Sunday, 6 September 2020

Milanovic: Protest Is Democracy, Going To Care Homes Is Idiocy

ZAGREB, Sept 6, 2020 - President Zoran Milanovic on Saturday commented on a protest in Zagreb against COVID restrictions, saying that protest is a democracy but that the fact that the protesters stood outside nursing homes was idiocy and disastrous.

He was responding to questions from the press on Rab island if the rally in Zagreb was a festival of democracy, as the participants claimed, and if he considered any restrictions contentious.

"From day one we have been saying that the elderly and the sick are the ones we must care for, not teenagers, my generation. To go outside retirement homes and say that corona is a child's play, which I saw they did, is a disaster... If they are protesting against masks, that's okay."

Speaking of restrictions, he said, "One should be more disciplined than usual, that's the only measure."

Asked what he would tell people who claimed that coronavirus did not exist, Milanovic said ironically that they were "very fine people."

Asked what would happen if the virus entered kindergartens and schools, he said children and youth were the least at risk. "It's time they finally go to school because this has been going on too long."

Milanovic and Slovenian President Borut Pahor were on Rab for the 77th commemoration of the liberation of inmates from the Kampor fascist concentration camp.

"The banality of evil," he said of the WWII camp. "This wasn't a typical extermination camp. This was a camp where you bring Slovenians and Croats because they crossed you for some reason, not just because they are Slovenians and Croats, and leave them to die in a year, you don't feed them. That's the banality of evil. Somebody watched that, those guards, for a year."

Asked if he and Pahor discussed bilateral topics, Milanovic said, "We talk all the time... about the situation in the region, everything that goes on around us. About the right-wing in Europe. I don't mean traditional Christian values but... I don't like the words 'anti-European policy' because that means nothing, but there is a number of leaders and politicians in Europe who see the enemy in everything."

Asked if he and Pahor talked about the reopening of borders given that Slovenia put Croatia on the red list of COVID countries, Milanovic said there was a reason why Slovenia did that.

"The number of daily cases of infections increased because almost a million foreigners arrived in Croatia in July and August so that we could make money. That's not surprising. That's the price we consciously paid both as a state and as a society, and we should finally accept that... Let's not be surprised that almost a million foreigners passed through Croatia, leaving their money here, socializing, forming crowds, and that some got infected. But that's the price of the risk we were all willing to take. Slovenia's reaction was expected, that will change."

Asked if he would ask Pahor that Slovenia apply the regional COVID model towards Croatia, like Germany, Milanovic said, "He doesn't decide on that, just as I don't in Croatia."

He said they often spoke on the phone. "The topics are political, concerning the region, the Balkans, the eastern Balkans."

Asked if he heard the appeals from the ruling HDZ, the minister of defense, the parliament speaker, and the prime minister that he should be more rational with military resources, Milanovic said he did not. "Since I'm the commander in chief, I'll decide what's more rational, if they really said that. We are being very rational."

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Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Minister: All Options For Aid To Hospitality And Tourism Sector On Table

ZAGREB, Sept 2, 2020- Tourism and Sports Minister Nikolina Brnjac said on Wednesday that all options for helping the hospitality and tourism sector were "on the table", recalling that restaurant and bar owners were the first to receive help from the state when the corona crisis started.

We talked with the entire hospitality and tourism sector about how to continue with the measures, all options are now still on the table, said Brnjac in front of the government building while answering reporters' questions about the continuation of aid and whether the state has the funds to help restaurant and bar owners requesting it because they are facing bankruptcy and liquidation.

Asked about the continuation of measures for the hospitality and tourism sector in terms of the recent statement by Finance Minister Zdravko Maric that aid must come to an end one day, Brnjac reiterated that all of them were being taken care of and that possibilities for the continuation of the aid were discussed at meetings every day.

She recalled that through the recovery and resilience facility guidelines would define which funds would be in the forms of grants and which in the form of loans. "That will be the source of most funding," she underscored.

Asked whether that meant it was possible that the state would continue financing the hospitality sector, she underlined that "we have to have all options before us," that the hospitality sector had been the first to get help from the state, and that viability had to be taken into account. She underscored the importance of preserving jobs.

Asked about aid for transport operators working on an occasional basis, who on Wednesday demonstrated outside the government calling for urgent aid because the corona crisis has left them with almost no income and numerous jobs are in danger, Minister Brnjac confirmed that transport operators, as well as travel agencies, had seen a slump in turnover, which is why representatives of agencies had been to the Ministry last week.

"We have also discussed with employees from other ministries about how to help them and provide measures for business viability," she added.

"It is important for us that the season continues in September because the situation is not the same in entire Croatia, and the promotional campaign will be adjusted to that," the minister noted.

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Monday, 31 August 2020

Campsites In Croatia Post 50% Of Last Year's Nights

ZAGREB, Aug 31, 2020 - This year so far campsites have recorded 7.7 million nights or 51% of last year's results and although there are still tourists and many planned to stay open until October, most could close earlier due to tighter coronavirus restrictions in the main markets, according to the Croatian Camping Union (KUH).

KUH director Adriano Palman has told Hina's initial forecasts indicated that 2020 would see about 30% of last year's results. He recalls that most of them opened between May 15 and June 15 as borders were reopened.

At the moment, most of the tourists are from Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic.

Palman says "it's impossible to forecast" what the situation in September will be and that it will primarily depend on the number of coronavirus infections in all relevant countries and Croatia.

Campsites in Istria, Primorje-Gorski Kotar, and Zadar countries have recorded 82% of this year's nights, he adds.

So far, campsites in Istria have recorded 3.6 million nights or 46% of last year's figure. Campsites in Lika-Senj County have recorded 62% of last year's nights, followed by Zadar County (60%) and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (56%).

Palman says campsites in the southernmost Dubrovnik-Neretva County, although the furthest from the main markets have recorded 53% of last year's nights.

This year has seen a higher demand for mini camps, which have recorded 90% of last year's nights, although they account for only 4% of total campsite nights, he says, adding that four and five-star campsites, the most expensive ones, account for 52% of this year's nights.

This year so far, German, Slovenian and Austrian campers have generated 71% of all campsite nights. Polish and Czech tourists rank fourth and fifth, having generated 65% of last year's nights.

Palman says revenue is likely to be well below 50% of last year's figures and that campsites expect the adoption of new aid measures to avoid restructuring and retain jobs.

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Monday, 31 August 2020

146 New Coronavirus Cases In Croatia, 2 Deaths

ZAGREB, Aug 31, 2020- Over the past 24 hours, 146 new coronavirus cases in Croatia have been registered and two persons have died, Health Minister Vili Beros said on Monday.

Currently, there are 2,650 active coronavirus cases in Croatia.

Since the outbreak of the virus in Croatia in February, 10,270 persons have shown to be positive for the virus and 167,250 have been tested, including 1,591 in the past 24 hours, Beros said at a press conference of the national COVID response team.

Twenty-eight persons have been hospitalized in the past 24 hours, he said, adding that 14 patients were on ventilators.

To date 7,434 persons have recovered from the virus, including five discharged from hospital in the past 24 hours, Beros said.

Namely, reports that, as for the decision on the work of the gym, it will be changed and the gyms will be able to work with the application of all measures. When asked how the gyms became safe within 4 days, Božinović answered that it was a question for the local headquarters.

"We made the decision based on the conclusion of the Split-Dalmatia County Headquarters. And by arguing that the focus is to be extinguished in such a way that, if detected, in this case, 4 gyms, to take all measures allowed by law to remedy the situation as soon as possible and so that the activity can continue to go. The last option should be to close something for 14 days. We need as many field trips as possible, more precise information, to remedy the situation. On this occasion, we call on all those who use and give their services to make every effort to implement the measures of the Croatian Institute for Public Health", said Božinović.

When asked about the protests of caterers, Capak said that the goal is always to find a balance and adapt as much as possible to the necessary epidemiological measures.

"We strive to find balance all the time. Epidemiological measures and restrictions are being imposed at various levels around the world. In some European cities, restaurants are completely banned. We have balance, working cafes, restaurants, nightclubs until midnight. Everyone has the right to protest. We think we have found a balance between the economy and health", Capak concluded.

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Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Adhering To Health Measures Could Secure 2 More Months Of Tourism Turnover

ZAGREB, Aug 26, 2020- There are now some 500,000 tourists in Croatia and if the epidemiological situation remains stable and everyone complies with recommendations, we can certainly expect another two months of tourism turnover this year, the National Tourist Board (HTZ) director, Kristjan Stanicic, said on Wednesday.

Stanicic met with representatives of Lika-Senj and Karlovac county tourist board representatives at Plitvice Lakes.

Lika-Senj county tourism board director Ivan Radosevic assesses that tourist trade in that county is very good compared to initial forecasts, saying that "August has brought an excellent 67% of last August's results, and year to date we have stood at 54% of last year's levels."

Currently, there are visitors in that county from Germany, Croatia, and Poland and the situation is similar in Karlovac County with the local tourist board's director Dina Begic saying that currently, the county is generating about 30% of last year's turnover.

They both underscored that this year the number of local guests has increased and account for 30% of tourism turnover.

Stanicic recalled measures from May until now which enabled tourism turnover, including a focus on marketing and information campaigns conducted on key European markets where the majority of holidaymakers come from.

Considering everything, Stanicic is exceptionally satisfied with the summer part of the tourism year and with that in August alone when 67% of last year's August turnover was achieved.

He announced a campaign for the shoulder season with emphasis on continental tourism, nautical and gastronomic tourism focusing on the closest markets.

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Thursday, 20 August 2020

FM Expects Favourable Response From Countries Considering New Measures

ZAGREB, Aug 20, 2020 - Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlic Radman said on Thursday that he today expected a positive response from certain countries that had been considering introducing new measures for Croatia and that Germany could keep the existing regulations for Croatia, with some modifications.

"Yesterday I spoke with a colleague from Germany, and I think we can be sure that in line with the recommendation by their Robert Koch Institute (of public health) that country will keep the existing regulations for Croatia, with some modifications and probably recommendations for some regions in Croatia that they should not be visited because of (coronavirus) hotspots, but Germany remains loyal as a traditional market from which tourists come here," Grlic Radman said.

He underscored that he hoped that countries that were now considering new measures for Croatia, without saying which ones, would make a positive response and that "our great effort will bear fruit and that we will still have tourists in the country by the end of August, and even in September and October."

Underscoring that they have been aware since the start and the reopening of borders that some foreign markets will introduce measures for Croatia, Minister Grlic Radman noted that timely and interministerial action and measures in Croatia were what made tourist results possible.

"In diplomatic contacts, we have been pointing out the fact that cases of the infection were not spread out evenly across the entire country, and we were making sure that in case new measures were introduced for Croatia, the regional aspect of the spread of the infection would be taken into account and measures for the entire country would be avoided," Minister Grlic Radman said, adding they are advocating exchange of information and experience regarding measures that apply to the return of citizens to their homeland from other countries at the EU level.

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Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Beros: Countries' Tightening Epidemiological Measures Legitimate Political Pressure

ZAGREB, Aug 19, 2020 - Health Minister Vili Beros said on Wednesday, in a comment on the tightening of measures by some countries towards their nationals returning from Croatia, that it was an act of political pressure to put the epidemiological situation under control, which, he said, was legitimate conduct.

"Based on my talks with fellow health ministers, I believe this is an act of political pressure by all those countries. The new school year is approaching, in some countries it will start sooner than in Croatia, and they want to put their epidemiological situation under control. That is fully legitimate and if you look back, we, too, acted that way towards our neighbours," Beros told reporters after a session of the inner Cabinet.

Experts to decide on masks in schools 

Beros said that he believed those countries would stick by their agenda despite Croatia's efforts.

We, too, are preparing for the school year, which begins somewhat later, as well as for the autumn, health-wise, he said.

As for the wearing of masks in schools, Beros repeated that experts would have a say on the matter and that the World Health Organisation (WHO), too, would present its position by the end of the month.

"I think that (masks) will not be necessary for the smallest children, but the solution for older children, notably in high schools, is yet to be defined. Experts should state their position, and the Science and Education Ministry task force has also been discussing the matter," he said.

Beros noted that the health system was preparing intensively for the autumn.

"The system has been operating in the conditions of the 'new normal', complying with certain epidemiological criteria, triage, and that slows down its work. But many institutions have been coping excellently and are making up for delays on waiting lists from before the coronavirus crisis, for example in Dubrovnik and Zagreb. I believe the system will continue to function appropriately and adapt to the epidemiological situation."

Apart from the fight against the coronavirus, Beros said other priorities for his department were the revitalisation of the Institute of Immunology, stepping up the project to build a national and university hospital for children's diseases, the establishment of an emergency medical helicopter service, preserving the functional efficiency of the health system and taking care of human potential, primarily in primary care.

Talks launched with the finance minister on the financial sustainability of the system

The minister said that talks had been launched with Finance Minister Zdravko Maric on the financial sustainability of the health system.

"Croatia sets aside 7.4% of its GDP for the health system. With €804 per capita annually it is very difficult to secure the existing level of healthcare, and the EU average is more than €3,000," said Beros.

In consultation with the Finance Ministry we are trying to find some elements that would enable the health system to be financially sustainable, Beros said, adding that increasing the price of supplementary health insurance was not an option at the moment.

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Monday, 17 August 2020

Split COVID Response Team Calls For Precise Epidemiological Measures In Hospitality

ZAGREB, Aug 17, 2020 - Since the epidemiological situation has deteriorated and some hospitality venues are violating measures by the national COVID-19 response team, the response team for Split on Monday called for precise conditions and epidemiological measures as they are being interpreted differently on the ground.

Representatives of the Split Civil Protection Authority and city officials called on the county and national authorities to specify the conditions and epidemiological measures that hospitality and services venues need to adhere to due to the different interpretations and violations of measures on the ground, particularly with regard to working hours for bars, night clubs, and restaurants.

They called on the competent services and inspections to intensify controls and the implementation of the recommended measures due to frequent breaches.

The city's response team called on citizens and guests, particularly young people, to behave responsibly and in line with epidemiological measures that are intended to protect their health and that of others.

The team called on workers in tourism, particularly hospitality providers, to implement the recommended measures thus protecting health, allowing the economy and tourism to function and saving jobs.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Where Will Croats Go After the Measures are Eased?

May 10, 2020 - While we were patiently waiting for the measures to be eased, we asked Croats about their plans on the first day with a bit more freedom.

After almost two months of strict measures that limited our freedom of leaving our homes or the county, today there was a decision to eliminate e-passes, except for Brač, where, according to the decision, there is still ban on movement and gathering. Thus, on Brač, the measures from before April 27 are applied. Here is the link about the situation on Brač.

We asked Croats how they are planning to spend the very first day with new, eased measures and gathered 311 responses.

The first statement was, "I'll go to the cafe for coffee," and surprisingly, for a nation who loves enjoying the sun on the terrace while drinking coffee with friends, just 52,2% said yes.

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They are even less ready to leave their county, with a total of 55% negative answers.

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But, when it comes to visiting friends, here, the "yes" answer confidently wins with a total of 71,4%.

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The caution when it comes to shopping is still here - 70,4% of people said they wouldn't go to shopping centers.

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A little less than half of the people answered that they wouldn't stay home, which, after almost two months without that luxury, is understandable.

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In the last statement, Croats showed responsibility once more - a total of 82,3% of people steal the show.

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A little reminder for everyone: from tomorrow, gatherings of 40 people will be allowed, and e-passes are eliminated. Still, we are called to act responsibly.


Follow our live updates on the coronavirus crisis in Croatia.

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