Friday, 12 February 2021

Davor Bozinovic Explains Details of New Measures Valid from 15 to 28 February

February 12, 2021 – At today's press conference of the National Civil Protection Headquarters, Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic presented and explained the details of the new epidemiological measures announced by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković at yesterday's Government session. Namely, from February 15, caterers will be allowed to sell coffee to go, fitness centres, gyms, and bookmakers will be able to open. Students will be able to study in foreign language schools and in workshops.

The new eased measures, created by the Headquarters and the Government's reflection, will be valid until 28 February.

An epidemiologically, but also sociologically and psychologically justified approach

"We know how the situation can get worse in a short time. We don't expect this, but we must be careful. In the last seven days, we've even managed to get into third place in terms of incidence in Europe. But our primary interest is to lower the numbers of new infections so that, compared to other EU members, we now have the least stringent measures in Europe, which means that this effort is paying off. We must not relax totally, and just because we didn't do so before, we're able to ease some measures now.

February 28th is going to be here in less than two weeks, and from today we'll be thinking about measures that could be further relaxed if the trends remain like this. We don't know what that's all going to look like at the moment. Still, we're going to closely monitor everything that is happening, especially in regard to to the new variants, where the profession, primarily epidemiologists, have an essential role," said Božinović.

He added that they're advocating for a gradual approach that is epidemiologically but also sociologically and psychologically justified. From day one, they've been trying to learn as much as possible about the virus and society's behaviour, and they're also taking a new strain of the novel coronavirus and its appearance in Croatia into consideration. He spoke about the easing of the country's measures in five categories.

The delivery of food, beverages, and desserts from catering facilities:

Those who pick up food and beverages must not stay on the terraces and in front of the buildings or enter the buildings. While waiting in line, they should maintain space between each other and wear masks. Staying in front of the building shouldn't be encouraged by things like playing music, the terraces should be fenced off, and tables should be removed or arranged in a way that they can't be used. Notices must be posted on facilities prohibiting entry, the maintaining of social distancing, and so on.

2. Gyms and fitness centres:

The maximum number of people inside - one person pet 20 square metres - should be taken into account, as well as proper ventilation. If the building doesn't have such artificial ventilation, the premises should be ventilated every ten minutes. Exercise machines should be disinfected after each use. Users are allowed to use only their own towels and gym mats etc. They should avoid close contact and maintain a distance of four metres between each other. The use of shared showers is still prohibited. A list of such users must be kept, and masks must be worn on arrival and checkout, as well as during registration.

3. Language schools:

It's necessary to limit the number of users per group to maintain a distance of two metres. In addition, masks are mandatory. Lecturers/teachers must keep their distance from the participants/students, wear a mask or separate themselves totally plexiglas, they must also measure temperatures. A list of participants should be kept here, too.

4. Children's workshops and playrooms:

It's necessary to limit users to one person per seven square metres and highlight that notice at the facility's entrance. You should maintain a distance and wear masks, ensure disinfection, as well as the proper disinfection of devices and toys, and of course, measure people's temperatures when they enter.

5. Slot machine clubs, bookmakers, and casinos:

Betting places/bookmakers – epidemiological measures apply here in the same way as they do for stores, depending on the facility's size. The number of people entering should be limited. Users should wear masks and keep a distance from each other, staff also, who should be separated from users with plexiglas, and they should disinfect the facility.

Slot clubs and casinos – the number of users should be limited to one user per seven metres of gross usable space. The catering part of these facilities must be closed off. Catering services can't be provided in such facilities.

When asked why children who train indoors still cannot go to their training, and bookmakers are allowed to work, epidemiologist Bernard Kaić answered, but before that, Božinović pointed out:

"Graduality means that we can't let everything open at once. We're easing these measures in a certain order, about which we've concluded at meetings. Some arguments prevail a little more in some places, others do so in other places. Epidemiologists will create a framework by which almost anything can be maintained. Still, we're going to take care to adopt our measures that favour children, which was the argument when we opened schools. The profession recommends that when we ease things, we need to first give preference to children, schools, workshops, and playrooms because children are the ones who find living like this the most difficult to grasp. Those who are older can understand the situation better. We aren't comfortable making such decisions either, but we're making them together," said Božinović.

Basic rules: limit gatherings and use your own initiative:

"Every activity carries a risk. The epidemiological framework can provide guidelines for risk reduction, but in some situations, no epidemiological framework can eliminate the risk entirely, and then the priority activities must be determined. This was discussed at the Government and the Headquarters' meeting, and this all resulted from those negotiations. Children's playrooms also pose a risk, as do children's sports and going back to school and kindergarten and the like, as well as me just going to the market. But I prefer to go to the market than to do some other activities. I agree that if all measures were eased up at once, we'd very easily have an increased number of patients. Yesterday, a Government Council member stated that there are only three basic rules: limit gatherings, small groups, and take the initiative. All of these measures that are introduced or relaxed only serve to limit gatherings, smaller and larger ones, to reduce close contacts," Kaić explained.

Božinović also referred to schools and school halls. They allowed offline classes and made sure that different classes don't interfere with each other, and that children don't all come to school at the same time. Since children aren't divided into sports groups as they are in classes, if the school halls are open, there would be more mixing between them, and then the possibility of spreading the virus is increased.

The above decisions will be valid for two weeks, and then the Headquarters will think once again about the further opening up of other facilities if the number of infections continues to fall.


Thursday, 11 February 2021

PM Says Government Considering a Few Changes Regarding Epidemiological Restrictions

ZAGREB, 11 February, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday that the government was considering a few possible changes regarding the relaxation of epidemiological restrictions after 15 February and that it would present them at its session on Thursday.

Asked by reporters after a session of the HDZ branch in Zagreb if the current restrictions would be eased after 15 February, Plenković said that he believed that in the current situation citizens should be rewarded for demonstrating a high degree of patience and responsibility.

"We are considering several possible changes that will be presented at the government session tomorrow," he said.

As for the new virus strain that has appeared in Croatia, Plenković said that it was epidemiologists' duty to determine and restrict situations where the new strain emerges.

He said that South Tyrol, where infection with the new strain has been on the rise, was treated as a territory from where it is not possible to enter Croatia.

"We will try to protect Croatia with a border regime that will enable us to prevent a more significant appearance of new variants and strains. We will be careful, we have been following developments in other countries," he said.

Plenković surprised by Zagreb University Rector getting vaccinated 

Plenković was also asked to comment on Zagreb University Rector Damir Boras getting vaccinated against COVID-19 at a Zagreb dental clinic despite having previously contracted the disease and therefore not being a priority for vaccination.

Plenković said that he was surprised by that fact, declining to comment on the explanation by a health worker of how it happened that Boras got vaccinated "because I don't know anything about it".

The explanation was that Boras and his wife were vaccinated because, while they were being treated for dental problems they happened to be in the clinic on the day that the clinic's medical staff were being vaccinated. After that, three diluted doses of the vaccine were left over and Boras asked if he and his wife could be vaccinated.

"I can only take note of that explanation," the PM said.

He added that it was important to respect the vaccination schedule determined by the government.

"All county public health institutes, hospital heads and personnel in charge of vaccination and primary health care workers must follow the list of vaccination priorities," he said.

He also said that it was good that the AstraZeneca vaccine had also proved to be good for people over the age of 65 and that it provided 100% protection against death, severe forms of the disease and more severe symptoms.

"All three (available) vaccines are equally reliable and it is good that as many citizens as possible get vaccinated."

During February and March, more than 600,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be secured for Croatian citizens, he said.

Monday, 8 February 2021

Italians on Cafe and Restaurant Ban in Croatia: 'You Will Die Without Tourism'

February 8, 2021 – "The rules are awful," "You will die without tourism," commented Italians on the cafe and restaurant ban in Croatia.

The Italians, our loyal guests who are getting out of the lockdown, were asked by the journalists of Glas Istre what they think about the ban on the work of cafes and restaurants in Croatia.

The Italian government has determined the rhythm of vaccination by region. The region Friuli-Venezia Giulia, visited by Glas Istre journalists a few days ago when cafes and restaurants reopened, is due in mid-February. The plan is to vaccinate the population older than 80 years first, then the younger age group, but still older than 55.

Italians' opinions regarding vaccination are divided. The older population believes in the effectiveness of the vaccine. About two million Italians have been vaccinated so far.

"If the vaccines are free, then I will get vaccinated, and if not, I will carefully think about it," one middle-aged Italian told them.

"No, I'm not going to get vaccinated. I just don't trust the vaccine," one young Italian told them.

"When it's our turn, we'll get vaccinated," one married couple told them.

With masks required, reporters enjoyed a walk around town. If you do not have a mask, passers-by will immediately warn you that it is mandatory to wear. By doing so, they automatically realize that you are a foreigner unfamiliar with their law, but also with draconian punishments.

Thus, in a walk through the city, they witnessed a lively and loud discussion of two gentlemen, typical of Italians. After concluding their political discussion, they introduced themselves to them, and the conversation began.

"Your Croatian rules are awful now. It's unbelievable that without a test I can't go to Umag, that beautiful city whose bars and restaurants overlook the sea, and those same bars and restaurants are now closed. You will die without tourism, my people. I even called a Croatian consul, I protested, but he is also powerless. We can buy tests here for 25 euros in a pharmacy. Your government is really not normal, because even when I get tested, what should I do in Umag when everything is closed," said retiree Paolo.

The Italian government intends to vaccinate the entire nation by June, citizens claim. Then we guess there will be a final normalization, both for them and us.

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Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Gym Owner Released from Custody, Called on Prime Minister to Resign

February 2, 2021 – The gym owner who opened his doors yesterday in Zagreb's Trešnjevka, despite the Civil Protection Headquarters' ban, has been released from custody.

Andrija Klarić, the 51-year-old gym owner, who was handed over to the custody supervisor yesterday on suspicion of having committed the criminal offense of spreading and transmitting a contagious disease, was released from custody today.

'What I did was right'

Recall, Andrija Klarić opened his gym in Trešnjevka in Zagreb yesterday morning, thus violating the current ban on the work of gyms and sports centers set by the Civil Protection Headquarters. Article 180 of the Criminal Code stipulates that a person could be punished by up to two years in prison for such an act.

However, as Index reports, the prosecution did not ask for pre-trial detention, so he was released. Klarić stated that the prosecution had no evidence against him, that he was not a spreader of the infection, and that double standards applied in Croatia because some could work while others are forbidden the constitutional right to work.

He even called on Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to resign and call elections because he believes that the government is not coping well with the coronavirus crisis. Also, he invited citizens to gather tomorrow for a protest on Ban Jelačić Square at 10 am and "oppose the deprivation of civil liberties."

"I knew that what I was doing was right. I know we're not spreaders of the virus. They don't have any evidence. Of the total number infected by November 1, 181 are from 'gyms,' which is less than 0.5 percent. They can't declare gyms dangerous places," said Klarić.

Spas and shopping malls still operating

He compared the example of gyms with spas and shopping malls that are opened.

Klarić claims that everyone in the gym adhered to epidemiological measures and that everyone who came to exercise had already gotten over the coronavirus. The police officers, the state inspectorate, and the state attorney, he says, were fair and kind. They were even "embarrassed that they had to do it."

"The police officers were phenomenal. At the end of the investigation, the gentleman said – a hero, not a criminal," Klarič said after his release from custody. He says that he would repeat the same thing in the same circumstances and does not think he did anything wrong.

"He who is ready to give freedom for security. did not deserve either. When injustice becomes the law, then resistance becomes an obligation," Klarić stressed, adding that everything possible should be done to prevent those who do wrong.

'Small step for Andrija, significant for Croatia'

His lawyer Gordan Marović also gave a statement to the media.

"He will be released. The State Attorney's Office of the Republic of Croatia (DORH) did not request pre-trial detention for him," Marović said.

"He understands this as a fight not only for his justice but also a fight for everyone. He believes that there were a lot of people not fighting for their own rights," Marović said about Klarić, adding that he feels injustice.

"The right to work is a matter of personal freedoms and human rights. The constitution guarantees the right before the law, and we see that not everyone is equal before the law because some can work, others cannot," he added.

When asked why Klarić did it, given the penalties and given that he did it himself, Marović paraphrased Neil Armstrong: "This is a small step for Andrija, but a big one for Croatia. Someone has finally put his personal interests ahead of society's interests."

To read more news from Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 1 February 2021

Owner Opened His Gym Today Despite Headquarters' Ban, Police Arrested Him

February 1, 2021 – Despite the ban on the work of gyms issued by the Civil Protection Headquarters, valid until February 15, 2021, one owner opened his gym today in Trešnjevka, allowing people to exercise. The police arrested him shortly after the opening.

As of today, Croatia is slightly easing epidemiological measures in two segments. Elementary school students are returning to classes, and outdoor training is allowed. The terraces of cafes and restaurants remain closed, as do gyms and sports centers. But some gym owners were overwhelmed and decided to open their doors.

One of them is Andrej Klarić, the owner of the Quantum Premium Gym. He opened his gym's doors in Zagreb's Trešnjevka, despite the Civil Protection Headquarters' measures imposing a work ban. Several people came to exercise, aware of the consequences, Index reports.

'It's unbearable to live off the minimum salary for so long'

Last night via Facebook, the gym owner publicly invited the exercisers to come, and since then, the police have been on duty at their doorstep. A few minutes after the people started exercising this morning, the police and the inspection entered and closed the doors, leaving many journalists who gathered outside.

While people were exercising in the gym, the police arrested the owner. Klarić is one of the few who dared to make such a move but claims that he has nothing more to lose. He says he was tricked, no longer trusting anyone, and that the lockdown was unnecessary without any effect.

"The reasons why I did this are very simple. From the first day when the facilities were closed, I was against their closure because I believe that the already existing measures were more than appropriate," Klarić told 24sata before his arrest.

He added that it is unbearable to be patient and live on the minimum salary for so many months.

His daughter Duga Klarić made a brief statement, expressing surprise that more police vehicles than trainers had gathered. She pointed out that the gym remains open today because they were told so.

"They told us that we received a fine, but that we could stay open today, so we stay open today," the owner's daughter said, adding that she did not know how high fine they received.

However, the police identified all the people who were exercising at the gym this morning, and the gym is now closed. No one is inside, and there are still two police cars in front of it.

Messages of support

Klarić is already receiving messages of support from all sides. Dražen Oreščanin, the director of the Voice of Entrepreneurs, also came to the scene to support Klarić, who is about to stand trial.

"I came to support Mr. Andrija Klarić on behalf of the Voice of Entrepreneurs, ahead of the trial that awaits him regarding legal aid because it is something we provide to all our members through the program. The police are behind me. I asked them if I could come in, and they told me I couldn't. The gym is closed and locked. I also talked to the owner's daughter. She told me that he was taken into custody, so he was arrested, and he went to give a statement. We wouldn't want him to spend 30 days in custody because of the possibility of a repeat offense. We were there to show his support," Oreščanin said in a Facebook video.

He thanked everyone who supports Klarić and called on everyone to join the protest action on Ban Jelačić Square on Wednesday at 10 am.

Božinović: Police and inspectors acted following the law

At a press conference of the Civil Protection Headquarters, Interior Minister Davor Božinović briefly commented on police interventions due to the gyms' opening, saying he was aware of one case.

"I know that the police and the inspectors of the Civil Protection and the State Inspectorate, who go on patrols together, will enforce the law. I am sure that what they have acted so far was acted in accordance with the law. If everyone would decide for themselves when to open facilities during an epidemic, what measures would he determine, then there would be no need for specializations such as the specialization of prof. Capak or immunologists. This situation is not easy for anyone, but I think that people are showing rationality and resisting attempts to create an atmosphere where there is no epidemic or that it has passed. By all parameters, Croatia has the least strict measures in the EU, and if we keep this downward trend, we can talk about new corrections," Božinović said.

When asked about the sanctions that await the gym owner, Božinović did not want to speculate about it because it is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation.

"We recently changed the laws in the Parliament because there are situations in which we must resort to sanctioning behavior that is risky for the spread of the infection. Let's leave it to the institutions,“ said Božinović.

To read more news from Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 29 January 2021

List of All Measures in Croatia Valid Until February 15, 2021

January 29, 2021 – According to the National Civil Protection Headquarters' decision, a minimal easing of measures will take effect from tomorrow. A list of all measures in Croatia valid until February 15, 2021.

With the presentation of the minimum concessions of measures, which include the return of all primary school students to schools and outdoor sports, the National Civil Protection Headquarters today announced four new decisions. Three decisions concern the extension of existing measures for public transport, for shopping malls, and for borders. The fourth decision contains all the measures that remain in force, as well as the changes that have been introduced in the field of sports.

Here are all the measures that are in force from midnight until February 15, 2021:

  • a ban of all public events and gatherings attended by more than 25 people in one place;
  • a maximum of 10 people from a maximum of 2 different households can be present at private gatherings and ceremonies;
  • public events, gatherings, and ceremonies of all kinds can last until 10 pm;
  • a maximum of 25 people may be present at funerals, final farewells, and urn layings; condolences to the bereaved must not be expressed through close contact, and cemetery administrations are obliged to monitor compliance with anti-epidemic measures;
  • limitation of working hours for bakeries and shops for bread and bakery products until 10 pm;
  • a ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages between 10 pm and 6 am;
  • suspension of catering facilities and provision of catering services on family farms, except for catering facilities from the groups "Hotels", "Camps" and types Student Dorms or Akademis from the group "Other catering facilities for accommodation", which may only serve guests who use the accommodation service in them, i.e. pupils or students.
  • As an exception to this anti-epidemic measure, catering facilities from the group "Restaurants", the group "Catering facilities" and types of coffee rooms, pubs, buffets, inns, taverns, and cellars from the group "Bars" are allowed to prepare and deliver food and beverages. These catering facilities may prepare or deliver food in compliance with all anti-epidemic measures in one of the following ways: by personal takeover before entering the catering facility without entering it, by delivering food from the catering facility by own delivery vehicle, by delivering food from the catering facility based on the contract business cooperation concluded between caterers and third parties (legal or physical-craftsmen), who are registered and entered in the Register of entities in the food business, the so-called "drive-in" way.
  • suspension of wedding ceremonies;
  • suspension of casinos, slot machine clubs, and betting points;
  • suspension of gyms, fitness centers, and sports and recreation centers indoors;
  • suspension of children's and other workshops and organized dance schools;
  • suspension of all amateur cultural and artistic performances, programs, and events, and rehearsals of amateur ensembles, groups and choirs, including church choirs;
  • ban on the food and beverages consumed during cinema screenings;
  • suspension of fairs and other forms of economic and tourist events or events where products are sold, exhibited, or displayed;
  • prohibition of all indoor training except for: clubs competing in the 1st and 2nd rank of competition in senior competition and in the 1st rank of competition in junior competition at the national level in team sports, clubs that compete in individual sports in senior competition in team club competitions at the national level in the highest rank in the league competition system, and training and competitions of categorized athletes in individual sports and athletes of national level who are preparing for European and world competitions in accordance with the list which, at the proposal of the Croatian Olympic Committee, the Croatian Paralympic Committee, and the Croatian Sports Association of the Deaf, is approved by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports (Does not apply to water sports and contactless individual sports in sports balloons);
  • permitted sports competitions and trainings can be held only without spectators and with strict adherence to all prescribed epidemiological measures, the organizers are obliged to ensure that all athletes and necessary technical staff adhere to the prescribed epidemiological measures, and that sports facilities are used exclusively for permitted activities;
  • foreign language schools can only operate online or otherwise to maintain remote contact;
  • driving schools can hold only online classes or otherwise to maintain long-distance contacts, driving lessons can last a maximum of 45 minutes with mandatory measurement of body temperature before entering the car, a break between two candidates must be a minimum of 10 minutes to ventilate and disinfect the car, and records must be kept of all participants in driving lessons;
  • mandatory use of face masks or medical masks outdoors when it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least 1.5 meters;
  • the obligation of tenants, building managers, employers, and representatives of public institutions to regularly disinfect all common areas (handrails, elevators, work surfaces, toilets, etc.);
  • a recommendation that religious rites be broadcast whenever possible through radio, TV, or other means that will allow believers to attend a religious rite without coming to religious facilities.

Anti-epidemic measures do not apply to:

  • professional artistic performances and programs that do not include choral singing;
  • cinema screenings;
  • exhibitions in museum, galleries, and other exhibition spaces;
  • coronsessions of representative bodies.
  • For all events and gatherings, the number of people present is limited due to the size of the space. At least 7 m2 of net area must be provided for each person present, in strict compliance with all prescribed epidemiological measures of the Croatian Institute of Public Health. Also, at the entrance to the facility, a notice must be clearly displayed about the largest possible number of people who can be present in the facility at the same time.

The organizers of the gatherings are obliged to ensure regular ventilation of the premises, that no more people than the allowed number are present, and that everyone adhere to all prescribed epidemiological measures of the Croatian Institute of Public Health.


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, 13 November 2020

PM: Again More Than 3,000 New Infections, Compliance with Restrictions Necessary

ZAGREB, November 13, 2020 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Friday that Croatia would today again have more than 3,000 new coronavirus cases, appealing to citizens to comply with epidemiological measures so as to avoid the introduction of more restrictions and noting that the situation is currently under control.

"The current situation is definitely the most difficult since the onset of the epidemic and we all must behave in such a way to help reduce those high numbers as soon as possible," Plenkovic said at a government session.

He said that the measures adopted two weeks ago had significantly slowed down the spreading of the epidemic and that the situation in Croatia was not as bad as in some other countries but that it was serious.

In five counties epidemiological measures are in force that are stricter than those at the national level.

"If we want to avoid stricter measures, personal responsibility is crucial. We believe this can be achieved with joint effort, with measures currently in force and with responsible behavior," he said, calling for physical distancing, wearing of masks and social distancing, with less contact with friends and relatives and less unnecessary contact.

Sufficient hospital capacity, sufficient number of beds, ventilators

The situation is currently under control even though the number of hospitalised patients is growing, which is due to an increase in the number of infections of about ten days ago, but the increase has been slowing down. The health system is under strain but it is not on the verge of collapse, Plenkovic said.

He noted that in Zagreb's KB Dubrava hospital alone, there were more than 500 available beds.

The hospital has been converted into a COVID hospital.

"Even though tests cannot discover all new cases, the slowing down of the number of new hospitalisations confirms that the situation with the epidemic is not getting out of control in relation to the measures in force and the capacity of the health system," he said.

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Plenkovic Calls on Croatians to Comply with Anti-COVID Rules

ZAGREB, November 12, 2020 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Thursday that Croatia was now at the most difficult stage of the coronavirus epidemic and called on citizens to abide by epidemiological rules to avoid the imposition of tougher restrictions.

Over the past 24 hours, Croatia has registered a record 3,082 new cases of the coronavirus infection and 32 related deaths, the national COVID-19 response team said in the morninmg.

The number of active cases in Croatia stands at 16,348, there are 1,598 COVID patients in hospitals, and 178 of them are on ventilators.

Since start of epidemic 75,922 have caught virus, 58,649 have recovered

Since February 25, when Croatia registered its first coronavirus infection, a total of 75,922 people have contracted the novel coronavirus, 925 of them have died, and 58,649 have recovered, including 2,215 in the last 24 hours. There are currently 35,690 people in self-isolation.

To date, 592,326 people have been tested for coronavirus, including 10,156 in the last 24 hours.

Commenting on the latest coronavirus numbers, the PM told the government that the country was passing through the hardest period of the epidemic.

"It is therefore important to call on every citizen to comply with the measures adopted by the national COVID-19 crisis management team. Those are serious and well-thought-out measureas which bring results."

He said that in the last seven days the number of new infections had risen by 5.5% compared to the previous week.

This indicates stagnation in the number of new infections and this is what we talked about when we said that the latest measures would decelerate the rise in new infections, the premier said.

However, we must be on high alert, primarily due to hospitalisation numbers and data on patients in intensive care wards, he said.

Plenkovic reiterated the necessary activities essential for efforts to curb the virus: keeping a physical distance, hand-washing, and regular airing of rooms, and he underscored that such measures were especially important at private gatherings.

1,213 COVID patients admitted to hospitals, 744 discharged in last 7 days

Health Minister Vili Beros did not attend today's meeting of the government as he underwent testing for the virus, and it was later stated that he was negative.

The health ministry's State Secretary, Zeljko Plazonic, told the government that in the last  seven days, 1,213 COVID patients had been admitted to hospitals, whereas 744 had been discharged.

Commenting on the incidence rate, Plazonic said that even though it was registering a mild increase in the number of active cases, Croatia had a rather low number of active cases compared to neighouring countries.

Commenting on the occurrence of the disease among medical professionals, he said that about 1,400 healthcare workers were now diagnosed with the infection, and an additional 913 were self-isolating.

The Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ) has prepared a plan for the implementation of mass vaccination against coronavirus, which includes the monitoring of the process and detection of contraindications.