Thursday, 27 January 2022

Croatian Children to Take Covid Tests Before School on Mondays

January the 27th, 2022 - All Croatian children currently in the education system will need to be tested for the presence of coronavirus before entering their school buildings on Mondays.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the testing of Croatian children before they head into their classrooms would be done with rapid antigen tests, on Mondays, when still at home, and this new move should begin in about ten days. This is to address the problem of a growing number of Croatian children being placed in self-isolation.

An increasing number of those infected are causing problems for the functioning of the country's schools as well. An increasing number of entire classes of children are ending up in isolation, and no one is satisfied with online teaching. Decisions about self-isolation are made literally from class to class, which is why some children have been in self-isolation more than once and weren't even unwell. As an alternative, it is suggested that Croatian children are tested for the presence of the novel coronavirus every week with rapid antigen tests so that they don't have to self-isolate.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic also spoke about this new measure for schools.

“Every bad thing also brings something good with it, and that good thing is that we can see the healthcare system is managing and working. Wanting to have as many children in the classrooms as possible, I think that such a solution, where they'd be tested, would be appropriate,'' said the Prime Minister.

They say the same in the competent Ministry, where they unofficially confirmed that the models and possibilities of applying testing are now being actively discussed. The goal is to abolish self-isolation completely, which is being worked on in other European countries such as Belgium and the United Kingdom. The way to get to that, they say, is with testing.

"It's in everyone's interest to return all Croatian children from self-isolation to school in their normal classrooms as soon as possible. That's the main goal,'' they explained from the Ministry, 24sata reports.

The testing of Croatian children could begin in about ten days, and only those students who are actually infected should be put into self-isolation, Nova TV has learned.

Schools now need to be equipped with tests, and around 30,000 students across the Republic of Croatia are currently in self-isolation. In the C model, there are 255 primary and secondary schools with complete online teaching, mostly located in Osijek-Baranja County.

“It would be done in such a way that these tests would be distributed to students and their parents. For example, on Mondays, before they go to school, their condition is checked quickly. All those who would be negative, would not automatically go into self-isolation, but would remain in the classroom as negative,'' explained Davor Bozinovic.

According to these new rules, vaccinated Croatian children won't have to go into self-isolation at all, nor will those who caught COVID-19 and recovered and were vaccinated in one dose, regardless of when they were vaccinated. More than 60,000 children are currently vaccinated in Croatia.

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.

Saturday, 15 January 2022

Why Are Waiting Times for Croatian Covid Tests So Long?

January the 15th, 2022 - Why is it taking so long for Croatian covid tests to be completed? With endless waits, backlogs, followed by another wait for the results, things are tight as people scramble to get negative test results.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, while in Rijeka people come for Croatian covid tests and get their results more or less within 24 hours, in the City of Zagreb, Split and other larger cities, even when a person has symptoms of coronavirus infection, they're often waiting for a week to get in line for testing. As such, many symptomatic people end up coming out of self-isolation before a positive PCR test result confirming their active infection even arrives.

The problem with Croatian covid tests has been going on for months now, and over the last few weeks, under pressure from a growing number of coronavirus patients and symptomatic sufferers, it has become rather unsustainable.

What's the reason for such a long wait to get your hands on Croatian covid tests?

As they say for Novi list from the Croatian National Institute of Public Health, the high vaccination rate could be the reason for the better overall situation in Rijeka, meaning there is less of a rush to get tested because a higher percentage of people already have valid covid certificates, so they don't need to be tested for the virus to such an extent.

"There is crowding for tests due to the large number of new patients and their contacts. Obviously, these new patients have a lot of close contacts, and there are a lot of people who haven't been vaccinated, so if they have to go to public institutions, they need a valid COVID certificate, which they can get based on a negative PCR or RAT result. Numerous travellers also come to get tested. Three weeks ago, Italy introduced new rules that a negative PCR test result is required to enter the country, and some ski resorts also require it,'' explained Dijana Mayer, an epidemiologist at the CNIPH.

Most of the people needing tests aren't vaccinated, so they simply have to come for testing if they want to go pretty much anywhere, and there are also new variants that affect people who have already been vaccinated, but for various reasons they still have to be tested.

Crowds of would-be and returning skiers

Among those waiting in lines for Croatian covid tests, she added, are people who live here in Croatia who have returned from a foreign ski resort, and due to respiratory symptoms, coughs and runny noses, they now have to be tested.

“I don’t expect this trend to last for very long, but the issues surrounding Croatian covid tests could last for another two to three weeks. With the introduction of rapid antigen tests in primary care, this could go faster than it is now,'' assured Mayer, explaining that there is a very good situation in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, where there aren't waits for days like there currently is in Zagreb, which has a high vaccination rate.

"Primorje-Gorski Kotar County is very well vaccinated. In Split-Dalmatia County, where not that many people have been vaccinated, the situation with covid testing is even worse, because the people of Split are sent for testing to Makarska, Sinj or Trogir. Such a situation directly correlates with vaccination,'' noted Mayer.

Primorje-Gorski Kotar County doesn't have a waiting list for testing, whether it is PCR tests or rapid antigen tests, which have recently earned the same status when issuing COVID certificates.

“We've organised ourselves for these special circumstances in which certain organisational adjustments need to be made. Our cooperation with GPs is very good and all of those who receive referrals, whether it's for a rapid antigen test or for PCR testing, receive the results either on the same day or on the next day. Such an approach is our main task and we'll continue to work like this, and if necessary, we'll once again extend our working hours to 18:00, as we did last week at our test point in Mlaka, but now, due to less interest, we've returned to working until 13:00. We also occasionally notice fatigue in people who work doing these jobs, and we're part of a system that has a high exposure to infection, but we're continuing to work on the prevention of COVID-19,'' explained Prof. Dr. Vladimir Micovic in conversation with Novi list.

According to him, one of the key goals of timely coronavirus testing is to put patients into self-isolation and start treatment in time for when any symptoms of the disease appear, and thus ultimately reduce the pressure on the hospital system. The waiting lists for Croatian covid tests, while the most contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus is spreading like wildfire across most of the world at the moment, are actually completely absurd.

In Pimorje-Gorski Kotar County, except at the main test point in Rijeka's Mlaka, people can be tested in all branches of the institute, and when it comes to rapid antigen testing, many private institutions, such as pharmacies and private health institutions, introduced this option back in autumn 2021.

"Rapid antigen tests have their value in proving the presence of the disease, but PCR testing is the gold standard, the final confirmation of the presence of the disease and, after all, the condition that European Union countries require for an EU COVID certificate to be valid," concluded Micovic.

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, 15 November 2021

Aladrović: There Is No Rational Reason to Reject Testing

ZAGREB, 15 Nov 2021 - Minister of Labour and Pension System Josip Aladrović on Monday said that there is no rational reason to reject being tested for coronavirus, underscoring that employers would decide on the fate of those who refused to be tested.

"We can try and have understanding, for a certain period of time, for people who do not wish to get vaccinated. However, there is no rational reason to reject testing and I think that we all need to show responsibility here," Aladrović told reporters.

Speaking ahead of the introduction of COVID certificates in all state and public service facilities on Tuesday, Aladrović underscored that the healthcare and welfare sectors, where COVID certificates were introduced in October, had demonstrated a high level of responsibility, adding that he did not believe other systems could encounter any major problems for introducing the certificates either.

Asked what will happen to employees who refuse to be tested, Aladrović underscored that their employers would be the ones to decide.

"The related lay-offs so far have been at the level of statistical errors. I expect a vast majority of employees will be responsible, however, employers will be the ones to decide in cases of non-compliance," he said and added that this was in line with the law.

Commenting on ongoing protests against COVID certificates, he said that they were exclusively politically motivated. "It is really difficult to find any rational reason for the protests," the minister said, adding that he expected them to wane at one point.

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