Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Red Noses Have Visited over 164,000 Hospitalised Kids and Elderly Citizens

ZAGREB, February 25, 2020 - The association of Red Noses, which was established in Croatia ten years ago, has to date visited more than 164,000 young and elderly patients in an attempt to alleviate their hospitalisation through laughter.

On the occasion of their 10th anniversary, activists of the Croatian branch of Red Noses, a global movement with a clear focus on encouraging more joy and happiness in the world, held a news conference at the University Hospital Centre Zagreb where they began their mission of hospital clowning ten years ago.

Hospital clowning is a program in health care facilities involving visits from specially trained clowns.

Zoran Vukić, a representative of the association, said that they visited, on a regularly basis, 14 children's hospitals in Zagreb, Osijek, Vinkovci, Vukovar, Rijeka, Zadar and Split, as well as five homes for elderly citizens in Zagreb, Split, Rijeka and Osijek.

At the beginning, there were only four clowns in this association and currently their number has risen to 24.

More health news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Croatia to Take Any Measure Necessary to Prevent Spreading of Coronavirus

ZAGREB, February 25, 2020 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Monday that Croatia was prepared to take any measure necessary to prevent the spreading of the coronavirus, including coordination of activities with the Italian government.

"I held consultations earlier in the evening with my colleagues at a meeting of the crisis team, which was also attended by representatives of the ministries of health, the interior and defence, the State Inspectorate and the Civil Protection. All the relevant services are fully prepared, we are in touch with the Italian government and are trying to obtain from it all relevant information, considering the dynamic of developments in several regions of northern Italy," Plenković said on the margins of an event marking the 30th anniversary of his HDZ party's branch in Novi Zagreb.

Plenković said that the crisis team in charge of preventing the spreading of the coronavirus would meet on a daily basis and that Health Minister Vili Beroš would travel to Italy on Tuesday to attend a meeting of the health ministers of Italy and neighbouring countries, focusing on the coordination of activities.

He added that a national Civil Protection emergency team, set up by the government last week, would meet on Tuesday.

More news about coronavirus can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Monday, 24 February 2020

Passengers Arriving in Croatia from Italy Undergo Epidemiological Checks

ZAGREB, February 24, 2020 - Croatia's COVID-19 crisis management team will apply strict epidemiological measures to passengers coming from northern Italian regions where a rising number of patients have been diagnosed with this infectious disease in recent days.

The same controls will be in place for passengers arriving from Italy and China, the head of the team, Maja Grba Bujević, told reporters in Zagreb on Monday morning.

The health ministry's crisis management team, which was set up to handle developments surrounding the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the world, is due to hold a news conference at 1pm Monday.

Grba Bujević said that the authorities had decided to take all the necessary measures to be prepared for the detection of possible first patients infected with this virus, after the north of Italy started fighting with Europe's biggest outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

In the meantime, 42 students and four teachers from a secondary school in the northern Adriatic city of Pula, who returned from a trip to Venice on Sunday night, will be quarantined in their homes for the next 14 days.

The Croatian education ministry instructed primary and secondary schools to cancel any organised educational trips to Italy in the next 30 days.

Italy sealed off the worst-affected towns and banned public gatherings in much of the north, including halting the carnival in Venice, where there were two cases.

European Union health commissioner Stella Kyriakides was quoted by Reuters as saying that possible travel restrictions in the Schengen border-free area should be proportionate and coordinated among EU states, as the bloc faces a coronavirus outbreak in Italy.

“For the moment WHO has not advised imposing restrictions on either travel or trade,” Kyriakides told reporters on Monday, adding that a World Health Organization mission will travel to Italy on Tuesday to assess the situation.

More coronavirus news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Monday, 24 February 2020

Prime Minister Meets with Coronavirus Crisis Management Team

ZAGREB, February 24, 2020 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Sunday met with the Health Ministry's coronavirus crisis management team, who informed him of the measures that had been undertaken so far and plans for preventing the spread of the novel virus, a government press release said.

Also discussed was the current situation regarding the spread of the coronavirus in neighbouring Italy.

Earlier on Sunday, Health Minister Vili Beroš confirmed that two patients admitted to the clinical hospital centre in Rijeka were not infected with the virus. The patients are an Italian national and a Croatian woman from the northern coastal resort town of Rovinj who has visited Padua, and both are in good condition.

There are no cases of the coronavirus infection in Croatia, the Croatian Public Health Institute said on Sunday. To date, 18 people have undergone laboratory tests and all were negative.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), 78,833 people worldwide have tested positive for the infection and 2,463 have died. In Europe, 121 people are currently infected.

More coronavirus news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Saturday, 22 February 2020

Croatian Citizen from Coronavirus Cruise Liner Quarantined in Zagreb Hospital

ZAGREB, February 22, 2020 - A Croatian citizen who had spent time on the Diamond Princess cruise liner in Japan arrived in Croatia on Saturday morning and was placed in the quarantine unit of the Dr Fran Mihaljević Hospital for Infectious Diseases in Zagreb. He has no symptoms of infection with the coronavirus and he feels good.

The man arrived in Zagreb via Germany and Slovenia in a special medical vehicle accompanied by medical staff. He was placed as a precaution in the quarantine unit of the Dr Fran Mihaljević Hospital for Infectious Diseases, set up following yesterday's decision by Health Minister Vili Beroš at the proposal of the Croatian Public Health Institute, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

Attending doctors said that the man exhibited no symptoms of infection and felt good. Notwithstanding the time he spent in isolation on the cruise liner, he will stay in the quarantine unit for at least 14 days as a precaution to eliminate any risks given the high-risk epidemiological situation on the ship he came from, the statement said.

"Croatian health services will leave nothing to chance. We will continue to take all precautionary measures available to protect our citizens from a possible risk of the coronavirus infection, including by quarantining people with even the smallest risk to their health or the health of people who come in contact with them," Minister Beroš said.

"I am glad that our citizen is aware of his situation and that he himself has expressed a wish to stay in isolation as long as necessary medically," he added.

The Croatian citizen arrived from Japan aboard a special flight organised by Italy for its and other EU citizens. After landing in Berlin, he and Slovenian citizens were flown by a special plane to Maribor, from where he was transferred to Zagreb by a special medical vehicle. The man is in constant touch with his family by telephone, the statement said.

More news about coronavirus can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 22 February 2020

Health Minister Decides to Establish Coronavirus Quarantine Unit

ZAGREB, February 22, 2020 - Health Minister Vili Beroš on Friday adopted a decision to establish a quarantine unit as a preventative safety measure to protect citizens from any possible threat of the coronavirus, at the Croatian Institute for Public Health's recommendation, the ministry said.

The quarantine unit has been set up at the Dr Fran Mihaljević Infectious Diseases Hospital in Zagreb for anyone who is suspected of or is determined to have been in touch with infected or possibly infected persons while spending in time in areas considered to be the source of the disease.

Quarantine will last in line with health assessments. The decision enters into force today, the ministry underscored.

"To date, luckily, there aren't any people infected with the coronavirus in Croatia. However, we do not want to leave anything to chance in the protection of Croatian citizens from this health threat. The experience of neighbouring Italy and some other communities demand us to play it extra safe and, in addition to everything undertaken so far, I have decided to establish a quarantine unit as an additional preventative measure," said Minister Beroš.

More coronavirus news can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Coronavirus: Plans Underway for Reception of Croatians From Cruise Ship

ZAGREB, February 20, 2020 - Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Thursday that Croatians from the Diamond Princess cruise ship would be returning to Croatia after 14 days of quarantine on the ship on Thursday and Friday, adding that plans were being made for their reception as the coronavirus epidemiological situation on the ship was worse than in China.

Six Croatians spent two weeks in quarantine aboard the Diamond Princess in the Japanese port of Yokohama due to the coronavirus that spread among the passengers.

Noting that plans were being made for the reception of the Croatian nationals, the minister said that the epidemiological situation on the cruise ship was not entirely clear to him.

"Given the current circumstances, we will act a bit differently," he said.

"They will return home in different ways, some will arrive today and some tomorrow," he said.

Asked if the Croatians would be put into quarantine, he said that plans were being made for their reception, stressing that the epidemiological situation on the cruise ship was worse than in China.

"I believe that it is due to the specific circumstances of staying on a vessel and I sincerely hope that that is the only problem," he added.

The Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Ministry said on Wednesday that a Croatian national who had stayed aboard the Diamond Princess as a passenger left the ship on Wednesday, that he was considered healthy and that there were no restrictions on his movement. As for the other five Croatians who are still on the ship as crew members, they continued their stay in quarantine together with other crew members even though they do not exhibit any symptoms of the disease.

540 cases of infection with the novel coronavirus have been identified on the vessel with 3,700 passengers and crew members.

More news about Croatia and coronavirus can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

One Croatian National Leaves Diamond Princess Cruise Ship, Five to Stay

ZAGREB, February 19, 2020 - A Croatian national who stayed aboard the Diamond Princess ship as a passenger left the ship on Wednesday and five other Croatians are still on the ship because they are members of the crew, sources at the Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Ministry said on Wednesday.

Passengers on the Diamond Princess, where 540 cases of novel coronavirus infection have been confirmed, started leaving the vessel on Wednesday after spending 14 days in quarantine in the Japanese port of Yokohama.

In line with a decision by Japanese authorities, the passengers who meet the set conditions will leave the vessel first, to be followed by crew members, the ministry said.

The Japanese Health Ministry said that around 500 passengers exhibiting no symptoms of the novel coronavirus infection, who had tested negative for the infection and who did not have any contact with those infected with the novel coronavirus, would leave the vessel during the day.

"A Croatian national who was staying on the Diamond Princes as a passenger left the ship today. He is considered healthy and there are no restrictions on his movement," said the Croatian ministry.

"The other five Croatian nationals aboard the vessel who are crew members will continue their stay in quarantine aboard the ship, together with other crew members, even though they do not have symptoms of the disease," said the ministry.

More news about Croatia and coronavirus can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Croatian Media Coverage on Coronavirus Fair, With Some Unnecessary Panic Spreading

ZAGREB, February 19, 2020 - Reporting by Croatian media on the novel coronavirus to date has been mainly fair and helped raise the general public's awareness about this disease that was first detected in China, however, there have been some cases of causing unnecessary panic by certain reports.

The Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) on Tuesday organised a panel discussion on the topic "Information or Panic" regarding the media coverage of the outbreak of this contagious disease in the world.

Participants in the panel discussion agreed that in Croatia, where there have been no coronavirus-related death cases, reporting has been rather correct and balanced.

However, although we have provided media with accurate information, there have been some cases of causing irrational fear by some reports, said the head of the Dr. Fran Mihaljević clinic, Alemka Markotić.

In this context she criticised dissemination of opinions of like-mined people on some panic-prone social networks.

She says that it is understandable that the novel virus with the official name Covid-19, that was recently detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan, could give rise to unease and anxiety. On the other hand, she underscored the fact that only 47 patients to date have been diagnosed in Europe, and in Croatia there have been no cases of this disease.

Markotić admitted that the death rate from this virus was higher than the death rate from influenza, but she also points out the fact that this is in no way an incurable disease.

To date in Croatia 17 people have been tested for this virus, as they had certain symptoms such as a high body temperature and were in contact with the Chinese, and all the tests have been negative, Markotić said.

Some of the doctors who took part in the debate pointed out the fact that media outlets should also write about positive things, such as the number of patients who have recovered from the disease.

Thus, it has been underscored that over 12,000 patients in the world have been successfully treated and have recovered.

Krunoslav Čapak, head of the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ), said that media failed to report the fact that Croatia had been the first European country to introduce active medical monitoring of returnees from regions hit by the disease.

More health news can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Zagreb Patients Being Transported Regularly Despite Strike

ZAGREB, February 5, 2020 - A certain number of ambulance drivers in Zagreb went on strike on Wednesday, but patients are being transported regularly, the head of the city's Department of Emergency Medical Services, Žarko Rašić, said.

The department asked a court to ban the strike considering that the Healthcare Act does not provide for the possibility of emergency medical services staff organising a strike, Rašić told Hina.

"At the moment, everything is operating normally. All patients have been transported for dialysis treatment and there are no long waits. We have about 15 ZET city transport drivers on call if need be and about 30 staff from other institutions - drivers and nurses who are prepared to step in," Rašić said and added that 31 ambulance crews were on the ground.

No one from the union of ambulance drivers was available this morning for a comment. The union announced on Monday that ambulance crews in Zagreb would go on strike to demand a pay rise so that their monthly wages are equated with those of drivers of emergency medical service vehicles, which would require an additional two million kuna (270 million euro) annually.

The union is demanding that the government adopt a regulation to define job titles and job complexity indices so that ambulance drivers be reinstated with their original index which was reduced when the ambulance service was divested from the emergency medical service in 2011.

Talks were held at the Health Ministry on Tuesday with the leader of the ambulance drivers' union Mišel Majetić, and Minister Vili Beroš offered a compromise regarding job complexity indices.

Beroš said on Wednesday morning that the Department of Emergency Medical Services had asked a court to say whether the strike was lawful and that until the court delivered its ruling it was his duty to see to it that emergency services were operating normally.

More healthcare news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

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