Friday, 11 February 2022

Student Self-Testing Video Published by Croatian Public Health Institute

February 11, 2022 - The Croatian Public Health Institute has released a student self-testing video with instructions on the simple 4-step process. 

The Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ) released a video with instructions for student self-testing, which is carried out in four main steps, reports 24 Sata.

The goal of student self-testing is to increase the probability of holding classes in person, on the school premises, for as long as possible by abolishing self-isolation measures (quarantine).

"An additional goal is to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19 in school and the family. The regular self-testing measure is voluntary. However, for its successful and effective implementation, it is important that as many students as possible participate in regular self-testing," says the Croatian Public Health Institute.

 

Self-testing is conducted in four main steps:

1. Read the instructions for use and wash your hands.

2. Take a test sample.

3. Conduct testing.

4. Find out the result in 15-20 minutes.

What if the result is positive, and what if it is negative?

- negative result - the student goes to school,

- positive result - the student stays at home, reports to the doctor and the school.

Recall, on February 9, the Ministry of Science and Education sent instructions to principals regarding student self-testing in Croatia. 

Index.hr reported that the Civil Protection Headquarters would deliver rapid antigen tests to schools, after which the schools distribute the tests to parents or guardians or students. Testing is conducted once a week by a parent, guardian, or student. If the test result is positive, information about the positive test is reported to the educational institution's selected family doctor or pediatrician.

All students with a negative result continue to attend classes regularly, and if they test positive, they do not come to school. Testing is repeated for the entire class in which positive test results are determined the first day after a student receives a positive Covid test.

Minister of Science and Education Radovan Fuchs commented on student self-testing in an interview with HRT, confirming that the distribution of tests had begun.

Fuchs called the process of rapid antigen testing "a de facto process of abolishing self-isolation for students so that all those who are not ill are in school." However, he also said that this was not a step towards mandatory testing or vaccination.

Fuchs said the first part of the tests, about 300,000, went to Dalmatia on February 8.

"Of course, we are going to the islands as a priority, as it is a bit more challenging to distribute there, and that's why we went to the Dalmatian regions first.

The rest, up to a million, were expected to arrive at civil protection warehouses on February 9, and the moment these tests were received, they immediately moved on to schools. So I think by the end of the week or early next week, all schools will have tests available," Fuchs said a few days ago.

“We have said that this student testing is voluntary and that parents will declare in one piece of paper whether or not they will conduct testing of their child,” he said.

"All those who refuse, nothing will happen to them, nor the children, of course, except that the moment a positive student appears in the class, or possibly someone from that child's environment becomes ill, that child will have to go into isolation," Fuchs said.

He also said that these tests are very similar to those that can be bought in pharmacies and that, unlike PCR, it is not inserted deep into the nose with a test cotton swab or stick. Still, a swab is taken from the front of the nasal cavity, and it is a straightforward procedure.

Fuchs also said that parents who will not test their children and say that they were negative would not be traced because they do not intend to apply any repressive measures.

“I hope the parents are responsible enough and won’t cheat because this is done so that the education system would virtually abolish self-isolation using a self-testing system,” he said. 

Fuchs also said that if the number of positive results dropped significantly, in February, they would switch to the testing variant only in those classes when it is ordered. After that, it would be ordered when a positive case occurs.

"And after that, we would go for the complete abolition of both testing and self-isolation if the data from the field justify it," Fuchs said. He also said that they did not consider testing children in kindergartens.

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.

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Record-High Number of People Vaccinated Against COVID on Wednesday

ZAGREB, 11 Nov, 2021 - A record-high 27,261 persons were vaccinated against COVID-19 in Croatia on Wednesday, including 16,747 who received the first dose, the highest number since early June, the Public Health Institute (HZJZ) said on Thursday.

Also yesterday, 3,527 persons received a second dose and 7,347 a booster shoot.

Croatia has administered 3,759,981 vaccine doses to date, with 1,990,925 persons receiving the first dose and 1,707,700 two doses, while 61,356 persons have received a booster shot.

To date 49.06% of the total population has been vaccinated, including 58.67% of adults.

The City of Zagreb accounts for the highest number of persons who received the first dose, 57.6% of the capital's total population and 69.2% of adults.

Zagreb also has the largest number of persons who have completed vaccination, with 52.6% of its total population and 63.4% of adults.

The HZJZ called on those who have not been vaccinated, notably those most at risk, to do so as soon as possible.

For more on lifestyle, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 31 October 2021

Stroke Cause of Death for 4,950 People in Croatia in 2020

ZAGREB, 31 Oct, 2021 - In Croatia, as well as in Europe and the world, stroke is the second leading cause of death, and 4,950 persons died from that medical condition in Croatia last year, accounting for 8.7% of total deaths, the Croatian Public Health Institute said on the occasion of World Stroke Day, observed on 29 October.

In Croatia, stroke is the third leading cause of death for men, after ischemic heart disease and COVID-19, as well as for women, for whom the two main causes of death are ischemic heart disease and hypertension.

According to the data from 2020, 2,210 men died from stroke (7.5% of all male deaths), as did 2,830 women (9.8% of all female deaths).

The mortality rate increases with age, and a significant rise in mortality can be seen at the age of 60 in men, and above the age of 65 in women.

Over the last 15 years, there has been a positive trend in Croatia of reducing mortality from cerebrovascular diseases, including stroke, and the reduction is 46%. However, according to Eurostat for 2018, Croatia remains in the high sixth place among 34 European countries in terms of mortality.

Importance of early recognition of stroke symptoms

World Stroke Day aims to raise awareness of the importance of early recognition of stroke symptoms and the need for rapid action because every minute is crucial for the outcome.

Getting treatment fast saves lives and improves recovery, so an ambulance should be called immediately if signs of a stroke are noticed.

The symptoms include sudden numbness or weakness in the arm, leg or face, trouble speaking or seeing, sudden trouble walking, lack of coordination or loss of balance, and severe headache.

According to estimates, 14.5 million people worldwide suffer a stroke each year, and 5.5 million die from its consequences. There are as many as 80 million people worldwide who have survived a stroke.

The risk of stroke can be reduced if risk factors are recognised and treated, and these include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and atrial fibrillation.

One should be physically active, exercise regularly, maintain a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, reduce the intake of salt, sugar and fats, limit the consumption of alcohol and not smoke.

For more on lifestyle, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, 2 October 2021

Overweight Croatian Children: Every Third Child Eats Too Much

October 2, 2021 - With every third child having a weight problem, the study finds that the sheer amount of overweight Croatian children is a legitimate concern.

The Dalmatian meat specialty of Pašticada, Zagorje's Štrukli, spicy Slavonian sausages called Kulen... the list goes on and these are just some of the delicious foods Croats traditionally eat. But even outside of tradition, there are loads of contemporary food restaurants, foreign food options (Chinese, Mexican, Arab, Greek and more), not to mention many fast-food chains and even more bakeries. Basically, there's no need to worry about starving in Croatia. And that may also turn into a problem.

As Srednja.hr writes, every third child in Croatia is overweight, meaning there is now a serious concern about overweight Croatian children which needs to be tackled.

This fact was discovered during the ''European Initiative for monitoring childhood obesity in Croatia 2018/2019'' (CroCOSI), conducted by the European Office of the World Health Organisation. It's interesting to note that the research leader for Croatia was none other than Sanja Musić Milanović, the wife of the current Croatian president, Zoran Milanović.

The results of the research were presented last week at the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ). ''Around 35% of Croatian children aged 8 to 9 are overweight, and only 14% of parents are aware of that,'' writes Srednja.hr.

Looking at different regions, the lowest amount of overweight Croatian children can be found in Zagreb (29.7%). While continental Croatia has a higher percentage (36.0%), the Adriatic region holds a record-breaking number, reaching almost 37%.

Gender-wise, Croatian boys have more weight issues than girls do (17.8% / 11.9%).

While this isn't too much of a drastic rise when compared to the research from 2015/2016 (the total percentage was 34.9%), being overweight remains a big problem for Croatia which can lead to serious health risks sooner or later. These issues go deeper than personal health but also result in more pressure being placed on an already burdened healthcare system.

What's interesting, is that this weight problem is more of an issue in rural areas than it is in urban ones, even though you'd think it should be the other way around as rural areas are more in touch with nature and offer more possibilities for recreation. However, urban areas, as a study suggests, have better prevention programmes which advocate for healthy habits and lifestyles.

Additionally, the fact that only 14% of parents are aware that their child has a weight problem also shows problems in understanding of what a good diet actually is among Croats.

''The Health Ministry has recognised the weight issue as a priority area and has started with preparations for making a prevention plan for it. I believe that with the implementation of this action plan, we'll contribute in stopping this negative trend rising on a national level in the years to come,'' commented Health Minister Vili Beroš.

The problem of overweight children and fat-shaming has recently been recognised among Croatian pupils. As TCN wrote, pupils in schools are no longer measured publicly but privately. However, the combat against unhealthy habits among Croatian children for a healthier, more knowledgeable generation is still underway.

Learn more about Croatian food in our TC guide.

 For more about health in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Thursday, 19 August 2021

Pavić Šimetin Says New Epidemiological Restrictions Considered

ZAGREB, 19 Aug, 2021 - Croatian Public Health Institute deputy director Ivana Pavić Šimetin said on Wednesday that an increase in the number of new coronavirus cases could be stopped and slowed down with vaccination and adherence to epidemiological measures.

Pavić Šimetin told Croatian Television that new epidemiological measures were being considered, including the possibility to shorten business hours.

She said authorities expected a lot from the digital COVID-19 certificate, adding that wearing a mask in school would be mandatory form from grades five and up.

For more about COVID-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Monday, 10 May 2021

Public Health Official Says Trial Events Discussed, Good Results Expected

ZAGREB, 10 May 2021 - Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ) head Krunoslav Capak said on Monday that intensive talks were underway on trial, controlled events with more participants to take place this week, expressing confidence those pilot projects would go well and there would be no new infections.

"This will be a test, a project in which we will bring together two different populations of people in two places," Capak said at a news conference held as part of the "Healthy living" project.

One of the events will have 80 participants and the other 120. The participants will be people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, people who have a certificate proving that they have recovered from the disease, or people who will be tested for coronavirus right before the event. After seven days, PCR tests will be done to see if there has been any spreading of the disease.

"We don't expect it, similar activities have been implemented elsewhere in the world. Some did PCR testing after such events and obtained good results, there were no new infections. We hope everything goes well and that we will enter June in a more relaxed atmosphere," said Capak.

Close to 900,000 people vaccinated with at least one dose

Capak said that close to 900,000 people in Croatia had been vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and that 7.5% of them had received both doses.

A total of 1.1 million doses have been administered.

"By the end of June, we expect to use all the vaccines that will arrive and more than 55% of the adult population is likely to be vaccinated by then. That will make it possible for us to enter the summer more calmly and to have a successful tourist season," Capak said.

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

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Reporters One of Priority Groups for Vaccination

ZAGREB, 13 April, 2021 - The Culture and Media Ministry has suggested including reporters and media workers in priority groups for vaccination against COVID-19 due to the risk of infection being higher than for the rest of the population, the Croatian Journalists Association (HND) said on Tuesday.

According to a notification from the ministry, reporters can express interest in being put on the list of priority vaccinations.

The HND will be collecting data from interested reporters until midnight 14 April, the association said, noting that expression of interest will in no way affect interest in vaccination expressed previously with one's family doctor or via the cijepise.zdravlje.hr platform. Previous registration for vaccination should not be cancelled until the moment an invitation to vaccination arrives from the Croatian Public Health Institute, the HND said.

For more about vaccination in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

New Coronavirus Restrictions to be in Force Until 15 April

ZAGREB, 31 March, 2021 - The national coronavirus crisis management team on Wednesday announced new epidemiological restrictions to be in force until 15 April, including a ban on indoor training, restrictions on the work of children playrooms and a temporary ban and restriction of cross-border travel.

The ban on indoor training does not apply to top competitions and athletes.

Certificates of vaccination with Russian, Chinese vaccines valid

Croatian border authorities will accept fast antigen tests as well as certificates about vaccination with the Russian and Chinese vaccines, and certificates proving their holders' recovery from COVID-19 and those certificates will be considered valid for 180 days, the team's head, Davor Božinović, said.

Border crossing has been regulated due to tourist visits, the exception being digital nomads and children.

"Considering restrictions in neighbouring countries, we do not expect a large number of arrivals," said Božinović.

He noted that the tighter restrictions were being introduced following a proposal to that effect by county COVID-19 response teams.

Apart from nationwide restrictions, the national team also made decisions on restrictions for Šibenik-Knin and Split-Dalmatia counties.

In Split-Dalmatia County, which has seen a big increase in new infections, the mandatory wearing of face masks at outdoor venues with an increased flow of people will be introduced, as will a ban on the sale of alcohol from 8pm to 6am. The work of cafes will be restricted until 8pm, and it will be possible to serve food and drinks only in the open. Foreign language schools will switch to online classes again.

Božinović said that restrictions could be additionally tightened since the epidemiological situation was not good.

Restrictions to be tightened if number of infections continues to grow

"We have a significant increase today and we cannot ignore the possibility of the scenario in neighbouring countries happening here as well. These restrictions will be in force for a few days but should statistics be worrying, we will introduce new measures," said Božinović.

The latest restrictions go into force on Thursday and will be in force until 15 April.

In the last 24 hours, 2,623 new coronavirus cases and 19 COVID-related deaths have been registered in Croatia, the national coronavirus response team said earlier in the day.

The number of active cases now stands at 11,306. Among them are 1,337 people receiving hospital treatment, of whom 144 are placed on ventilators.

Croatian Public Health Institute head Krunoslav Capak warned that today the number of new infections was 47% higher than last week.

Istria County has the lowest incidence, while Primorje-Gorski Kotar County has the highest. Croatia is currently 18th in the EU in terms of the number of deaths per one million inhabitants, while in terms of the 14-day incidence it is 12th.

Speaking about the start of the third phase of vaccination, Capak said that care would be taken of the order in which people had registered for vaccination at the cijepi.se online platform.

"All people older than 16 can be inoculated in the third phase, but a certain priority will be given to people in services in which they come into contact with a large number of people," he said, adding that the third phase could start in May.

He noted that cases of infection with coronavirus after vaccination had been reported. "We have about 20 such cases. Forty-four people in aged care homes got infected after receiving the first dose and 22 got infected after the second dose, but the symptoms were mild."

Commenting on an announcement by the Zagreb COVID-19 response team about the wearing of face masks outdoors, Capak said: "If you are outdoors and alone, there is no need to wear a mask."

"Outdoor mask wearing refers to places where there are a lot of people, in the farmers' market, on the waterfront," he said, noting that the recommendation to wear a mask outdoors had been in force so far for places where physical distancing was not possible.

For more about Covid-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 12 March 2021

Most Epidemiological Restrictions Extended Until End of March

ZAGREB, 12 March, 2021 - Croatia has a 26% weekly increase in the number of new coronavirus infections and most epidemiological restrictions will be extended until the end of March but outdoor sports competitions will be allowed, the national COVID-19 response team said on Friday.

Most existing epidemiological restrictions will remain in force.

One of the changes is that it will be possible to change the maximum allowed number of attendees at cultural events through recommendations by the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ), without waiting for a decision by the national COVID-19 response team, and outdoor sports competitions will be allowed as well, the team's head, Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović, said.

Restrictions regarding gatherings, passenger transport, shops' working hours and border crossing will be extended until 31 March and a decision on that will take effect on 13 March, said Božinović.

As for decisions at the local level, restrictions will be extended in Dubrovnik-Neretva County while COVID-19 response teams in counties with a marked increase in the number of new infections will be expected to propose restrictions in line with the local situation.

Share of positive tests 13.8%; Inoculation with AstraZeneca vaccine continues

Croatia today reported 823 new infections of 5,945 tests conducted in the past 24 hours, the percentage of positive tests being 13.8%. The average age of those who have died is 77.5 years and the youngest person was 62, Assistant Health Minister Vera Katalinić-Janković said.

HZJZ head Krunoslav Capak warned that the number of new infections this week was 26% higher than last week.

"Istria County has the lowest incidence, and Dubrovnik-Neretva County the highest. As for the seven-day incidence, Primorje-Gorski Kotar County is at the top, however, epidemiologists say that there are no major hot spots there but rather a lot of small hot spots due to socialising," said Capak.

He also pointed to an increase in the share of positive cases in the number of tests done, which today was 13.8%.

Commenting on reported side effects of the vaccines, he said most reports referred to the Pfizer vaccine, 898, followed by AstraZeneca's vaccine, 337, and Moderna's, 81.

Despite the fact that in some EU countries inoculation with AstraZeneca's vaccine has been suspended, Croatia will continue using the vaccine.

Capak said that the AstraZeneca vaccine Croatia obtained was not from the same series as that obtained by Austria and 15 other EU countries. Countries that have discontinued inoculation with that vaccine have done so until the reported side effects are investigated, he said.

"If it is established that the thromboembolisms reported are not related to the vaccine, countries that have suspended vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine will continue the vaccination process. Croatia did not receive that vaccine series... and will continue using the AstraZeneca vaccine," he said.

He also commented on an announcement that the deliveries of the AstraZeneca vaccine would be much smaller than agreed.

"We were to receive 19,200 doses in the third week of March and will receive 7,200. In the fourth week of March, we were to receive 79,568 doses and will receive 9,800," he said.

As for the vaccine of the US company Johnson & Johnson, Capak said that the vaccine will soon be registered in the EU but could not tell how many doses Croatia would obtain considering reports that the US government would first supply the US market with the agreed quantities and then start exports to other countries.

Asked about alternative vaccine imports, Capak said that the documentation requested from the Russian producer had still not arrived, which was a precondition to launch emergency imports.

Meanwhile, the Russian manufacturer has launched the process of registration of the vaccine with the European Medicines Agency and Capak said he believed the process would soon be completed and that Croatia would be able to import the vaccine normally.

As for the Chinese vaccine, not much information is known but the HZJZ today held an online meeting with its producers, Capak said, adding that he would inform the public of the meeting on Monday.

For more about COVID-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 12 March 2021

25% of Respondents in Croatia Tested Positive For COVID-19 Antibodies

ZAGREB, 12 March, 2021 - Croatian Public Health Institute director Krunoslav Capak on Friday presented the results of a serological study showing that 25% of 1,436 respondents had tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, meaning that they had been in contact with the coronavirus.

A similar study carried out last spring revealed that only 2.2% of 1,088 respondents were positive for COVID-19 antibodies.

"In the first study, 24 out of 1,088 respondents tested positive for immunoglobulin antibodies, which is 2.2%. In the second study, 360 out of 1,436 respondents were positive for immunoglobulins, which is 25.1%," Capak said at a press conference of the national COVID-19 response team.

"It should be noted that the blood samples were taken in late December, in January and an in early February. No major impact of the vaccination could be seen because only a small number of people were vaccinated at the time. The first study covered a smaller number of counties where we took the blood samples, while the second study covered all the counties," he added.

Antibodies were evenly present in all age groups. Their presence was lower in people aged over 70 years and in children aged under 10, whose proportion of positive cases in the study was 19.2%.

The study also showed that 75% of the persons positive for immunoglobulins were immune to COVID-19.

Capak said that this sample was representative and showed that 25% of people had been in contact with the coronavirus.

"There are 240,000 people in Croatia who have been infected with the coronavirus to date, while four times as many have come into contact with the virus, which is a million people," Capak said.

 For more about COVID-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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