Thursday, 3 February 2022

MPs Divided on COVID Certificates

ZAGREB, 3 Feb 2022 - Ahead of a parliamentary debate on a government report on the effects of epidemiological measures taken to fight coronavirus between 1 September and the end of December 2021, the issue of COVID certificates divided the parliamentary majority and opposition deputies.

Opposition deputies stressed that the introduction of those certificates was the worst decision in the two years of the pandemic and that they should be abolished while the ruling HDZ insisted the certificates had to be kept.

Abolishing the certificates would leave us within our borders, and we want to be European citizens and travel, said HDZ MP Maja Grba Bujević.

Let us abolish the certificates, a discriminatory measure that we cannot afford anyway, and that has proven ineffective and costs the economy too much. Money for testing could be used in a much better way, said Bridge MP Marija Selak Raspudić.

Marijan Pavliček of the Croatian Sovereignists said that a number of contradictory and futile decisions had been made in the past two years, with the one on the introduction of certificates being the worst.

Pavliček as well as Stephen Nikola Bartulica (Homeland Movement) criticized plans to test school children.

"By introducing testing you are putting pressure on children and parents, the more so as children get infected less and have milder symptoms," Pavliček said.

SDP: We need clear leadership, clear measures

Social Democratic Party (SDP) MP Peđa Grbin expressed hope the Omicron variant was the light at the end of the tunnel.

Now that we see the light at the end of the tunnel, we need clear leadership and clear measures so that we do not make a mistake on the path on which we have often wondered, he said.

Ivana Kekin of the Green-Left Bloc said that since the end of October Croatia had lost more than 5,000 people to COVID, describing that as tragic.

We are ninth in the world in terms of the number of COVID fatalities, we have the highest death rate when it comes to deaths caused by the Omicron variant, in January we lost 1,800 people and 80% of them were not vaccinated, she said, wondering who would assume responsibility - the COVID-19 response team, the health minister or the prime minister.

Answering to opposition criticisms, HDZ MP Grba Bujević said wise and well-thought-out measures were taken.

One should not just look at the figures but at a number of other elements as well. The government and the state invested a lot of effort to procure the vaccine, which is free, the health system did not collapse even though some said it would, and free testing is available, she said.

For more, check out our politics section.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

EC Proposes Digital Covid Certificates Be Valid for 9 Months

November 25, 2021 - After a first year where the European Commission introduced them to control travel within the continent during the pandemic, the EC proposes Digital COVID Certificates to be valid for 9 months.

The European Commission proposed on Thursday that digital COVID certificates be valid for nine months after receiving the recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

The Commission on Thursday presented a proposal for recommendations for safe travel within the EU, which should apply from 10 January next year.

The Commission calls on the Member States to take the necessary steps immediately to ensure access to the vaccine for those who will soon be nine months away from the last recommended dose they received.

As for additional, booster doses, the Commission says that there are currently no studies on the effectiveness of booster doses in terms of virus transmission and that it is therefore not possible to determine the period of validity of certificates after vaccination.

"However, given the data that emerge, protection from booster doses can be expected to last longer than protection from the first batch of vaccinations," the Commission said, adding that it would closely monitor new scientific evidence and, if necessary, propose appropriate the period in which the digital certificates would be valid after receiving the booster dose.

Persons holding a valid digital covid certificate should not, in principle, be subject to additional restrictions and requirements, such as testing and quarantine, regardless of where in the EU they travel within the Union. Persons without such certificates may be required to be tested before departure and after returning from the trip.

The Commission is also proposing changes to the color-coding of the Europe map, which is mainly for information purposes but can also be used to coordinate measures. The combination of new cases of infection and vaccination rates would be taken into account when marking individual areas with colors.

There should be no restrictions on travel from areas marked in green, while travel from dark red zones should be discouraged, and people traveling from these areas who have not been vaccinated or have survived covid-19 should be tested before traveling and go to quarantine upon arrival.

Exceptions to the proposed measures should apply to people living along the border they cross daily, to children under 12, and to people traveling for important reasons.

For more news related to travel updates to and from Croatia in times of pandemic, be sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

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.

Monday, 22 November 2021

COVID Certificates for Cafes, Restaurants Supported by Majority

November 22, 2021 - Despite recent massive protests against the mandate to use COVID certificates, the use of these to enter restaurants, cafes, and other businesses is supported by more than half of the population in a recent survey.

As the numbers of positive COVID-19 cases and the number of daily deaths continue to rise in Croatia, two parallel realities are facing each other in the country. On one hand, the imposition of the use of COVID certificates to enter public institutions and soon private businesses has motivated thousands of Croats to get vaccinated in recent weeks. On the other hand, this has unleashed a mass movement of thousands of citizens who oppose the measure and demand that the government desists from the restrictions imposed.

Last night in the central Dnevnik of HTV, market research - HReiting was published, and one of the topics of the research was whether citizens support the introduction of COVID certificates for entering cafes and restaurants, reports HrTurizam.

When asked if you support the introduction of COVID certificates for entry to cafes and restaurants, hairdressers, gyms, following the example of other countries, a small majority of respondents support them. Namely, 55% of them support the introduction of COVID certificates for entering cafes and restaurants, while 40% of respondents do not. Others do not know or are not sure, ie. they do not want to answer.

The survey was conducted from November 15 to 17 on a sample of 1,400 respondents. The largest sample error is +/- 2.62% and the research reliability is 95%.

Croatia has registered 1,327 new coronavirus cases and 73 COVID-related deaths in the last 24 hours, the national coronavirus response team reported on Monday.

This is the largest number of deaths in a single day during the fourth wave of the pandemic, while the absolute record of 92 deaths was registered on 16 December 2020.

As of 21 November, 3,985,860 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, with 52.38 percent of the total population, or 62.54 percent of the adult population, having been vaccinated. 2,125,514 persons have received at least one dose, while 1,896,361 have been fully vaccinated, which is 56.04 percent of the adult population.

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.

Sunday, 7 November 2021

DP Condemns Plan to Require COVID Certificates for Entry Into Parliament Building

ZAGREB, 7 Nov 2021 - The Homeland Movement (DP) party on Sunday condemned the plan to require COVID certificates and testing for entry into the Croatian Parliament building, saying that under the Constitution power derives from the people and not from the national coronavirus response team.

"The Homeland Movement considers the announced violent introduction of so-called COVID certificates and testing in the Croatian Parliament by a para-state body called the national response team as the nullification of the will of the people expressed in elections and the most dangerous encroachment yet upon basic human and political freedoms, civil rights and the most important values of Croatian parliamentary democracy," the party said in a statement.

The DP said that decisions by the national coronavirus response team can by no means be above Croatian laws, in particular the Constitution, condemning any form of segregation of citizens on any grounds, including on the grounds of whether someone has been vaccinated or not.

"Despite the media hype and censorship, it is an undeniable fact that the virus is spread both by people who have been vaccinated and by those who have not, so this cannot be used as an argument by the response team to nullify the will of the people," the statement said.

The party said that relevant studies questioned the efficiency of the vaccines and that this was also confirmed by case numbers. "We are not saying that the vaccine helps or does not help, but why are those who are imposing it by force not willing to accept responsibility in the event of possible side-effects?"

The Homeland Movement expects the president of the republic, church dignitaries, and all members of Parliament, regardless of their ideological views, to oppose this "violent act that is being prepared."

"Those who fail this test must be aware that by doing so they take their part of historic responsibility for nullifying the fundamental values on which the modern and democratic Croatia is based," the party 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 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

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.

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

Monday, 4 October 2021

No Daily Wage for Medical Staff Who Do Not Have COVID-19 Certificates, Refuse Testing

ZAGREB, 4 Oct 2021 - In a comment on the introduction of COVID-19 certificates for workers in the healthcare and welfare systems, the head of the KBC Zagreb hospital, Ante Ćorušić, said on Sunday that an employee who does not have such a certificate and refuses to get tested will not be paid their daily wage.

There will be a number of points at the hospital where one will be able to get tested and have their COVID-19 certificates checked, Ćorušić said in a comment on new epidemiological rules, under which employees in the healthcare and welfare systems, visitors, and persons escorting patients have to have digital COVID-19 certificates as of 4 October.

KBC Zagreb has around 6,200 employees, and around 1,600 of them do not have COVID-19 certificates or proof that they have recovered from the coronavirus infection. We cannot force them to get vaccinated if they do not want to do it, Ćorušić said in an interview with the HTV public broadcaster on Sunday but noted that the situation was under control and that there were checkpoints at the hospital where COVID-19 certificates would be checked and testing would be performed.

He said that he believed that the new rules would nevertheless help raise awareness of the need to get vaccinated.

Asked if possibly penalties stricter than the non-payment of daily wages would follow, he said that according to available information, nobody would get fired.

"But those who do not want to get tested and do not have proof of recovery from the disease or proof of vaccination will not receive their daily wage. That wage will go to someone else who will have to work in their stead on that day," he added.

Ćorušić noted that not much would change for patients.

Most of the patients who expect to be hospitalized, even those awaiting specific medical procedures available in day hospitals, have COVID-19 certificates anyway, he said.

Patients with medical emergencies do not have to display COVID-19 certificates upon admission, however, "depending on the situation and their condition, some of them will definitely undergo PCR testing," Ćorušić added.

He noted that close to 90% of doctors at the KBC Zagreb and around 56% of nurses had been vaccinated, adding that a more rational approach would be to get vaccinated, thus protecting oneself, patients, and one's own family.

Julije Meštrović, head of the KBC Split hospital, said that 95% of doctors working at that hospital had been vaccinated or had recovered from COVID-19 as had around 90% of nurses.

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

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Digital Covid Certificates in Croatia Extended from 6 to 10 Months

July 8, 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš said that they have decided to extend digital Covid certificates in Croatia from 6 to 10 months for those who were vaccinated with their first dose and which are due to expire soon.

In a press statement before the Government session, Minister of Health Vili Beroš commented on the situation with the vaccination of the Croatian population, reports N1.

"When it comes to the health system, after the end of the mass campaign, we move to a certain new approach, and these are mandatory lectures and education for all persons, even unvaccinated, in the health system," said Beroš, as reported by N1.

The lecturers will be experts who will teach the latest knowledge, answer questions and solve the doubts of those who do not want to be vaccinated. In that way, we will solve certain doubts in direct communication. Lectures will be mandatory, as they take place as part of occupational safety education, he added.

We are moving to a more specific approach and of course, we will suggest a similar approach to all other sectors. Vaccination among health workers is growing, the minister said.

Asked how many employees of the Ministry of Health have been vaccinated against Covid, the minister said it is below 35 percent.

"I am not satisfied," Beroš said.

The Minister also stated that the Covid certificates for those vaccinated with the first dose will be extended to 10 months, instead of the previous 6.

"I accept my responsibility, but those who have not been vaccinated must also take responsibility, contributing to the possible emergence of the fourth wave and the prolongation of the economic crisis," said Beroš.

In the European Union, it has already been thought that those who refuse vaccination bear the costs of treatment. In Croatia, we are not going in that direction. The state will pay for their treatment, but why would our money go to the treatment of someone who could protect themselves? If we go wider, then we have an example of smoking. So, it is a broader problem, but it has already imposed itself as a topic in some European countries," said Beroš.

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