Monday, 10 August 2020

Capak Says Epidemiological Situation Favourable Despite Large Number of Tourists

ZAGREB, Aug 10, 2020 - The head of the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ), Krunoslav Capak, has said that the epidemiological situation in the country is favourable despite a large number of tourists vacationing in Croatia.

"It is unrealistic to expect that there will be no infected tourists but the figures are excellent considering the fact that currently there are close to 900,000 guests in the country," Capak said in an interview with the N1 broadcaster on Monday.

Commenting on foreign media reports about some tourists becoming infected while holidaying in Croatia, he said that Croatia was part of the Early Warning and Response System through which member-countries communicated about such cases.

He stressed that Croatia was aware of the cases of which it had been officially notified.

"We have received several reports from the health authorities of Germany, Italy, Austria, and Slovenia about tourists having contracted the disease here," he said, stressing that the biggest problem currently were night clubs.

Capak also said that the national COVID-19 response team would most probably grant Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic's request for amending the regulation on the docking of cruise ships in the Dubrovnik port, which now bans the arrival of cruise vessels with more than 200 passengers, because of the Italian MSC company which wants to bring tourists to Dubrovnik.

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Krunoslav Capak: Croatia Will Be Among First to Receive Coronavirus Vaccine

Not everyone in the world will be able to be vaccinated at the same time, and as Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 30th of July, 2020, Krunoslav Capak commented on Wednesday night on the news that Croatia has booked a million and a half doses of the coronavirus vaccine so far.

"Croatia will definitely buy that vaccine and pay the price in the end. This is very similar to procuring a pandemic flu vaccine. In the event of a pandemic, Croatia pays a reservation. Then, when the virus is isolated and the vaccine is produced, we'll quickly get our turn because we're paying for the reservation. Those who don't pay for the reservation will come later and will not be able to vaccinate their population in time,'' explained Krunoslav Capak for Nova TV.

"The European Union is doing it, we're not doing it. We only report to the EU on the quantity we're interested in having, and they conduct a public tender, agree on the price and agree on the order,'' he said when asked which company the vaccine was reserved for.

When asked who the 1.5 million doses are intended for, he explained that these are intended for risk groups: ''These are people over the age of 50 and are people with chronic diseases. It's also important that healthcare workers get vaccinated,'' announced Krunoslav Capak.

"I think there will certainly be an interest, but it won't be mandatory," he announced, adding that the vaccine would certainly not be developed this year because a large number of people had to be tested and then registered. Only then does production follow.

"Not even six months will be long enough produce enough doses for the whole world, but it will take about a year or a year and a half. Not everyone in the world will be able to be vaccinated at the same time. But given that we have this mechanism of joint procurement with the European Union and EU countries, I think we'll be among the first,'' said Capak.

He recommended that citizens download the application for monitoring coronavirus, saying that he doesn't believe that it will be obligatory, but also that it is harmless and that it does not violate anyone's rights. He told lawmakers who refuse to wear masks that it is recommended to put them on because although it doesn't protect them at the level of 100 percent, it does reduce the risk of contracting the infection.

"Of course, it's impossible to fill the [Zagreb] Arena for 5,000 people in these conditions. I'll remind you that the last such concert was held at the beginning of the epidemic and that it was a concert held by Nina Badrić.

Under these conditions, it's simply impossible to do that and it would be very bad to do so. We gave the musicians the opportunity to organize concerts under the new normal conditions. However, there is a possibility of expanding that number. We have limited [gatherings of people] to 1000. But it's possible to submit a request to the [national civil protection] headquarters to increase the number,'' replied the head of the CNIPH to the complaints of the entertainment industry that their work was denied.

For more on coronavirus in Croatia, follow our dedicated section.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Krunoslav Capak: "We are Thinking of Limiting Gatherings from Autumn"

July 28, 2020 - Krunoslav Capak, director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, was a guest on HTV's Dnevnik and said that intensive efforts were being made to limit gatherings from the autumn.

"We hope that the trend will be downward, we have already announced that the last week was downward, although we had a few peaks that bounced back from the average figure. We expect this trend to continue downward. This does not mean that we will have 10 cases tomorrow, but the trend will, in any case, be downward according to our research and model," said Krunoslav Capak on 24 Sata.

Capak says this is a continuation of the first wave or tail of the epidemic.

"We have relaxed measures. Quarantine is excellent because it drastically reduces the transmission of coronavirus infection. However, when we started to relax the measures, the corona was economically and psychologically unsustainable, and with the relaxation of the measures it happened to us that the tail of the epidemic returned and that we have a larger number of infected," said Krunoslav Capak.

"Intensive consideration is being given to limiting gatherings from the autumn"

Krunsolav Capak points out that we have to get used to coexisting with the virus.

"We think that these figures are not excessive; we would like them to be less. We have to get used to the coronavirus being here. We need to learn the new normal; we need to work intensively on reduction. We do not intend to return the quarantine, nor anyone in the world," said Capak.

"Intensive thinking is being done to limit gatherings from the fall. Slovenia has a limit of 50. We had an excellent situation and we wanted to liberate the economy and social circumstances. We will not reduce that number now, but by prescribing stricter measures, by reporting gatherings where there are more than 100 people to the Civil Protection, which are then subject to the supervision of civil protection inspectors, we tried to put things in order," he added.

Measures for the Operation Storm Celebration

"We are in contact with the organizers and there was a meeting today. Definite decisions, figures and ways of maintaining it have not been made, but we have a framework. According to the measures we have prescribed, we hope that this will be a low-risk event. There will be far fewer people and side events, food and drink consumption," Capak said.

Self-isolation and politicians

"When determining self-isolation, it is important for a person to assess the situation. Assess what the nature of the contact was and whether or not there is a risk of transmitting the infection. There are certain circumstances in which a person who is in self-isolation can be allowed to perform a certain activity. Hrebak asked for testing and that finding needs to be analyzed; he got the opinion. I did not tell him to go to the session, but that he was not contagious," said Krunoslav Capak.

Criticism of President Zoran Milanovic on the decisions of the Headquarters

"I'm not a legal expert or a doctor. In the past, whenever there was a danger of infecting other people, we made decisions based on the laws passed by the Parliament. This is also the case with this Law on the Protection of the Population from Infectious Diseases, which was passed in the Parliament, and we are guided by it in making decisions," said Capak.

"The goal of our decisions that we make is to protect the lives of citizens," concluded Capak.

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

Monday, 13 July 2020

Mass Serological Testing Complete, Krunoslav Capak Shares Results

What was feared, but discussed only very quietly, has become a grim reality this week. As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 13th of July, 2020 the number of newly infected people in 24 hours in Croatia has now exceeded 100, Krunoslav Capak sat down to explain the situation in more detail.

While for two days in a row we've been recording higher numbers of 140, measures are all out on the table and are being discussed, and depending on the situation, stricter measures may be introduced because the focus has become nightclubs, weddings and all sorts of family gatherings.

The director of the Croatian Institute for Public Health, Krunoslav Capak, explained to RTL just how the preparations for the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic are going

When asked who will control whether people wear masks, Krunoslav Capak stated that the National Civil Protection Headquarters remain against repressive anti-epidemic measures.

"We're against repressive measures because we think they're provoking revolt. We're for people's education on the matter and we think that is enough. We think they'll understand that they need to wear masks in places where there are more people,'' he stated in hope, adding:

"Control is possible, and there's a possibility that civil protection officers or the police will be obliged to do so."

Will there be a scene like the recent one when the police dealt with one person who was riding a train without a mask?

''If public order and peace are disturbed, then the police are called. In my opinion, this type of supervision shouldn't be carried out. We'll see how it goes. I think it's important to wear masks indoors where there is a high risk of spreading the infection,'' Krunoslav Capak replied.

He said that there are fines for the non-implementation of measures related to the protection of public health, and Krunoslav Capak pointed out that dealing punishments for not wearing masks will be the last resort because he thinks that education and appeals for compliance are much more important than repression is

"The WHO has been saying for several days that a much more complicated situation awaits us in autumn than the one we're experiencing now, and we're preparing for it. If it gets worse, it will be important that people wear masks in other places, so in a way, we can consider all this to be a preparation for autumn. The most important thing is that we educate people and that they get used to the fact that it's important to apply preventive measures, and I think that repression is much less important than that,'' he noted.

Quarantine, Capak points out, prevents the spread of the virus, but it is also unsustainable for a number of reasons - both in an economic and in a psychological sense.

"I don't think that we'll bring quarantine in again in autumn, but that we'll manage suppress the spread of coronavirus with segmental and rapid measures. The virus will remain among us, we'd like it to be smaller numbers than it is now and we're working intensively on that. Coronavirus is here, it is among us and it will not disappear,'' he stated.

One of the measures regards reporting gatherings of over 100 people...

"We'll explain this decision at a press conference tomorrow. We think that for those gatherings for which there is otherwise a vertical list, such as religious events, there should be no obligation to report it. This refers more to family gatherings in restaurants, hotels, fire houses, where our source of infection is at the moment. We've already prescribed measures for indoor pools, they're wide and high spaces where there is a lot of air, there is a limited number of visitors. I think it's less than a hundred people, but we can also revise it,'' said Krunoslav Capak.

When asked if he would respond to an invitation to a wedding with 300 guests, he said that he had already said that he wouldn't unless it was a member of his immediate family.

"Given how much the virus is present in the population now, the organisation of such weddings is very demanding and challenging. We've prescribed measures and strengthened them. If they're all adhered to, there will be no transmission of the infection. Such a wedding will go well. However, 300 people in one place is always a risk,'' he explained.

Seven days have passed since the election, and Capak says we don’t have any infections related to the election. He emphasised that it is necessary to wait fourteen days for the maximum incubation time to pass and then look at the situation.

"So far, we've not reported any cases,'' he said.

President Zoran Milanovic compared the coronavirus to tooth decay. Krunoslav Capak said that the Headquarters, as far as he knows, hasn't talked to him so far. He doesn't consider his statement a slap in the face to the Headquarters, but thinks that he wanted to say that it is an infection that can be compared to some other banal disease.

"I think the intention to alleviate panic and fear of infection is a bit exaggerated because tooth decay is something banal that is relatively easy to deal with, while this is one serious disease of which we have thirteen million sufferers and half a million deaths worldwide."

Krunoslav Capak said they had completed a serological survey in Croatia and would release the results perhaps as early as tomorrow, if not in the coming days.

“2.4 percent of the respondents, 1,054 of them, have developed antibodies that prove they have had an encounter with the new coronavirus. Which is a lot more than the number of recorded patients we have. This means that there are many more people among us who have encountered the infection than we know. Only a few of them have neutralising antibodies, meaning they're not protected from re-infection. We analysed it carefully. Only 2 percent of those who have IGG antibodies have neutralising antibodies, which means they're not protected from re-infection," Krunoslav Capak told RTL.

For more on coronavirus in Croatia, follow our dedicated section.

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Krunoslav Capak on COVID-19 in Croatia: These are Big Numbers, We are Worried

July 12, 2020 - The director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, Krunoslav Capak, spoke about COVID-19 in Croatia and the record 140 new cases on Saturday.

Index.hr reports that the number of currently active cases in Croatia on Saturday is a total of 1088. Among them, 124 patients are in hospital, of which three are on a ventilator. One person died.

Capak commented on the record number of new cases in Croatia as a guest of Dnevnik N1.

"It's not exponential growth, it would be more new patients every day, but these are big numbers, and unfortunately, we have an increase we don't want and we didn't expect it to be like that. By opening activities, we knew we would have bigger numbers, but these are big numbers now and we are worried about that. We ask the citizens to adhere to the measures because it is obviously not working as it is now," Capak said, adding:

"The virus is circulating, but I would not say that the situation is spiraling out of control. Our epidemiologists are working 24 hours a day. The situation is getting worse and worse, and we need to find, enter, and determine all contacts of these 140 people. It is hard work, and we have a total of a hundred epidemiologists. They are running out of energy."

He said they were discussing how to make things easier and when to call for help.

Capak said there are new measures from Monday and they are not thinking about adding others. "The number of people at public gatherings in other countries is smaller than in our country. Since we are a tourist country, we were too liberal in prescribing new measures. That is why we brought new measures for larger gatherings. As with nightclubs, we introduced controls and they are no longer a source of infection. We are now introducing the supervision of various gatherings, and we have tightened measures and recommendations."

Commenting on the restrictions Istria is considering, he said that they are discussing it, but nothing has been agreed yet.

"These are EU rules, I can only comment on epidemiological measures. Of course, Croatian citizens can be infected in other countries and bring an infection, but they are also subject to instructions at the borders. Every citizen who crosses, regardless of whether they are from the EU or not, receives instructions at the border on how to behave for the next 14 days, where it is prescribed to avoid contact, wear masks ... It's just a small step under self-isolation," said Capak answering the question about border crossings and noted that everything is a matter of personal responsibility:

"We had a great collaboration with the citizens, and I hope it will be the same in the future."

We are monitoring the situation with the import of the virus, he pointed out, and said that the measures have now only been tightened. Capak added that the number of border crossings had been significantly reduced.

"We are continuously discussing the gradual introduction of masks into the lives of citizens. We are careful in that, we are gradually moving from the place where the risk is greatest, and then to places where there is not so much risk of infection," said Capak, and commented on fines for those who do not wear masks:

"As the Headquarters, we are against repression because it causes revolt among citizens, especially if it is not precisely and fairly elaborated. We will conduct extensive education on the benefits of wearing masks. In some cultures, wearing masks is a normal thing for any respiratory infection. We have to activate so that the citizens understand that they benefit from wearing masks," concluded Capak.

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

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Krunoslav Capak on Wedding Ban: I Got Hundreds of Emails from Angry Brides!

Krunoslav Capak stated that in all of Europe, the number of new cases of infection rose in all countries which relaxed their anti-epidemic measures, and that includes Croatia. As Poslovni Dnevnik/Bruno Lipej writes on the 8th of July, 2020, Capak was a recent guest on HRT's morning show Dobro jutro, Hrvatska/Good morning, Croatia on which he discussed our current ''dance'' with the new coronavirus.

''Quarantine is good, but it's unsustainable, we need to get used to coexistence [with the virus],'' said the director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, Krunoslav Capak. As for limiting the visit of parents to children in hospitals to a mere fifteen minutes, Capak said that they're already talking about increasing that time and that he thinks that will happen.

''We're already talking about changing the situation, to make sure the hospitals create the conditions that it's possible without any big risk of the entry of the virus into a hospital or health institution,'' said Krunoslav Capak.

He also said that the strategy of the much talked about ''hammer and dance'' coined by a world-famous epidemiologist means that we first need to "quarantine", which we did, and then we need to learn to live with the virus.

''Quarantine is good, but it's unsustainable. From a psychological perspective, an economic perspective, from every perspective - quarantine can't last for long, and that's why we have to get used to coexistence [with the virus], stick to the measures and, as this other name of the strategy says, dance with the virus as much as possible,'' explained Krunoslav Capak.

''Now, it's very important that we discover the source of infection [when it arises] as early as possible. That we find someone who is infected, sick, and that we put their contacts in self-isolation, and isolate them so that they can't spread the virus further. If we're successful in this, then we'll be able to keep things under control. We hope we're successful,'' he said.

When asked if restrictions will be introduced, he said that everything is on the table and that they're talking about everything, but that he believes that education on the virus and how to slow its spread is a better solution.

Krunoslav Capak also revealed that he has already received hundreds of e-mails from angry brides and wedding event organisers:

''As soon as we said we'd reduce the numbers attending weddings… We never said we'd ban weddings, I never talked about banning, but I talked about introducing some stricter measures... Some people are polite and they appeal that, and some are rude, they make threats and so on...''

As for the situation at the borders, specifically with Slovenia, he rejected the claim that Croatia is heading towards landing on the neighbouring country's infamous red list, saying that we should instead stay "in the middle of the yellow list".

As far as restrictions are concerned, Krunoslav Capak said that they also thought about this, but they let tourists come because tourism is a very important branch of the economy for Croatia. However, he added, they are now thinking about it again. He also said that we have an excellent situation with tourists and that only a few of them arrived infected.

As for the possibility of introducing an obligation to wear masks indoors, Krunoslav Capak expressed skepticism about introducing that obligation for all indoor spaces, saying he thinks masks should be kept in areas where more people stay indoors for longer periods of time.

''That is being discussed,'' Krunoslav Capak briefly said.

He added that they didn't ban or punish people during the epidemic and that they still think that education and warning are the best measures, but that they will discuss tightening and controlling the wearing of masks if it proves to be necessary.

''I'm appealing to everyone to listen to what the epidemiologists are saying because that's our job,'' concluded Capak.

For more, follow our lifestyle page.

Saturday, 4 July 2020

As Corona Cases Rise in Croatia, Capak Reveals Potential New Measures

July 4, 2020 - Krunoslav Capak was a guest on HRT, admitting that the increase in the number of coronavirus infections in Croatia surprised him.

"I wouldn't say we should be worried, but it forces us to be careful. We expected the number to increase after the opening. We had zero or one case for a long time. In the meantime, we have opened the economy, opened schools and colleges. We expected it to grow, but not to grow with this ferocity. We had the misfortune to have these three hotspots. For the hotspot in Đakovo, the nuns were in Kosovo, it's a system where a lot of people are indoors," says Capak for Index.hr.

He says the virus is not spreading uncontrollably.

"I wouldn't say it is spreading uncontrollably. We don't know at first how someone got infected. Later they remember some detail, where they could have been infected. Then the network closes, we find out. I'd say we have a low number of cases where we don’t know how they got infected," Capak said.

He referred to testing, that is, the number of tests being done.

"We think we set the testing targets well. We had ten percent positives in the first part of the epidemic. We have more capacity, we can test more, but we have no indication of that. When we think it makes sense to test, then we test," he said. 

He also commented on the fact that the last time the number of newly infected was so high, we were in quarantine.

"Quarantine is very good for preventing spread, but it is unbearable. We can't do that for long. Quarantine is great for preventing infection, but it creates big problems for us in the functioning of society and the state. That's why it must be lifted. We knew when we lifted the measures, there would be an increase in the number of cases. We were a little surprised by that ferocity, but we feel we are keeping things under control," he said.

"We have now introduced masks in public transport. The possibility of introducing them to some other facilities is being considered. The possibility of closing clubs indoors is being considered. For now, their work is being controlled. Commissions visiting clubs say there are no more violations. But there is a possibility on the table for clubs to close," he said.

"We have to decide where our dominant source of infection is. We closed the borders because we wanted to give a little more warning to citizens crossing the border. We thus gave one direct warning, that number has decreased. Now the borders are open, but people who do not have a strong reason to enter Croatia are being rejected," Capak said.

He was also asked about the situation in Serbia, where elections were also held recently.

"If you remember, four weeks ago, Macedonia had over a hundred cases a day. Then it spilled over to Serbia. That was before the election. Whether the election contributed to that is hard to say," Capak said.

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

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Coronavirus Situation to Worsen in Autumn? Krunoslav Capak Weighs In

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Bruno Lipej writes on the 1st of July, 2020, after two weeks, the director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, Krunoslav Capak, has come out of self-isolation.

''I did my fifteen days of self-isolation. My contact that made us all need self-isolation amounted to fifteen days. Yesterday was my last day of self-isolation. I tested myself as soon as I found out I was in contact with a positive person and I was negative. I was tested again yesterday and I'm still negative. I had no symptoms and I worked all the time. None of that group of about twenty of us, including people working for the media, fell ill. We, the health professionals, have been tested and no one is positive,'' Capak said in conversation with Dnevnik Nova TV.

When asked if Croatia opened the borders with Bosnia and Herzegovina because of the elections which are due to take place this Sunday, he answered that he is in charge only of the epidemiological aspects.

"What I can say epidemiologically is that the increase in the number of cases in the last ten days have been imported from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo. The case in Djakovo is related to Kosovo. When we saw that this was the situation, we proposed epidemiologically that somewhat stricter measures be introduced at the borders, and one of the measures is self-isolation, which was introduced,'' explained Krunoslav Capak.

"It happened that this decision, which was changed today, was made in March, and then it was stated that it was valid until June the 30th. These measures were left when we changed them a few days ago, it was left valid until June the 30th, so we'll see. This coincided with the decisions of the European Commission, which is opening its borders to countries that are ''third countries''. So, not towards the countries of the European Union, but towards third countries,'' he added.

He believes that the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is calming down, even though they have a lot of patients, but that it takes time.

"We think we've targeted who we need to test well, and that is if we suspect them, if they have respiratory symptoms or a fever or have had risky contact with a lot of other contacts, and then we resolve the epidemiological situation that way,'' he said in regard to Croatia's protocols for coronavirus testing.

What awaits us in the autumn?

"If the virus doesn't change or disappear in the meantime, in the autumn, when it gets cold and we all spend more time indoors, where the concentration of the virus is higher, it will certainly be easier to transmit the coronavirus infection. In addition, it will coincide with the season of other respiratory infections, including the flu. Then, we'll have a much more difficult situation on our hands than we have now. There will be a much higher number of infected people and it will be much harder because they'll interpolate with other respiratory infections, too,'' Krunoslav Capak warned.

"As far as vaccinations are concerned, we're taking measures to try to get the vaccine earlier this year than we were before, but we're a small country and a small client, so it's difficult to break in among the first places when delivering flu vaccines, but we're working intensively on it and hope that we will succeed,'' he added.

For more on coronavirus in Croatia, follow our dedicated section.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Krunoslav Capak Reveals When Epidemiological Picture Should Improve

Krunoslav Capak has stated that all countries began to relax their respective anti-epidemic measures, after which, the number of newly infected people unfortunately increased.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 30th of June, 2020, Capak sat down to discuss the situation with coronavirus in Croatia and some of the latest developments in that regard.

"Our epidemiological picture has worsened in the last ten days or so. From mid-May to mid-June, we had an extraordinary epidemiological situation and we were the best country in Europe in terms of the number of new cases,'' said Krunoslav Capak, the director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, who spoke about the issue on Skype recently.

He commented on the current situation in the country and said that they had already started planning the opening of certain activities such as schools and colleges.

In mid-June, he added, the situation began to deteriorate when Croatian citizens became infected in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, and at the same time measures were relaxed and people began to behave more freely. After that, there was a case in Đakovo when several people from Kosovo returned to a monastery. He said the two cases resulted in two major new coronavirus hotspots.

Krunoslav Capak believes that the situation is now under control, HZZO is in daily contact with people in the field. He added that these situations cannot simply be resolved overnight, but it is coming more and more under control day by day and they believe that Croatia will have a better epidemiological situation once again in the next ten or so days.

Tourism and borders

Tomislav Fain, the president of the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies, commented on what would happen if Slovenia gave recommendations to its citizens not to come to Croatia, which seems unlikely given the most recent news from Croatia's neighbour to the north, unless something changes for the worse rapidly.

"Guests are more afraid of returning and the conditions they'll have to go through when they get home," said Sean Lisjak, president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce's Marina Association, who appeared on the show from HRT's Pula studio.

He added that Croatia's marinas were full, and that the country's charter traffic has come back to life, but it's still all a very far cry from what we're all used to along the coast at this time of year.

Zoran Niceno, Chief of the Border Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior spoke about the opening of the borders and what will change from the 1st of July onward.

"The European Council has sent a written recommendation on the phasing out of travel restrictions, primarily to those imposed on each other by EU member states, and only then to third countries. The list of third countries hasn't been agreed yet,'' he said.

The decision of the Council will be known on Tuesday, he said.

Krunoslav Capak: We have to learn to live with the coronavirus among us because it isn't going anywhere anytime soon...

"There's indecision and fear on both sides," said Marko Jurcic, an adviser to the president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK). He believes that the borders should be opened, but with precautionary measures firmly in place. He added that we cannot open the borders without expecting any new cases of infection.

“It requires a light balance,” he said.

Krunoslav Capak said all countries began to relax measures after which the number of newly infected people increased.

''We have to learn to live with the coronavirus among us because it won’t disappear so quickly, there are more variants of what will happen in the future, but at this point we have to learn to live with this virus and stick to our epidemiological measures,'' he added.

He stressed that the coronavirus will not disappear even if there are no tourists, it is here among us in the population and as such it will continue to circulate.

For more, follow our dedicated section on coronavirus in Croatia.

Saturday, 30 May 2020

When Will Sport in Croatia Return to Normal? Capak Weighs In

May 30, 2020 - The director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health (CNIPH), Krunoslav Capak, attended a session of the Health Commission of the Croatian Olympic Committee (COC) and spoke about returning sport to normal in Croatia. 

"You know yourself that in mid-May, with the easing of measures, we allowed training for top athletes. The football Cup will be played this weekend, and we also have pressure to let the fans into the stadiums. For now, however, this will not happen," said Capak on HRT, who also commented on the possibility of holding sports competitions indoors:

"Bowling and bowling competitions will start on June 12, and after that, we will consider the possibility of spectators in the stands."

The secretary of the COC Health Commission, the famous nutritionist Mimi Vurdelja, emphasized the agility of the members of the Commission in the beginnings of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We from the COC were the first to start making and sending recommendations to federations and clubs for the protection of athletes' health. I have to inform you that immediately after the appearance of the coronavirus, we received a number from Dr. Capak that athletes can call. We are very grateful to him for that."

Because the virus no longer circulates among us and that Croatia has one of the best epidemiological situations in the world, Dr. Capak spoke with a lot of optimism about the current epidemiological situation in the country, although he never lacks caution.

"We must still be careful because the virus is still there, and it can easily come to us from the outside. Due to tourist motives, we are currently the most open country in Europe, and the situation in our environment is not great - Germany, France, Spain, and hotspots in South America; all this suggests caution."

In addition to making continuous recommendations for preserving the health of athletes, the COC Health Commission intends, in cooperation with partners from the CNIPH, to initiate serology testing of Croatian Olympians and the development of an immunological health card of Olympic athletes. These are 64 individual top athletes and three men's national teams. Dr. Capak promised support in the implementation of the mentioned activities, which, according to the information of the secretary of the Commission, will bring savings of around 200,000 kuna.

The head of the CNIPH anti-doping service, Dr. Roman Latinović, reported that anti-doping testing of athletes in individual sports was launched on May 26, and that football competitions will also begin in team competition. He also reminded of the fact that his service is in the process of implementing the new anti-doping code of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

The proposal of the Secretary-General of the Croatian Automobile and Karting Association, Zrinko Gregurek, was also considered. At a recent session of the COC Council, he introduced the COC's leading body to the foreign practice of installing the so-called tunnels for the disinfection of spectators of sporting events. Praising all the measures to protect people at sports competitions, doc. Dr. Dinko Pivalica said that, regardless of the external decontamination of those who enter, this method cannot eliminate asymptomatic phenomena.

Therefore, the COC Health Commission unanimously supported the conclusion of its president, Dr. Miran Martinac, who said:

"We consider this type of prevention desirable for all closed spaces, but experts should give the final word on this, i.e., epidemiologists, from whom we asked for an expert opinion."

At the end of the session, a proposal was agreed to hold a roundtable meeting on June 17, which should be attended by the Minister of Health in the Government of the Republic of Croatia Vili Beroš, CNIPH Director Krunoslav Capak, State Secretary of the Central State Office for Sports Tomislav Družak and COC President Zlatko Mateša in the role of host, but also a representative of WADA.

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

 

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