Thursday, 5 November 2020

Bozinovic on COVID-19 in Croatia: Cases Rising Due to Socializing on Weekends

November 5, 2020 - Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic with the latest on COVID-19 in Croatia.

Slobodna DalmacijaSlobodna Dalmacija reports that Davor Bozinovic said on Thursday that the number of newly infected had risen every week on Wednesday, which could be attributed to weekend behavior, and called for private gatherings to be reduced.

"Weekend days are approaching when people usually relax in the company of relatives and friends. Unfortunately, the data show that the number of newly infected grows every week from Wednesday onwards, which can be partly attributed to weekend behavior," Bozinovic said at a government session.

He warned that it is especially important in those days to reduce, as much as possible, social activities, private celebrations, gatherings from which the infection most often spreads within the household and family, and then in the workplace.

Since the last session of the Government, a decision has been made to extend the existing rule of crossing the Croatian border until November 19. Decisions were also made on necessary epidemiological measures for Brod-Posavina, Zadar, Karlovac counties, and the City of Zagreb, he reminded.

On Wednesday, given the complex epidemiological situation in Varazdin County, and at the county headquarters' suggestion, they intensified measures related to limiting public gatherings to 30 people, religious gatherings, cultural and sports activities to 50 and limiting the work of restaurants until 10 pm.

Inspectors of the Directorate of Civil Protection, in cooperation with inspectors of the State Inspectorate and police officers, inspected 23,221 business entities, catering facilities, and public gatherings, Bozinovic reported.

They issued 1,137 warnings and 25 misdemeanor warrants in the total amount of HRK 630,000 for exceeding midnight, not pointing out the notice of observance of hygienic measures and not maintaining physical distance, and wearing face masks.

Members of the State Civil Protection Intervention Unit continued to equip health and other facilities with containers and tents.

Since the last session of the Government, 1.12 million items of protective equipment have been issued, which is about 58 tons, of which 26 tons were delivered to the Arena sports hall.

There are about 13.6 million different items or 1350 tons of protective equipment in the Directorate of Civil Protection in Jastrebarsko and regional warehouses. Bozinovic emphasized that the protective equipment and means issued to the users are being promptly renewed.

The directorate also mobilized a home for the elderly in Novi Marof as an outpatient facility for the treatment of the sick in the Varazdin County, which currently houses users of the Home for the Elderly and the Infirm Zavojna from Varazdin.

To read more about coronavirus in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Thursday, 29 October 2020

Bozinovic: Future Measures Can Only Be More Restrictive

ZAGREB, October 29, 2020 - Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said on Thursday that any new epidemic measures would only be more restrictive that those currently in place, but did not specify whether and when they would be imposed, saying that this would depend on further developments.

"Any new measures that may be adopted in the coming days or longer may only be more restrictive considering the present epidemiological situation, but I will not be more specific because you more or less know the direction in which new measures would go," Bozinovic told the press ahead of a regular cabinet meeting.

He was asked whether and when restrictions such as those imposed in France and Germany could be expected in Croatia.

Bozinovic recalled that the national coronavirus response team had adopted a set of measures earlier this week to contain the coronavirus epidemic. Possible new measures would depend on the numbers of new infections, the infection growth rate and the burden this puts on the healthcare system, he added.

The minister also commented on the gathering of hundreds of Hajduk Football Club fans in Split on Wednesday evening to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Torcida fan club. Asked who was responsible that the gathering took place despite the restrictions in force, Bozinovic said that the responsibility lay with those who assembled there.

"We know that any gathering of more than 50 people has to be reported in advance. I believe that, if the gathering wasn't reported to it, and I presume it wasn't, the local coronavirus response team will take the measures provided for under the law," the minister said.

Bozinovic noted that "we will have a problem as long as there are people who think it is all right to gather together in large numbers and have close contacts without maintaining a distance."

He concluded by saying that other measures could be used to prevent such behaviour, but "repression should be a last resort."

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Croatia Ready to Set Up 2,360 Beds in Makeshift Hospitals if Necessary

ZAGREB, October 22, 2020 - Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said on Thursday that the authorities were preparing additional beds in makeshift facilities for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, following a surge in the number of daily cases of the coronavirus infection.

For this purpose, Zagreb's Arena Centre, Split's Spaladium hall, Rijeka's Dvorana Mladosti venue as well as similar locations in Varazdin and Osijek have been selected for installing a total of 2,360 beds, if necessary.

Bozinovic informed the government that those capacities could be prepared to take in COVID-19 patients within 48 hours.

He also called on the Croatians to avoid all the uneccesary contacts so as to help efforts to curb the infection.

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Health Minister Vili Beros Says Introducing a Curfew is the Last Resort

October 22, 2020 - As coronavirus cases rise in Croatia, Health Minister Vili Beros says introducing a curfew is the last resort. reports that Health Minister Vili Beros warned on Wednesday that the number of newly infected is higher than ever and announced that possibly introducing some previous measures will be decided in a few more days.

"If there are no positive developments, it is quite certain that we will introduce some additional, but balanced measures that will primarily refer to the restriction of gatherings," Beros said. He reiterated that citizens could contribute to preventing the spread of the virus through responsible behavior.

"We are the best cure for this pandemic if we respect the measures. Only then can we expect the number of infected to slow down. However, I must say that the virus is spreading horizontally, radiantly among the population. Therefore, we need to be more careful than ever," he said.

He even told reporters that they were too close to each other.

"And you are too close to each other, even though you have masks on and we are outside," Beros said.

When asked about introducing a curfew, Beros answered that some countries had introduced a curfew but that he did not want to give an affirmative answer now. He pointed out that a curfew is the last thing he will introduce if necessary, adding several other measures that can be taken before that.

The head of the National Civil Protection Headquarters, Davor Bozinovic, said on Wednesday that in a situation where the number of people infected is growing, they would focus mostly on punishing all behaviors that are not in line with epidemiological measures, especially legal entities.

During his visit to Jastrebarsko, Bozinovic told reporters that there would be no need for additional activities to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection if the measures already adopted were applied as intended, negotiated, and ultimately prescribed.

"We are monitoring the situation; the numbers are growing, the numbers are growing outside Croatia," said Bozinovic, emphasizing that they will mostly concentrate on prescribed measures, especially the obligations of legal entities that organize events or engage in economic activity with fluctuating people.

In doing so, he said, they will be aimed at sanctioning all behaviors that are not in line with epidemiological measures.

He claimed that they had made a great effort, including the Croatian Institute of Public Health, which made detailed recommendations for all economic and social activities to not close.

"It is an effort that has been translated into concrete recommendations of the Headquarters," said Bozinovic, calling on all citizens to adhere to these measures because it is the only way to slow down the spread of the virus in Croatia.

He emphasized that citizens should refrain from large gatherings, private parties, and meetings as long as the epidemic lasts.

He noted that they prescribe measures for public events, while what happens in homes cannot and should not be controlled. However, he warned that it is in these circumstances that citizens relax the most, which is why the virus spreads when they return to their home or go to work.

"This is not a big philosophy. In practice, it is not comfortable or easy to wear a mask when we cannot maintain physical distance, but it is not so difficult as long as it is the only way to overcome the crisis," he said.

He pointed out that the headquarters can make decisions, and epidemiologists prescribe recommendations, but nothing will be achieved if the citizens do not accept it.

Bozinovic announced the intensified inspections aimed at irresponsible behavior, explaining that the facilities' organizers and owners will be sanctioned if the measures are not adhered to in their facility and stated that a 30 thousand kuna fine is prescribed for dancing in clubs.

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Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Bozinovic: We Will Concentrate on Punishing Violations of Epidemiological Measures

ZAGREB, Oct 21,  2020 - The head of the national Covid response team, Davor Bozinovic, said on Wednesday that as long as the number of people infected with coronavirus continued to grow they would concentrate on punishing violations of epidemiological measures, in particular legal entities.

Bozinovic visited the National Civil Protection Authority's warehouse in Jastrebarsko and told reporters that new measures would not be needed to curb the spread of coronavirus if measures already adopted were adhered to.

"We are monitoring the situation. The numbers are growing. They are growing outside Croatia too," said Bozinovic and underlined that they will concentrate the most on the measures in place, in particular the obligations of legal entities that organize events or other commercial acclivities where people fluctuate.

In that regard, he said, "we will punish any behavior that is not in accordance with the epidemiological measures."

He claimed that they had invested a lot of effort, including the Croatian Institute for Public Health which adopted detailed recommendations for all commercial and social activities so that they would not have to shut down.

"That effort has been transformed into specific recommendations by the response team," said Bozinovic, calling on all citizens to adhere to all measures as the only way to slow down the spread of the virus in Croatia.

He underscored that as long as the epidemic lasts, citizens have to avoid any large gatherings, private parties, and meetings.

He noted that the measures in place were intended for public events and not for events in people's homes. He warned, however, that it is in those circumstances that citizens forget themselves the most which then results in the virus spreading when they go home or back to work.

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Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Security in Croatia Not Undermined, Says Interior Minister

ZAGREB, Sept 29, 2020 - Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said on Tuesday security in Croatia was not undermined "in these extraordinary circumstances and special epidemiological conditions", also underlining the importance of combating corruption and illegal migration.

Speaking at a ceremony marking Police Day, Bozinovic said security was not undermined "even during the tourist season."

"With a set of new operative solutions and models of their implementation, the police have adjusted to changes in the commission of crimes caused by the epidemic, paying special attention to domestic violence and vulnerable groups."

Bozinovic said illegal migration and the smuggling networks connected to them became active again after the spring lockdown, adding that the police met the rising trend prepared both technically and in terms of staff.

Police are doing their job responsibly and professionally

"The Croatian police are doing their job responsibly and professionally, focusing on priority problems," he said, highlighting the fight against human trafficking, illegal migration, and corruption.

Bozinovic said emphasis would be put on digitalisation, efficiency, European funds, and streamlining civil protection. He added that 22 projects, worth HRK 117 million, had been launched to procure police equipment. 

Milina: Fight against organised crime and corruption high on list of priorities

Police Director Nikola Milina thanked all police officers for their efforts after the March earthquake in the Zagreb area and during the coronavirus epidemic, saying he was also pleased with the efforts made to protect the external EU border, the longest land border on the migration route.

He recalled that in October 2019 Croatia met one of its strategic goals, technical readiness to join the Schengen Area, saying the next strategic priority was to become guardians of the Schengen border.

Milina recalled that over the past year the Croatian police had successfully carried out several operations at national and international level in which a large number of criminals were arrested.

"High on our list of priorities remains the fight against all forms of organised crime as well as the prevention of white collar and corruption crimes in all spheres of society."

Milina said another priority was investigating all war crimes and that they would not stop until all were prosecuted.

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Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Interior Minister, Police Director Talk Information Leaks, Surveillance Breaches

ZAGREB, Sept 29, 2020 - Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said on Tuesday that parliamentary Domestic Policy and National Security Committee chair Niksa Vukas would receive a report on information leaks and that he could always contact the ministry and the police.

Speaking to the press, Bozinovic said Vukas "can ask and will receive an answer, probably to the effect that DORH (State Prosecutor's Office) and the police are conducting preliminary investigations. They are doing that and they will inform the public about the results."

Vukas said this morning that he would request Bozinovic's comment on the situation in the system, surveillance breaches and information leaks, and that next week he would convene the Domestic Policy and National Security Committee over the JANAF corruption case.

Surveillance breaches are not good

Asked if he was concerned about surveillance breaches in big cases and if anything had been identified in that regard in the case of former state secretary Josipa Rimac, Bozinovic said that it was not good that those breaches were occurring.

"However, as far as I know, DORH is conducting preliminary investigations in coordination with the police which are aimed at uncovering the reasons and those who are illegally involved in surveillance breaches."

The most important part of the criminal investigation, which is conducted by the police in cooperation with DORH and USKOK (anti-corruption office), was finished and charges have been filed, which means that they collected enough evidence, Bozinovic said.

"This isn't good, of course. However, DORH and the police are working on it and I'm sure they will inform us when they have some results."

Asked if the police were powerless about surveillance breaches, the minister said all criminal investigations were long, painstaking, and uncertain.

"When several months pass and result in the collection of enough evidence, it means... that a good job was done and that it was done as the law stipulates, which means keeping preliminary investigations secret."

Emergency services are working

Bozinovic also commented on the HT telecom's technical difficulties today due to which it is not possible to get 112, the number for emergency services.

"I'm sure someone will say what happened. When it comes to key communications and the communications of all emergency services, that shouldn't be a problem as they all have their own line of communication, their own means of communication when it comes to civil protection services," he said, voicing confidence that the system was working.

That was financed with European money and the Interior Ministry has made sure that those communications, based on TETRA devices, work in all emergency services, he added.

Police intensively working on finding those responsible for information leaks

Police Director Nikola Milina told the press the police were intensively working on finding those responsible for leaking police information while simultaneously working on the prevention of information leaks.

He said they reported police officers for information leaks in 15 cases over the past two years.

Commenting on surveillance breaches in the cases of Rimac and the recently arrested director of the JANAF oil pipeline operator, Dragan Kovacevic, Milina said the police "are intensively working on those cases... We are the least interested in having surveillance breached. However, each case is different."

He said that in both cases the police pressed charges on suspicion that a number of persons had committed various white collar and corruption crimes.

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Wednesday, 26 August 2020

No Lockdown For Split-Dalmatia County

ZAGREB, Aug 26, 2020 - Head of the national COVID-19 management team and Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said on Wednesday that the new measures for Split-Dalmatia County, announced by the county's team, would come into force at midnight.

"Split-Dalmatia County has decided to make wearing masks mandatory in bars and restaurants before consuming drinks and food, the number of people at weddings will be limited to 50, wakes are banned, and owners of restaurants are obliged to supervise their facilities more closely. Also, gyms will close, and sports competitions can take place but without spectators," Bozinovic said.

Broken down by counties, the number of new cases of the infection is the highest in Split-Dalmatia County - 136, followed by the City of Zagreb (58), Sibenik-Knin County (33), Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (20), Zagreb County (19), Zadar County (15), Varazdin County (11), Brod-Posavina County (11), while other counties have recorded fewer than 10 new cases.

Asked whether the national COVID-19 response team was considering a complete closure of Split-Dalmatia County, Bozinovic said that was not the case.

"We are not considering that this is the only way to avoid that, and I am convinced there will not be any lockdown. We are keeping the situation under control this way," he said.

Asked about the possibility of the spike in number due to the recent Feast of the Assumption, Bozinovic said that they had assigned local teams to conduct epidemiological surveillance, and they believe the prescribed measures had been implemented.

"Split-Dalmatia County is a hotspot and new measures are being taken there. We will have meetings with others on Thursday, so it is possible that some new measures may be introduced then in some counties," Bozinovic said.

Asked why gyms were closing in Split-Dalmatia County while bars remained open and Masses were allowed, Bozinovic said that the new measures would be in place for 14 days.

He underscored that measures could be dropped or extended. Fines for violating the measures are also possible, he added.

"There is always the possibility of penalizing. We hope there will be no need for that because our intention is that as many people as possible accept the recommendations by the Croatian Public Health Institute. The point is for people to follow the recommendations because then we will achieve the main goal, to reduce the number of new infections and control the situation," he said.

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Friday, 21 August 2020

Decisions Related To Coronavirus Epidemic Not Political, Says Bozinovic

ZAGREB, Aug 21, 2020 - The head of the national COVID-19 response team, Davor Bozinovic, said on Friday that decisions regarding the coronavirus epidemic were not political decisions.

"Tourism is an important economic sector in Croatia, however, we opened up based on scientific data about the virus not being so dangerous in the summertime, as evidenced by the latest clinical symptoms in patients. The assessment that it is possible to open up was an epidemiological one," Bozinovic told reporters when asked to comment on Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic's statement that the decision on the tourist season was a political one and to say which other decisions were political.

Asked why the situation was problematic in Split-Dalmatia County, where earlier in the day 103 new cases of the COVID-19 disease were reported, Bozinovic said that there were more than 800,000 people in the county at present, that its towns and communities have much fewer residents in the winter, and that a large number of people from neighboring countries were staying there.

Commenting on scientist Ivan Djikic's statement that it had been wrong to allow night clubs to operate, Bozinovic said that the COVID-19 response team had adopted the necessary measures, carried out controls, and when cases of infection were detected, it banned night clubs from working after midnight.

The measures imposed by the team resulted in a drop in new infections, he said.

Bozinovic also said that they were not worried about reports that a Facebook initiative would file a class-action lawsuit against the COVID-19 response team and that its objective was to maintain a balance.

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Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Davor Bozinovic: Cruisers Will Soon be Allowed in Dubrovnik

August 11, 2020 - The head of the National Civil Protection Headquarters and Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said that the Headquarters would probably agree to the request of Dubrovnik Mayor, Mato Frankovic, allowing cruisers to enter Dubrovnik. reports that the head of the National Civil Protection Headquarters and Interior Minister said that the Croatian curve was in a downward phase with a tendency to decline further.

Asked what the government is doing to control the damage, as more and more tourists claim to have been infected on holiday in Croatia, Bozinovic said: "There are such examples, but not all have been confirmed. There is a European system of early detection and action, and some of the cases that were in the media did not go through that system."

"We expect that the countries that put us on the yellow list will remove us from that list. We have 18 cases per 100,000 people, and now there are a million more people in Croatia," the minister said as a guest on Dnevnik NovaTV.

When asked what will happen to closed nightclubs in the fall, he replied:

"We are in contact with the representatives of that industry and our goal is for them to survive, but also to preserve people's health. They are also interested in people's health, and they have to live from something," he said, adding that all options are being considered. 

Asked by a journalist if he could imagine going out with a protective mask, he replied that he did not remember the last time he was at a nightclub in person, but that the measures should definitely be adhered to.

Bozinovic also said that the National Headquarters would probably agree to the request of the mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, to allow the entry of cruisers.

"We are in contact with the mayor and I think we will allow this very soon. Some more technical details need to be resolved, such as what to do if people are infected on board, but I think we are close to deciding to allow it."

Recall, Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic asked the National Civil Protection Headquarters to change the rule banning the entry of ships with more than two hundred passengers into Croatian ports.

This is because the global cruise line MSC did not include Dubrovnik in its cruise program.

Namely, representatives of the company have previously expressed interest in including Dubrovnik in the travel program, but the limiting factor for the arrival of larger ships on cruises to Dubrovnik is the rule, according to which ships with more than 200 passengers cannot enter Croatian ports at the moment.

Frankovic briefed Deputy Prime Minister and Head of the National Civil Protection Headquarters Davor Bozinovic and Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure Oleg Butkovic on this very topic.

Following Bozinovic's instructions, Frankovic submitted to the County Institute of Public Health detailed procedures introduced by the MSC for its ships, as well as procedures to be carried out by the Dubrovnik Port Authority and the City of Dubrovnik.

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