Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Coronavirus Croatia: Journalist Details Self Isolation After Japan Return

March 4, 2020 - Ivan Buča, a journalist for 24 Sata, is currently under medical supervision in Croatia, after returning home from Japan, because of the coronavirus outbreak there. There are currently over 2000 people under supervision in Croatia, with some complaining that they feel harassed and stigmatized.

*Follow this article for live updates and this page for updates from Total Croatia News on the coronavirus in Croatia. An archive of updates can be found hereContact numbers for epidemiologists, travel advisories and measures for preventing the spread of the coronavirus can be found here.

“What's up, friend? You're a coronaš now, eh?”

This message was an attempt to cheer me up by a ‘witty’ friend after learning that I was in home isolation because I had just returned from Japan. Unfortunately for my friend, I am not a 'coronaš' because I don't have any symptoms of the disease.

Croatia Journalist Under Supervision After Japan Return

But since Japan was added to the list of countries last week where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not recommend travel to, if not necessary, due to the coronavirus outbreak; I have been put under medical supervision for 14 days, Ivan Buča wrote for 24 Sata on March 3, 2020.

I am like many people who have returned from China, Korea, the affected areas of northern Italy in recent days…

The Ministry issued a travel advisory for Japan in the middle of my one-week visit to that country, where I was staying with about 20 other Croatians. On the same day, the Japanese Prime Minister decided that all schools and kindergartens would be closed for a month, and museums would shut their doors for two weeks. We were immediately aware that, upon returning home, we would be subject to expanded screenings at the airport and would be placed under medical supervision.

“Look at the bright side. At least we won't have to go to work,” some of my companions were cheering as we tried to dispel the discomfort of returning to Croatia by sharing various memes about the coronavirus (and there are some hilarious ones) on the plane.

Because after following the news from the homeland about empty shelves in shops, disguised protective masks and empty stands in HNL (Croatian First Football League) stadiums, we thought we would surely come home to a zombie apocalypse. Therefore, we might face the danger of someone firing upon us upon leaving the airport because we’ve come from the "corona zone".

Then we remembered that the stadiums in the HNL were empty and virus-free, so we didn’t feel so anxious.

“Easy for you. I work for foreigners. When I tell him that I must stay home, it will only make my e-mails even harder,” our guest worker has been inconsolable throughout the flight.


Customs | Franjo Tuđman Airport - Zagreb

Zagreb Airport Border Inspector: Report to Epidemiologist

After landing in Zagreb at the airport on Sunday, there were shared mixed feelings of immense happiness and uncertainty. Immeasurable happiness because, after almost 20 hours of flying, we can finally go to a normal toilet, and uncertainty because we know that we will not be able to leave the airport so easily.

As soon as we stepped off the plane, we headed to the counter of the Senior Border Inspector. There we were told that we would have to fill out the required forms first and then wait.

With all the praiseworthy efforts Croatia is making to curb the spread of the coronavirus, having only one sanitary inspector at the airport appears to be inadequate for the arrivals of large groups of passengers. And even the hand sanitizer fluid on the same counter would be out of the question.

But we patiently filled out the necessary forms - where we had been, where we were going, what we were doing, whether we were in contact with someone who was ill, did we have any symptoms…

At the counter, we also noticed brochures about the coronavirus, which were translated into Chinese, as well as several other flyers for travellers.

The coronavirus may currently be the "star" among infectious diseases, but it is not the only one that is dangerous, so there were also instructions about controlling the spread of the African swine fever.

About an hour later, we received a series of medical surveillance decisions “on suspicion of SARS-CoV-2” (the official name of the virus), ordering us to immediately contact an epidemiologist on duty, by phone or in person, as soon as we arrive.

Epidemiologist: Expect 14 Days in Home Isolation

The epidemiologist on duty, after finding out that I had no symptoms and that as far as I could tell I had not been in contact with someone who was infected, explained to me that I awaited 14 days in home isolation, which meant that I may not go to work, a grocery store, coffee shop or any other public place. I simply must stay home for 14 days.

Since the sanitary inspector's decision states that I will be fined for violating of health surveillance order; I looked up the penalties in the Law on the Protection of the People from Infectious Diseases. A real trifle - up to 5000 HRK (668 EUR) for per person.

That, in my opinion, is enough reason to comply with the decision. As for members of my household, it is my obligation to make sure that I do not cough or sneeze and that I isolate myself from them as much as possible. As I have no symptoms, there is no sneezing or coughing.

How to Self Isolate | Good Morning Britain

2400 Croatians Under Surveillance or Self Isolation

The epidemiologist on duty gave me contact information area epidemiologists, categorized according to address of residence. I need to check in with them on the phone every day during those two weeks and describe my health condition. If, God forbid, symptoms occur, I must call them immediately and without delay. It is estimated that more than 2400 people are currently under surveillance or self-isolation in Croatia.

Some have complained that this environment insults them and stigmatizes them as 'carriers', so it is important to emphasise that being monitored and self-isolated does not mean that these people are ill – but that they are behaving responsibly, to appease their immediate and wider relatives, work colleagues and neighbours based upon the fact that they were in countries where the virus has spread.

And so, during my first two days of home isolation, I appropriately contacted epidemiologists with my health information.

Presently, jet lag is my most troublesome symptom, which makes me wake up at two in the morning without fail because my body clock is still on "Japanese time".

Journalist Spends Isolation Watching TV: Soccer, Eurosong

Since much can be learned from health-conscious Japanese, I have applied some of their theories of healthy living. More than ever, I make sure I drink enough fluid and eat lots of fruit. Although I have no symptoms, I also take my temperature, because what is safe is safe.

And how do you make the time pass in home isolation? Well, writing texts is always an option. I haven't yet seen last year's hit series "Chernobyl", so I think it's somehow appropriate to address this now during this cataclysmic period.

While I was in Japan, Croatia had also consumed by the Dora virus, or the big “hateful” choice of a Croatian song for Eurosong. So, after returning to my own ears and eyes, I had to get acquainted with the musical and visual expressions of every participant. After watching all the performances, I realized that it would be better if I had skipped it because some performances will haunt me in dreams and nightmares.

And in the absence of sporting events, even those empty HNL grandstands from the perspective of home isolation seem tempting. And thank heaven for the televised dual of eternal rivals NK Lokomotiva and Slaven Belupo!

Coronavirus Health Surveillance: About Protecting Yourself and Others

All jokes aside, a level of health surveillance is essential and necessary, as much as it may seem to some to be a hassle. It is equally important to take care of my own and others' health. If I have learned anything in Japan, it is that they are the champions of caring for their own health and the health of others. They approach these difficult situations with a serious dose of caution, and without panic.

So, wash your hands well and preferably with soap and water, not ash, as the all-knowing epidemiologist (Zagreb Mayor) Bandić advised. Use hand sanitizer and cover your mouth sneezing or coughing and act responsibly.

How to Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer

On Tuesday March 3, 2020; the ninth case of the coronavirus was confirmed in Croatia. This is a young man from Varaždin who returned from Milan on February 24. The Croatia Border Inspection put him under surveillance and he’s now in the hospital.

What is Isolation?

For those who are ill: Complete quarantine or isolation refers to patients with coronavirus who are under controlled conditions in hospitals. They are completely isolated from the outside world, which means that they eat in the same space, but also go to the bathroom in the same space. That also has a protocol (before going to the bathroom, a certain agent must be poured into the bowl, and it is necessary to wait 10 minutes before flushing the toilet). This procedure was already reported by the twins, who were first in Croatia to be infected with the coronavirus.

What is Self-Isolation?

Sanitary Guidelines: Self-isolation is usually imposed upon people after a border inspection. We learned from the Professional Association of Drivers and Carriers that a certificate with instructions on self-isolation is issued at the border. These people can go to their homes. HZJZ Director Doctor Capak said such a person should not have contact with other people if possible.

Should you self isolate? | Good Morning Britian

What is Health Surveillance?

Reporting to an epidemiologist: Everyone who has been in the area affected by the spread of the infection is provided with guidance on health surveillance which can be active or passive. With active surveillance, epidemiologists personally call people on the phone and check for any symptoms (even the lowest fever, cough, snoring). Passive surveillance means that they must report to epidemiologists once a day on their own.

*Follow this article for live updates and this page for updates from Total Croatia News on the coronavirus in Croatia. An archive of updates can be found hereContact numbers for epidemiologists, travel advisories and measures for preventing the spread of the coronavirus can be found here.

Saturday, 22 February 2020

Alpine Skier Filip Zubcic Wins Men's World Cup Giant Slalom in Japan!

February 22, 2020 - For the first time in seven years, Croatia has booked the first place spot in the World Cup thanks to the brilliant rally of alpine skier Filip Zubcic. Ivica Kostelic was the last to do so in Kranjska Gora in 2013.

Namely, 24 Sata reports that Filip Zubcic won the giant slalom at the Naeba Ski Resort in Japan after an impressive second run in which he left Marc Odermatt 0.74 hundredths behind in second.

For the first time in his career, Zubcic started from a high 13th position on a very difficult track. The almost summer-like conditions distracted Zubcic in the first run, where he made an error, but still managed 12th place (1:18.21), 1.58 behind first. Only then did Filip gain momentum.

The warm conditions continued in the second run, though Zubcic flew down the slope like never before. He hit every mark on time, locked in a quick speed, and with a significant advantage, took first place and the best time into the finish line (1:19.04).

The last few skiers had over a second advantage over Filip, but he rode so wisely that they did not stand a chance. Moreover, the conditions were even worse during the second run. The last skier to try to bring him down was Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen, who had a 1.58 advantage, and eventually lost it all to trail 1.14. Second place went to Marco Odermatt, who was 0.74 hundredth behind Zubcic, and third to Tommy Ford (+1.07).

For Zubcic, this is by far the biggest success of his career after coming second in Adelboden and fourth in Garmisch. Croatia also had not seen the first place in the World Cup since 2013 when Ivica Kostelic won in Kranjska Gora!

Filip is also third overall in the giant slalom, just 50 points behind Slovenian Jean Kranjec. By the end of the season, there are three more races left, and the crystal globe trophy is not so far out of reach. Given his incredible form recently and the downfall of some of his competitors, we hope to see the globe in Filip’s hands at the end of the season.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Croatia and Japan Continue Discussion on Introducing Direct Flight Service

September 14, 2019 - Japanese tourists are increasingly visiting Croatia - and especially the hotspots of Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes, Split, and Opatija. Last year, 159,574 Japanese travelers were recorded in the country, which saw a 12% increase compared to 2017. But the Japanese aren’t just choosing Croatia for their holidays.

Namely, 24 Japanese companies also operate in the country, making it pretty clear that the need for a direct flight between the two countries is more than desired. 

Back in May, TCN announced that Croatia and Japan would continue their discussions of introducing direct flights connecting the two countries. However, as a precondition for establishing nonstop flights, Croatia and Japan must adopt an Air Service Agreement. 

"Discussions between the aeronautical authorities of Japan and the Republic of Croatia are continuing. A tentative framework has been reached until the conclusion of an Air Services Agreement between the two countries. Considering the possibility and forecasts, there is sufficient air traffic demand for scheduled air services between Japan and the Republic of Croatia in the future,” the Japanese Ministry for Foreign Affairs said back in November 2018 when talks were first held. 

Ex Yu Aviation reported on Thursday that the second round of discussions between Croatia and Japan has been held in Zagreb, and that the two countries will continue negotiations regarding the Air Service Agreement. However, a date for the meeting is yet to be set. 

The Croatian Ministry of Tourism considers the Japanese market a priority. 

"The Ministry's strategic goal is to develop Croatia as a destination which is accessible to various airlines, particularly before and after the height of the summer season. That is why we are turning towards the Asian market, primarily Korea, Japan, and China, where we are concentrating a lot of our efforts,” the Ministry said.

Recall, All Nippon Airlines (ANA), which is Japan’s largest airlines, currently runs summer charter flights to Dubrovnik, and Zagreb once operated charter flights from Tokyo. 

Japan Airlines (JAL) has also said they are considering operating to Eastern Europe thanks to its low-cost airline Zipair. 

Japan allegedly initiated talks with Croatia about introducing regular flights between the two countries, and Oleg Butković, Croatia’s Minister for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, hopes that we’ll see a route connecting Tokyo and Zagreb soon. 

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Monday, 19 August 2019

Dina Does It! Levačić Successfully Swims Tsugaru Strait in Japan

August 19, 2019 - Another swimming success for Dina Levačić! 

In 7 hours, 13 minutes and 15 seconds, 23-year-old Solin native Dina Levačić completed the Tsugaru Strait to complete the fourth open water channel swim out of the seven in the 'Oceans Seven' challenge. The channel is located between Japan's largest island, Honshu and Hokkaido, and high waves and strong frontal wind accompanied the Croatian swimmer the entire way.

The member of the Split Swimming Club set one of her best times and became only the 67th person to complete the Tsugaru Strait. 

"For my Dixie and all the animals waiting for their home," Dina said after her great success. 

The ‘Ocean Seven’ is a series of seven international swimming marathons, modeled after the Seven Summits mountaineering challenge. Dina Levačić had already swum three marathon channels from the ‘Ocean Seven’ series before attempting the Tsugaru: Catalina Channel, English Channel (La Manche) and Moloka’i Channel. After the Tsugaru Strait in Japan, Dina will still need to overcome the North Channel between Northern Ireland and Scotland, the Strait of Gibraltar between Europe and Africa and the Cook Strait in New Zealand.

Dina Levačić is an open swimming champion and member of the long-distance swimming club in Split. She first recorded impressive results at her Argentine tour at the age of 17, placing fourth in the Rosario marathon and securing sixth place in the 57-kilometer marathon from Santa Fe to Coronda. This Argentine trifecta was the longest open-swimming marathon in the world, following an 88-kilometer route. Dina finished in less than 10.5 hours, and placed 5th overall, less than an hour after the winner of the competition.

Dina then accepted the marathon challenge of her career - the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming. It began with the Marathon Island Marathon Swim, which saw the Split native swim 48.5 km in 7:33:50. Dina then tackled the Catalina Channel, where she swam 32.5 km in 9:47:53. The infamous part of the Triple Crown, however, was the English Channel - a 33.7 km stretch between England and France. Dina completed the challenge in 11 hours and 42 minutes and thus became the first Croatian female athlete to swim the La Manche in its entirety, and the first Croatian athlete to complete the Triple Crown. Not to mention that Dina is also the sixth athlete in history to have completed the Triple Crown in under 90 days. 

Last August, Dina conquered the 42-kilometer long Molokai channel, from Molokai Island to Oahu Island, Hawaii, in 13 hours. 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Croatian Dome Producers Export to Finland, Czech Republic, Japan

As Trstenjak writes on the 9th of December, 2018, two Croatian dome producers have managed to conquer the often overlooked world of domes. Yes, domes. From very humble beginnings, they now export their products to countries including Finland, the Czech Republic, and even Japan.

ever noticed that most large events nowadays use some type of dome shaped structures, and not tents? If you've not paid attention to that, you're probably wondering what domes we're talking about. You know those structures that look a bit like oddly shaped balloons? You may have noticed them at Advent in Zagreb or at some concert. Well, they're the domes in question.

Specifically, those currently being used at Advent in Zagreb, eight of them to be more precise, are original domestic products, made by Croatian dome producers. It may come as a surprise, but Croatia boasts one of a dozen serious dome producers in the whole of Europe, and this type of typically entirely overlooked genius exists in a form which allows for easy adaptation to all roles and different event-like circumstances. These domes, as adaptable as they are, can play the role of a concert roof, a bar, an advent stand, and they can also be used for exhibitions at fairs or for glamping among other similar things.

Behind the innovative and interesting product stands the Croatian dome producers, more specifically their company - Domes (Kupole) better than a tent, and the story of the company's name is a short and rather charming one. Marko Matošić and Jakša Borić, the two Croatian dome producers, say that the company should have just been called Domes (Kupole), but they received a rejection to that name, a rather common occurrence on the long and ridiculous road of opening any type of company in Croatia. As they told, they sat across the street from the Commercial Court itself upon rejection and had to quickly think of a new name.

"We wondered what we were, actually, and we concluded that we were better than the tent, and so, that's the name. We figured it sounded a bit stupid and ungainly, but I'm convinced that out of the ten people who noticed it, at least four of them went on Google to search for what it is,'' joked Borić, who ended up as one of two Croatian dome producers from the advertising industry, while Matošić came from the club scene.

That's probably not too far from the truth because being unusual and unique isn't a bad tactic, and both of those words could easily be used to describe their domes. As they describe themselves on their web site, "the geodesic dome is the most stable structure ever imagined, at the same time, the most moderate and the strongest." And definitely better than a tent!

Domes like these are a luxury niche on an otherwise big marketplace, and it isn't that much of a cheap business. There is definitely a future for it despite any obstacles, however, as over the last couple of years, these domes have managed to become the "industry standard".

It's interesting to know just how the two succeeded in recognising the value of that niche at the right time, how they entered into it, how much capital they needed, and are they able to make a real living from it all.

"We worked on a festival at Bundek (popular park in Zagreb), where a dance group from Israel had a gig, they used a similar construction as part of the scenography, but it was made from wood. That's when we saw it for the first time.

The gig they had before coming to Zagreb was somewhere far away and they needed to bring that construction to Croatia, which cost a lot. Their technical director then suggested that he would give us a draft for us to make it [a dome] for them in Zagreb because it would be cheaper than to obtain one from far away. We did this and agreed to it. It was a construction made of wooden sticks that had to be cut and then tied together. But on the day of the show, it started to rain, so we had to cover it up and wrap that structure with the foil. It looked awful, but it worked. They danced and didn't get soaked by the rain, we stood at the side, watched them dancing and that structure, and concluded that it would be nice when done as a type of a tent,'' Borić recounts.

They began to explore and discover that some people are already engaged such business in a pretty serious manner. Then the game started, Matošić added, in which he was initially helped by the knowledge of a now retired professor from the Zagreb Faculty of Civil Engineering, Zvonimir Žagar, who is a great fan of geodesic domes. He helped them with advice on the first dome, as well as the first prototype. At that time, they did not have nine employees or their own designer like they have today, and they were helped by the professor, and the first dome, named 3v14, left the confines of ideas on paper and became a reality back in 2008.

"The initial investment was about 40,000 kuna, that was all we had and spent it all on the prototype, but that's completely irrelevant in this type of business. That was money we literally took and then threw out of the window. We used it all up on making mistakes, to figure out how it all works. We didn't get any loans, but we made the first dome, we rented out it for a while, and we did it all with great abdication. We didn't pay out any wages, we just always invested in new products. The more there were, the more we made, and then we started to hire the first people. We've grown organically, bit by bit,'' explains Borić.

Matošić added that all of that work was put to good use at the Gričevanje festival during the advent period back in 2011, when Advent in Zagreb was far from developed, which was organised in Zagreb's Upper Town (Gornji Grad) to promote their product. They wanted the main star to be the dome, of course.

"We invested a huge amount, set three domes up, got exhausted and frozen, but people saw the domes. They'd heard of them. Then we got our first clients,'' says Matošić.

"In fact, every gig in which our products appear is worth more than 100 ads, because our customers don't bother with it unless they've seen and felt what it's all about. Nobody is going to spend one hundred thousand kuna because they've seen a picture of a dome,'' adds Borić.

Up until this very day, these two Croatian dome producers have continued to develop new domes of varying dimensions which can be used for a variety of purposes.

One of them on offer is the 2v5 bar, a semi-open dome of 18 square metres with a bar, total length of 17.5 metres, and a dome that can easily be turned into a stage, a bar, a store... The Croatian company have specific domes on offer for various festivals, both the corporate and promotional type, and in its portfolio today, there are more than 20 in different sizes of five, seven, nine, twelve and fourteen metres.

Their selling prices vary depending on the model: some are 50,000 kuna, some 60,000, some are 250,000, some are 280,000. Rent, however, is invoiced per term, and one term consists of four days: from five thousand to thirty thousand kuna, depending also on the dome model in question.

The monthly costs for the Croatian dome producers are extremely high, usually above 100,000 kuna, but they are okay, although sometimes they themselves admit things can be a bit tight. They live well, and their top priority is to reinvest everything they make back into the company to continue on its already very successful path.

Make sure to follow our dedicated Made in Croatia and business pages for more on Croatian companies, products and services, as well as info on the business and investment climate in Croatia.


Click here for the original article by Jasmina Trstenjak for

Sunday, 19 August 2018

From America and Japan: Two Foreigners Settle in Croatia Satisfied

In a sea of depressing and paradoxical sagas about there not being enough job, high enough wages, and even situations in which establishments are forced to close due to a lack of staff, each and every positive story shines like a diamond among rocks.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

After Europe and USA, Croatian Baklava To Be Eaten in Japan?

We Europeans have come to love Japanese cuisine, so why not send them some of our own?

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Friendship from Under the Sea - Tuna Links Croatia and Japan

What connects Croatia and Japan? One clue, it swims...

Friday, 2 February 2018

Tuna, Sushi & Wine Festival in Zadar Begins Today!

The fourth edition of this event will combine and exchange experiences of cultural, historical and natural resources of Croatia and Japan with a gastronomic experience

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Rizin Grand Prix: Cro Cop Celebrates in Japan with Knockout in 60 Seconds!

Mirko 'Cro Cop' Filipović beat Tsuyoshi Kohsaka at the Saitama Super Arena with a technical knockout!

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