Thursday, 20 January 2022

Beroš: COVID Restrictions Not to Be Lifted for Now Given Low Vaccination Rate

ZAGREB, 20 Jan 2022 - Due to its low vaccination rate, Croatia, for now, cannot consider lifting some of the COVID restrictions, and medical professionals continue to recommend compliance with the epidemiological measures in place to contain the virus, Health Minister Vili Beroš said at a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

He was commenting on plans by countries such as the United Kingdom and Israel, which have high vaccination rates, to lift the restrictions and the COVID pass mandate. He warned that in Croatia, a considerable number of people aged 75 and over were unvaccinated.

Despite the surge in the number of new infections, for now, there has been no increase in the number of COVID hospitalizations, so health care is also available to non-COVID patients, the health minister said.

"Today, 1,792 infected persons are being treated in hospitals, four fewer than yesterday. The COVID bed occupancy rate is 53.4 percent, which allows for other patients to be provided with the necessary health care as well," Beroš said.

Croatia today registered a record 17,489 new COVID cases, with the PCR test positivity rate reaching 51.44 percent and the rapid antigen test positivity rate 18.82 percent. The number of COVID patients on ventilators today is 195, nine fewer than on Wednesday. 

Beroš said that 18.63 percent of the total population had received an additional vaccine dose.

He noted that people being admitted to hospitals with the Omicron variant of the virus were mostly elderly and unvaccinated with other underlying conditions.

He said that the latest data published by the European Medicines Agency showed that mRNA COVID vaccines were safe during pregnancy.

The head of the national COVID response team, Interior Minister Davor Božinović, said that the travel ban on arrivals from South Africa and other African countries where the Omicron variant first appeared had been lifted given that this variant has become dominant in Croatia and Europe.

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, 13 January 2022

Beroš: More Hospitalized COVID Patients in Areas with Lower Levels of Vaccination

ZAGREB, 13 Jan 2022 - Health Minister Vili Beroš told the cabinet on Thursday that in the past 24 hours, 46.28% of those tested proved positive to the novel coronavirus and that areas with low levels of immunisation showed a higher number of hospitalised COVID patients. 

The number of hospitalised patients has increased along the entire coast and KBC Split is experiencing the biggest pressure. The Križine hospital has opened yet another COVID ward and 18 nurses from other institutions have been assigned to the hospital, said Beroš.

The situation in the Zadar General Hospital has also deteriorated. The highest number of COVID patients is present in Split, Zagreb and Rijeka.

To date, 4.9 million doses of COVID vaccine have been administered and 642,406 people have received an additional shot.

District nurse services have contacted 1,611 elderly citizens this week and 643, or 40% have agreed to get vaccinated.

Fourth and fifth waves have overlapped

Beroš said that testing in health institutions is being stepped up, adding that the only logical modus operandi was for the primary health care services to take on testing and a decision in that regard would be made today.

"The fourth and fifth waves have overlapped, as have the Delta and Omicron variants. It is expected that the highest pressure in the days to come will be where the inoculation rate is lower," he said.

Currently, there are 53,051 active cases of the novel coronavirus in Croatia, plus 22,000 citizens who are self-isolating.

Epidemiologists expect the Omicron variant will infect the majority of the population, but those who have been vaccinated will experience only mild symptoms while those who haven't are more likely to develop grave symptoms and possibly fatal outcomes, the health minister said.

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, 30 December 2021

Health Minister Calls on Citizens to Get Booster

ZAGREB, 30 Dec 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš reiterated on Thursday that the fifth wave of COVID-19 infection, with the Omicron variant, was expected in the second half of January and once again called on citizens to get a booster jab, warning that most likely everyone will come into contact with Omicron.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting, he said there were 24 confirmed Omicron cases in Croatia but that without stepping up vaccination and strictly complying with the rules, "we probably won't be able to avoid the effects of the full force of the fifth wave in the second half of January."

Beroš said 42% of the tests done in the last 24 hours were positive and that Dalmatia, which has the lowest vaccination rate, accounted for the highest numbers.

Despite a gradual decline in hospitalizations, hospitals are constantly on alert as new cases are rising again. To date, 66.22% of adults have been vaccinated, including 487,083 with a booster.

Interior Minister Davor Božinović, who heads the COVID-19 crisis management team, called on citizens to maintain rational caution during the New Year's holidays.

He said the team had extended the current COVID protocols for another month. They refer to gatherings, crossing the border, wearing masks, shops' opening hours, public transport, and an entry ban for persons from many African countries.

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, 2 December 2021

Minister: Croatia Still Not Mulling Mandatory Vaccination Against COVID

ZAGREB, 2 Dec 2021 - The idea of compulsory vaccination against coronavirus is not yet on the government's agenda, however, anti-epidemic measures will depend on the epidemiological situation, Croatian Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Thursday.

The minister did not rule out the possibility of the fifth wave of the pandemic hitting Croatia if the country failed to reach the necessary vaccination rate.

"We have been emphasizing all along that vaccination is voluntary, and we have not considered the vaccination mandate. Since the onset of the pandemic we have been saying that all the measures are on the table and that epidemiological developments shape our choice of the measures," Beroš told a news conference after the government's meeting today.

He recalled that in Europe there are warnings that if a certain vaccination rate is not achieved, the fifth wave of the pandemic is possible in February.

"No one can know what awaits us so I cannot completely rule out the introduction of mandatory vaccination," Beroš said, admitting that mandatory vaccination could deepen the divisions in society and provoke resistance.

"Therefore, let us get vaccinated to deter a possible fifth wave and the emergence of new variants (of the virus)."

Croatia has seen a decline in new coronavirus numbers over recent days, which the minister associated with more and more people getting inoculated and with the introduction of the COVID certificate mandate.

Although he expressed hope for a more serene Christmas season, the minister called for exercising caution.

As for the inclusion of his name on the "Croatian Traitors" website, Beroš said that he felt extremely bad about it.

"Every single move and decision we make... is aimed at protecting the health of Croatian citizens. Anything else is bad stories that will be judged by history," the minister said.

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

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.

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Minister Says Number of New Infections Down Compared to Last Week

ZAGREB, 2 Dec 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš said at a government session on Thursday that the number of new coronavirus infections was down 14.5% from the previous week and that the number of hospitalizations was also slightly smaller even though pressure on the health system was still significant.

The test positivity rate in the past 24 hours was 38.35%, a drop of 14.5% compared to last week and 26.5% compared to two weeks ago.

A total of 2,391 people are hospitalized, which is a slight decrease in the number of hospitalizations. In the past 24 hours, 30 people were put on ventilators and 24 of them are unvaccinated, said Beroš.

Despite the decline in the number of infections, hospitals are still under strain and the situation is most difficult in the northwest of Croatia, in the hospitals in Zabok, Varaždin, Čakovec and Koprivnica, where nurses and ventilators from other health institutions are being sent.

"The capacity for the admission of COVID-19 patients keeps increasing, and over the past month, the number of beds for those patients was increased from 2,253 to 3,580, which is currently insufficient. The number of hospitalizations in that period grew by 85%, from 1,330 to 2,545," he said.

As for the new coronavirus variant Omicron, the minister said that it was considered more dangerous because it had twice as many mutations as the Delta variant. However, experts note that vaccines continue to provide a high degree of protection from severe clinical symptoms and hospitalization, he said.

A total of 209,000 people have received the third vaccine dose so far.

As for vaccination with the first and second doses, one should strive to achieve the vaccination rate of Zagreb (75%), with the 70-74 age group having the highest vaccination rate, with 90% having received at least one shot.

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

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.

Saturday, 27 November 2021

New Coronavirus Strain: Vili Beroš Blames Unvaccinated

November 27, 2021 - A new coronavirus strain was detected this week in South Africa. Referred to by the WHO as ''Omicron'', it is highly infectious and may have already reached Europe. Minister Beroš addressed the media to update on the situation in Croatia and focused the blame on the unvaccinated.

Minister of Health Vili Beroš sent a statement to the media about a new coronavirus strain that has started to spread and which the WHO called Omicron, reports Index.hr.

"We are monitoring the situation in the world and in Europe. We are in constant communication with all relevant departments in order to be maximally prepared for a new strain of the virus.

At this time, the final effect of these 30 mutations on the spike complex of the virus is still unknown, ie whether it represents an improved version of the delta virus in terms of infectivity and level of resistance to the vaccine.

The announcement of pharmaceutical companies, known from before, promises that they can adapt the vaccine in a shorter time.

But let's not forget, basic epidemiological measures are also effective against this virus: distance, masks, disinfection, ventilation, and avoidance of gathering! And against new mutations - vaccination!

It was a large pool of unvaccinated that gave life to a new strain of the virus. We’re smarter than that, it’s not too late to turn around! Let's listen to the profession, respect epidemiological measures, and get vaccinated", concluded Beroš.

In the last 24 hours 5,502 coronavirus cases and 51 COVID-19 deaths have been registered in Croatia, the national crisis management team said on Saturday.

There are 34,553 active cases, including 2,506 hospitalized patients, of whom 324 are on ventilators, while 28,272 persons are self-isolating.

To date, 3,424,751 persons have been tested for the virus, including 13,372 in the last 24 hours.

Croatia has registered 599,977 coronavirus cases to date as well as 10,695 related deaths and 554,729 recoveries, of which 5,629 in the last 24 hours.

To date, 53.43% of the total population has been vaccinated against COVID-19, including 63.77% of adults, 56.85% of whom have completed vaccination.

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

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.

Saturday, 6 November 2021

Minister Says Croatia at Peak of 4th Wave of Pandemic

ZAGREB, 6 Nov 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš told the national radio (HR) on Saturday morning that over 7,000 new cases of the infection with coronavirus had been registered in the last 24 hours.

Croatia is now at the peak of the new wave of the pandemic and unfortunately, today we have registered over 7,000 new cases.

The minister declined to predict the scenarios for the future.

Let us do our best, and the best thing is to get vaccinated and comply with the basic anti-epidemic measures, said Beroš.

He said that the hospitals were not under strain such was the case in the previous waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He called for responsible behavior of all so as to prevent an excessive burden on the healthcare system.

Vaccination reduces possible reservoirs for the virus, he said, reiterating the benefits of immunization such as fewer chances of getting seriously ill.

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.

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Beroš Announces Wider Use of COVID Certificates

ZAGREB, 4 Nov 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš announced on Thursday that the national COVID-19 crisis management team would introduce a new package of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus, including wider use of COVID certificates, but there would not be a new lockdown.

"We are completely clear that we must react. A new package of measures is being hammered out and it will be presented at a press conference tomorrow. Epidemiologists will this time again put forward measures which will be agreed on with the goal of preventing the spread of the infection, a further rise in the number of new cases, and ensuring the stability of the health system," Beroš told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

He confirmed that the new measures included a wider use of COVID certificates, although he "certainly hopes that we wouldn't need a COVID certificate to go for a coffee or to a shopping center".

"There are a number of other measures with which we can try to prevent the further spread of the virus. We'll see everything tomorrow," said Beroš, noting that the new measures sought to strike a balance between restrictions and normal life.

He underscored that the citizens who had been vaccinated had been taken into account in the new package of measures.

"There cannot be a new lockdown. Those who are truly protected, those who have recovered from the infection and been vaccinated, we cannot restrict their lives," Beroš 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.

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Beroš: Statements by Individuals About Deterioration of Health System Untrue

ZAGREB, 4 Nov 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Thursday that statements by individuals about the deterioration of the health system were not true and that all COVID and non-COVID patients were being taken care of without delay.

"I wish to appeal to the media that statements by individuals about the deterioration of the health system are simply not true. Indeed, large resources are being redirected towards the treatment of COVID patients, which could have been avoided by timely vaccination. However, all COVID and non-COVID patients are being taken care of without delay," Beroš told a cabinet meeting.

National COVID-19 response team considering a possible new set of measures

The head of the national COVID-19 response team, Interior Minister Davor Božinović, said that they were considering a possible new set of measures to contain the spread of the virus. He said that interdepartmental talks were ongoing and that the public would be informed of any new measures in due course.

Beroš said that today's number of 6,310 new cases in Croatia was by far the largest daily number recorded to date.

"The causes of this surge lie in ourselves alone, in our refusal to comply with the basic epidemiological measures, and in our insufficient awareness of the benefits of vaccination," Beroš said.

7 in 10 new cases and 8 in 10 patients on ventilators unvaccinated

He said that the test positivity rate was 43.90 percent, and 233 infected people had been hospitalized in the 24 hours alone. In the past week, of the total number of new cases, 72.8 percent were not vaccinated, and 77.2 percent of the patients on ventilators were not vaccinated, he warned.

"However, the newly-awakened interest among citizens in getting vaccinated is encouraging. As many as 14,379 persons were vaccinated yesterday, the largest number in a single day to date," the health minister said.

Beroš said that 29,627 people had so far received a booster shot against COVID-19, adding that three percent of children aged 12-14 and 18.6 percent of young people aged 15-19 had been vaccinated to date.

"Insufficient compliance with the epidemiological measures and refusal to get vaccinated are the main causes of the rapid spread of the virus. We are seeing consequences at all levels of the health system," Beroš warned and once again appealed to citizens to get vaccinated.

He said that the ministry had instructed local coronavirus response teams to ensure additional capacities for medical treatment in their counties.

Božinović said that 11,578 inspections had been carried out in the past week to check compliance with the epidemiological measures. He said that the irregularities mostly concerned the provision of catering services after midnight and failure to wear face masks and maintain a physical distance in enclosed spaces. He said that 27 infringement notices, 176 written warnings, 14 oral warnings, and 17 fines had been issued in that regard.

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.

Thursday, 28 October 2021

Hospitals Mobilised Due to Rise in COVID Cases, Says Health Minister

ZAGREB, 28 Oct 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Thursday 33.77% of coronavirus tests were positive and that hospitals would be additionally mobilized, including the reopening of the Arena Zagreb center for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting, Beroš said 74.5% of those infected and 75% of those hospitalized over the past week had not been vaccinated, and that among today's new cases 27% were under 20 and 60% were aged 20-40.

"The health system is preparing for new, additional burdens," he said, adding that experts of the Health Ministry's crisis management team concluded yesterday that it was necessary to increase the number of beds and intensive care units in Zagreb.

The ministry has instructed county civil protection teams and health centers to reopen COVID departments to relieve the pressure on hospitals.

Beroš said there was increased interest in vaccination, with 3,790 more people receiving the first dose in the first three days of this week than last week.

He said 56% of adults and over 88% of doctors have been vaccinated and urged everyone, notably the elderly, to get vaccinated. More than 14,000 persons have received a booster shot, he added.

The head of the national COVID-19 crisis management team, Interior Minister Davor Božinović, said the increase in new cases showed that people did not comply with COVID rules as much as they should.

That is why police, civil protection, and state inspectors will step up the monitoring of compliance in public transport, hospitality establishments, shopping centers, and at public gatherings, including weddings, he added.

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.

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