Friday, 12 November 2021

ECDC: Croatia Among 10 EU Countries Where COVID-19 Situation Is Very Worrying

ZAGREB, 12 Nov - The COVID-19 situation has continued to deteriorate in the European Union and is considered "very worrying" in ten countries, including Croatia, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECD) said on Friday, as quoted by the French news agency AFP.

Of the 27 EU member states, the situation is very worrying in Belgium, Poland, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary and Slovenia, the ECDC said.

The most favourable epidemiological situation is in Italy, Malta, Spain and Sweden, it added.

Croatia remained "dark red" on the ECDC's latest COVID-19 map, released on Thursday.

In the EU and the European Economic Area, 81.1 per cent of people aged above 18 have received at least one dose of vaccine, the ECDC said.

In Croatia, over 50,000 people have received their first shot in the last three days, Health Minister Vili Beroš tweeted. 

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Thursday, 4 November 2021

State Secretary: Epidemiological Situation Can Affect Preparations for Tourist Season

ZAGREB, 4 Nov 2021 - This year, Croatia's tourist industry has achieved excellent results, however, the fact that Croatia is currently red on the ECDC map could adversely affect preparations for the next season, Tourism Ministry State Secretary Tonči Glavina told the parliament on Thursday.

"This year's tourist turnover has reached about 75% of the turnover in the record-high year 2019. We are preparing for the next tourist season, however, the fact that we are red on the ECDC epidemiological map causes concern," Glavina said during a discussion on amending legislation regulating the hospitality industry.

He explained that preparations and bookings for organized tourism are made in winter and that therefore all should do their best to improve Croatia's epidemiological situation.

Concerning the draft amendments, he said that they would extend the validity of temporary permits for the legalization of properties and premises for hospitality businesses until 31 December 2024.

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Saturday, 10 July 2021

Minister Brnjac Asks Not to Neglect the Favorable Epidemiological Situation

July 10, 2021 - From the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Minister Brnjac joins other government authorities who ask the population to be responsible and careful in the current favorable epidemiological situation.

Večernji list reports that as announced on Saturday by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Minister Nikolina Brnjac held a meeting in Dubrovnik yesterday with representatives of regional and local self-government and representatives of the tourism sector on the county report on the implementation of measures in the tourism sector to make the tourist season more successful and safe.

The importance of vaccination was emphasized at the meeting in order to maintain a favorable epidemiological situation. Namely, in the city of Dubrovnik, about 75 percent of tourist workers have been vaccinated so far. Additional activities were also discussed, as well as current measures at the county level and restrictions on holding various events.

"We have before us the striking weekends of this summer season where the largest number of tourists awaits us and the period when we need to be even more careful and responsible in order to maintain a favorable epidemiological situation," said Minister Brnjac.

According to her, the measures implemented so far have contributed to additional interest and the establishment of numerous airlines in Dubrovnik and have enabled the Dubrovnik-Neretva County to have significantly better tourist results in this part of the year, ie almost 70 percent more overnight stays than at the same time last year.

''But we are just at the beginning, it is up to all of us to continue to maintain these trends to ensure a successful future for tourism'', added Brnjac.

Brnjac pointed out that the Government of the Republic of Croatia will continue with measures to help the affected sectors, including tourism, referring to the Public Call of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports for support to travel agencies and travel organizers, for which HRK 36 million has been provided.

According to data from the eVisitor system, Dubrovnik-Neretva County has been visited by 187,000 tourists since the beginning of the year, who realized 894,000 overnight stays, which is an increase of 47 percent in arrivals and 68 percent in overnight stays compared to the same period last year.

Guests from Poland (125,000) and Slovenia (87,000) spent the most nights. Tourism is of great importance for the Dubrovnik-Neretva County and when it comes to its impact on the entire economic county, and especially the city of Dubrovnik.

Namely, according to the data of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) from 2019, in the city of Dubrovnik, the direct contribution of tourism to GDP is 17.8 percent, with 95 percent of total consumption being foreign tourists.

In addition to Minister Brnjac, the meeting was attended by Dubrovnik-Neretva County Prefect Nikola Dobroslavić, Dubrovnik Deputy Mayor Jelka Tepšić, Dubrovnik-Neretva County Civil Protection Headquarters Director Joško Cebal, County Public Health Institute Director Mato Lakić, County Tourist Board Director Vladimir Bakić and director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board Ana Hrnić, director of Dubrovnik Airport Frano Luetić, member of the board of Adriatic Luxury Hotels Antun Jakobušić, director of Hotel Valamar Lacroma Vlaho Sabljić and director of Hotel Aminess Lume Žarko Pecotić.

During her stay in Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Minister Brnjac will today participate in the fourteenth annual international conference Dubrovnik Forum entitled "(Post) -Pandemic Geopolitics - Together in a World Apart" and in the opening ceremony of the 72nd Dubrovnik Summer Festival.

Of 4,105 tests performed for coronavirus in Croatia in the last 24 hours, 110 or 2.7% have turned out to be positive, the national COVID-19 crisis management team stated on Thursday.

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.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 18 January 2021

Božinović: Figures Are Good But We Don't Want to Risk Third Wave of Epidemic

ZAGREB, 18 January, 2021 - The head of the national COVID-19 crisis management  team, Davor Božinović, said on Monday that the despite the fact that the current epidemiological situation was good, they did not want to risk a third wave occurring and that the impact of each measure on the decrease of infections would be assessed.

He stressed he could not specify whether the current measures would be relaxed after 31 January, but until then each existing measure would be evaluated.

Commenting on claims about the introduction of vaccination certificates which could enable citizens to travel, Božinović said there were no formal discussions on them.

"We are currently not considering those options," he said, adding that some countries are thinking about it.

"If there is a joint approach at the EU level, we are going to actively join those talks. At the moment, the quantities of vaccine in the EU and Croatia, and more or less in the entire world, are too small for such decisions to be made. At this moment I think it is too soon," Božinović said.

Capak: 29% fewer new infections compared to previous week

The head of the Croatian Public Health Institute, Krunoslav Capak, said that from 12 to 18 January there had been 29% fewer new infections than in the preceding week, from 5 to 11 January.

The 14-day incidence of 288.9 new cases places Croatia in the 7th place of countries with lowest incidence in the European Union. However, the mortality rate remains high, with Croatia ranking 8th among the EU countries with the highest mortality rate.

Capak said that a new tranche of 17,550 doses of the Pfizer vaccine had been delivered to Croatia today. Part of it will be used to administer the second shot to people who have been vaccinated.

He said that 122 suspected side effects had been reported to date, most of which had been mild side effects but there had also been several more severe allergic reactions.

Capak announced that the next tranche of Moderna's vaccine would be delivered on 25 January - 4,800 doses. He did not agree with reporters' claims that the delivery in the EU was slower than in countries who had negotiated with manufacturers by themselves.

"I hope we will receive sufficient quantities of the vaccine to vaccinate all those interested in our population, which is most important," Capak said.

Capak confirmed claims that Pfizer was reducing the delivery of vaccine doses but that the reason for that was the reconstruction of the vaccine production plant, the goal of which was to increase production and reach the agreed vaccine quotas.

As for Croatia, there is no official confirmation that the delivery of the vaccine will be reduced, he said, adding that as of 15 February the deliveries will be significantly increased.

Markotić: We must remain prudent to avoid third wave of epidemic

The head of the Zagreb Dr Fran Mihaljević Infectious Diseases Hospital, Alemka Markotić, said that the lower number of new infections was reducing the pressure on the hospital system, and that the number of discharged patients had been exceeding the number of admitted patients in recent days.

She underscored that despite that one must not ignore the situation in Europe.

"Some countries are registering a spike that occurred in a short period of time, probably due to the mutated version of the virus," Markotić said, adding that one must be careful to avoid a third wave of the epidemic.

She said that a decision to close the Arena sports hall in Zagreb as a tertiary centre for coronavirus patients had not been made yet, although it was being considered.

Sunday, 17 January 2021

No Relaxation of Measures at Least Until 15 February, JL Says

ZAGREB, 17 January, 2021 - The current epidemiological measures will be extended at least by mid-February, according to what advisers have been suggesting to the national COVID-19 crisis management team, Jutarnji List daily said on Sunday.

It is even possible the measures will be extended by March as nothing can guarantee that the situation will not deteriorate even with the existing restrictions.

They underscore that it must be seen what will happen when classes for lower grades of elementary school and for high school seniors start and how the recent holiday gatherings and holidays spent outside one's place of residence will affect the spread of the epidemic.

Since Croatia has been registering a drop in the number of infected people among those tested, as well as a drop in the number of hospitalised patients, there has been an increasing number of appeals for relaxing the measures. Many hope that after 31 January, the date by which the current measures are in force, outdoor cafes, gyms and fitness centres could reopen.

The head of Istria County's COVID-19 crisis management team, Dino Kozlevac, has already announced he "will discuss the matter with the national team", without whose permission that cannot be done as local measures can only be stricter than national ones.

However, it is certain that there will be no relaxation of measures until the end of January. Also, it is too soon to predict what could happen in ten days, and current temperatures are not helping. Experts explain that even if bar and restaurant terraces were to open, heaters would have to be turned on, around which a large number of people would gather, Jutarnji List said.

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Catering Facilities and Gyms Close in Croatia Until December 21: New Measures in Full

November 26, 2020 –  From Saturday, November 28, 2020, catering facilities and gyms close in Croatia due to the introduction of new epidemiological measures. Here's a look at all new measures which will be in force until December 21, 2020.

Today at the press conference at 2 p.m., Prime Minister Andrej Plenković presented new, strict measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic. These measures will be in force at least until December 21, and according to Hina, Plenković announced a change in the law, which will enable the punishment of persons who do not adhere to the prescribed measures.

The measures suggest that all public events and gatherings with more than 25 people are prohibited, and a maximum of 10 people are allowed to participate in private gatherings.

Masks are obligatory in the outdoors when it is not possible to keep a distance of at least 1.5 meters. All public events should last until 10 p.m.

As we reported earlier, the work of all catering facilities is suspended, except for hotels and camps, who can only serve their guests, but the restaurants and bars are allowed to prepare and deliver food during their working hours.

Sports competitions and trainings are suspended, except for the highest levels of competition, all without spectators and with the adherence to the epidemiological measures. The work of gyms, fitness centers, and sports and recreation centers are suspended as well.

Wedding ceremonies are suspended, and a maximum of 25 people are allowed to attend funerals where condolences must not be expressed through close contact.

Public transport must not exceed 40 percent occupancy, while drivers and passengers are required to have face masks. The control will be carried out by inspectors.

Stores, shops, and shopping malls remain open but should have displayed information about the largest possible number of customers who can be in the space at the same time, and they need to enhance hygiene measures (cleaning, disinfecting, ventilating).

Working hours of bakeries are limited to 10 p.m. Prohibition of alcohol sales stays from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Casinos and bookmakers, as well as fairs and other forms of economic and tourist events, are suspended.

All amateur cultural and artistic performances, programs, and events, including choirs, are suspended, as well as composite musical stage performances involving orchestras and choirs. There are no rehearsals of amateur choirs, which also applies to church choirs.

Anti-epidemic measures restricting 25 people and completion by 10 p.m. do not apply to professional art performances and programs that do not include the performance of complex music and stage works that include orchestras and choirs, cinema screenings, and exhibitions in museums, galleries, and other exhibition spaces.

There is also no food consumption in the cinema. Also, the work of children's playrooms and dance schools is suspended. Foreign language schools can only operate online, as well as driving schools. While driving, instructor and trainees should wear masks.

It is recommended that masses are online, via radio and TV programs, without coming to religious facilities. There may be a maximum of 25 believers in the church at mass.

People who have any symptoms are prohibited from coming to work. Working from home is recommended, as well as sliding working hours, working in shifts and groups, fewer meetings, and regular ventilation of working space.

Plenković emphasized the fact that they are against complete closure and curfew, but they are introducing these measures in order to protect our health and limit certain activities that they believe will help reduce the infection. And they will also take care of the economy.

"Our goal is to ensure the sustainability of the health system in which our doctors, nurses, and health professionals make superhuman efforts to cure the sick and save every life. In parallel, testing capacity will be strengthened because we need to isolate every infected person," said Plenković.

To read more news about coronavirus in Croatia, follow our dedicated page.

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Krapina-Zagorje County Head Says Epidemiological Situation Very Serious

ZAGREB, November 21, 2020 - Krapina-Zagorje County head Zeljko Kolar said on Saturday that the epidemiological situation in the county was very serious, with 104 new coronavirus cases and four fatalities in the last 24 hours.

The county head told a news conference that the county health system was functioning only owing to extreme efforts by medical workers.

"Forty-nine people have died since October 23. If that is not reason enough for people to get serious and start complying with epidemiological measures, I don't know what is. We do not want the scenario that is happening in Varazdin County to happen here," Kolar said in reference to Varazdin County being among the European regions with the highest seven-day incidence of coronavirus, with 944 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

There are currently 1,043 active cases in Krapina-Zagorje County and 1,453 people are self-isolating, the local COVID-19 response team said.

Saturday, 17 October 2020

Secret Behind Istria and Its Success in Fight Against Coronavirus

October 17, 2020 – The other day, due to the good epidemiological situation, Istria was proclaimed as the only Coronavirus free region in Europe. Experts reveal the secret behind Istria's excellent epidemiological situation.

On October 15, 2020, the Belgian Foreign Affairs authorities published a map of Europe by zones according to the epidemiological situation, on which Istria stood out for being green. Although there are 13 new cases of infection in Istria today, the situation so far has been excellent, which is why Istria has been declared the only coronavirus-free region in Europe. Until 12 days ago, more precisely, on October 5, 2020, Istria did not record a single case of coronavirus infection, which made it stand out from all Croatian and even European averages.

Več reports how Istrians managed to stay away from the new wave of infection and what they are doing better on that peninsula than in most of Croatia (and Europe), at least for now.


Crisis management

"The expertise of the Headquarters, the responsibility of the citizens, and the support of the local and regional self-government authorities is the key to a good epidemiological situation in Istria. The government must stand behind the Headquarters, and all this would not be worth much without successful interaction with the citizens," is the shortest explanation of the Chief of the Civil Protection Headquarters in Istria County Dino Kozlevac.

Besides, in Istria, this terrible epidemic is dealt with exclusively by experts, some of whom have lifelong education for crisis management and, which is equally important, there is no political influence.

"No, not at all, the local government gives us unreserved support, and people trust the Headquarters and respect the measures. For example, we decided back in June that masks must be worn in stores, transportation, and are also recommended in public places. Today we do not have a free transmission of the virus in the population, only imported cases. Thanks to the good situation in the classrooms, our children do not have to wear masks, and we sent a request to the National Headquarters to exempt Istrian restaurants and cafes from the obligation of wearing masks for two weeks," says Kozlevac.

In Istria, the recent confirmations were carried out in a special regime. They were held only during two weekends, the last ones were about ten days ago, and no case of infection related to these events was reported.

"We cooperate extremely well with the Church all the time, we agree on everything, so the same was going with confirmations. They were postponed in the spring, and are now, in agreement with the bishop, dispersed in two weekends. A letter was sent to the believers with a request that they stay in a small circle, only parents, children, and godparents, the citizens accepted that and there are no problems. And are Istrians more responsible than citizens in other parts of the country? Um, I have friends all over Croatia and I couldn't say that. But I can confirm that the Istrians are responsible," says the head of the Istrian Headquarters Kozlevac.



Prople in Rovinj, Istria / Copyright Romulić and Stojčić


Istrian mentality?

The director of the Istrian Tourist Board, Denis Ivošević, adds that Istrians are "organized, consistent and disciplined". And when that is the case, it doesn't bother two million tourists, or 250,000 of them a day during the summer, nor the thousands of Istrians who go to work in Italy or Slovenia every day. They are a real example that the new normal can be quite normal when things are arranged well.

"From the first day, we adhered to the prescribed measures. In Istria, it was difficult to see what was elsewhere on the coast, so tourists also complained that the waiters did not have masks. We immediately educated the employees on how to best protect themselves and their guests, and we also hired two people who only did disinfection. When the guests got up from the table, they would thoroughly disinfect everything every time," says the owner of the Pula tavern Boccaport Toni Draguzet and confirms that individual responsibility ultimately gives to the common good.

Sociologist Dražen Lalić does not deny that the mentality also has an influence.

"I don't like divisions by character. I am especially repulsed when the Dalmatian mentality is blamed for the spread of the infection in Split, and when the infection spreads in Zagreb, then the mentality is no longer mentioned. However, it is true, for example, that the half of Split that does not engage in tourism in the summer necessarily complains that there are too many tourists in the city. In Poreč or Rovinj, that is unthinkable," says Lalić, who blames inconsistencies around measures and the fact that some civil protection headquarters are run by insufficiently professional people for the bad epidemiological picture in most parts of Croatia.


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Saturday, 12 September 2020

Fuchs: Classes Without Face Masks Possible in Epidemiologically Stable Communities

ZAGREB, September 12, 2020 - Science and Education Minister Radovan Fuchs has said that if the local epidemiological situation proves stable, local authorities can decide that school children do not need to wear face masks when at school.

"There is pressure from a group of people, parents, who disagree with the recommended measures. Some people do not agree with children having to wear face masks at school, so they come up with various arguments," Fuchs said in an interview with Croatian Radio on Saturday, noting that the decision to wear face masks in certain situations was based on the recommendations of the World Health Organisation.

"You cannot make everyone happy. We are doing as we are told by epidemiologists. If the epidemiological situation in a county or a town is very stable, a decision can be made locally on children no longer having to wear face masks," the minister said, adding that the education model for the coronavirus epidemic was flexible so that everyone involved could act and so that children could spend as much time as possible at school and have live classes.

Asked about children who do not attend religious instruction but due to a ban on the mixing of children from different classrooms have to stay in their classroom and attend religious education, Fuchs said it was a typical example of non-continuation of reform processes and a problem that had existed from before and had become even more evident in the current crisis.

He added that he agreed the problem had to be solved and instructed school principals to organise classes as flexibly as possible in order to accommodate children as much as possible while respecting epidemiological measures.

The minister also commented on a union proposal that due to warm weather and face masks, some schools be allowed to shorten classes to 30 minutes.

"Any good and clever suggestion is welcome... but I would like to warn about one thing - shortening classes by five minutes eventually means 11% less classes in a school year," he said.


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