrictions on the work of night clubs and their visitors do not have to show COVID-19 certificates or get tested," the two associations say.

They call on the national COVID-19 response team to lift the current restrictions on night clubs as they encourage illegal work while young people are still not getting vaccinated at a desired rate.

For more on business, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 12 September 2021

Teachers Appeal for Protection Against Opponents of COVID Restrictions in Schools

ZAGREB, 12 Sept, 2021 - Two Croatian Facebook teacher groups have asked Science and Education Minister Radovan Fuchs to protect school staff from opponents to coronavirus restrictions in schools and to punish the anti-maskers who invaded the primary school in the northwestern spa town of Krapinske Toplice.

"We demand a strong reaction and all the necessary steps so that things like this would not happen again," the Facebook teacher groups Školska Zbornica (Staffroom) and 45 Minutes said in an open letter to the minister on Sunday.

They said that schools must be safe places for all students and staff, and that Minister Fuchs is responsible for ensuring safety for teachers in schools, especially during the implementation of the required epidemiological measures.

The two groups bring together abut 20,000 teachers and other educational staff. 

About 20 people held a protest outside Krapinske Toplice Primary School on Friday because an eight-year-old pupil, who refuses to wear a face mask, had been banned from entering the school. The protest was organised by the boy's father, who says a mask makes it difficult for his son to breathe and that the school does not allow him to use common areas without it. In that way, he said, his son is being denied the right to an education.

For daily news on Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 23 July 2021

Croatia to Toughen COVID Restrictions Along Adriatic Coast as of Monday

ZAGREB, 23 July 2021 - Croatia is introducing tougher COVID-19 restrictions in five coastal counties as of Monday, the head of the national coronavirus response team, Interior Minister Davor Božinović, announced at a press conference on Friday. 

Any gatherings in one place of more than 50 people without a COVID vaccination certificate will be banned, while the maximum number of people with COVID certificates in one place will be 1,000, Božinović said.

"The entire Croatian Adriatic is currently dancing between the orange and red zones on the EDCD map. These measures are aimed at preventing the introduction of restrictions for travellers returning from Croatia, and this is also their wish," he said, adding that the new measures would be in place until 15 August.

Special restrictions have been introduced for wedding celebrations. If they involve up to 15 persons, they do not need to have a COVID certificate, while for those with more than 15 persons all participants will be required to have such certificates.

Fairs and other outdoor business events can be held only with the approval of local and regional coronavirus response teams. Organisers are required to seek permission for such events no later than seven days before the gathering or event takes place.

The national coronavirus response team has also changed the criteria for entering Croatia, extending the validity of COVID vaccination and recovery certificates. Under the new rules, people can enter the country if their certificates showing that they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the disease are not older than 270 days. Previously, such certificates should not have been older than 210 days.

Travellers from Category 1 countries must have a negative PCR test not older than 48 hours and must self-isolate on entering the country, while visitors from Category 2 countries must show a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours or a negative antigen test not older than 48 hours, regardless of the vaccination or recovery status. The Category 2 countries include the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation and Cyprus.

Learn more about travelling to Croatia during the COVID-19 pandemic on our TC page.

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Istria County Head Welcomes Tighter COVID Restrictions

ZAGREB, 22 July 2021 - Istria County prefect Boris Miletić on Thursday welcomed tighter COVID restrictions along the coastline because of the spread of the Delta variant, saying it was in everyone's interest to keep the tourist numbers recorded to date as long as possible.

Speaking to the press in Pula, he said arrivals and overnights in the first seven months of this year were at 60% of those in the corresponding period in 2019, a record year for tourism.

"2020 can't be a reference point of comparison as it would turn out that we were 200% better. In July alone, in the first 20 days, we recorded 90% of the arrivals and overnights recorded (at the same time) in 2019."

More tourists than the domestic population in Istria

Miletić said 236,000 tourists were currently staying in Istria, which has a population of 209,000, adding that 38% were staying in private accommodation, 38% in campsites, and 24% in hotels.

"In any case, we have to be maximally responsible because tourists don't want big parties and big gatherings, but to spend their annual vacation normally," he said, adding that he hoped responsibility would be evident at all levels so that this tourist year could be much better than the last.

Miletić said big gatherings were not necessary, except for various festivals like the ongoing Pula Film Festival. He added that big outdoor gatherings were a problem because it was difficult to control that many people and impossible to ban someone from coming.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border, and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of vaccination points and testing centers across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Thursday, 22 July 2021

PM: Marked Rise in New COVID Cases, Restrictions to Be Introduced in Adriatic Region

ZAGREB, 22 July 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday that after a period of decrease and stagnation, the past week saw a marked increase in the number of new cases of the coronavirus infection, and he called for caution, adding that additional restrictions are being introduced in the Adriatic region.

The largest number of cases were registered in four Dalmatian counties which are all tourist destinations, so the national COVID-19 crisis management team will introduce additional epidemiological measures in that area to limit the possibility of the infection spreading, to control events with a greater number of participants, to avoid risks and to make tourist season possible, Plenković announced at his cabinet's session.

He added that the government took into account the health aspect, but also the tourist, economic, financial, and social aspects.

As for vaccination, he said that as of yesterday Croatia passed the number of 1.6 million people vaccinated with the first dose against coronavirus.

"That's very good, we're getting closer to the number of 48% of the vaccinated adult population. I still call on everyone, especially those in two minds or in fear, to get informed, to have confidence in the profession, medicine, all those who want to protect as many citizens as possible, and to decide to get vaccinated themselves," the prime minister said.

94% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients not vaccinated against this infection

He said that there was "an abundance" of vaccines and recalled last week's decision to enable all Croatian citizens without mandatory health insurance and Croatia from all over the world, as well as all other foreign nationals, to get vaccinated, so, for instance, someone from Mostar going on holiday to Makarska can get vaccinated for free there.

"I would like us to contribute to the protection against COVID beyond our borders also in that way because this is a global game, and with our action, we want to make that contribution," Plenković said, inviting people to use this opportunity.

He also underlined that 94% of hospitalized COVID patients had not been fully inoculated against that infection.

Ministers: Numbers growing, a new package of measures to be introduced

Health Minister Vili Beroš said at the government session that the number of COVID cases was unfortunately rising and that the epidemiological situation in some counties called for caution, while Interior Minister Davor Božinović announced the introduction of a new set of measures.

In the two-week period from 5 to 18 July, Zadar, Split-Dalmatia, Primorje-Gorski Kotar counties and the City of Zagreb registered the largest number of new cases, Beroš said.

"The numbers are unfortunately still growing, the increase in positive cases over the past seven days is 46.1%, the situation in some counties calls for caution, so it requires increased monitoring and caution," said Beroš, warning of the easy spread of the new variant of the virus and of several smaller hotspots.

He said the situation in hospitals was generally favorable, with the exception of some hospitals in Dalmatia, which are recording a slight increase in the number of hospitalized patients. There are currently 122 patients in hospitals, 13 of whom are on ventilators, he said, reiterating that 94% of hospitalized patients have not been vaccinated against COVID-19.

A total of 2.9 million doses have been administered, and the minister announced pharmacies would join the vaccination process and issue COVID certificates.

On the 514th day since the outbreak of coronavirus in Croatia, 179 new cases have been registered, the percentage of positive tests over the past 24 hours is 4.56%, and Croatia's 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 inhabitants is 35.9, the health minister said.

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