Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Croatia Registers 4,334 New COVID Cases, 36 Deaths

ZAGREB, 22 Feb 2022 - Croatia reported 4,334 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, while another 36 people have died as a consequence of the disease, the national COVID-19 crisis management team said.

Currently, there are 19,536 active cases in the country, including 1,610 hospitalised patients, 113 of whom are on ventilators, while 12,357 people are self-isolating.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Croatia, a total of 1,043,334 people have become infected, of whom 14,905 have died, while 1,008,893 have recovered.

As of 20 February, a total of 5,182,858 doses of a vaccine have been administered and 56.8% of the total population or 67.57% of the adult population has been vaccinated. 

A total of 2,304,984 people have received at least one dose of a vaccine while 2,225,899 people have been fully vaccinated, which is 65.39% of the adult population.

Monday, 21 February 2022

Croatia Registers 1,107 New COVID Cases, 54 Deaths

21 February, 2022 - Croatia reported 1,107 new coronavirus cases on Monday, of the 1,908  tests taken in the past 24 hours, while another 54 people have died as a consequence of the disease, the national COVID-19 crisis management team said.

Currently, there are 20,911 active cases in the country, including 1,698 hospitalised patients, 122 of whom are on ventilators, while 13,327 people are self-isolating.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Croatia, a total of 1,041,524 people have become infected, of whom 14,869 have died, while 1,005,744 have recovered.

As of 20 February, a total of 5,180,800 doses of a vaccine have been administered and 56.79% of the total population or 67.56% of the adult population has been vaccinated.  

A total of 2,304,582 people have received at least one dose of a vaccine while 2,225,176 people have been fully vaccinated, which is 65.37% of the adult population.

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

COVID Certificates in Public Sector Constitutional and Legal, Says Court

ZAGREB, 15 Feb 2022 - The Constitutional Court on Tuesday rejected an application by 35 opposition Members of Parliament and proposals by another 28 applicants who claimed that the introduction of COVID certificates in the public sector was unconstitutional and unlawful.

The court, however, partially upheld the application and proposals to evaluate whether the introduction of COVID certificates in the public sector was in line with the Constitution and the law with reference to the exemption of university students. The court quashed the possibility of an individual faculty deciding to oblige students to present a COVID digital certificate or evidence of a COVID test, vaccination or having recovered from COVID in order to enter the faculty.

The national COVID response team adopted a decision on 12 November 2021 and amended it on 25 January 2022 requiring COVID certificates or other proof of vaccination, testing or recovery for all employees in state and government institutions as well as anyone entering these premises.

The Constitutional Court reiterated its stances regarding Articles 16 and 17 of the Constitution and on the Sabor having the exclusive power to "activate" Article 17 on the powers of the response team to adopt measures and decisions regulated by the Law on the Protection of the Population against Infectious Diseases, the legal nature of those decisions and the principles based on which the court evaluates the constitutionality and legality of the response team's decisions.

Aim is to protect health and lives and curb the pandemic

With regard to the legitimacy of the aim, the court determined that the response team's disputed decision has the same aim, to protect the health and lives of citizens and to prevent and curb the pandemic.

In this particular case, that means to enable the undisturbed work of the public sector in COVID circumstances, while ensuring the safety of employees and visitors to public premises.

The court ruled that the decision on testing employees in the health and welfare sectors adopted on 21 December 2021 was appropriate and necessary to achieve the desired aim. The court reiterated that citizens have the option to choose whether to be vaccinated or tested.

The court rejected complaints regarding the inequality of the public sector compared to the private sector.

Four dissenting opinions announced

The court ruled that the reasoning to introduce the measures in the public sector was appropriate to enable the viability of the state and public administration and regional and local government units in providing public services, in that the scope and intensity of measures depends on the current epidemiological circumstances, which is determined by the COVID response team.

The ruling was adopted with four constitutional court judges voting against it. The dissenting opinions and the court's ruling will be made available on the court's website in due course, the court said in a press release.

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.

Friday, 11 February 2022

Patients Complain Croatian GPs Are Impossible to Reach, Doctors Claim the Opposite

February 11th, 2022 - Primary care providers are not responding lightly to the accusations of being unavailable to their patients. At the same time, they are being reprimanded by the HZZO for the sick leave rate increase, despite it largely being caused by COVID-19

The pandemic has led to a significant increase in the number of workers taking sick leave. More than a million citizens have been infected with the coronavirus in the last two years, and as of yesterday, 21,865 people were in isolation.

Although some of them only have mild symptoms and continue to work from home, a good number of people are forced to take sick leave. However, although it is clear to auditors from the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (HZZO) that taking time off for this reason is justified, GPs are being reprimanded for the amount of sick leave they’ve been approving, reports Vecernji list/Romana Kovačević Barišić.

‘My allowed rate of sick leave is 2.8%, and I had 5.5%. The [HZZO] audit did not find any irregularities, but I received a warning for exceeding the rate nonetheless. I didn’t want to sign it, but I was informed that I was putting my contract in jeopardy. I filed a complaint. It was accepted, but it was also confirmed that my exceeding the sick leave rate was unjustified as I signed a contract with the HZZO stating that I would adhere to the stated rate as a contractual obligation. And the pandemic isn’t mentioned anywhere in the contract’, said Marija Gluhak MD, a family doctor from Međimurje, describing her case from November last year.

In case of repeated warnings, the practitioners are first subject to a fine, followed by a possible termination of their contract with the HZZO.

Dr. Vesna Potočki Rukavina MD has seen her contractual sick leave rate of 2.5% increase to 4.9% in the last two months.

‘Omicron has caused a considerable increase in acute sick leave. It mostly affects the younger part of the workforce and inevitably excludes them from work obligations, and HZZO does not look at the situation in the field objectively, so they reprimanded some of my colleagues’, said Dr. Potočki Rukavina. She hasn’t received a warning despite having exceeded the mentioned contractual rate, which only points to the absurdity of a dry bureaucratic approach which is devoid of logic and uneven across the board.

The HZZO point out that they have an obligation to monitor and control the Temporary Incapacity for Work (TIW) of the insured to see whether the status is justified, and to do so both on a regular basis and in exceptional circumstances.

‘Temporary incapacity for work caused by isolation and illness related to COVID-19 is determined and managed in accordance with the epidemiological measures and guidelines recommended by the Croatian Institute for Public Health and the Civil Protection Headquarters, and cannot be considerably affected by audit. In January 2022, there were 11,303 recorded new cases of isolation or self-isolation due to COVID-19. We can say with certainty that the number is even higher in reality, but many who are isolating or self-isolating in agreement with their employers avail of the option of working from home, take vacation days or paid leave without exercising the right to request the TIW status, so the HZZO doesn’t have them in their records.

Regular audits of TIW leave are intended to monitor long-term TIWs and those TIWs that are determined to last too long given the medical diagnosis on which they are based’, stated HZZO and also brought up the fact that keeping the sick leave rate within the strategic parametres contributes to the rational spending of limited resources of the health care system.

Health Minister Vili Beroš recently again encouraged patients to report it if they cannot get hold of their GPs. Between November 2020 when the email address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. was introduced and the end of January 2022, HZZO received a total of 2697 emails from the insured, 928 of which were determined to be justified complaints.

In 2021, they received 1682 complaints, and between January 1st 2022 and February 9th 2022 there were 457 complaints.

According to the HZZO, the majority of received complaints focused on inaccessibility of service, namely the inability of patients to establish timely contact with primary health care practitioners.

The way this is handled is the HZZO employees immediately look into the allegations listed in the complaints, get in touch with primary care clinics (by phone or e-mail), inform the doctor who supervises the team about the need for a call back to the insured person in question, and get back to the insured persons to inform them of the outcome, stated the HZZO.

The overworked doctors are not taking these accusations lightly. ‘If all clinics have a problem with inaccessibility, we obviously have a bug in the system’, commented Dr. Ivana Babić MD.

Dr. Potočki Rukavina agrees with her colleague. ‘The situation is absurd. If all 2,200 of us combined received a total of ten million calls and e-mails in the first three quarters of last year, I don't know if this is a question of unavailability as much as it’s a problem of over-availability! Always being available to this extent is a danger to our work. Is it possible to do comprehensive, quality work in the two or three minutes that you have for each patient?! And if you process 150 of them, you’ll most likely be unavailable for the 151st’, said the doctor.

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.

Tuesday, 8 February 2022

HDZ Official Rules Out Scrapping COVID Passes

ZAGREB, 8 Feb 2022 - Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) vice president Branko Bačić said on Tuesday that the current epidemiological situation did not allow for a possible revocation of COVID passes.

"It's neither under discussion nor consideration," Bačić said in response to reporters' questions if the authorities are considering doing away with COVID certificates.

He recalled that the current epidemiological situation, including a rate of only 67% of fully vaccinated persons and the current incidence rate, were not conducive to plans to ease the restrictions.

Since the introduction of the COVID certificate mandate in the public sector, approximately 120,000 asymptomatic citizens have been diagnosed with coronavirus.

He said that vaccination rates in the countries that are now thinking of scrapping COVID passes are much higher than in Croatia.

There is no country in Europe that has completely done away with COVID certificates,  he said.

Tuesday, 8 February 2022

Croatia Logs 5,545 New COVID Cases, 50 Deaths

ZAGREB, 8 Feb 2022 - In the last 24 hours 5,545 new coronavirus cases, out of 13,669 tests, and 50 related deaths have been registered in Croatia, the national COVID-19 crisis management team said on Tuesday.

There are 43,467 active cases, including 2,229 hospitalised patients, of whom 182 are on ventilators, while 19,966 persons are self-isolating.

To date, Croatia has registered 990,595 coronavirus cases, 14,244 related deaths, and 56.65% of the total population has been vaccinated, i.e. 67.40% of adults, of whom 65.05% fully.

Monday, 7 February 2022

COVID Certificates to Stay, Interior Minister Says

7 February 2022 - COVID certificates will not be abolished for the time being, the head of the COVID-19 crisis management team, Interior Minister Davor Božinović, said on Monday, refuting chief epidemiologist Krunoslav Capak's announcement that they might be partially abolished.

"From the start, we introduced a restricted COVID certificate mandate in Croatia and are following everything that is going on. However, the measure will stay for the time being, including the use of COVID certificates as it is," Božinović told the press.

Capak said earlier today that a partial abolishment of COVID certificates was being considered because they are losing in importance since the appearance of the Omicron variant and the fact that this year Croatia has registered 40,000 reinfections.

Božinović said the crisis management team would continue to follow developments in Croatia, the world and Europe, recalling that in some European countries it is not possible to enter a bar, a restaurant or a hotel without a COVID certificate, and that Germany has announced easing restrictions just before Easter.

"At the moment, we are still not in that situation," he said, adding that incidence in Croatia is still high.

"Let's be realistic, those advocating a major abolishment (of restrictions) have higher vaccination rates," he said, but would not specify the number of new daily cases which would be acceptable to abolish the certificates.

Božinović said 125,000 infections had been detected since the certificates were mandated in public services and that this had slowed down the spread of the virus and ensured the functioning of all public services.

Letter to border police on how to treat migrants

The minister also commented on a letter to border police on how to treat migrants, saying that it consisted of instructions which took into account vulnerable groups and respect for the law and that they were police station-level guidelines.

He added that the instructions stated that "consideration should be given with regard to video recordings and other activities that are not allowed in border areas under the law," adding that there was nothing contentious about that.

Monday, 7 February 2022

Croatia Logs 1,942 New Coronavirus Cases, 57 deaths

7 February 2022 - In the last 24 hours 1,942 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Croatia, and 57 persons have died, the national COVID-19 crisis management team said on Monday.

Last Monday there were 2,561 new cases. In the last 24 hours, 3,317 persons have been tested.

Currently there are 44,578 active cases, 21,314 persons are self-isolating, and 2,191 COVID patients are hospitalised, including 178 on ventilators.

Croatia has registered 985,050 coronavirus cases and 14,194 deaths to date. Also, 56.64% of the population has been vaccinated, that is, 67.39% of adults, of whom 65% fully.

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