Thursday, 19 August 2021

Pavić Šimetin Says New Epidemiological Restrictions Considered

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

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

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

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

 

Friday, 23 July 2021

Croatian Public Health Institute on Vaccinating Roma People

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Cijepljenje_Vakcinacija.jpg © Cijepljenje / Vakcinacija

Ethnicity is not a criterion for vaccination

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kajtazi_visiting_Roma_People_in_Varaždin.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

New Rules: Negative COVID-19 Test for Vaccinated British Tourists Entering Croatia from Monday

July 21, 2021 - New travel rules will take effect from Monday, as all vaccinated British tourists entering Croatia must also present a negative COVID-19 test to enter the country. The same rules apply to tourists from Russia and Cyprus. We're bringing you the details. 

A major change is being introduced to enter Croatia. All Britons, Russians, and Cypriots must have a negative test to cross the Croatian border, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or have contracted and recovered from COVID-19. The change takes effect next Monday, reports Index.hr.

The basis for the changes is the Decision on the temporary prohibition and restriction of crossing the Croatian border, which states that the CNIPH determines the list of countries to which additional rules apply.

The CNIPH has added the United Kingdom, Russia, and Cyprus to the list of countries that require a PCR test not older than 72 hours or a rapid antigen test not older than 48 hours, which was expected.

The CNIPH published the news, which is transmitted in its entirety below.

"To protect health and prevent the spread of COVID-19, additional epidemiological measures have been introduced, which are applied when crossing the border into the territory of the Republic of Croatia to prevent the introduction of new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Due to the above, there was a quarantine obligation for arrivals from the Republic of South Africa, Brazil, Zanzibar, and India for a period of 14 days, which a negative PCR test can shorten after 7 days.

Since the Delta strain was imported from India, it has now become dominant in the European Union. The list of countries for which quarantine is mandatory remains the Republic of South Africa, Brazil, and Zanzibar. For persons coming from India, the mandatory quarantine after crossing the border is abolished. The obligation to present a negative test result on SARS-CoV-2 is introduced within 48 hours when crossing the border if it is a rapid antigen test or within 72 hours if it is a PCR test, regardless of whether the person has contracted COVID-19 or has been vaccinated.

Due to the worse epidemiological situation in the United Kingdom, Cyprus, and the Russian Federation, as an additional measure for all persons coming from these countries, a negative SARS-CoV-2 test performed in the home country, regardless of vaccination status or recovery from COVID-19, is required before entering the territory of the Republic of Croatia.

The change will be published on the CNIPH website and will take effect on Monday, July 26, 2021," the CNIPH said.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including vaccination points and testing sites, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Returning Strict Measures in Croatia by End of Month? Here's What Could Happen

July 21, 2021 - Will strict measures in Croatia return by the end of the month? High-risk gatherings are in question. 

Less than two months after most measures were eased, new, stricter measures are increasingly likely to await us in Croatia. As Jutarnji List unofficially learned from a source close to the National Civil Protection Headquarters, new measures are being prepared, which should enter into force before the current measures expire and which have been announced to last until July 31.

Although it is not strictly said what the measures would refer to, it is most likely related to gatherings considered the riskiest for transmitting the virus. After the entire Croatian coast was marked orange a few days ago, which is a kind of warning, the Headquarters seems to have decided to move in the direction of tightening measures to ensure the season lasts as long as possible.

Namely, Jutarnji List reports that it is almost impossible to avoid a larger increase in numbers, and they also do not want to stop the season. Therefore, they are trying to find the best possible balance between the pandemic and the season, in fact, two incompatible poles.

They expect that more tourists will enter Croatia than the local population, so it is unrealistic to expect that some will not be infected. The plan is to prevent large hotspots because this would almost automatically lead to putting Croatia "in the red," and thus, we would become an epidemiologically undesirable destination.

An additional problem is created by the new Delta strain, which has become dominant and spreads rapidly. Although the numbers in Croatia are still stable, on Tuesday, it was about three percent positive compared to those tested, so the epidemic is considered to be under control. However, we are still seeing an increase in those infected.

An additional fear is the complete opening of Great Britain, which, despite the high percentage of vaccinated, is recording a significant increase in the number of patients. Therefore, it can be expected that this number will also increase with the abolition of epidemiological measures.

Some European countries have already tightened the conditions for Brits crossing the border, and Croatia is expected to do the same.

In particular, British tourists will no longer cross the border if they have not been tested. Unlike the current practice of testing only those who have not been vaccinated or have not recovered from Covid, a mandatory test should also be introduced for the vaccinated.

Although the most desirable tourists are vaccinated, the fact is that they can be asymptomatic carriers of the virus, which is a problem in Croatia where vaccination is still insufficient, especially in Dalmatian tourist hotspots.

Experts believe that it would be good for Britons who have not recovered from Covid or have not been tested to spend 14 days in self-isolation in addition to taking the test. But, as Jutarnji learned from a source close to the Headquarters, this is not considered because Croatia would be left without guests. Namely, there is almost certainly no one who can afford two weeks of self-isolation in addition to their holiday. 

Bernard Kaić, head of the Epidemiology Service of Infectious Diseases at the CNIPH, was asked if British tourists were a threat.

"Of course, they are, like anyone else who comes to the country. Many guests enter Croatia, and, logically, the virus is transmitted in a pandemic," says Kaić.

According to data from Tuesday, there were 146 newly diagnosed cases, of which almost 60 percent were in Split-Dalmatia County (34), Zadar County (26), Šibenik-Knin County (11), and Dubrovnik County (15).

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including vaccination points and testing sites, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Monday, 19 July 2021

"No Masks, Few Vaccinated Citizens": German Media Warns of Short 2021 Croatian Tourism Season

July 19, 2021 - The 2021 Croatian tourism season is in danger, according to German media, as the coast moved to orange, masks are hardly worn, and few citizens are vaccinated. 

The German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) published an article on the problems caused by the pandemic for the tourist season in Croatia. They state that in Croatia there is a fear of a short tourist season, reports Index.hr.

"Croatia, whose economy depends on tourism more than any other EU country, is worried about the continuation of the summer season. The country is facing a 'battle to save the season," the newspaper writes. The country's tourism sector has been upset since the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) last Thursday switched the previously green corona status of Croatia's coastal areas to orange," FAZ writes.

ECDC data, showing the situation from the previous two weeks, is actually a warning, according to the German daily. There is a fear that the entire Adriatic coast will "turn red".

"It threatens the success of a tolerably good season so far. So far, Croatia has reached about 75 percent of the tourist level in the last pre-pandemic summer of 2019," states FAZ.

"The general mood was optimistic because the number of infections was low until recently, and the fact that the incidence is currently higher than in the comparable period of 2020 indicates a new seriousness of the situation."

Interior Minister Davor Božinović warned that the authorities take the guidelines on prevention seriously. It is about preventing the loss of control, the German paper points out.

"There is little readiness for vaccination in Croatia. Only 46 percent of the population has received at least one dose so far. The supply of vaccines has long since exceeded demand. Almost 400,000 doses have already been given to other countries, of which 240,000 to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The government has also decided that from now on, uninsured people and foreigners can also be vaccinated for free," writes FAZ.

Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac said the new orange status was an additional warning.

"Brnjac called on all employees in the tourism industry, but also the travelers themselves: 'Be reasonable, get vaccinated, and pay attention to epidemiological measures.' Meanwhile, Brnjac also demands that the ECDC take a closer look at Croatia and assess the Croatian coast. Dissatisfaction with the new classification comes especially from Istria, which has significantly lower incidence values ​​than Dalmatia, but it does not appear in ECDC statistics and maps, because there the Croatian coast is recorded as a whole," the article reads.

In the meantime, some regions in Dalmatia have announced stricter measures to combat the virus.

The mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, referring to the large increase in the number of infected people, announced sanctions for those who do not pay attention to respecting epidemiological measures in their restaurants.

"In everyday life, of course, things in Croatia are still quite loose. No one in the bars asks for tests or vaccination certificates, wearing masks is interpreted very casually in many places. Masks often only function as a fashion accessory that casually stands under the chin," concludes the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including vaccination points and testing sites, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Traveling to Croatia by Car? Overview of Current Measures

July 14, 2021 - If you are traveling to Croatia by car, this overview of the current measures will certainly help!

It is the holiday season, meaning increased cross-border traffic for travelers. To make it easier for travelers from Slovenia, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland to come and go on vacation in Croatia, HRTurizam outlines the currently valid measures.

Entry into the Republic of Croatia will be allowed to passengers coming directly from EU member states and/or regions, i.e., Schengen member states and/or areas and countries associated with the Schengen area, regardless of citizenship, if they have a valid EU digital COVID certificate.

Exceptionally, passengers coming directly from EU member states and/or regions or countries and/or regions of the Schengen area and countries associated with the Schengen area, and do not have an EU digital COVID certificate, will be allowed to enter the Republic of Croatia with a negative PCR test or rapid antigen test - BAT. With a BAT test made abroad, the test manufacturer and/or the commercial name of the test must be visible. Otherwise, the test will not be accepted as credible for entry into the Republic of Croatia. In addition, the result of the PCR test must not be older than 72 hours, and the BAT test 48 hours from the moment of testing until the arrival at the border.

Entry into Croatia will also be possible for persons with a vaccination certificate and a certificate of COVID-19 infection or with PCR testing or rapid antigen testing - BAT on SARS-CoV-2 immediately upon arrival in the Republic of Croatia (at their own expense), with the obligation of self-isolation until the arrival of a negative result. If testing is not possible, a self-isolation measure of ten days is determined.

From Thursday, 15 July, Slovenia will change the entry criteria. The same measures will apply to all passengers, regardless of their country of origin - they will need to present a valid vaccination certificate, a certificate of illness, or a negative test for COVID-19 not older than 48 hours and 72 hours, respectively, depending on the test. These measures will also apply to professional drivers in freight and passenger transport.

A European digital vaccination certificate or third-country digital certificate will be valid as proof for the entry of passengers into Slovenia without quarantine. The new rules will not apply only to foreigners who own land or real estate in Slovenia and to children under the age of 15 if a parent or guardian accompanies them. All passengers in transit, including professional drivers in passenger and freight transport, must leave the country within 12 hours. Otherwise, they are assigned an epidemiological measure of self-isolation. Detailed information is available here.

Entry into Austria is possible upon presenting a negative test (rapid antigen test not older than 48 hours or a PCR test not older than 72 hours), a vaccination certificate, or a certificate of recovery from COVID-19. If none of the above certifications is available, it is necessary to register via the Pre-Travel-Clearance form and be tested in Austria within 24 hours of crossing the border.

Certificates in German or English are valid as proof of vaccination. As proof of recovery, a medical certificate in German or English is valid, which shows that the person has suffered from COVID 19 in a period of 180 days and which is not older than 90 days. Confirmation of illness is identical to the evidence of neutralizing antibodies, which at the time of entry into Austria must not be older than 90 days.

Children up to the age of 12 are exempted from the obligation to test and present other certificates. Furthermore, passengers for medical reasons can enter Austria without restrictions upon presenting a certificate of necessity to use the medical service in English or German. Likewise, persons in transit, carriers of goods and passengers, emergency vehicles, and the like can enter Austria without restrictions.

According to the existing rules, entry into the Federal Republic of Germany is basically possible for all citizens of the European Union with certain restrictions and compliance with the prescribed epidemiological measures. Germany categorizes areas into risk and areas with mutated variants of the COVID-19 virus, and the current categorization is available here.

The entire territory of the Republic of Croatia - except Zadar County - is categorized as risk-free. Therefore, passengers coming from risk-free parts of the Republic of Croatia can enter the Federal Republic of Germany without the obligation to announce entry, test, certificates, and quarantine.

Passengers coming from the Republic of Croatia from risk areas can enter Germany without quarantine if they have a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours or an antigen test not older than 72 with proof of digital announcement of entry (electronically or in printed form, available at the link) 48 hours before arrival, made in an authorized health institution and printed in German, English or French, a certificate of complete vaccination with a vaccine from the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute list in German, English, French, Italian or Spanish in paper or digital form or a certificate for persons who have survived COVID-19, a medical certificate in German, English, French, Italian or Spanish in paper or digital form proving that at least 28 days have passed since the cessation of the disease, and not more than 6 months. Children up to 6 years of age are exempt from this obligation.

Air passengers, regardless of their area of ​​origin (risk-free or risky), are obliged to comply with the rule of submitting evidence of testing, proof of recovery from infection, or evidence of vaccination before take-off. Information can be found on the website of the German Federal Ministry of Health.

People who come to the Swiss Confederation from Croatia do not need to be quarantined. However, all persons arriving by bus, train, boat, or plane must complete an online form available at the link. In addition, all persons arriving in Switzerland by plane are required to present a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours upon boarding.

Exempted from these obligations are children under 16 years of age, persons who have been fully vaccinated following the recommendations of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health or the country of arrival, upon presentation of appropriate documentation, persons who have survived COVID-19 for 6 months, with appropriate documentation. For travelers coming to the Swiss Confederation, detailed information is available here.

All additional information on entry into the Member States of the European Union and the measures in force in individual countries can be found on Reopen Europa.

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

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 21 May 2021

Next Week, Croatia Will Consider Possible Relaxation of COVID Rules as of 1 June

ZAGREB, 21 May 2021 - The head of the Croatian COVID-19 crisis management team, Interior Minister Davor Božinović, said on Friday that the authorities would next week start considering possible relaxation of anti-epidemic rules as of 1 June.

The current rules are in force until 31 May and we will see which course to take considering the relaxation, the minister said.

Božinović added that Croatia wanted the application of the EU Digital COVID certificate to start as soon as possible.

Being a tourist destination, Croatia would like to see the implementation of the COVID travel pass as soon as possible.

Apart from serving as a travel pass, the digital COVID certificate can be used for some other purposes, and this depends on decisions to be made by individual member-states, Božinović said.

He went on to say that the technological system was equal at the EU level, and it would be known who was authorised to develop the QR codes for certificates, he explained.

During a news conference in Zagreb today, the head of the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ) Krunoslav Capak, informed that all the participants in two pilot projects -- a business lunch and a wedding party  -- tested negative to coronavirus seven days after the participation in those events.

Overall in Croatia, the number of new positive cases fell by 38% over the week, he added.

Croatia's current incidence rate  per 100, 000 inhabitants is 262.5.

As for the vaccination of foreigners, Capak said that Croatia enabled foreign citizens to get vaccinated.

For instance we have vaccinated 500 diplomats and their families' members, they have no Croatian documents, and information about their inoculation has been entered into the relevant data base, Capak said.

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

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Croatia to Extend Current Epidemiological Restrictions

ZAGREB, 15 April, 2021 - The head of the national COVID response team, Interior Minister Davor Božinović, said on Thursday that the epidemiological measures in force until midnight tonight would be extended, underscoring that the restrictions would not be tightened at the national level, but as necessary from county to county.

Speaking to the press after a meeting of the government's Scientific Advisory Council, Božinović said that meeting mostly focused on the current situation with the spread of coronavirus.

County response teams, he added, will adopt stricter measures depending on the epidemiological situation which at the moment will not be ramped up at the national level.

He said that the situation varies from county to county, adding that currently Primorje-Gorski Kotar has the strictest measures.

Vaccines no longer doubtful in Croatia 

Božinović announced that an additional 50 million doses of vaccines were arriving in the EU in the second quarter and he expressed hope that the number of doses for Croatia would not be brought into question.

He added that the experts had different opinions regarding school lessons but there is no reason now to change the decision for schools to go online as the number of those infected is not falling but actually increasing.

Asked what number would be required to ramp up restrictions according to the experts, Božinović said that some countries that introduced so-called traffic lights had tied their own hands in some situations.

"We are referring to trends here. We are monitoring the situation on a daily basis and applying measures on a county to county basis. I think that we won't refrain from that approach as it has shown to be correct so far," he underscored.

Croatia has not registered the experiences with AstraZeneca's vaccination like in other countries

As far as mistrust towards the AstraZeneca vaccine is concerned, Božinović said that reports by the HALMED medical agency and the Croatian Institute for Public Health "have not had any experiences that are being referred to in other countries."

However, it will be necessary to improve the trust in that vaccine through communication with the public, recalling that government members, including the Prime Minister, were inoculated with that vaccine.

"It is important for the overall public to realise that the pandemic has affected all four corners of the earth and that we will come out of this situation when an adequate solution is applied in all the countries affected by COVID," Božinović underlined, adding that it was important for the vaccine to be available everywhere.

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

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

New Coronavirus Restrictions to be in Force Until 15 April

ZAGREB, 31 March, 2021 - The national coronavirus crisis management team on Wednesday announced new epidemiological restrictions to be in force until 15 April, including a ban on indoor training, restrictions on the work of children playrooms and a temporary ban and restriction of cross-border travel.

The ban on indoor training does not apply to top competitions and athletes.

Certificates of vaccination with Russian, Chinese vaccines valid

Croatian border authorities will accept fast antigen tests as well as certificates about vaccination with the Russian and Chinese vaccines, and certificates proving their holders' recovery from COVID-19 and those certificates will be considered valid for 180 days, the team's head, Davor Božinović, said.

Border crossing has been regulated due to tourist visits, the exception being digital nomads and children.

"Considering restrictions in neighbouring countries, we do not expect a large number of arrivals," said Božinović.

He noted that the tighter restrictions were being introduced following a proposal to that effect by county COVID-19 response teams.

Apart from nationwide restrictions, the national team also made decisions on restrictions for Šibenik-Knin and Split-Dalmatia counties.

In Split-Dalmatia County, which has seen a big increase in new infections, the mandatory wearing of face masks at outdoor venues with an increased flow of people will be introduced, as will a ban on the sale of alcohol from 8pm to 6am. The work of cafes will be restricted until 8pm, and it will be possible to serve food and drinks only in the open. Foreign language schools will switch to online classes again.

Božinović said that restrictions could be additionally tightened since the epidemiological situation was not good.

Restrictions to be tightened if number of infections continues to grow

"We have a significant increase today and we cannot ignore the possibility of the scenario in neighbouring countries happening here as well. These restrictions will be in force for a few days but should statistics be worrying, we will introduce new measures," said Božinović.

The latest restrictions go into force on Thursday and will be in force until 15 April.

In the last 24 hours, 2,623 new coronavirus cases and 19 COVID-related deaths have been registered in Croatia, the national coronavirus response team said earlier in the day.

The number of active cases now stands at 11,306. Among them are 1,337 people receiving hospital treatment, of whom 144 are placed on ventilators.

Croatian Public Health Institute head Krunoslav Capak warned that today the number of new infections was 47% higher than last week.

Istria County has the lowest incidence, while Primorje-Gorski Kotar County has the highest. Croatia is currently 18th in the EU in terms of the number of deaths per one million inhabitants, while in terms of the 14-day incidence it is 12th.

Speaking about the start of the third phase of vaccination, Capak said that care would be taken of the order in which people had registered for vaccination at the cijepi.se online platform.

"All people older than 16 can be inoculated in the third phase, but a certain priority will be given to people in services in which they come into contact with a large number of people," he said, adding that the third phase could start in May.

He noted that cases of infection with coronavirus after vaccination had been reported. "We have about 20 such cases. Forty-four people in aged care homes got infected after receiving the first dose and 22 got infected after the second dose, but the symptoms were mild."

Commenting on an announcement by the Zagreb COVID-19 response team about the wearing of face masks outdoors, Capak said: "If you are outdoors and alone, there is no need to wear a mask."

"Outdoor mask wearing refers to places where there are a lot of people, in the farmers' market, on the waterfront," he said, noting that the recommendation to wear a mask outdoors had been in force so far for places where physical distancing was not possible.

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

Friday, 12 March 2021

Most Epidemiological Restrictions Extended Until End of March

ZAGREB, 12 March, 2021 - Croatia has a 26% weekly increase in the number of new coronavirus infections and most epidemiological restrictions will be extended until the end of March but outdoor sports competitions will be allowed, the national COVID-19 response team said on Friday.

Most existing epidemiological restrictions will remain in force.

One of the changes is that it will be possible to change the maximum allowed number of attendees at cultural events through recommendations by the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ), without waiting for a decision by the national COVID-19 response team, and outdoor sports competitions will be allowed as well, the team's head, Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović, said.

Restrictions regarding gatherings, passenger transport, shops' working hours and border crossing will be extended until 31 March and a decision on that will take effect on 13 March, said Božinović.

As for decisions at the local level, restrictions will be extended in Dubrovnik-Neretva County while COVID-19 response teams in counties with a marked increase in the number of new infections will be expected to propose restrictions in line with the local situation.

Share of positive tests 13.8%; Inoculation with AstraZeneca vaccine continues

Croatia today reported 823 new infections of 5,945 tests conducted in the past 24 hours, the percentage of positive tests being 13.8%. The average age of those who have died is 77.5 years and the youngest person was 62, Assistant Health Minister Vera Katalinić-Janković said.

HZJZ head Krunoslav Capak warned that the number of new infections this week was 26% higher than last week.

"Istria County has the lowest incidence, and Dubrovnik-Neretva County the highest. As for the seven-day incidence, Primorje-Gorski Kotar County is at the top, however, epidemiologists say that there are no major hot spots there but rather a lot of small hot spots due to socialising," said Capak.

He also pointed to an increase in the share of positive cases in the number of tests done, which today was 13.8%.

Commenting on reported side effects of the vaccines, he said most reports referred to the Pfizer vaccine, 898, followed by AstraZeneca's vaccine, 337, and Moderna's, 81.

Despite the fact that in some EU countries inoculation with AstraZeneca's vaccine has been suspended, Croatia will continue using the vaccine.

Capak said that the AstraZeneca vaccine Croatia obtained was not from the same series as that obtained by Austria and 15 other EU countries. Countries that have discontinued inoculation with that vaccine have done so until the reported side effects are investigated, he said.

"If it is established that the thromboembolisms reported are not related to the vaccine, countries that have suspended vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine will continue the vaccination process. Croatia did not receive that vaccine series... and will continue using the AstraZeneca vaccine," he said.

He also commented on an announcement that the deliveries of the AstraZeneca vaccine would be much smaller than agreed.

"We were to receive 19,200 doses in the third week of March and will receive 7,200. In the fourth week of March, we were to receive 79,568 doses and will receive 9,800," he said.

As for the vaccine of the US company Johnson & Johnson, Capak said that the vaccine will soon be registered in the EU but could not tell how many doses Croatia would obtain considering reports that the US government would first supply the US market with the agreed quantities and then start exports to other countries.

Asked about alternative vaccine imports, Capak said that the documentation requested from the Russian producer had still not arrived, which was a precondition to launch emergency imports.

Meanwhile, the Russian manufacturer has launched the process of registration of the vaccine with the European Medicines Agency and Capak said he believed the process would soon be completed and that Croatia would be able to import the vaccine normally.

As for the Chinese vaccine, not much information is known but the HZJZ today held an online meeting with its producers, Capak said, adding that he would inform the public of the meeting on Monday.

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

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