Saturday, 9 April 2022

Croatia Getting Back to "Old Normal" After Two Years

ZAGREB, 9 April 2022 - Croatia is getting back to the old normal after nearly all restrictions imposed over the last two years to contain the COVID-19 pandemic were lifted at midnight on Friday.

All the anti-epidemic rules, except the obligation of wearing protective face masks in health institutions and nursing homes, are no longer in force.

Croatia declared the COVID-19 pandemic on 11 March 2020 and since then its citizens lived under various restrictions, including a total lockdown in the spring of that year.

The first registered case of this infection in Croatia was reported on 25 February 2020. It was a young man who returned from a 19 February Champions League match in Milan, Italy. The number of new cases started rising, and on 19 March 2020, there were more than 100 confirmed cases, while on 2 April over 1,000 cases were active at the time.

In the spring of 2020, Croatia was among the countries with the most stringent anti-epidemic rules, and that summer the epidemiological situation improved with warmer weather. However, the COVID numbers started escalating again in the late autumn of 2020.

Protocols were adopted by a national COVID-19 crisis management team, who enjoyed overwhelming support at the beginning of the pandemic. However, over the time the fatigue with the restrictions provoked reactions to its decisions.

In the autumn 2021, several protest rallies were held in several cities, primarily against the introduction of the COVID certificate mandate in public institutions.

On 4 December 2021, the parliamentary opposition party Bridge started gathering signatures at over 1,200 venues across the country for a referendum to regulate the work of the national COVID-19 crisis management team and abolish COVID certificates.

The most vociferous demonstrators protested against the obligation to get vaccinated.

The first batches of vaccines against this novel virus arrived in Croatia in late December 2020, and vaccination against COVID-19 started in Zagreb on 27 December when 81-year-old Branka Aničić, a resident of a retirement home, got the very first shot in the country.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus had mutated in the meantime, and the Omicron variant, first reported in Croatia in January this year, infected over 17,000 people on a daily basis.

However, with the rise in its virulence, the Omicron variant did not cause harsher symptoms of the disease that would need hospitalisation.

More than 1.1 million cases of the disease have been detected so far

Furthermore, Croatia has managed to vaccinate 70.71% of its adult population to date, and over a quarter of the population have contracted the disease, which is why experts believe a satisfactory collective immunity has been acquired.

Unfortunately, the disease has claimed 15,660 lives since the first case of the infection was registered. The share of the fatalities among the registered cases stands at 1.42%, according to the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ).

Worldwide, over 6.1 million deaths have been caused by this disease.

The Worldmeters platform data show that in terms of the share of COVID fatalities per million inhabitants, Croatia ranks eighth (3,857 per million). In the European Union, only Bulgaria and Hungary have higher shares, 5,349 and 4,754 respectively.

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Masks that Stop Corona and Other Viruses Produced in Croatia

October 21, 2020 – Croatian company Splendor Tekstil has produced a new innovative product - four-layer masks that stop corona and other viruses, with 99 percent antibacterial and 99 percent antiviral protection.

As reports, after being the first in Croatia to mass-produce surgical masks in June, the domestic company Splendor Tekstil continued to do an excellent job.

This family company has locations in Klanjec and Sesvete and employs more than 50 people. Otherwise, they produce Gore-tex clothing, special functional professional clothing. In Sesvete they only produce masks – four million of them a month.



Their new mask is based on innovative nanotechnology. It is similar to a classic medical mask, but its nanolayer gives it extra protection against viruses. At the time of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, such protection is extremely important.

"We are now faced with a virus, and a medical or any other mask provides only bacterial filtration. We are working in that direction now because innovation is the foundation of our company's functioning," said Splendor Tekstil.

Namely, medical masks are only antibacterial and for their certification, the norm does not provide the testing for viruses, but exclusively for bacteria. Even a medical mask of the highest standard of grade 2R, in addition to having more than 98 percent bacterial filtration and protection against liquid splashes, has no protection against viruses. This prompted them to make a mask that would, in addition to antibacterial, also provide antiviral protection.


Protects, but does no harm

"Our product is incomparable to anything that can be found on the market now. We use special filter materials. Otherwise, all medical masks contain polypropylene, and here it is combined with innovative nanotechnology. It is not metals that are used, but polymer. That is why this mask is more affordable and competitive in the global market.

The polymer does not degrade and does not enter the respiratory system, it is completely stable, chemically inert and extremely resistant to high and low temperatures and UV rays, and completely harmless to health,“ explained Suzana Perčić, head of development at Splendor Tekstil.

“It’s good to note how important it is that the mask protects, but it’s equally important that it doesn’t harm,” Perčić stressed.

Masks crucial in the fight against coronavirus

The new mask has passed all European laboratory tests, and Splendor Tekstil has received very good feedback from relevant domestic laboratories.

The new four-layer Splendor Tekstil mask can be worn for 24 hours, and if stored in a hygienically acceptable manner after use, even for longer. Of course, when removing and putting on the mask, it is important to be careful and have clean hands.

Since production started only a week ago, the masks cannot be found on the market yet, but they can be ordered directly from the company.

It is important to know that wearing a protective mask has proven to be a key step in preventing the spread of coronavirus infection during the pandemic. Experts have determined that this, along with keeping a distance, is the main means of prevention.


For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages.

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

MS Team Croatia: Students Provide Masks for Multiple Sclerosis Sufferers

September 15, 2020 - Thanks to the MS Team Croatia, high school students from Vinkovci are providing masks for people with multiple sclerosis.

People with multiple sclerosis, especially those on the second line of therapy to slow down the disease, have extremely weakened immunity and extra caution is needed whenever it comes to viral infections, especially today in the age of the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to sponsors and donors, the MS team Croatia provided funds for masks for the sick, and the Vinkovci secondary vocational school joined the action, which will make masks for the sick until the celebration of the National Multiple Sclerosis Day on September the 26th, reports MS Team Croatia.

The students of this school are working hard these days to make all the masks ready by this date. Given the interest of MS's donors, the MS Croatia Team has already ordered an additional amount for distribution after the National Day to provide a mask for everyone in therapy.

"The Vinkovci secondary vocational school immediately responded to our request, and we decided that the students should make the masks because in this way we sensitise them and they learn indirectly about what it is like to live with multiple sclerosis, which affects over 7,000 people in Croatia. The principal and teachers of the school recognised our goals, and now they're making the masks at a symbolic price that covers only the cost of the material. And it is especially interesting that the logo of our association is made as an embroidery, not as a sticker, so the mask is special and has a different meaning for all of us," said Mirjam Jukic, president of the MS Team Croatia Association, who is especially grateful to this school and students and all sponsors.

The masks will be delivered to the branches of the Association, where socialising with MS Pilates is organised, and to the University Hospital Centre Zagreb, where most patients are treated. The plans are to order an additional number of masks for other clinical centres where a larger number of patients are treated.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Monday, 17 August 2020

Bozinovic: Decision On Mandatory Masks In The Open Still Not Made

ZAGREB, Aug 17, 2020 - National Civil Protection Authority head Davor Bozinovic said on Monday that the authority was considering possible measures against the coronavirus for the autumn, however, for now it had not adopted any conclusions about the obligation to wear masks in the open.

"We are thinking about measures for the autumn, however, there are no concrete conclusions, everything depends on the epidemiological situation," Bozinovic told reporters.

He underscored that the school year is a challenge in itself and that a Science and Education Ministry task force will have the main role in communicating and recommending measures regarding schools. He announced that the task force was set to meet tomorrow.

"It is ungrateful to forecast what will be today or tomorrow regarding the number of infections, however, trends are important. We will certainly make sure trends lead towards a decrease in the number of infections," he said.

"We have always adopted decisions that were an optimal solution at a particular moment," he added.

Situation for tourists from Austria favourable

As regards recommendations by the Austrian government for its citizens vacationing in Croatia to return home, Bozinovic said that he was in constant contact with Austria's authorities.

"We have been communicating intensively that the situation with the number of people infected is not the same in all parts of Croatia. It differs and in counties where the most tourists from Austria are staying it is particularly favourable. Austria's authorities are aware of that, but whether they will take that fact into account as far as their citizens are concerned, I cannot sa. That is a sovereign decision," added Bozinovic.

From the very start of the tourist season Croatia has been faced with opposed interests by countries from where tourists are coming. Those interests are not the same and everyone is trying to discourage their citizens with various measures from spending their money abroad, he said.

"Naturally, our interest is different and I think that this summer we have managed to achieve a balance, with Croatia having taken in a lot of tourists ... much more than anyone else, including us, had expected," said Bozinovic.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Shipment of Disinfectant, Masks Arrives from China

ZAGREB, Aug 6, 2020 - The unloading of 139 tonnes of disinfectant and a smaller quantity of masks to combat the COVID-19 epidemic, which arrived by ship from Shanghai, began in the northern Adriatic port of Rijeka on Thursday.

The cargo which arrived aboard the Ever Excel was procured from the Chinese companies Sinopharm and MEHECO.

The protective equipment will be collected by the Civil Protection Directorate and distributed to the relevant bodies, the government said in a press release.

The shipment is worth €1.2 million and it was paid from European funds. The goods were bought by the government with the mediation of the buffer stocks directorate and the help of the Croatian Embassy to China.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Speaker Says Will Continue to Ask All MPs to Wear Masks in Chamber

ZAGREB, July 28, 2020 - Speaker Gordan Jandrokovic said on Tuesday the parliament presidency was agreed today about recommending that all MPs wear masks in the chamber and that he would continue to ask all to do so.

Speaking to the press after a presidency meeting, he said wearing masks was, for now, a recommendation and that, depending on developments, "we will see whether to ban those who don't want to or avoid wearing a mask from being in the chamber."

"I firmly believe everyone will listen to the recommendation because it doesn't come from us but from experts," said Jandrokovic. He added that as of September if the coronavirus situation deteriorated, stricter measures could be imposed.

Capak hasn't become burden because of Hrebak case

Jandrokovic said he did not think that Krunoslav Capak, head of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, had become a burden because of the case of MP Dario Hrebak. He said Capak had been doing a good job from the start and that the criticisms against him were wrong.

He would not comment on the possibility of President Zoran Milanovic being brought into an awkward situation at the August 5 anniversary of Operation Storm.

"He is responsible for his statements, sometimes also for the problems those statements cause. The government and the prime minister have done a lot both for veterans and for a dignified marking of Storm's 25-year anniversary, so any booing would be inappropriate and I don't expect it. I think something like that certainly won't happen."

As for representatives of the authorities attending the Grubori commemoration, he said they had neither discussed it nor made a decision.

Monday, 20 July 2020

Epidemiologist: Lower Number of Infections Due to Use of Protective Masks

ZAGREB, July 20, 2020 - The head of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, Krunoslav Capak, said on Monday that the latest figures showing 25 COVID positive cases as against threefold higher numbers in the previous days were the result of the mandatory use of face masks.

In the last 24 hours, of 1,028 COVID-19 tests performed in Croatia, 25 have returned positive, the country's coronavirus crisis management team stated on Monday. Currently, there are 1,150 active cases, 57 fewer than the day before.

By comparison, there were 92 new cases on Sunday and 116 on Saturday.

Asked by the press about the decision by Lithuania to place Croatia on the red list of epidemiologically unsafe countries, which means that people travelling to the Baltic country from Croatia would have to self-isolate for 14 days, Capak said that the European Commission had recommended the opening of borders and imposition of criteria for free passage in accordance with epidemiological situations.

The criterion is that there are no more than 16 new patients per 100,000 inhabitants in the past 14 consecutive days.

Some countries have introduced stricter measures and some have applied milder measures, he explained, adding that it might be that Croatia has exceeded the 14-day incidence which was why Lithuania placed Croatia on the red list.

Capak said that new recommendations for organising cultural events could be announced on Tuesday.

Health Minister Vili Beros said that cheaper prices for COVID-19 tests, when taken by individuals on their own, could be expected later this week after the Croatian Health Insurance Agency (HZZO) approved lower prices last Friday, whereby they were halved to HRK 500-700 per test.

Monday, 20 July 2020

Respected Producer from Prelog Develops Special Protective Masks

It seems that everyone is talking about masks lately, and everyone of course has to have an opinion on them. The coronavirus pandemic has seen the demand for this otherwise rather obscure item used primarily in healthcare soar, and in some cases, the price for them has sky rocketed with them. One Prelog manufacturer has used the pandemic as an advantage...

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 19th of July, 2020, the ongoing global pandemic of the new coronavirus has accelerated a project to produce protective masks, and plan is to present these particular masks to Croatia's National Civil Protection Headquarters in September. The Prelog-based manufacturer claims that this is mask that can protect its users against the new coronavirus as well as all other biological threats.

Sestan-Busch, a world-famous manufacturer of anti-ballistic safety helmets from the usually overlooked Croatian town of Prelog, is currently completing a project which involves a multifunctional safety helmet for the National Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia, which is co-financed by ESI funds.

''However, the thing that could be of interest everyone is the project of creating a mask that protects people against coronavirus,'' said Goran Basarac, the executive director for strategic development and implementation of the Sestan-Bush project in conversation with Lider.

According to him, the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the Prelog manufacturers project of making these protective masks, which, as previously noted, they plan to present to the National Civil Protection Headquarters in September. 

These Prelog-made masks could find themselves available on the market by the end of this year.

For more on Croatian companies, producers and products, follow Made in Croatia.

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Mask Prices Rise as New Croatian Coronavirus Developments Unfold

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 29th of June, 2020, due to the new circumstances and the mandatory wearing of protective masks in public institutions and transport, the City of Zagreb, Zaprešić and Velika Gorica are currently among the cities that have decided to distribute protective masks to pensioners free of charge amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The sharp rise in the number of those infected with the new coronavirus warns of the importance of responsibility towards others. The focus is on protective masks, which makes their demand grow day by day, according to a report from RTL.

We have to use them in public transport, and many continue to use them when out on the street, in cafes and in shops. Protective masks have become our first barrier against the coronavirus infection. Increasing demand has also caused prices to rise on the world market, including here at home on the Croatian market.

The retail price of masks doesn't depend on pharmacies at all. The price was once somewhere around 50 lipa. When the coronavirus epidemic started, masks suddenly became a very desirable commodity. The most expensive plain mask was then around 19 kuna.

According to a survey conducted among city and private pharmacies, the price of a disposable surgical mask ranges between 5 and 6 kuna per piece in city pharmacies, and in private pharmacies - from 3 kuna and 60 lipa to 7 kuna and 17 lipa. If we were to calculate the average price of a mask on a monthly basis for a family of four, with each member using one protective mask per day, the price would be 660 kuna per month. A price not many can necessarily afford.

Due to the new circumstances and the mandatory wearing of protective masks in public institutions and transport, the City of Zagreb, Zaprešić and Velika Gorica are currently among the cities that have decided to distribute two protective masks to pensioners free of charge.

For more on the coronavirus pandemic in relation to Croatia, follow our dedicated section.