Thursday, 30 December 2021

COVID-19 Response Team Head Says Cannot Rule Out Greater Presence of Omicron

ZAGREB, 30 Dec 2021 - Deputy Prime Minister Davor Božinović, who heads the national COVID-19 response team, said on Thursday that considering a rising number of new infections in the last two days, one could not rule out that there were more cases of the Omicron variant than the 24 cases confirmed by sequencing so far.

Speaking to reporters after a government session, Božinović said that some link the sudden rise in new infections to the Christmas holidays while some rule that connection out.

"We cannot prove it. If the rising numbers are not related to Christmas, they are related to Omicron," he said.

Speaking of New Year Eve's celebrations, the minister said that in force was a decision on longer working hours for hospitality establishments, allowing them to work until 2 am in the night between 31 December and 1 January.

Inspectors will be visiting cafes but considering their insufficient number, not all such establishments will be covered, Božinović said, noting that he believed people would not go to places where they believe their health would be at risk.

Sinj mayor's invitation irresponsible, risky

Considering that the coastal region of Dalmatia has the highest number of infections in the country, Božinović said that local public health institutes were monitoring the situation and would decide on a possible tightening of restrictions.

As for the invitation by Sinj Mayor Miro Bulj of the Bridge party to all to attend "a free" New Year's party in Sinj in the Dalmatian hinterland, Božinović said the invitation was irresponsible and risky.

"We cannot support such calls, in Istria, all public gatherings have been canceled, and some counties have organized New Year's Eve parties but with strict checks. That is a responsible approach," he said.

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, 20 December 2021

Croatia's Interior Ministry Procures Earthquake Simulator

ZAGREB, 20 Dec 2021 - The Croatian ministry of the interior has commissioned an earthquake simulator that can simulate the ground motion of earthquakes up to intensity 9 on the Mercalli scale, the Večernji List daily reported on Monday.

The purpose of that container, worth HRK 3.3 million (€440,000) without Value Added Tax, is to enable participants in exercises that take place in such containers to experience various sorts of tremors.

The interior of the container is furnished with movable objects which can be found in an ordinary living room, and sound effects typical for earthquakes will also be simulated during exercises.

The objects in the container are non-breakable so that participants in earthquake simulation exercises cannot be injured.

The procurement of the earthquake simulation room is part of the ministry's project aimed at efforts to reduce the risks of natural disasters, the daily newspaper reported.

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

Sunday, 19 December 2021

Davor Bozinovic Talks Coronavirus Numbers, Omicron, Mass, NYE

December the 19th, 2021 - Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic has spoken out about plans regarding the unfolding epidemiological situation which is being heavily influenced across Europe by the new Omicron variant of concern (VOC), touching on NYE celebrations, masses at Christmas and so on.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, at the ceremony marking the final completion of the demining of Zadar County, a certificate of complete exclusion from the mine suspected area of ​​the county was formally handed over, writes Dnevnik.hr.

The ceremony was attended by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Davor Bozinovic, Zadar County Prefect Bozidar Longin and Director of the Civil Protection Directorate Damir Trut, who held a presentation entitled: "Solving the mine problem of Zadar County."

"Strength, will, skill and courage," Longin said, adding that eight deminers had tragically died during the demining process.

“We'll remember all those who worked on demining, on a huge task and a job that was done successfully. "Today, it was a pleasure to submit a certificate on the mine-cleared area,'' Davor Bozinovic said. "This is the moment when we remember all the victims," ​​said Bozinovic, adding that the last person killed was in 2016, and a child also died in 2014.

"We hope to clean everything up by 2026," the minister said, concluding that seven to eight counties remain with mine issues which need to be resolved. "There are a few mines left in Split-Dalmatia, Sibenik-Knin, mostly in forest and mountainous areas, as well as where battles were fought," he said, recalling a situation where police rescued migrants from mine danger not so long ago.

Davor Bozinovic handed over the symbolic "last mine" to the mayor of Pakostane, Milivoje Kurtov, because the last demining work was carried out in that area.

Turning to coronavirus and anti-epidemic measures... 

As for the New Year, Davor Bozinovic said that at this moment in time they are primarily focused on monitoring the unfolding situation with the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"There's been exponential growth, which is attributed to the new Omicron variant. The Delta variant also spread much more rapidly than the previous strain, and Omicron is now spreading much more quickly than Delta did. We have a mix of these two variants of the virus and we have to take the appropriate precations as a result of it,'' Davor Bozinovic stated, citing the issues other European countries such as the United Kingdom are currently facing.

He pointed out that in Dalmatia there is a growth of newly infected across all four counties. "We're asking people to please stay outdoors as much as possible. Enclosed spaces are a big danger. We've had several cases across Europe where Omicron has easily infected people indoors,'' the minister warned.

“South Africa has a much younger population and it’s summer there. We know that then the virus spreads less. We're now entering the winter period, more and more people will be spending a lot of time indoors and it's extremely important that everyone takes care of themselves and doesn't underestimate the situation at hand,'' he warned.

He said that new anti-epidemic measures have now been adopted and given the situation across Europe, and at the minute they cannot make concessions. "If the numbers don't keep on increasing and if the trend of a slight decline continues - then we can talk. All I can say now is please be irresponsible because nobody knows what will happen in the next few days,'' he said, pointing out that no one, not even experts, can say for sure what will happen.

"The fact is that we have a certain number of cases and judging by everything we've learned so far, it's more realistic to expect that there are more cases than less," Davor Bozinovic said about the new Omicron variant. "We need to wait and see if these big European numbers lead to more hospitalisations," the minister said.

He said that the best suggestion is for the New Year to be celebrated outdoors in as much as is possible and that those who are religious watch the mass when it is broadcast on television.

"It's safer for everyone," Davor Bozinovic concluded.

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, 10 December 2021

Stricter Holiday Measures in Croatia? Interior Minister Davor Božinović Weighs In

December 10, 2021 - Will there be stricter holiday measures in Croatia? Interior Minister Davor Božinović weighs in on what we can expect this winter. 

Interior Minister Davor Božinović revealed on Thursday that Croatia was not considering new Christmas and New Year measures, saying that the goal was to keep Croatia open.

"We are not considering new measures for Christmas and New Year; the fact is that our numbers have been falling for a couple of weeks now," Božinović told RTL as reported by Slobodna Dalmacija.

"With the anti-epidemic measures that have been adopted and are being implemented, our goal is to keep Croatia open, unlike the vast majority of EU members," the minister added.

Referring to the position of President Zoran Milanovic when it comes to Headquarters' measures and Covid-certificates checks in his Pantovcak office, Božinović said that the fact was that everyone in the presidential office was vaccinated and that President Milanović himself showed his position on vaccination by being vaccinated with three doses. 

"He sent a message that he understands that this is a serious health threat and that people need to be protected, and there is no better protection than vaccines. Moreover, because it is completely clear from all analyzes and statistics, in countries where more people are vaccinated, fewer people die," said Božinović.

He pointed out that he thought it would be suitable for all those who were vaccinated "who can and have an impact on at least part of the Croatian public space, to explain the reasons why they were vaccinated and to recommend it to others."

Referring to MOST's collection of signatures for a referendum that would regulate the work of the National Headquarters and abolish Covid-certificates, Božinović said he thought the issue was already legally communicated and that the government was doing what was best for Croatian citizens to protect health and slow the spread of the epidemic.

Asked by reporters whether and when the third vaccine dose would mean an unlimited duration of Covid certificates, Božinović warned that the question remained open as long as there was no relevant evidence of the booster dose protection.

“There is a difference between 'unlimited' and, at the moment, 'no limit’, which is logical, because at the moment there are no analyzes that could relevantly prove how long booster dose protection lasts,” he said.

"It is known that it increases the body's immunity 25 times, but no one knows how fast it will decrease at the moment, and no one can determine a date or time when a booster dose certificate will be valid, so it's an open story," Božinović added.

Minister Božinović is in Brussels, where he participated in meeting the interior ministers of the member states. Asked by reporters how he commented on the actions of police officers filmed beating migrants, he said he could not comment on ongoing disciplinary proceedings. When asked whether Croatia would pay compensation or appeal the decision in the case of the dead Medina girl, the minister said that lawyers are already working on it. External legal experts will be hired to see all the circumstances of the tragedy.

For more on COVID-19, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Sound Barrier Will Be Broken as Part of Regular Flight Activities, Says DM

November 10, 2021 - As part of the exercises carried out by Croatian fighter jets in the temporary test flight zone of Čazma from Wednesday to Friday, the Defense Ministry has announced that the sound barrier may be broken and asks citizens for their understanding and patience.

The Ministry of Defense reported that on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday it is possible to expect the sound wall to be breached as part of the regular flying activities of Croatian Air Force fighter jets, reports HRT News.

From 12 noon to 4 pm on Wednesday and on Thursday, 11 November and Friday, 12 November from 10 am to 4 pm, pilots of the 191st Squadron of 91st Wing fighter jets will conduct regular flying activities during which a sound barrier can be expected to break through.

The planned test flights are being held at subsonic speeds in the temporary test flight zone of Čazma, which is geographically remote from the northeast, in the range of 600 to 1000 meters above the ground.

Čazma is a town in Bjelovar-Bilogora County, Croatia. It is part of Moslavina. It is situated 60 kilometers east of Zagreb and only 30 kilometers from the center of the region: Bjelovar. The town of Čazma is one of the oldest towns in the Republic of Croatia.

After the test flights in the temporary test flight zone Čazma, the last phase of testing the aircraft will be carried out, during which the sound barrier is expected to be breached in the Zagreb, Bjelovar-Bilogora, and Koprivnica-Križevci counties at an altitude of 1,000 to 10,000 meters and in the area Požega-Slavonia, Osijek-Baranja, Virovitica-Podravina,

Bjelovar-Bilogora and Koprivnica-Križevci counties at an altitude of over 10,000 meters, in compliance with all safety measures.

During the implementation of the planned flights and due to the breach of the sound wall, short-term amplified noise is expected, and we ask the citizens for patience and understanding, the Ministry of Defense reported.

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

Friday, 5 November 2021

COVID Certificates Only for Those Vaccinated and/or Recovered Announced

November 5, 2021 - Among the new measures announced due to the rise in positive cases in the country, Davor Božinović announced that COVID certificates will be introduced as of January 4, and if the situation does not improve, they will only be valid for those who have recovered and/or vaccinated.

The National Civil Protection Headquarters announced when a new record of 6,932 new cases was broken in Croatia, that the use of covid certificates will be expanded from November 15, which will be mandatory for users and employees of public and state services, and gatherings will be further restricted from tomorrow, reports Index.hr.

From tomorrow new measures for gatherings

"To prevent the spread of the infection, it is necessary to act in three directions: to achieve as much vaccination as possible, to limit gatherings and to achieve as much security as possible when conducting business that will not be limited," said National Staff Chief Davor Bozinovic at a press conference.

He announced that new epidemiological measures would be introduced as a result, gatherings would be restricted from tomorrow, and the use of covid certificates would be expanded from 15 November.

Thus, a certificate of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test from mid-November will be mandatory for all employees of state and public services, as well as for citizens who will use their services and come to their premises. 

If the numbers continue to grow, from November 15, confirmations for cafes, shopping centers ...

The Headquarters announced on Thursday that covid certificates will be used even more widely from mid-November if the number of newly infected continues to grow, and then they will be introduced in catering facilities, such as cafes, restaurants, gyms, recreational and fitness centers indoors. 

Bozinovic announced that testing will be possible only in registered institutions and that, for a start, the cost of testing will be borne by the employer at the request of employees. 

As of January 4, certificates only for those vaccinated and those who have survived COVID-19

He pointed out that, if the situation does not improve, they will introduce covid-certificates from January 4, which will be available only to those who have been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19, and those who have been tested will no longer receive them.

"That gap has been left because it is enough time for all those who have not been vaccinated to get vaccinated by the beginning of next year," Bozinovic said. 

Details of new measures

With a new decision coming into force tomorrow, Saturday, November 6, the headquarters further restricted gatherings indoors and outdoors.

From tomorrow, all public gatherings indoors with more than 50 people are prohibited, except for those attended by people who have a covid-certificate, but from now on it will be mandatory to wear masks and maintain distance. 

Events above 100 participants can only be organized at open-air public gatherings if all participants have an EU digital covid-certificate. Exceptionally, events over 100 people will be able to be held outdoors only with the approval of the CNIPH, which will develop an epidemiological framework. 

All gatherings are limited to 24 hours, with the exception of cinema screenings that begin at 11 pm and wedding ceremonies where everyone has a covid confirmation. The weddings must end no later than 2 o'clock after midnight, and they will consider additional time limits, announced Božinović. 

Congresses and conferences will be able to be held provided everyone has a Covid certificate, wears a mask, and keeps a distance.

Sports competitions will be able to be held in the presence of spectators indoors only if everyone has a Covid certificate and is required to use face masks. Sports participants will also have to have certificates, but they will not have to wear masks, Bozinovic said.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

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Wednesday, 27 October 2021

MP Calls for Resignation of National COVID-19 Crisis Management Team

ZAGREB, 27 Oct 2021 - MP Renata Sabljar-Dračevac (Social Democrats) said on Wednesday there was no longer any trust in the national COVID-19 crisis management team and called for its resignation.

Due to the high COVID-19 mortality rate and extreme irresponsibility, we call for the resignation of the national COVID-19 crisis management team and the appointment of serious experts who would restore the trust of citizens with consistency and expertise, achieving thus a better vaccination rate, the MP said.

According to unofficial data, Croatia has 4,400 new cases today, there have been 30 deaths over the past 48 hours, and the number of active cases is nearly 18,000 yesterday, Sabljar-Dračevac said.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 25 October 2021

Božinović: Checks of Existing Anti-epidemic Measures Should Be Stepped Up

ZAGREB, 25 Oct 2021 - The national coronavirus response team on Monday discussed the COVID-19 situation in Croatia and the possibility of stepping up checks of the anti-epidemic measures in force, such as wearing face masks inside public spaces, the team's head, Davor Božinović, told a press conference.

Božinović recalled that they had anticipated a rise in the number of new cases in the autumn and addressed the problem by combining recommendations on compliance with the basic anti-epidemic measures with calls for vaccination. "Apart from these measures, there are no special activities that can be used in this situation," he added.

Since nearly a quarter of new cases come from schools, Božinović said that they would look into the possibility of face-to-face classes being suspended for two days in the week around All Saints' Day, 1 November. He said they also discussed the promotion of a booster dose for people whose level of antibodies is decreasing.

"As for the existing measures, notably wearing face masks, checks should indeed be stepped up because this obligation is taken too lightly," Božinović said, adding that the possibility of bringing COVID certificates into wider use is not being considered for now.

He stressed that there are enough vaccines against COVID-19 and that vaccination can prevent more serious forms of the disease. "A combination of the anti-epidemic measures and vaccination can get us out of the crisis," Božinović said.

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

Saturday, 23 October 2021

PM on Visa Cancellation: Strategic Goal Achieved to the Benefit of Croatian Citizens

ZAGREB, 23 Oct, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović have welcomed the fact that Croatians can travel to the United States without visas as of Saturday, 23 October.

"As of today, Croatians can travel to the USA without visas!" Plenković said in a Twitter post.

"We have met the necessary criteria and achieved a strategic goal to the benefit of Croatian citizens," Plenković said.

"We are opening a new chapter in our relations, strengthening our partnership and creating preconditions for closer economic cooperation and investments," the PM said.

As of 23 October Croatians can travel to the United States for business or tourism purposes without visas, after obtaining approval via the online Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA, the US Embassy in Zagreb said.

Croatia has entered the Visa Waiver Programme, a comprehensive security partnership between the United States and participating countries that enables travel to the USA for business or tourism purposes in the duration of up to 90 days, with national security being protected in the process.

For a country to enter the VWP, it must meet criteria regarding the fight against terrorism, law enforcement, immigration, document security and border management, and the percentage of rejected visa applications must be below 3%, which Croatia met only recently.

Application via ESTA is possible any time before travel but the US Homeland Security Department recommends that travellers apply as soon as possible, and 72 hours before travel at the latest, the US Embassy says.

Božinović: Visa cancellation major acknowledgement for Croatia

The cancellation of visa requirements for Croatians travelling to the USA is a major acknowledgement for Croatia, Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović said on Saturday after talks with the Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy, Mark Fleming.

Božinović thanked the US Embassy for playing an important role in "moments that were very important" for Croatia, such as its accession to the EU and NATO.

He recalled "the hard work on the cancellation of visa requirements over the past few years", including the connecting of data bases, cooperation with the Homeland Security Department and with agencies in charge of fighting terrorism and organised crime, etc.

This is a very good day for US-Croatian relations, Fleming said.

We want more Croatians in the United States, he added.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Monday, 18 October 2021

Croatian Police Burn Over 2 Tonnes of Narcotics

ZAGREB, 18 Oct 2021 - More than two tonnes of narcotics seized in police operations was burnt in a factory in the eastern town of Našice on Monday, including two tonnes of marijuana and hashish, 28 kilos of amphetamines, 15 kilos of cocaine, and 12 kilos of heroin, with a street value of about €9.5 million.

Interior Minister Davor Božinović said that the amount of drugs seized was proof of good cooperation between relevant state authorities. He said that drug abuse was a global problem, especially in Europe which has become the main market for some types of drugs, notably cocaine.

"The fact that this is the second drug incineration this year shows the magnitude of the challenge we are all facing. The illegal market is very large, there are many interests of criminal groups, and our job is to be as efficient as possible," Božinović said.

"The present campaign by criminal groups is the result of the opening of communications that were closed for a while due to the pandemic," he added.

Božinović said that the government's goal was to increase prevention and "lead as many young people as possible, especially those in their formative years, away from this evil."

Over the past ten years, Croatia has incinerated over 20 tonnes of seized narcotics. About 500 kilos of cocaine was incinerated in July this year.

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