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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Thursday, 30 July 2020

Davor Bozinovic: Croatia is Champion of Tourism in Europe

July 30, 2020 - The head of the National Civil Protection Headquarters and Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said on Wednesday that they were considering adopting new measures daily and called on event organizers to adhere to existing measures because that was the only way to decrease the number of cases.

"Every day, the Headquarters considers and takes into account all relevant data. We call on the organizers of events to adhere to the measures prescribed by the CNIPH; we call for responsibility," said Bozinovic, as reported by Slobodna Dalmacija.

Commenting on President Milanovic's repeated accusations that the National Headquarters is unconstitutional, Bozinovic reminded that the Headquarters was established in 2015, during the government of Prime Minister Milanovic.

“The only changes that have taken place are given this situation with the pandemic, which no one could have foreseen, neither then nor in 2019 when the law underwent certain amendments, and thus the headquarters was given the authority to make decisions related to the implementation of measures determined in cooperation with the CNIPH and the Ministry of Health, all under the supervision of the Government," the Minister pointed out.

He added that they had spoken with Education Minister Radovan Fuchs about the start of the school year in the autumn.

"We have agreed that within the Ministry of Education, there will be a special working group that will propose, and in some way support, the epidemiological service, and which will itself have an expert epidemiologist, given the whole range of issues and situations that should be anticipated given the risk of spreading the virus in school institutions," announced Bozinovic.

He added that there was no repression or tendency in the activities of the headquarters to diminish anyone's rights.

"This is a body that deals, based on knowledge and epidemiological recommendations and science, with finding a balance to maintain these activities, so that the economy and tourism do not stop," Bozinovic said.

He believes that the Parliament could not make a good decision, primarily due to lengthy debates, and change the same decision in less than 24 hours.

When asked by a journalist that the Association of Music Managers complained that they were unable to work and that they received a decision from only one county headquarters to allow gatherings of more than 1,000 people, the Minister said that there were already recommendations that cultural events and concerts could be organized in these circumstances, but with strict adherence to epidemiological measures.

"Some things are not possible in such epidemic conditions; concerts are not possible where a large number of people would gather as it used to be, and which would not maintain a physical distance between them. Concerts for 2020 and 2021 were practically canceled more or less throughout Europe, and in the USA until 2022. We must all find ways to organize ourselves in order for this activity to survive, and we can only do that through conversation, a rational approach," Bozinovic emphasized.

Minister of Health Vili Beros said that he had signed a pre-agreement for a million and a half doses of vaccine and that we had not paid anything yet because the signed contracts and agreements only regulate the procurement of vaccines in the future, emphasizing that Croatia is part of the European Commission initiative.

He added that the EU Commission is considering the modality of financing and the possibility for funding from EU structural and investment funds.

The director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, Krunoslav Capak, emphasized that the numbers in Croatia these days vary due to hotspots in Split-Dalmatia County and are related to new patients from weddings in Hrvace, and funerals in Imotski. In Vukovar-Srijem County, new patients are associated with a bachelor party in Cerna and a wedding that moved to Nasice.

He added that large numbers are associated with large gatherings and that this is the main source of infection at the moment. He confirmed that several people were infected at the Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs.

"In one organizational unit of the ministry, it is true that there are four sick people, none of the officials or close associates of Minister Grlic Radman is in self-isolation. Four sick people and several people from one organizational unit are in self-isolation," Capak said.

Asked if the opposition was once again calling for his removal because of the case of HSLS president Dari Hrebak, Capak stressed that he did not think a mistake had been made in the case.

"Hrebak, before receiving the prescribed measure of self-isolation, requested a test at his own expense, and after that when he received a negative test, he asked for an interpretation. The epidemiological opinion I wrote states that he is non-infectious in the next 36-48 hours because of the negative swab. In medicine, situations are not black or white, and it would be very good to let epidemiologists decide whether someone needs self-isolation or not," Capak concluded.

Ministers Beros and Bozinovic and Director Capak confirmed to reporters that they had installed a new application for monitoring infected "Stop COVID-19" on their mobile phones.

The Interior Minister and head of the National Civil Protection Headquarters also wrote several posts on Twitter after the press conference:

"From 0 to 24, the Headquarters monitors the situation and the epidemiological picture every day. This means quick decision-making and involvement of all departments that need to say something about it. 

We are constantly trying to find a balance between economic activities and recommendations for curbing the epidemic and we are communicating all this with Croatian citizens. That is why Croatia is the champion of tourism in Europe."

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Friday, 17 July 2020

Minister Bozinovic Reveals How Long We'll Need to Wear Masks For

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on July the 16th, 2020 - Decisions, as they state from the National Civil Protection Headquarters, must be respected. A recent guest of RTL Danas (Today) was Minister Bozinovic, who further clarified the latest anti-epidemic measures.

''You know that our approach is oriented towards raising people's awareness. At this time when science is confirming something to us, and science knows about the issue of masks, given that we know that this is a virus we're up against, initially, the World Health Organisation gave two interpretations, but now it's consensually accepted that masks do protect us, especially if they're worn indoors

Our goal is for people to accept this fact as something that can protect them and others from them when it comes to coronavirus transmission. We'll do everything so that we don't have to come to a situation where people are being punished. However, if someone consciously doesn't want to wear a mask, which is obligatory and not wearing one endangers people's health indoors, then it's likely that the competent authorities will need to take some additional actions,'' said Minister Bozinovic.

He also described what it would look like if someone didn’t have a mask on, yet wanted to obtain some sort of service, such as going shopping or needing to visit various administrative institutions.

"In that case, they mustn't receive that service, it's now the responsibility of the institution to which the person came and the counter officer to help someone who could endanger their own health. There are legal solutions for those situations as well,'' Minister Bozinovic said.

He also explained the laws under which offenders will be punished.

"There's also the Law on the Civil Protection System, the Law on the Protection of the Population from Infectious Diseases, so, what you're saying goes towards a violation against public order and peace. But let's leave it to life, and I hope that life will teach us in this new normal that masks will need to be worn by everyone because it's actually good for everyone,'' Minister Bozinovic explained.

He also said how long the masks will have to be worn in Croatia for.

"Until a solution is found for this virus is found, and if the scientific community doesn't change its mind [on the issue of masks], then it will last until the end of the epidemic is declared," Bozinovic concluded.

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Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Minister Bozinovic Talks Possible Penalties for Not Adhering to Measures

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 13th of July, 2020, Minister Bozinovic, the head of the National Civil Protection Directorate, explained how whether people are wearing protective masks indoors, which is mandatory in stores from today onward, will be monitored and controlled.

Minister Bozinovic said that we are facing a new dynamic of the spread of the new coronavirus on a global level. Here in Croatia, as he said, local measures will be applied and local hotspots will be extinguished, but there will also be measures that will be applied at the national level, such as the introduction of wearing masks in restaurants, shops and when using public transport.

"In autumn, we could face more proliferation and more severe symptoms, so now we need to acquire the habits we will need for when autumn comes," he said, noting that this is why they have resumed press conferences, which also serve as a means of educating the general public.

"Our basic approach is to inform the public. There's not much point in issuing penalties, but we'll also have certain sanctions if a measure is not accepted. Hopefully that won’t happen. Large centres have security guards where it is not a problem to just refuse entry to a person who isn't wearing a mask, in small shops, the staff aren't allowed to serve someone if they aren't wearing a mask. There aren't so many police or inspections that they can control everything… We'd like to appeal to everyone to call 112 or the police if there needs to be an intervention,'' he said.

He stated again clearly that if faced with issues, shop employees and those working for hospitality facilities are free to call the police (112) to come and deal with difficult people.

Minister Bozinovic also stated that everyone's goal is to accept the ''new normal'' for what it is at the moment and that wearing masks indoors should simply become a practice. "They've been shown to be effective," he added. From day to day, he said, they will repeat everything they consider important to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. He added that they're continuing to make sure that the tourist season is as good and safe as possible under these unprecedented circumstances.

For more on coronavirus in Croatia, follow our dedicated section.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Minister Bozinovic Comments on Stricter Measures, Headquarter's Plans

Minister Bozinovic has gone from 'just' being the Minister of the Interior to a true household name ever since the coronavirus pandemic broke out earlier this year and the staff members of the National Civil Protection Headquarters began with their daily briefings to the press.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 8th of July, 2020, HDZ is close to forming a new government, but they don't have an easy path ahead of them. This summer's economic forecasts, the first after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, have seen the European Commission additionally increase its estimate of the decline of the Croatian economy to 10.8 percent this year, predicting a partial recovery and growth of 7.5 percent next year.

Let us not forget, just because we seem to have a better handle on the situation now, the coronavirus epidemic is still going on. Minister Bozinovic spoke on RTL Danas (Today) about everything that awaits Croatia, but also about HDZ's agreements behind closed doors.

"All minority representatives said they'd support Andrej Plenkovic as the prime minister-designate of the new government. Of course, our partners from the previous government, HNS and Mr. Cacic, have 76 'hands', and signatures are being collected, I think it's all a technical matter," said Minister Bozinovic, adding that he will visit the President of the Republic as soon as the conditions for that are created: ''Very soon, I think it's realistic for it to happen next week. Maybe this one too,''

Two questions now arise:

Is there a possibility for making sure there are a smaller number of participants at weddings given the current 'boom' in newly infected people having attended them and coronavirus' apparent love of spreading indoors and in close quarters? On top of that, the elections are now over, will there be stricter anti-epidemic measures introduced?

"They [measures] have nothing to do with the elections, we can see that there are hotspots that are local and we're extinguishing them locally. On the one hand, the battle with the virus can be won easily if we adhere to the measures, especially during the summer,'' Minister Bozinovic replied.

The Minister of Health, Vili Beros, mentioned that the possibility of banning weddings is also an option which remains "on the table".

''It's possible that we'll need to reduce the number of participants in wedding ceremonies in some phases. It isn't easy to achieve a balance of joy on the one hand and prevent the spread of the virus on the other. All we're doing now is trying to influence people to avoid situations where the virus is spreading.

It would be too radical to start again with the measures that were in place back in March and April. There will be some intermediate measures like the ones we introduced at nightclubs. There are constant inspections and we see that there are no new appearances [of the new coronavirus] coming from nightclubs. As for weddings, we may be forced to make sure there are a smaller number of participants,'' the pair concluded.

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Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Minister Bozinovic: Import of Coronavirus From Serbia Higher Than From BiH

Minister Bozinovic has discussed the situation with the Croatian-Bosnian border, which has irritated many and left some feeling suspicious about the motives behind it.

Many have been asking the question of just why the Croatian border with Bosnia and Herzegovina is going to be opened so early following a significant ''import'' of new coronavirus cases from that country. With many citing the upcoming elections, due to take place this weekend, others feel that the opening of that border negates everything that has been done so far in regard to anti-epidemic and restrictive measures.

In Petrinja, Minister Bozinovic talked to reporter Vanja Kranic from N1 television about the previously announced abolition of mandatory self-isolation for people entering Croatia from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"We're still involved in these talks as the presiding [over the rotating presidency of the EU] country. The EU intends to open up to about fifteen countries, including Serbia and Montenegro. As far as Croatia is concerned, we will have Bosnia and Herzegovina on that list. You know that we had imports of the virus from those countries in the past few days, but it was several times higher from Serbia than it was from BiH,'' explained Minister Bozinovic.

He added that what is important is that we have hotspots in Croatia that are firmly under control. "It isn't something unexpected that the numbers are growing not only in Croatia, but also across Europe. Apparently, these all regard milder clinical pictures,'' he pointed out.

When asked whether the Republic of Croatia will still open the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, even if this non-EU European country fails to find itself in the recommendations of the European Union, he answered:

''Recommendations are recommendations. It's difficult to justify the fact that we had 25, 26 entries of the virus from Serbia, to whom we're opening our borders and eight entries from Bosnia and Herzegovina where we should keep the borders closed,'' Minister Bozinovic told N1.

A more detailed report can be read by clicking the link in the first paragraph of this article.

For more on coronavirus in Croatia, follow our dedicated section.

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Minister Bozinovic: Do Not Travel Outside Croatia

June 18, 2020 - At today's government session, Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic recommended that citizens not travel outside Croatia.

"It is important that our citizens do not travel abroad, especially to these surrounding countries if it is not necessary, and on their return, they should act responsibly. As for the Headquarters, it is monitoring and analyzing the situation," Bozinovic said on

"Responsible behavior is a condition for keeping the favorable epidemiological situation in Croatia under control, which is a precondition for the smooth functioning of the economy," Bozinovic added.

Recall, at a government session in progress, it was announced that 11 new cases had been confirmed in the last 24 hours.

Four new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Zagreb since yesterday. All four new cases are related to the Hrvoje Požar Institute.

In addition, two more cases were confirmed in Istria, both of which are from Pula.

Three more have been confirmed in Split-Dalmatia County - two people from Split and one from Solin.

We do not yet know where the remaining two cases are from.

The Headquarters will publish the latest data on the situation in Croatia at 2 pm.

Follow the news in Croatia on our dedicated page.

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Croatian, Slovenian Interior Ministers Confirm Excellent Cooperation

ZAGREB, May 16, 2020 - The Croatian and Slovenian ministers of the interior, Davor Bozinovic and Ales Hojs respectively, held a meeting in Ormoz, Slovenia, on Saturday, at which they confirmed the excellent cooperation between the two countries' police forces.

One of the topics of the meeting was the coronavirus pandemic, and Bozinovic said that the two countries' ministries of the interior had dealt quickly with all issues posing a problem for their citizens and business sector on a daily basis.

"We were the first in Europe to enable convoys, the transport of goods by truck...  before the European Commission made such a recommendation. There was practically no suspension of transport," said Bozinovic.

He described the two countries' cooperation as excellent, recalling that they had reopened their borders and that since Friday evening, 2,000 Slovenian nationals had entered Croatia.

Minister Hojs said that his Croatian counterpart had informed him that border procedures were mostly due to estimates by Croatian epidemiologists that the entry of foreign nationals, including those from Slovenia, requires continued control of locations where they are staying, which is why a control regime has been introduced, with Croatian police taking the addresses and phone numbers of persons entering the country.

As for illegal migrations, they did not stop entirely during the coronavirus pandemic, even though they have decreased significantly, said Bozinovic, adding that Croatia had prevented illegal migrations on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.

"We expect possible new movements of migrants following the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions and greater mobility, primarily between Croatia and Slovenia, for the time being," Bozinovic said, with Hojs noting that Bozinovic had confirmed that the return of migrants from the Slovenian to the Croatian side of the border was not problematic.

"All illegal migrants who do not want asylum in Slovenia will be returned to Croatia without any problem," said Hojs.

Another topic of the meeting was Croatia's accession to the Schengen area of passport-free travel, with Bozinovic saying that it was not only in Croatia's interest but also in the interest of Slovenia and the rest of the EU.

"The current situation, too, proves that all security problems, including health problems related to the epidemic, are transnational. Neither viruses nor any other thing, from terrorism to illegal migrations, know borders and the only way to efficiently fight them is cooperation," said Bozinovic.

Slovenia's position on the matter is that all technical requirements have to be met for accession to the Schengen area to be possible, Hojs said, adding that technical requirements had been met for the most part.

"The latest proposal, made by the next EU chair Germany, goes in that direction and Slovenia is interested in the Schengen border moving to the Croatian-Serbian border within a reasonable period of time. I have told  Minister (Bozinovic) that if Slovenia finds that the Schengen control of the future external border is not performed as expected, we will be prepared to reintroduce border controls at any moment," said Hojs.

Friday, 15 May 2020

Croatian ID Cards to Change, Interior Minister Bozinovic Reveals Details

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 14th of May, 2020, and as we reported recently, the appearance of Croatian ID cards is set to alter - on the front it will contain the two-letter insignia of the Republic of Croatia (RH), printed in negative in a blue rectangle surrounded by twelve yellow stars, which will symbolise the EU. Interior Minister Bozinovic revealed more details on the matter.

In the future, Croatian ID cards will have a special chip that will contain biometric identifiers of the ID card holder, ie a display of the ID card holder's face and two fingerprints in interoperable digital formats.

This has been proposed by the Croatian Government in the amendments to the Law on Identity Cards (EU), which it sent to urgent parliamentary procedure from Thursday's session, based on the Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council on strengthening the security of identity cards of citizens of the Union and their family members' residence documents which prescribe the right to free movement.

The regulation came into force on August the 1st last year, and will be directly applicable in all EU member states from August the 2nd, 2021, according to Minister Bozinovic.

In accordance with the provisions of the Decree, the draft law also changed the age limit for the issuing of permanent identity cards, and raised it from the age of 65 to the age of 70.

For citizens up to the age of 70, ID cards will be issued with a validity period of five years, as is the case now, Minister Bozinovic said.

The proposed amendments also stipulate the obligation to withdraw identity cards issued without a validity period that don't meet the minimum security standards defined by the new EU regulation.

It is prescribed that such identity cards cease to be valid upon their expiration or on the aforementioned date in August, whichever occurs first.

As stated, this law is scheduled to take effect on August the 2nd, 2021.

It hasn't been confirmed, but we will make sure to ask, if this will also apply to the ID cards owned by British citizens who are legal residents of Croatia and who become so before the end of the UK's transition period, which is set to occur on the 31st od December, 2020, should an extension not be sought. 

It is important to note that British citizens who are legal residents before the end of December this year will have their rights protected in full regardless of the outcome of the negotiations (deal or no deal), and will be covered either be the Withdrawal Agreement in the case of a deal, and by a special Croatian law which will come into force in the case of a no deal Brexit.

As such, it is expected that resident Brits will also need to alter their residence permits, be they temporary or permanent residents, which also serve in Croatia as valid ID cards. As soon as we get an official response to that question, we will update this article.

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