Friday, 11 February 2022

Student Self-Testing Video Published by Croatian Public Health Institute

February 11, 2022 - The Croatian Public Health Institute has released a student self-testing video with instructions on the simple 4-step process. 

The Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ) released a video with instructions for student self-testing, which is carried out in four main steps, reports 24 Sata.

The goal of student self-testing is to increase the probability of holding classes in person, on the school premises, for as long as possible by abolishing self-isolation measures (quarantine).

"An additional goal is to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19 in school and the family. The regular self-testing measure is voluntary. However, for its successful and effective implementation, it is important that as many students as possible participate in regular self-testing," says the Croatian Public Health Institute.

 

Self-testing is conducted in four main steps:

1. Read the instructions for use and wash your hands.

2. Take a test sample.

3. Conduct testing.

4. Find out the result in 15-20 minutes.

What if the result is positive, and what if it is negative?

- negative result - the student goes to school,

- positive result - the student stays at home, reports to the doctor and the school.

Recall, on February 9, the Ministry of Science and Education sent instructions to principals regarding student self-testing in Croatia. 

Index.hr reported that the Civil Protection Headquarters would deliver rapid antigen tests to schools, after which the schools distribute the tests to parents or guardians or students. Testing is conducted once a week by a parent, guardian, or student. If the test result is positive, information about the positive test is reported to the educational institution's selected family doctor or pediatrician.

All students with a negative result continue to attend classes regularly, and if they test positive, they do not come to school. Testing is repeated for the entire class in which positive test results are determined the first day after a student receives a positive Covid test.

Minister of Science and Education Radovan Fuchs commented on student self-testing in an interview with HRT, confirming that the distribution of tests had begun.

Fuchs called the process of rapid antigen testing "a de facto process of abolishing self-isolation for students so that all those who are not ill are in school." However, he also said that this was not a step towards mandatory testing or vaccination.

Fuchs said the first part of the tests, about 300,000, went to Dalmatia on February 8.

"Of course, we are going to the islands as a priority, as it is a bit more challenging to distribute there, and that's why we went to the Dalmatian regions first.

The rest, up to a million, were expected to arrive at civil protection warehouses on February 9, and the moment these tests were received, they immediately moved on to schools. So I think by the end of the week or early next week, all schools will have tests available," Fuchs said a few days ago.

“We have said that this student testing is voluntary and that parents will declare in one piece of paper whether or not they will conduct testing of their child,” he said.

"All those who refuse, nothing will happen to them, nor the children, of course, except that the moment a positive student appears in the class, or possibly someone from that child's environment becomes ill, that child will have to go into isolation," Fuchs said.

He also said that these tests are very similar to those that can be bought in pharmacies and that, unlike PCR, it is not inserted deep into the nose with a test cotton swab or stick. Still, a swab is taken from the front of the nasal cavity, and it is a straightforward procedure.

Fuchs also said that parents who will not test their children and say that they were negative would not be traced because they do not intend to apply any repressive measures.

“I hope the parents are responsible enough and won’t cheat because this is done so that the education system would virtually abolish self-isolation using a self-testing system,” he said. 

Fuchs also said that if the number of positive results dropped significantly, in February, they would switch to the testing variant only in those classes when it is ordered. After that, it would be ordered when a positive case occurs.

"And after that, we would go for the complete abolition of both testing and self-isolation if the data from the field justify it," Fuchs said. He also said that they did not consider testing children in kindergartens.

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.

Tuesday, 1 February 2022

HZJZ: Protests Against COVID Rules Just Put Pressure on Health Workers

ZAGREB, 1 Feb 2022 - Ahead of protests against COVID rules to be held on Tuesday outside public health institutes around the country, officials from the national institute have said the protestors are just feigning care for the health of children and are in fact just putting pressure on health care workers.

"These undeclared organisers are just feigning care for children and their health and in fact are just using them as an instrument to achieve some other objectives they consider to be important," officials from the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ) said.

HZJZ said that the protests, which have been announced via social media by the "Free together" group, would just put pressure on healthcare workers and epidemiologists who have been doing their job in the best of faith for the last two years, adding that their recommendations are based on scientific evidence of the need for vaccination against coronavirus, in particular of the elderly.

“Protests, swearing, threats and everything else associated with that will not resolve the problems we have all been faced with during this epidemic," the HZJZ officials said.

Tuesday, 1 February 2022

HZJZ Shortens Quarantine for All Close Contacts of COVID-19 Patients to 7 Days

ZAGREB, 1 Feb 2022 - The Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ) on Monday issued revised protocols for persons infected with COVID-19 and their close contacts, shortening the period of quarantine to seven days for all close contacts and not just persons who have been vaccinated and have recovered from the infection.

Exceptions from the rule on quarantine remain the same as in the previous protocols, the HZJZ said in a summary of the new protocols, published on its website. 

Persons with an asymptomatic infection may end their isolation if on the fifth day at the earliest they test negative on a rapid antigen test, as may patients with mild and moderate symptoms after at least five days, on the condition they test negative on a rapid antigen test on the fifth day at the earliest, their temperature is not elevated and they have significantly reduced symptoms.

Without a rapid antigen test, isolation lasts ten days for persons who have not been vaccinated and have not contracted the infection earlier, while for those who have been vaccinated and have recovered from COVID-19 isolation lasts seven days without a test. To end isolation without a test, a patient must not have an elevated body temperature for at least 24 hours, as against the previous rule of a minimum three days.

If the patient and their close contacts share the same household where they do not have the possibility of isolating the patient, household contacts have to quarantine for seven days after the patient meets the conditions for the completion of isolation.

A person with an asymptomatic infection may end their isolation five days at the earliest after testing positive, if they test negative using a rapid antigen test done on the fifth day of isolation at the earliest. After that, they have to wear a mask for the next five days when in contact with other persons, limit contact with persons at risk of a serious disease and comply with other epidemiological rules.

If the rapid antigen test done on the fifth day since the start of isolation at the earliest is positive, the person concerned can end isolation after seven days if they have been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19, or after ten days if they have not been vaccinated and have not recovered, without having to test again.

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Record-High Number of People Vaccinated Against COVID on Wednesday

ZAGREB, 11 Nov, 2021 - A record-high 27,261 persons were vaccinated against COVID-19 in Croatia on Wednesday, including 16,747 who received the first dose, the highest number since early June, the Public Health Institute (HZJZ) said on Thursday.

Also yesterday, 3,527 persons received a second dose and 7,347 a booster shoot.

Croatia has administered 3,759,981 vaccine doses to date, with 1,990,925 persons receiving the first dose and 1,707,700 two doses, while 61,356 persons have received a booster shot.

To date 49.06% of the total population has been vaccinated, including 58.67% of adults.

The City of Zagreb accounts for the highest number of persons who received the first dose, 57.6% of the capital's total population and 69.2% of adults.

Zagreb also has the largest number of persons who have completed vaccination, with 52.6% of its total population and 63.4% of adults.

The HZJZ called on those who have not been vaccinated, notably those most at risk, to do so as soon as possible.

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

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, 2 October 2021

Overweight Croatian Children: Every Third Child Eats Too Much

October 2, 2021 - With every third child having a weight problem, the study finds that the sheer amount of overweight Croatian children is a legitimate concern.

The Dalmatian meat specialty of Pašticada, Zagorje's Štrukli, spicy Slavonian sausages called Kulen... the list goes on and these are just some of the delicious foods Croats traditionally eat. But even outside of tradition, there are loads of contemporary food restaurants, foreign food options (Chinese, Mexican, Arab, Greek and more), not to mention many fast-food chains and even more bakeries. Basically, there's no need to worry about starving in Croatia. And that may also turn into a problem.

As Srednja.hr writes, every third child in Croatia is overweight, meaning there is now a serious concern about overweight Croatian children which needs to be tackled.

This fact was discovered during the ''European Initiative for monitoring childhood obesity in Croatia 2018/2019'' (CroCOSI), conducted by the European Office of the World Health Organisation. It's interesting to note that the research leader for Croatia was none other than Sanja Musić Milanović, the wife of the current Croatian president, Zoran Milanović.

The results of the research were presented last week at the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ). ''Around 35% of Croatian children aged 8 to 9 are overweight, and only 14% of parents are aware of that,'' writes Srednja.hr.

Looking at different regions, the lowest amount of overweight Croatian children can be found in Zagreb (29.7%). While continental Croatia has a higher percentage (36.0%), the Adriatic region holds a record-breaking number, reaching almost 37%.

Gender-wise, Croatian boys have more weight issues than girls do (17.8% / 11.9%).

While this isn't too much of a drastic rise when compared to the research from 2015/2016 (the total percentage was 34.9%), being overweight remains a big problem for Croatia which can lead to serious health risks sooner or later. These issues go deeper than personal health but also result in more pressure being placed on an already burdened healthcare system.

What's interesting, is that this weight problem is more of an issue in rural areas than it is in urban ones, even though you'd think it should be the other way around as rural areas are more in touch with nature and offer more possibilities for recreation. However, urban areas, as a study suggests, have better prevention programmes which advocate for healthy habits and lifestyles.

Additionally, the fact that only 14% of parents are aware that their child has a weight problem also shows problems in understanding of what a good diet actually is among Croats.

''The Health Ministry has recognised the weight issue as a priority area and has started with preparations for making a prevention plan for it. I believe that with the implementation of this action plan, we'll contribute in stopping this negative trend rising on a national level in the years to come,'' commented Health Minister Vili Beroš.

The problem of overweight children and fat-shaming has recently been recognised among Croatian pupils. As TCN wrote, pupils in schools are no longer measured publicly but privately. However, the combat against unhealthy habits among Croatian children for a healthier, more knowledgeable generation is still underway.

Learn more about Croatian food in our TC guide.

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

 

Thursday, 19 August 2021

Pavić Šimetin Says New Epidemiological Restrictions Considered

ZAGREB, 19 Aug, 2021 - Croatian Public Health Institute deputy director Ivana Pavić Šimetin said on Wednesday that an increase in the number of new coronavirus cases could be stopped and slowed down with vaccination and adherence to epidemiological measures.

Pavić Šimetin told Croatian Television that new epidemiological measures were being considered, including the possibility to shorten business hours.

She said authorities expected a lot from the digital COVID-19 certificate, adding that wearing a mask in school would be mandatory form from grades five and up.

For more about COVID-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Friday, 30 July 2021

COVID-19 Response Team: Share of Infections with Delta Coronavirus Variant Rising

ZAGREB, 30 July 2021- The results of the latest sequencing of samples sent on 20 July show that 13% of the samples were infected with the Alpha coronavirus variant while 84% were infected with the Delta variant, meaning that the share of the new variant in Croatia has continued to grow, the COVID-19 response team has said.

Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Friday that according to the latest map of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Croatia remained in the orange zone, recording the smallest daily increase in infections in relation to its competition.

"That fact strengthens our status as the safest tourist destination. That gives us reason for satisfaction, but we must remain cautious," he said.

There are over one million tourists in Croatia, which carries an increased risk of disease transmission, the minister said, calling for compliance with restrictions and for vaccination.

He again called on elderly citizens to get vaccinated, noting that mobile teams had been formed to visit elderly people at home and remind them of the importance of getting vaccinated.

Asked if vaccination would be made obligatory for some sectors, Beroš said that that was not likely at the moment and that what prevailed was the proposal for the smart use of COVID-19 certificates to enable work also for people who had not been vaccinated.

Claim for damages over infection, death during hospital treatment

The minister said that for the time being there were no lawsuits against medical institutions over infection with COVID-19 during hospital treatment but he confirmed that a claim for damages had been filed against the KBC Zagreb hospital by a family who believed that their member had died in hospital infected with COVID-19.

KBC Zagreb officials have said that COVID-19 restrictions and professional rules are complied with at the hospital.

"As for whether lawsuits can be expected, probably yes. I can only repeat that since the start of the pandemic we have acted in line with recommendations by the public health institute for safe work in hospitals," the minister said.

Official: Vaccinated people can transmit infection, should wear masks until vaccination rate is high 

Reporters asked the head of Zagreb's "Dr. Fran Mihaljević" hospital for infectious diseases, Alemka Markotić, to explain research showing that people who have been vaccinated can spread infection with the Delta coronavirus variant equally fast as people who have not been immunised.

She said that this was not unusual as a person who had been vaccinated was protecting themselves but could carry the virus, which was why experts remained cautious and were not saying that those who had been vaccinated should no longer wear masks.

Public Health Institute (HZJZ) head Krunoslav Capak said that epidemiological rules for the 5 August commemoration of Operation Storm had still not been defined and that they would be known on Monday, and as for the Alka tournament in Sinj, he said that a proposal had been made for participants to have COVID-19 certificates and for the number of attendees to be half the envisaged seating capacity.

The COVID-19 response team will hold its next news conference in three weeks' time, on the condition there are no extraordinary situations.

Friday, 23 July 2021

Croatian Public Health Institute on Vaccinating Roma People

July 23, 2021 - The response by the Croatian Institute of Public Health on vaccinating Roma people arrived few hours after TCN published the first article on the subject. TCN, true to its words, will now publish the response as promised to our readers.

A recent TCN report about vaccinating Roma people people saw the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ) send the answers that didn't make it out before the publishing of the article. They apologised, stating that it all might have come down to a mistake in communication, suggesting that their reply might have been originally sent to the wrong address (after sending, forwarding, and lots of e-mail addresses involved, one can understand that the answers could have been sent to the wrong email).

Either way, it's fantastic to receive some new info on the matter.

A quick reminder, Veljko Kajtazi, a member of the Croatian parliament, elected as a representative of the Roma community, told TCN that official research of the percentage of vaccinated Roma people hasn't been conducted, but added that he frequently goes ''to out into the field'' and can see that the situation isn't with vaccinating Roma people isn't good.

''If 45% of the Croatian population is vaccinated, I can say that Roma people are a very small percentage of that number,'' commented Kajtazi. He also recognised fake news as the cause of lowered interest in the vaccine.

''Last year, 80% of Roma people wanted to take the vaccine, but today, they're scared and believe in various conspiracy theories. People aren't informed, and social media spreads so much disinformation,'' stated Kajtazi. 

 

Cijepljenje_Vakcinacija.jpg © Cijepljenje / Vakcinacija

Ethnicity is not a criterion for vaccination

HZJZ responded that they also hadn't conducted any research about attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccines among the country's Roma people. They also haven't come up with any statistics for the percentage of vaccinated Roma people.

''During the vaccination process, no differences are made in regards to ethnicity as the vaccination plan doesn't see ethnicity as a criterion for who can take the vaccine and who can't. This is the same with Roma people and for any other ethnic minority,'' explained HZJZ. They added how they asked each of the county branches of the Public health Institute about vaccinating Roma people and the field information confirmed that vaccination is being carried out in accordance with the current vaccination plan.

''So far, there has been no analysis of the number of vaccinated people based on ethnicity at the state level, and local institutes don't keep a record of vaccinated people based on their ethnicity. This doesn't exclude the possibility of retrograde analysis in accordance with available data,'' pointed out HZJZ.

Regarding the isolation of Roma people, HZJZ said that local institutions arranged open points for the vaccination for all Croatian citizens, and they suggest that they had arrived at this point due to the partially inadequate organisation and a lack of financial conditions, not to mention a lack of human resources for vaccination in Roma villages.

However, the trouble of the isolation of Roma villages does seem to be something HZJZ recognises as a challenge in vaccine availability.

''With the goal of accomplishing a higher vaccination rate among the Roma community, we think an optimal solution would be to organise transport for the Roma community to the open vaccination points. But, that isn't in the domain of HZJZ, so we'd like to invite institutions that can help in organising transport to contact their nearest Institute for Public Health. Simply put, these institutes will organise vaccination wherever necessary, but to organise for citizens to come to the vaccination location by some special conditions, the organisational assistance of other contributors is needed,'' they concluded from HZJZ.

With Kajtazi previously stating for TCN that he is regularly in contact with the authorities when it comes to ensuring vaccines, as well as for real scientific information on their safety and efficiency, the organisational issues of transport to the vaccination points could be resolved.

Kajtazi_visiting_Roma_People_in_Varaždin.jpg

Roma Representative in Croatian Parliament, Veljko Kajtazi, visiting Roma people in Varaždin © Savez Roma u RH "KALI SARA"

With increasing numbers of new cases of infection being noted, the situation may not be as dramatic for the moment but could escalate quickly if Croats fail to recognise the importance of vaccination, not just because of the risk of ending the tourist season early but also due to the potential of another heavy blow to the Croatian healthcare system.

At the time of writing this article, the latest report noted 179 new cases, one death, and 98 recoveries. Additionally, health officials had administered nearly three million vaccine doses. Thus, 1.604 million people have received at least one dose of vaccine against COVID-19, and 1,401,029 have fully been vaccinated (1,360,822 have been double-jabbed plus 40,207 who have received the single-dose Jannsen vaccine), and this makes up 41.614% of the Croatian adult population.

Learn more about travelling to Croatia during the COVID-19 pandemic on our TC page.

For more about COVID-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Roma People COVID-19 Vaccination in Croatia: Will Crushed by Disinformation

July 22, 2021 - With the overall struggle to get Croatians to take the coronavirus vaccine, it is often overlooked regarding Roma people COVID-19 vaccination in Croatia.

Despite coronavirus infections being low at the moment, the situation is tense. On July 5, as TCN reported, only 35% of the Croatian population was vaccinated as the Delta strain spreads globally and in the country.

"Unfortunately, we aren't satisfied with the percentage of vaccinated people we hoped to have. We all wanted to vaccinate more than 50 percent of the total Croatian population during June, but sadly our numbers in that regard are much lower. Only about 35 percent of the total Croatian population has been vaccinated, which isn't enough for them to be calm and to be able to live according to the old normal,'' said epidemiologist Dijana Mayer back then. This was punished with the Croatian coast no longer being in the green, and without bigger vaccination interest, things can turn red. As TCN wrote, there are 5-6 Positive Cases at Split Airport every day, and new measures are introduced to British tourists as the Delta strain is booming there (but in a less fatal manner because of vaccines). Stricter measures, in general, can be excepted by the end of the month in Croatia too.

Fortunately, things got better in July. As reported on Wednesday, „Croatia administered nearly three million vaccine doses. Thus, 1.6 million people have received at least one dose of vaccines against COVID-19, and 1,388,674 have fully been vaccinated (1,349,652 have been double-jabbed plus 39,022 who have received a single-dose Jannsen vaccine), and this makes up 41.24% of the adult population“.

But, disinformation about COVID-19 vaccines is vividly spread (just as disinformation about COVID-19), leaving Croatian fact-checking site Faktograf knee-deep in debunking work. Many Croatians sadly believe the fake news of the anti-vaxxers, and the situation culminated to the point where the Croatian officials (as officials in many other EU countries that also struggle with anti-vax propaganda) seriously discuss obligatory vaccination. Will it happen? Some politicians are up for it, others no, but overall, the situation is uncertain as the fourth infection wave approaches, and the season could potentially be in jeopardy in mid-August, as 24 Sata writes.

vaccine-6165772_1280.jpg

COVID-19 vaccine © Pixabay

In summary, there are currently more vaccines in Croatia than there are people interested in. It's hard to believe how things progressed from the start of the year when we witnessed a delay in vaccine shipments, outrage by the public when people such as Zagreb University Rector Damir Boras received the vaccine ahead of time and schedule. From the malfunctioning Cijepi se (Vaccinate yourself) website where you had to register for an appointment (which took forever to get) to a family doctor being able to sign you up, all the way to be able to take a shot without an appointment today, vaccines truly became accessible for everyone. There were even buses bringing vaccines and performing vaccinations in remote villages. So vaccines are for everyone to take, but is it really so?

Nothing in the world is perfect, and neither is Croatia. From time to time, we can see that some groups in Croatian society do get discriminated against or suffer negative stereotypes. For example, with significant progress in accepting the LGBTQ community, sadly homophobic attacks still happen. The tensions with the Serbian minority vary from the day-to-day political agenda, but it is safe to say no one has it worse than the Roma people in Croatia.

As TCN previously wrote, following the 2020 report by Human Rights House in Zagreb, Roma people in Croatia are still facing many obstacles in achieving their rights, which include employment, access to services, and adequate living standards, and there is still segregation in the education system too. Either perceived as thieves, criminals, beggars or completely ignored in Croatia, the question of how many Roma people in Croatia received the vaccine and how many Roma people want the vaccine in the first place, can't be left aside, as it shows how much the vaccine rollout truly is fair for every citizen in the country.

Disinformation crippled 80% of those willing to get the vaccine

Veljko Kajtazi, a member of the Croatian parliament, elected as a representative of the Roma community, says that official research of percentage of vaccinated Roma people hasn't been conducted, but he frequently goes „to the field“, and sees that the situation isn't good.

„If 45% of the Croatian population is vaccinated, I can say that Roma people are a very small percentage of that number“, commented Kajtazi, then on a relevant number of vaccinated people.

He supports the talk of obligatory vaccines and finds disinformation and fake news regarding vaccines to be the cause of low interest.

veljko_kajtazi_Hrvatska_radiotelevizija.jpgVeljko Kajtazi, screenshot / Hrvatska radiotelevizija

„Roma people have a very social culture, love gatherings, and live in big families. When the pandemic started, I cooperated with authorities in ensuring that social distancing measures are respected in Roma settlements and that we educate people on the dangers of coronavirus“, recalled Kajtazi.

While Roma people can be found living anywhere, the majority is often ghettoized. An example is in Zagreb, where the Kozari Bok neighborhood on the east side of the city is famous for its big Roma population. When looking outside of the capital city, there are many Roma villages and settlements which count more people than other Croatian villages.

One such place is Piškorovec in Međimurje, which the Lupiga news site referred to as „the biggest Croatian ghetto“. Their article detailed both living in Piškorovec and tensions with the nearby town of Čakovec underlining incidents and division between Roma and Croatians (as Roma People are often perceived as thieves or beggars).

„Last year 80% of Roma people wanted to take the vaccine, but today, they are scared and believe various conspiracy theories. People are not informed, and social networks spread so much disinformation“, Kajtazi pictured how wishing for a vaccine turned sideways.

In the end, he added that he is regularly in contact with the government and institutions to provide information on vaccines to the community. Katja also hopes the vaccine buses will come to Roma villages too.

Questions for HZJZ

The lack of information, geographical isolation, and the overall achievement of social rights (such as health insurance) like other Croatian citizens that the Human Rights House in Zagreb expressed in their report left a lot of open questions regarding Roma people vaccination. Particularly, are there any statistics on how many people vaccinated that the health officials might have, what is the mood towards vaccines in Roma communities in their view, and can buses come to isolated areas to vaccinate Roma people? The inquiry was sent to the Health Ministry and to the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ). Health Ministry very quickly forwarded the inquiry to the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ) as these questions are part of their domain. The health ministry even forwarded the questions directly to the HZJZ headmaster Krunoslav Capak himself and other close associates on e-mail addresses not visible on the HZJZ website. But, HZJZ hasn't responded yet. Whether I tried to remind them and ask when can they answer via e-mail or phone calls, none left a response (although a phone call with HZJZ PR service confirmed there are experts in HZJZ that deal with the health of vulnerable social groups, which includes Roma People).

When the answer that can be expected for the moment remains unknown, but TCN will publish HZJZ's response when we receive it.

In the meantime, as we can see, despite vaccine skepticism being strong, there is nevertheless a slow but steady daily rise of vaccinated people in Croatia. 

Let's hope for the sake of public health that disinformation and fake news that turn people away from the vaccines will lower its influence on all the cultural groups and identities you can find in Croatia.

Editor's note: HZJZ response

Learn more about travelling to Croatia during the COVID-19 pandemic on our TC page.

For more about COVID-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 10 May 2021

Public Health Official Says Trial Events Discussed, Good Results Expected

ZAGREB, 10 May 2021 - Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ) head Krunoslav Capak said on Monday that intensive talks were underway on trial, controlled events with more participants to take place this week, expressing confidence those pilot projects would go well and there would be no new infections.

"This will be a test, a project in which we will bring together two different populations of people in two places," Capak said at a news conference held as part of the "Healthy living" project.

One of the events will have 80 participants and the other 120. The participants will be people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, people who have a certificate proving that they have recovered from the disease, or people who will be tested for coronavirus right before the event. After seven days, PCR tests will be done to see if there has been any spreading of the disease.

"We don't expect it, similar activities have been implemented elsewhere in the world. Some did PCR testing after such events and obtained good results, there were no new infections. We hope everything goes well and that we will enter June in a more relaxed atmosphere," said Capak.

Close to 900,000 people vaccinated with at least one dose

Capak said that close to 900,000 people in Croatia had been vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and that 7.5% of them had received both doses.

A total of 1.1 million doses have been administered.

"By the end of June, we expect to use all the vaccines that will arrive and more than 55% of the adult population is likely to be vaccinated by then. That will make it possible for us to enter the summer more calmly and to have a successful tourist season," Capak said.

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

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