Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Bozinovic: 41,100 Applications for Passes Received, 36,000 Rejected

ZAGREB, Dec 23, 2020 - Interior Minister and head of the National Civil Protection Authority, Davor Bozinovic, said on Wednesday that nearly 97,000 applications for e-passes for travel between counties had been received by 10 a.m. and that 41,500 had been approved while slightly fewer than 36,000 had been rejected.

About 20,000 more are waiting to be processed, Bozinovic added at a government session.

Since the last government session,Civil Protection Directorate, State Inspectorate and police inspectors have conducted 19,476 inspections of businesses and public gatherings and issued 318 verbal warnings, with 210 irregularities being removed on the spot, while further action will be taken based on 61 reports concerning violations of measures, Bozinovic said.

Police established, he added, 13 such violations of measures and one criminal offence for violation of measures.

Based on reports from citizens and through regular police work, 204 violations against self-isolation measures have been established, which will result in misdemeanour warrants, and five criminal offences for spreading an infectious disease have been recorded.

Operational services continued setting up containers and tents and they issued 893,600 items of protective equipment (about 100 tonnes) to medical facilities, social welfare institutions and Red Cross Croatia societies. The equipment, Bozinovic said, is being promptly renewed, so there are 710 tonnes of protective equipment in the logistics centre and regional warehouses.

Since the last government session, the national COVID-19 crisis management team has made five decisions, three at the national and two at the county level.

Measures restricting gathering have been extended, and additional necessary measures have been introduced that will be in place until 10 January, so public gatherings are limited to 25 people, while private gatherings are limited to 10 people from two households.

It is also recommended that Masses be broadcast on radio and television, while and on 24 and 25 December they can place in accordance with special recommendations by the Croatian Public Health Institute, Bozinovic recalled.

The restriction on movement between counties will be in force until 8 January 2021.

About 800 police officers will be monitoring the implementation of the measures at about 200 checkpoints, Bozinovic said.

The national COVID-19 crisis management team has also made a decision whereby public transport service providers are required to organise transport until 10 January allowing a maximum of 40% of their capacities to be occupied, and passengers without a protective mask must not be allowed to enter any public vehicle.

Monday, 21 December 2020

Bozinovic: Special Instructions for Orthodox Christmas if Required

ZAGREB, Dec 21, 2020 - The head of the national COVID response team, Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic on Monday said that the government had agreed with Orthodox Church dignitaries that if required, special epidemiological instructions for Orthodox Christmas would be defined in the first week of January.

"As far as Orthodox Christmas is concerned... government representatives contacted Orthodox Church dignitaries and it was agreed that if required, special instructions will be defined in the first week of January, depending on epidemiological developments and the specificities of Orthodox liturgy," Bozinovic said.

He said that by 10 am 1,120 calls, 5,600 e-mails and a total of 10,848 applications had been received related to passes for travel within the country.

Asked whether criminal charges had been filed against the founder of the web portal Matija Babic, who called for churches to be burnt down, Bozinovic said that the police were familiar with that post and that they were taking action within their remit.

He recalled that Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Oleg Butkovic had, in agreement with Prime Minister Andrej Plenovic, made a decision on a 48-hour ban on passenger flights from Great Britain due to the emergence of a new strain of coronavirus in that country.

Monday, 14 December 2020

New Framework of Anti-COVID Measures to be Specified This Week

ZAGREB, Dec 14, 2020 - Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic, who is at the helm of the Croatia's national coronavirus crisis management team, said on Monday that the team would hammer out a new framework of anti-COVID measures this week.

"Intensive talks are underway, consideration is given to everything," the minister told a news conference in Zagreb.

This week some concrete answers will be given to the questions what can be done to make sure that coronavirus numbers start declining, Bozinovic said announcing more precise measures, while answering the question if passes could be expected.

He said that he could understand that all would like to see the predictability of moves.

I must underscore that some countries have announced the easing of the restrictions in this period only to make them stricter. Some countries have announced tougher restrictions but eventually eased them, he said in his comment on predictability.

Friday, 11 December 2020

Current Restrictions to Last Beyond Dec. 21, Minister Says

ZAGREB, Dec 11, 2020 - The head of the national COVID-19 response team, Minister of the Interior Davor Bozinovic, on Friday called on citizens to refrain from visiting their friends and relatives during the coming holidays, noting that the current epidemiological restrictions would be extended beyond December 21.

Even though he announced the extension of the current regime, Bozinovic would not go into details or announce possible new measures, and when asked whether a ban on leaving one's place of residence was being considered, as had been the case in the spring, he said that the public would be informed about possible changes to the current regime on time.

He called on citizens to refrain from visiting people close to them during the coming holiday season.

"Our message for the coming holidays is that, basically, everyone should refrain from socialising and contacting people other than those who are members of their households, and that we should wish all who are dear to us the best for Christmas and the New Year by telephone or a text message," said Bozinovic, noting that there were 1.5 million households in Croatia and that socialising indoors would pose a very high epidemiological risk.

Asked why, for the sake of the nation's mental state, the COVID-19 response team was not announcing in advance when restrictions would be tightened  or relaxed, Bozinovic said that it was difficult to predict a favourable or bad course of the epidemic.

"It would not be good if we issued a message about relaxing restrictions and then had to give up on it if the epidemiological situation does not improve," he said.

Bozinovic said that the impact of all existing restrictions was carefully considered, announcing talks with church officials for this weekend.

He recalled that the new, tighter epidemiological measures for shops and shopping centres would go into force on Saturday.

Friday, 11 December 2020

Germany Donates Vehicles for Croatian Border Police Worth €835K

ZAGREB, Dec 11, 2020 - German Ambassador Robert Klinke on Thursday presented Croatian Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic with a German donation of ten vans and ten other vehicles for the Croatian border police worth €835,000.

"Since 2000, the German Federal Foreign Ministry has donated to Croatian police €3.1 million worth of material and technical means, and we are grateful for that," Bozinovic said, adding that Germany was among those most familiar with the work of the Croatian border police.

He said German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and the German government had publicly said a number of times that they were grateful for everything Croatian police were doing to protect the Croatian border, the EU's longest external order, first and foremost in preventing illegal migrations.

"If Croatian police did not prevent illegal migrations so efficiently, they would spill further into EU territory all the way to Germany," Bozinovic said.

He said statistics indicated that the pressure of illegal migration on Croatia was constant, "clearly showing that this year, despite a two-month calm during the global spring lockdown, the migrant wave has intensified so much that it is now 42% bigger than a year ago."

Ambassador Klinke said the Croatian border, also the EU's external border, was under big migrant pressures, notably the land border with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"We are here today to make sure that Croatian police can fulfil their responsible tasks appropriately. We wish to contribute so that Croatian police can move freely on the terrain they work on, and it's very important that they act on their terrain under Croatian, European and international law," he said, wishing for further cooperation on the bilateral front and within the EU.

The donated vehicles will contribute to mobility, effectiveness and terrain coverage in border surveillance, notably on inaccessible terrain and during migrant rescues, the Interior Ministry said, adding that they would also help to curb illegal migration and smuggling.

Friday, 11 December 2020

Croatian and Slovenian Ministers Discuss Border Control, Illegal Migrants

ZAGREB, Dec 11, 2020 - The interior ministers, Davor Bozinovic of Croatia and Ales Hojs of Slovenia, on Thursday held a video meeting on illegal migrants and the protection of border as well as on the regime of cross-border travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Slovenian New Agency STA reported.

The minister agreed on seeking solutions for making it impossible for irregular migrants to cross borders illegally, the STA quoted the Slovenian interior ministry's statement as reading.

They assessed the cooperation between the two ministries and the countries' police forces as good, adding that the operationally and strategically the cooperation has been recently focused on anti-COVID restrictions and illegal border crossings.

The ministers agreed on the preparation of the system for registering information on the entries/departures and refusal of the entry for citizens from third countries, that is non-European Union members, at the Schengen border.

Hojs expressed dissatisfaction with a high number of illegal entries  at the Croatia-Slovenia border, which prompted the Croatian minister to point to a high number of illegal  migrants in Bosnia's areas near its border with Croatia, who are trying to reach destinations in western and northern Europe.

The two ministers pledged to seek a solution to this issue, Slovenia's media utlets reported.

Sunday, 6 December 2020

COVID Inspectors Issue Fines Worth €200K in 10 days, Daily Says

ZAGREB, December 6, 2020 - In the period from November 23 to December 3, State Inspectorate representatives, members of the Civil Protection and police officers carried out 10,130 inspections of business entities and issued 242 warnings, the Jutarnji List daily said on Sunday.

Forty-eight misdemeanor warrants have been issued, totalling HRK 1,440,000, due to failure to comply with the measures, Minister Davor Bozinovic said at the last two government sessions, the daily said.

The value of misdemeanor warrants does not mean that so much money will be paid into the state budget. It will be known how many fines will actually be charged after the final verdicts of misdemeanor judges.

Inspectors, Civil Protection members and police officers have been patrolling shops, hospitality establishments, social and health institutions for months, monitoring the implementation of decisions by the national COVID-19 crisis management team.

According to data from the State Inspectorate, from March 15 to November 29, a total of 12,961 inspections of business entities were conducted.

From March 15 to November 15, tourist inspectors carried out 1,791 inspections of the application of anti-COVID measures in hospitality establishments. It was established that there were 352 violations of the national COVID-19 crisis management team decisions.

Following the introduction of stricter anti-epidemic measures, tourist inspectors carried out 1,129 inspections from October 14 to November 29, and it was established that there were 43 cases of hospitality establishment owners not complying with the measures.

The State Inspectorate said that their sanitary inspectors had carried out 9,600 inspections since the introduction of epidemiological measures, as carried by Jutarnji List.

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Government: St Mark's Square Designated a Guarded Area

ZAGREB, November 26, 2020 - The government on Thursday amended the decree on designation of protected persons and buildings, designating St Mark's Square, the location of the buildings housing the government offices, parliament and the Constitutional Court, as a category 1 guarded area.

The amendment came after a 12 October shooting incident in which a police officer guarding the entrance to the government building was shot and wounded and the perpetrator later committed suicide.

Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said that the designation of the area as a guarded area created the legal grounds for stepping up security measures in order to reduce the possibilities of direct access and undermining the safety and security of the persons and buildings concerned.

He said that the rights to public assembly and peaceful protests would not be restricted and would be in compliance with the relevant legislation.

Access and movement for all persons, employees, office-holders, lawmakers, Constitutional Court judges, people living in the buildings in the square, worshippers visiting St Mark's Church and participants in public rallies will not be restricted.

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Arena Zagreb to Accommodate COVID-19 Patients in Final Stage of Recovery

ZAGREB, November 26, 2020 - Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said on Thursday that the Arena Zagreb sports hall has been activated and equipped for the accommodation of COVID-19 patients.

"The Arena has been activated, mobilised and equipped. When it will become operational will be decided by medical professionals and the Health Ministry. It is intended for patients who have passed the worst stage of the disease. We will see when this will be, but it can be soon," Bozinovic told a press conference at which new measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic were presented.

He added that the Arena would accommodate hospital patients who had not fully recovered and who needed to spend some more time under medical observation.

Bozinovic said that regional government units could adopt additional measures provided that they were tighter than those adopted by the national coronavirus response team.

The Defence Ministry said on Thursday that army personnel were on standby to assist the public healthcare system in case of opening of the medical unit at the Arena Zagreb.

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Minister Bozinovic Doesn't Rule Out Mandatory Coronavirus Vaccination

November the 25th, 2020 - Could Croatia introduce mandatory coronavirus vaccination when the vaccine becomes available and arrives in the country? For some the idea is excellent, for others it is quite the opposite. Regardless of the ins and outs, Minister Davor Bozinovic hasn't ruled the idea out completely.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, after the meeting with numerous county prefects, Minister Davor Bozinovic presented a new set of strict measures that should be in force until Christmas, you can read them here. As previously touched on, the possibility of Croatia introducing mandatory coronavirus vaccination for the entire population hasn't been ruled out.

When asked by journalists whether the vaccine against the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 will become mandatory here in Croatia, the Minister was not explicit in his response, but he left such a possibility open.

''There are vaccines that are already mandatory. That vaccine would reduce the spread of the infection,'' replied Bozinovic, explaining that according to Croatia's Law on the Protection of the Population from Infectious Diseases, there are vaccines that are indeed mandatory.

''Certainly, we need to know that in order for the vaccine to stop the epidemic, then the estimate [of the population which needs to be vaccinated] needs to stand at 70 percent, we're absolutely going to make sure that happens,” he assured, noting that it remains to be seen what the coming months will bring and what that will mean for decision making.

The head of the National Civil Protection Headquarters also noted that additional efforts should be made when it comes to communication with people when it comes to the measures and decisions regarding the pandemic and he asked for the media to help in that.

"Croatia has an obligation to vaccinate against some diseases. There's no mandatory coronavirus vaccine because all of this is brand new, but [should that be decided] it wouldn't be some sort of new thing,'' he noted.

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