Monday, 21 September 2020

Epidemiologist: Period of Isolation To Be Reduced to 10 Days

ZAGREB, September 21, 2020 - Head of the Croatian Institute for Public Health (HZJZ)  Krunoslav Capak announced on Monday that isolation for people who have been infected with the coronavirus would be shortened from 14 to 10 days.

Talking to N1 commercial broadcaster, Capak said the the most important change relates to criteria to end isolation. HZJZ documents that were released today note that isolation lasts for ten days instead of the 14 as was the case until now.

"The latest data indicates that a person's infectiousness declines significantly after seven days. After ten days that person is no longer contagious. There is no need for them to be in isolation for more than 10 days. If they have not had a temperature or symptoms in the preceding 24 hours, they can come out of isolation, with the exception of serious cases," said Capak.

He underscored that people who had been positive or have evidence that they have recovered from the infections, do not need to go into self-isolation for a period of three months, upon their recovery, even if they come into contact with an infected person.

The epidemiologist added that the criteria for testing will not change significantly except for students in dormitories and for people attending medically related courses and they will be treated as medical staff. Medical staff, people at risk and people who work in aged care facilities will continue to have priority for testing, he added.

Capak explains that today's figure of 70 new cases of the virus does not match the reality as Covid clinics work shorter hours during the weekend with less staff and fewer tests are conducted, however, it is a good sign that for two days the numbers have been declining.

As far as the spike in numbers over the summer is concerned, Capak said that this was more manifest at the end of August. "It takes some time for more complicated cases of the disease to appear and for someone who needs to be put on a ventilator to succumb to the disease," he said.

People with grave symptoms, with chronic diseases or some other underlying conditions are hospitalised, he said, adding that there were about 2,500 such cases while a little under ten percent of those with such grave symptoms die.

Currently there are no clusters anywhere in Croatia but we will need to follow the consequences of the folklore festival in Vinkovci and the pride parade in Zagreb which were held last weekend, where a lot of people gathered, he said.

 

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Monday, 21 September 2020

Krunoslav Capak Announced Three New Rules for Testing and Isolation

September 21, 2020 - As a guest on N1 television, the Director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health Krunoslav Capak announced three new rules for testing and isolation.  

Index.hr reports that Capak commented on the current situation with the coronavirus epidemic in Croatia and, among other things, outlined the priorities for testing and revealed the criteria for breaking isolation.

The document is ready; what is changing?

"Isolation will last 10 days. So far, we have had 14 days. The latest data show that a person has significantly lower infectivity after the seventh day. After day 10, the person is not contagious. There is no need to be in isolation for more than 10 days. If they did not have a temperature and symptoms in 24 hours, they can come out of isolation. The exception is severe cases.

As for the testing criteria, they do not change significantly, except that we have introduced pupils and students in dormitories and those who go to schools and colleges of the medical type, who will be treated as the medical staff.

The third important news is that so far, a positive person, a person who has proven confirmation that they have overcome the disease, does not have to go into self-isolation for three months even if they are in contact with an infected person.

Priority groups for testing are the elderly and those who work with them."

Will there be new measures?

"Today, we had 70 new cases, that is not a realistic number. We have fewer cases on Mondays because there are fewer tests on weekends. The number will surely be higher tomorrow. We have had a downward trend for two weeks now, and hopefully, it will continue."

The situation in counties

"There are no significant hotspots, this weekend we had the Gay Pride Parade and Vinkovci Autumn Festival, these are events that need to be followed."

Can you determine the sources of infection with certainty?

"It is usually easy to determine the source of the infection; in some 10 percent, we cannot know it immediately, but it is determined over time. In 90 percent of cases, we manage to find out the source of the infection. It is very difficult to determine if a person became infected in a club or restaurant.

Risky gatherings are weddings, family gatherings, and public gatherings."

About the fatalities

"At one time, at the end of August, we had several new cases. It takes time for a more severe form of the disease to develop and for a person to go on a ventilator and for a negative outcome to occur. Mortality and death always accompany new cases for three to four weeks. We now pay tribute to several patients during August.

People who are hospitalized are those who have more severe symptoms, chronic illness, or some other comorbidity. There are about 2,500 of them, and since the beginning of the epidemic until today, slightly less than 10 percent of those seriously ill have died."

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Thursday, 17 September 2020

Krunoslav Capak Announces a Shortened Isolation Period of 10 Days for COVID-Infected

September 17, 2020 - In the latest coronavirus news in Croatia, Krunoslav Capak announces a shortened isolation period of 10 days. 

Novi List reports that the director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, Krunoslav Capak, said on Wednesday that Croatia was ranked 10th in the European Union when it comes to deaths from COVID, and announced a decision to shorten the isolation period for coronavirus-infected people from 14 to ten days by the end of the week.

"The mortality rate in Croatia is about 55 per million inhabitants. We are in tenth on the list of EU countries, we are somewhere in the middle of the EU in that respect," said Capak for Dnevnik Nova TV, talking about coronavirus mortality.

He confirmed that it was decided to shorten the isolation period of the infected to ten days, while the self-isolation of their contacts would remain for 14 days. He expects a document to be passed at the end of the week.

"The most likely option is that the isolation period of infected people will stop after ten days because it turned out that they are no longer contagious. We would not shorten the self-isolation for those who were in contact with the infected. This would stay for 14 days," said Capak, adding that this follows the international trends in determining the length of isolation.

He also commented on the number of newly infected in recent days, stating that there is a slight downward trend in the number of patients.

Asked if he still thinks that the number of newly infected will decline at the end of September, Capak said that "the situation is improving".

According to the evidence, if they were to come into contact with an infected person, those who have already recovered from the coronavirus should not isolate three months after they were infected, Capak said.

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Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Dr Krunoslav Capak: Maths Shows Infection Rate Will Drop, We Know When

September the 2nd, 2020 - Dr Krunoslav Capak, a name which has become somewhat of a household one since the pandemic took hold in Croatia, has stated that we can expect a truly significant drop in coronavirus cases, he said that the model being used and the maths involved can even show when that will occur.

Croatia has seen an unfortunate rise in the number of people infected with the new coronavirus over recent weeks, with a number of European countries placing it back on their ''red lists'' and warning their citizens against travel to the country. The United Kingdom and the Netherlands were among the most prominent European nations to do so, along with Germany placing two croatian counties, as opposed to the entire country, on their ''no go'' list.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 2nd of September, 2020, Dr Krunoslav Capak has stated that there are no new hotspots in Croatia, and that a larger number of those who are already in self-isolation are among the newly comfirmed coronavirus patients.

He also said that a significant drop in the number of newly infected people is expected soon.

''There are certain mathematical models which are used. By entering the data on new patients, the R0 is calculated, as are other parameters, such as the number of infected, mobility… Different models include different parameters.

The model we use in the CNIPH, and we also use other models and utilise mathematicians who make our assessments, have been showing for some time that we have introduced good measures and that our numbers will start to fall. This regards a trend, and doesn't just mean that the numbers will be below 200 or 100.

How much this will be and when it will reach an acceptable level, we're yet to see. The current R0 predicts a decline. These are mathematical models that can be disrupted by new events, hotspots, and unexpected numbers of sufferers, so new numbers need to be inserted into the calculation. We expect a significant decline in mid-September and early October, but I must emphasise that this is if all goes by our model,'' said Dr Krunoslav Capak.

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Friday, 28 August 2020

Dubrovnik-Neretva County Proposes New Measures, Capak Expects Same from Other Counties

August 28, 2020 - After new measures were introduced in Split-Dalmatia County, Dubrovnik-Neretva County asks for the same.

Index.hr reports that on Thursday, the Dubrovnik-Neretva County Headquarters proposed to the National Headquarters the adoption of measures, including limiting the number of participants in weddings, funerals and commemorations to 50 people, while celebrations can only be organized with families of up to 20 participants.

In addition, performances, religious ceremonies and other facilities should be held in addition to all epidemiological measures if they are outdoors, and if they are indoors, a mask should be used and kept at a distance of two meters.

The organizers of the gathering and the owners of the catering facilities are responsible for the implementation of the measures and must implement them more intensively, and the local civil protection headquarters are also in charge of that.

The measures would apply from Monday, August 31, for a period of 14 days.

The Chief of the County Headquarters, Josko Cebalo, expects that the National Headquarters will accept the proposal and make a decision on Friday.

"The goal is to protect the health of the population and preserve the economy, primarily the tourist season. In our county, more than a quarter of tourist traffic occurs before and in the post-season, so it is important to maintain a stable situation so that the season lasts as long as possible," Cebalo explained.

He noted that the measures were supported by representatives of chambers of commerce and crafts.

"With the opening of the economy and the start of the tourist season, we expected higher risk of increasing the number of infected. Experience has shown that larger gatherings, family and weddings and public events, are potential hotspots," Cebalo said.

He announced a meeting with local government leaders on Friday to discuss whether another measure needs to be proposed.

Visiting RTL Television's Dnevnik tonight, Krunoslav Capak expressed satisfaction with the increased involvement of local headquarters in combating COVID-19, because "they can most easily spot what is happening to them and where the problem is and how they can prevent further spread of the coronavirus, which is much harder to see from the National Headquarters."

"I think it is going in the right direction, except for Brod-Posavina and Split-Dalmatia counties," he said. "Today, the National Civil Protection Headquarters received additional proposals from Medjimurje and Dubrovnik-Neretva counties, and it is expected that there will be more tomorrow, after today's meetings of local headquarters of some counties, which announced the submission of their complete proposals on Friday," added Capak.

"Tomorrow, the Headquarters will carefully consider this. In any case, we will always support the local headquarters, but we must make sure that these measures must be consistent for all of Croatia," said the director of the CNIPH.

And while new measures are being announced, existing ones are still being debated. Specifically, on the closure of gyms in Split-Dalmatia County. That measure, which came into force on Thursday, has raised a lot of questions. The Voice of Entrepreneurs Association asked the Headquarters to prove that gyms are hotspots.

As a guest on RTL, Capak said that he did not know how many people in the gyms became infected.

"Look, if there is a history of someone getting infected and there is no other way than being at the gym, that would be proof. I have to admit I didn't make it, as I was out of the institution all day today, and I didn't get to talk to colleagues from Split-Dalmatia County. But I'm sure they had a reason to do what they did," Capak said.

The question, therefore, arises as to whether the National Headquarters, which accepted the proposed measures of the local headquarters, asked for more concrete evidence at all. From what Capak said, it could be concluded that they did not. Capak even says he’s sure they had a reason to do so.

Capak added that gyms and fitness centers are important for people's health.

"If we see that the situation is improving, we will recommend that this measure be opened as soon as possible because these are institutions that help us preserve and acquire health," he said.

When asked if someone was inside a nightclub, restaurant and gym, then how could you prove they were infected at the gym, Capak said it was hard to tell.

"But with a good epidemiological history, this is possible. Especially if several infected people were in one place, and they were not, say, in the same club, but were in the same place, it is possible to determine. And now I can not say whether it was like that," Capak said.

In the meantime, the Voice of Entrepreneurs are demanding that the government pay salaries and contributions to workers who cannot work because gyms are closed.

"Our message is clear. If you want to close us down or limit our business, gentlemen in the Government, then you have to pay for it, not only with measures to preserve jobs, but also with additional ones - to preserve the companies you are closing or restricting business in the name of force majeure. Without companies, there are no employees," said Hrvoje Bujas, president of the Voice of Entrepreneurs association.

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Thursday, 27 August 2020

Krunoslav Capak Discusses Measures, Coronavirus Numbers and Vaccine

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 26th of August, 2020, Krunoslav Capak, the director of the Croatian Institite of Public Health, was a guest on the HTV dnevnik recently and pointed out that according to the World Health Organisation, 6 vaccines for the new coronavirus are currently in their third phase of clinical trials.

"Everyone knows that we've had big numbers over the last two weeks that no one is happy with. We didn’t expect them to be that big. Considering that we had a tourist season, there are a million people who have stayed in Croatia, that number isn't frightening, but of course we're worried. We're working to reduce that number,'' Krunoslav Capak told HRT.

"The numbers have been falling over the last two days and we hope it will continue to do so. We expect that tomorrow's number of infected people will be somewhat lower,'' he added.

Local headquarters and the determination of anti-epidemic measures

''This [the determination of measures] has been the goal of our meetings and agreements and we've been communicating with local and county headquarters in this way for some time now. We think that they know best what the situation is in their own respective counties and focusing their measures on those areas is a burning issue for them. What Imotski asked for, of course, was supported by the National Staff. Now the situation is with Slavonski Brod and we expect each county to express what is most important for them to be introduced as a new measure at this time,'' said Krunoslav Capak.

In Slavonski Brod's case, the measure is to reduce the number of people at weddings and gatherings.

The operation of bars and cafes

Krunoslav Capak said that he is not issuing punishments for not adhereing to the measures at this moment in time because they believe that repression is the last measure that should be used.

''We think it's much smarter to go with education, persuasion, with appeals to all those who should change their behaviour. At the moment, we have no grounds to punish those cafes that violate the measures, but of course there is a possibility for that. If this continues and our appeals aren't responded to, then there is always the possibility of repression,'' Krunoslav Capak stated.

Patients with severe clinical pictures

"In this warm period of the year, we've had milder clinical pictures, but as the number of patients increased, so did the number of people in our infectious disease clinics with patients who needed to be hospitalised. At the moment, there are 40 of them. Considering that some time has passed since the moment of a large number of patients being recorded, we expected that more severe clinical pictures would appear,'' said Capak.

Krunoslav Capak pointed out that the fact is that younger people are mostly ill. The average incidence of disease is between 30 and 35 years of age.

''These are younger people who have always had a milder clinical picture. We all need to rake caution and keep compliance with epidemiological measures in mind. Over the last few days, we've had an increased number of hospitalisations, which indicates an increasing number of more severe clinical pictures,'' he noted.

The coronavirus vaccine

Krunoslav Capak pointed out that according to the World Health Organisation, 6 vaccines are currently in their third phase of clinical trials.

''Their registration is unlikely before the New Year. At the beginning of next year, we can expect a regular and registered vaccine. Croatia has done everything to reserve this vaccine on time together with other member states of the European Union, it's known that we have booked a million and a half doses for citizens,'' concluded Krunoslav Capak for HRT.

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Sunday, 23 August 2020

Krunoslav Capak Warns Against Organisation of Weddings in Herzegovina

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 21st of August, 2020, the director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, Krunoslav Capak, called on young people who have been in nightclubs to avoid contact with the elderly when they returned home.

''We’ve introduced a few measures in regard to clubs, and we have news from the field that says they're good. But there are also young people who go on to cafes and restaurants after clubs, which can be in operation for longer, which isn't good,'' said Krunoslav Capak.

He warned that some weddings are being moved and organised in Herzegovina due to the measures placed on weddings in Croatia, and that that must absolutely be avoided at all costs.

''Weddings there are cheaper in big salons. This should be avoided. We intend to gather the heads of local headquarters together and come to an agreement in which they adopt those measures issued by the National Civil Protection Headquarters in terms of restricting the work of some facilities and restricting family gatherings,'' explained Krunoslav Capak.

He believes that a good balance has been struck between the anti-epidemic measures and tourism. He expects the season to continue for a few more weeks. "The measures are good and most tourists feel safe," Capak said.

Journalists were interested in how many cases of infection are associated with the feast of the Assumption and Alka in Sinj.

"I was told from local headquarters that there are two infected people in the continental part of the country who don't know where they got infected, and they were at Alka in Sinj," Krunoslav Capak said.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said that the decision on the tourist season was political. Journalists asked Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic what other politically motivated decisions were made by the National Civil Protection Headquarters.

''There are no such decisions. Tourism is an important branch in Croatia, but we opened on the basis of scientific data that the virus isn't so dangerous in the summer, which is reflected in the clinical picture of patients. It was an epidemiological assessment that it was possible to open up. When you have low numbers for days and tourism as the main economic branch, then it's only logical,'' said Bozinovic.

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Saturday, 22 August 2020

COVID-19 in Croatia: Krunoslav Capak Says All Measures on Table

August 22, 2020 - For the third day in a row, a record number of new cases was recorded in Croatia, and most of them among the young. On Friday, 265 new cases were recorded, and in Split-Dalmatia County alone, there were more than a hundred. A look at COVID-19 in Croatia.

Index.hr reports that the director of the CNIPH, Krunoslav Capak, said on Friday that the National Civil Protection Headquarters would exchange information on the current epidemiological situation at a meeting with local headquarters on Monday and consider the possibility of introducing new measures.

At that meeting, the National Headquarters will consider the possibility for local headquarters to propose measures for their area, given that they see better from the local level, Capak told RTL Danas.

"All measures are open, from wearing masks to reducing the number of people at gatherings and so on. All of this could be implemented," Capak said, adding that county headquarters could tell them what their biggest problem is, their biggest focus and what measures could be taken to reduce the number of infected.

He said that the county headquarters could not make such decisions, but only the National Headquarters, which can support the local headquarters to some extent.

Asked if only Split-Dalmatia County may have to wear masks, Capak said that it is possible and it is being discussed hypothetically, which does not mean that it will be so. He noted that there are other counties with a high incidence, who will be asked to say what their biggest problem is.

The local approach can also be applied to teaching

Capak says Croatia could better adapt epidemiological measures to local contagious situations, which could be applied to the teaching regime.

For now, school classes are scheduled to begin on September 7, but that, Capak says, will depend on the epidemiological situation.

If there is any significant deterioration and if a large number of school-age children are among those infected, the system will be ready for all scenarios, Capak says.

He explained that care would be taken that if the increase occurs in one county, school starts in other counties where there are no patients.

Was the decision to open nightclubs wrong?

Regarding the consequences of the work of nightclubs, Capak reminded that the authorities decided to hold certain cultural events in them in order to help overcome the problematic situation that prevailed for some time.

If the clubs were to close, young people would find another place, like now when they gather in squares, streets and parks, he said.

He said that there is control, but they are against repression. "We are not a police state; we think it is best to appeal and educate that the situation is not good," he said.

According to data from ten days ago, among those infected in the Croatian epidemiological database, in 20 percent of cases, some asymptomatic patients do not manifest the infection, and now that number could be slightly higher, said Capak.

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Friday, 21 August 2020

COVID-19 Response Team Calls On Young People To Avoid High-Risk Contact

ZAGREB, Aug 21, 2020 - Croatia has registered a record high in daily cases with 265 new infections, which was to be expected given the tourist season, the national COVID-19 response team said on Friday, calling on young people who had been in high-risk situations to avoid contact with others.

The head of the Croatian Public Health Institute, Krunoslav Capak, reiterated that they had introduced measures for night clubs and said that the situation on the ground showed that that had been a good move, but there were some "acts of resourcefulness".

It is not good, he said, that young people are moving from clubs to bars and restaurants which are allowed to work longer. There are also cases of wedding parties being moved from Dalmatia to Herzegovina, he said.

Therefore, the national COVID-19 response team will on Monday meet with local teams to adopt measures that would apply locally and restrict the working hours of facilities and reduce gatherings.

Asked about infections related to the Feast of the Assumption of Mary and the Sinjska Alka tournament, Capak said that there were two people in one continental county who did not know where they had got infected, and they had been to those events, but there were no cases in Split-Dalmatia County related to the events.

He noted that the team had achieved a good balance between opening up in the season and protecting people's health. He believes the measures are good and that most tourists feel safe and hope that the season will continue for a few more days or weeks.

Asked about his statement that the laid-back personality of Dalmatian people was to blame for the latest coronavirus statistics, Capak said that when he had spoken of relaxed behavior he had meant it in a good way, "except during a period of infection when caution is necessary."

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Wednesday, 12 August 2020

COVID-19 in Croatia: Krunoslav Capak on Nightclubs, Cruisers, What Awaits Us in Autumn

August 12, 2020 - The director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, Krunoslav Capak, commented on the 91 new cases on Tuesday, which is the highest number in the last 20 days, and what awaits us in autumn.

"We have daily variations. Last week we had between 20 and 30, yesterday we were under 50, and today our number jumped. Any such situation is worrying, but we will see how it will be tomorrow. In general, we have a downward trend and we hope that this will continue and that today's figure is a peak and that there will be nothing to worry about," said Krunoslav Capak for HTV's Dnevnik, commenting on Tuesday's 91 new cases.

Asked what he intends to do about nightclubs, which are once again emerging as coronavirus hotspots, Krunoslav Capak said the National Headquarters has been communicating with local governments, club owners, event organizers and sending inspections for some time.

"When irregularities are found, we ask them to be corrected. Experiences are that situations are good somewhere and worse somewhere else, and then it gets better. We have several clubs where it is repeated and it would be good for the local headquarters to take the initiative, warn them a little more, and possibly write some sanctions," said Capak.

You can see the new measures for nightclubs HERE.

Information has arrived from some countries, such as Germany, the Czech Republic, and Italy, that their citizens became infected during their vacation in Croatia. Capak says that there was a lot of such information in the media and that the authorities of those countries were asked.

"But we react exclusively to official reports because when we reacted to the unofficial ones we read online, we did not get adequate information." He confirmed that there are several official applications from Germany, Italy and Slovenia.

"In all such cases, epidemiologists are reacting and investigating the sources of the infection and the places where these people were," Capak said.

Regarding the request from Dubrovnik for the entry of cruisers, which is advocated by Mayor Mato Frankovic and opposed by Srđ je Grad!, Capak said that it is about an Italian company with two large cruisers on the Mediterranean.

"They worked out the measures and sent them to us for inspection. Our epidemiological assessment is that these are excellent measures. If everything is really done that way, those cruisers could be released. We also have a few additional questions. If the answers are satisfactory, then we will let the cruisers of that owner dock in Dubrovnik when they organize trips that are only now being planned," explained Capak.

What awaits us in the autumn, and how will classes look?

To this question, Capak answered that a slightly worse situation awaits us in autumn than today because we will be indoors more and because schools and universities will begin.

Will children in school have to wear masks?

"This has not been discussed yet," he says and reiterates that next week it will be decided whether children will go to school and what measures will be taken in schools. "It is important that we take action," he says, adding that all events will be worked out and that citizens will be informed promptly.

To conclude, Capak also commented on the Russian vaccine.

"If that were true, that would be great news. The Russians are capable of it, but I am afraid it is much too early, with clinical studies starting in June, it is too early for the vaccine to be tested. It needs to be safe and effective; I'm afraid it's been too short a time for that to happen," he said, adding that he thought it was impossible to test the population by October.

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