Thursday, 11 November 2021

Delta Plus Variant, 10% More Infectious Than Delta, Detected at Three Locations

ZAGREB, 11 Nov, 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš warned on Thursday that the Delta plus variant of coronavirus was 10% more infectious than the Delta variant and that it had appeared in three locations in Croatia as record high numbers of COVID deaths are being reported, urging citizens to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Delta Plus appeared last week in Croatia and so far it has been reported in Čakovec, Split and Zagreb, Beroš said at a government session, noting that this was an additional reason to get vaccinated.

It is of critical importance for citizens to get the booster dose as soon as possible so they can get maximum protection against the existing and new variants of the novel virus, he said, adding that the third dose was particularly important in areas with a large number of new infections.

Large number of new cases, vaccination records

Beroš went on to say that Croatia was registering needlessly high numbers of new infections, hospitalisations and fatalities, as well as vaccination records. On Wednesday alone, more than 27,000 vaccine doses were administered, including 16,000 that were administered as first shots. In the past 24 hours, the number of new cases among those tested was 42.48%.

So far, 58.67% of the adult population has been vaccinated, Beroš said, adding that 61,356 people had received the booster dose.

Mobile teams have vaccinated 49% of elderly persons whom they had contacted, an increase of 25% from the week before, he said.

COVID certificates not individual rights but protection of life, health

"COVID certificates, testing, compliance with epidemiological measures and vaccination are not about individual rights and freedoms but about a common response to the need to protect the lives and health of citizens in the new circumstances," the minister said, noting that between 1 June and 4 November  2,635,968 COVID-19 certificates had been issued.

Even though hospitals have been restricting non-essential procedures, Beroš said that so far "the provision of healthcare to all emergency and priority patients has been unobstructed at all stages of the epidemic."

The ministry has therefore asked the Health Insurance Institute to analyse the capacity and need for diagnostic procedures and treatment for cancer patients as well as the possibility and need for additional procedures to be carried out by private providers of medical services.

"This is a precautionary measure aimed at securing the highest possible availability of medical care for all non-COVID patients with serious illnesses," he said.

Team to make decision on mandatory COVID-19 certificates on Friday 

The head of the national coronavirus crisis management team, Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović, said that the team would tomorrow make new decisions on the obligation to get tested for coronavirus as a precondition for work and provision of services, the exemption being persons with EU digital certificates.

He recalled that due to the worsened epidemiological situation in the country on 5 November restrictions on gatherings and stricter anti-epidemic rules were introduced, to stay in force until 30 November.

For more on COVID-19, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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Monday, 25 October 2021

Health Minister: One Dose of Blood Can Save as Many as Three Lives

ZAGREB, 25 Oct 2021 - One dose of donated blood can help save as many as three lives, Health Minister Vili Beroš said in a message on Monday marking the National Voluntary Blood Donors Day, observed on 25 October.

"One dose of your blood can save as many as three lives. The Blood Donors Day is an opportunity to thank all those who have made this noble gesture and invite others to do the same. A big thank-you to the Croatian Red Cross for its commitment, for encouraging citizens to donate blood, and for saving lives on a daily basis," Beroš said on Twitter.

The Croatian Red Cross (HCK) also congratulated the blood donors, saying that they are "a true value of this society" and thanking them for saving people's lives.

The HCK brings together the largest number of blood donors in Croatia, meeting 80 percent of the healthcare sector's demand for blood donations. It said that despite the coronavirus pandemic, it managed to collect 142,265 doses of blood, of the total of 176,938 doses collected in Croatia last year.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 15 October 2021

Croatian Emergency Medical Maritime Service to be Richer for 6 Vessels

October the 15th, 2021 - The Croatian Emergency Medical Maritime Service is set to be richer for six fast vessels following the recent signing of a contract with two domestic shipyards.

As Jozo Vrdoljak/Novac/Jutarnji list writes, the Tehnomont Shipyard (Pula) and the Iskra Shipyard 1 from Sibenik have signed a Public Procurement Agreement with the Ministry of Health for the construction of six fast boats for the establishment of emergency medical care on the islands. The work of building and equipping six emergency medical boats is worth around 76.4 million kuna.

The Croatian production consortium won the tender as the most favourable bidder, and that tender was initially announced back in June 2020 by the Ministry of Health for the project "Establishment of an emergency medical maritime service by high-speed boats", funded mostly by EU funds. The agreed construction period is 24 months and the vessels will be stationed in Dubrovnik, Supetar on the island of Brac, Sibenik, Zadar, Rab and Mali Losinj.

The boats will all be purpose-built and equipped for the Croatian Maritime Medical Service and will raise the quality of care for all those who become injured or fall ill on the Croatian coast. They'll also be used for search and rescue missions in cases of maritime accidents and disasters.

"The construction and equipping of six fast boats for the establishment of the Croatian Emergency Maritime Medical Service is a significant step towards even better and more accessible emergency medical care on the Croatian islands," said Minister of Health Vili Beros. The director of the Croatian Institute of Emergency Medicine, Maja Grba-Bujevic, pointed out that this is an important project not only for emergency medicine but also because it represents great progress in maritime medicine across Croatia and in the entire Croatian healthcare system.

The Croatian shipyards Iskra and Tehnomont joined, as mentioned, a larger production consortium to make it easier to get this job, and as far as we know, this is probably just the beginning of their cooperation.

"This is the first step in the cooperation of our two shipyards because there's a mutual will to cooperate on new projects. Of course we'll decide on how things will be done from job to job, but in principle there is a will to cooperate. We have extensive experience in shipbuilding, especially in aluminum. We can't deny the fact that our shipyards are not technologically fully equipped, but professionally speaking, our personnel is very capable of building top-quality ships,'' they pointed out from the Tehnomont shipyard in Pula.

Roko Vuletic, one of the two directors of Iskra shipyard 1, points out that the cooperation of these two Croatian shipyards represents great potential for successful competition with the shipbuilding capacities on other markets as well. "This is an interesting niche, so we can enter other markets. In this way, we've increased our competitiveness and gained competitive advantages for both shipyards,'' concluded Vuletic.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

2021 Safe Stay in Croatia Label: How is it Used Around Croatia?

August 24, 2021 - How is the 2021 Safe Stay in Croatia label being used around the country? Tourism workers chime in. 

Jutarnji List spoke to tourism workers around Croatia about using the 2021 Safe Stay in Croatia label. 

"When we started implementing measures to protect guests and staff from Covid-19 last year, we were initially afraid of how they would accept it. Still, they are on vacation, and we set some rules for them. It turned out, however, that the reactions of the guests were extremely positive, after all, and they want to feel safe and protected on vacation," said Marina Josipović, the owner of the Park Hotel in Makarska. They also boast several international safety certificates, which prove that they take compliance with measures and safety very seriously.

"Upon arrival, we measure the temperature of all guests. If it is slightly elevated, we repeat the measurement after some time because guests come from the outside heat, so we give them time to cool down. There is plexiglass at the reception; everything is often disinfected; we have reduced the number of deck chairs by the pool to allow distance and limit the number of visitors in the wellness area. We are cautious when serving food and drinks," Marina Josipović adds, emphasizing that more than 70 percent of hotel employees have been vaccinated.

Protecting guests and employees from infection is their main motivation, just like other tourism entities that have received the now recognizable Safe Stay in Croatia label since this spring.

Krešimir Ledić, the cult Zagreb restaurant Balon owner, points out that they did not make protocols to satisfy the form but to make their guests feel safe and comfortable.

"We acted according to all protocols prescribed by the Ministry, and even more. Masks, disinfectants, space between tables, air purifiers... We are lucky to have a large, spacious terrace where guests can be away from others and feel comfortable," says Ledić, and adds that 95 percent of his employees are vaccinated.

Kopački Rit Nature Park has been proud to hold the Safe Stay label since the first day of the program. The Nature Park's department head for the reception of visitors and education, Ružica Marušić, points out that visitors react well and that refusing to follow the rules is really rare.

"We got the Safe Stay label easily because we take care of safety beforehand, and more than was prescribed. For example, all of our employees wear masks because they come in contact with many people, and everyone is vaccinated except those who have medical contraindications. Masks are mandatory for visitors indoors and on boats, and if they do not have their own, we will provide one for them. As a result, people react well, the rules are clearly marked, and everyone is more comfortable when they feel safe," says Marušić and adds that a lot of people come to the park aware of the responsibility for both visitors and their employees.

The same is pointed out by Ružica Božić Cerovac, the owner of the Chocolate Museum in Zagreb, who says that the hygiene standards were at the highest possible level even before receiving the Safe Stay label.

"Employees wear masks, keep their distance, ventilate, make sure that no more than ten people are in one room at a time ... We are proud that no visitor is endangered at any time," says the owner of the museum, which is a favorite attraction in Zagreb.

The Zadar adventure tourism agency Feral Tours owner, Iva Bencun, shows how the crisis has changed tourism. Activities in nature and active holidays are more in demand than ever, and with it, all booking and all arrangements now take place online.

"We work with small groups, masks are worn in transfers, everything is regularly disinfected, but most programs take place outdoors, so in that sense, there was no need for some large adjustments," says Bencun.

Research shows that most tourists prioritize the safety and cleanliness of the space they will stay in when choosing a destination. Today, guests are primarily looking for safety: a safe stay, the care of the hosts about hygiene standards, and the safety that they will not be infected during their vacation.

Listening to these needs, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of the Republic of Croatia, with the support of the Croatian National Tourist Board and tourism partners, launched the Safe Stay in Croatia project earlier this year, which devised protocols of business and treatment of users in all tourism and tourism-related activities, all with one goal - a safe stay in Croatia. As a result, almost 17,000 applications have been approved since the start of the project.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to the Republic of Croatia, including test centres, vaccination points, and travel and border rules, make sure to check out and bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Zadar Archipelago to Get Three Water Ambulances

ZAGREB, 23 May, 2021 - The state secretary at the Health Ministry, Silvio Bašić, said in Zadar on Sunday the Zadar archipelago would soon get three emergency medical service vessels.

"Besides the three vessels, Zadar County will also get one vehicle, a mobile surgery and pharmacy for the inhabitants of the remotest parts of the hinterland," Bašić said.

The county's public health institute will also receive a HRK 2.5 million molecular diagnostics device, a Viper LT, whereby the institute will become a reference centre for 12 Southeast European countries.

County prefect Božidar Longin said the first 12-metre-long water ambulance would arrive in a month and that the second vessel would be a pharmacy delivering medicines to remote islands.

The third vessel will be able to sail in all weather conditions and is intended for the remotest islands in the county, he added.

For more news about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Healthcare System Is Not Overburdened

ZAGREB, April 29, 2020 - Minister Vili Beroš said on Tuesday evening that the healthcare system was not overburdened with the number of COVID-19 patients who needed hospital treatment and could resume performing elective surgeries and the postponed diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

Commenting the current state of affairs in the health system, the minister told the Nova TV commercial broadcaster that the situation allowed for the gradual reactivation of all services.

He said that the number the personnel available would be sufficient for the gradual reactivation of the system.

Beroš informed that five employees in the Split hospital had been diagnosed with the virus lately and that nine patients had been placed in isolation.

The centres for transfusion medicine in Croatia have sufficient blood supplies and are ready to meet the needs of hospitals once they restore elective surgeries which have been postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the head of the Croatian Institute for Transfusion Medicine (HZTM), Irena Jukić, said on on 20 April.

The institute and centres had enough supplies of blood and blood products for transfusion during operations performed by the hospitals.

"We have enough supplies when elective surgeries start to be performed," Jukic told Hina last week.

More health news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Thursday, 9 April 2020

Health Minister Urges Croatians to Stay Home for Easter

ZAGREB, April 9, 2020 - Croatian Health Minister Vili Beroš on Thursday called on citizens to stay home during the coming Easter holidays and said that the key to success in fighting the coronavirus epidemic was in their hands.

"The key to success lies in our hands. During these holidays it is more important than ever to stay home. For a healthier future we must act now and we must act decisively," the Minister said at a cabinet meeting while presenting activities taken to curb the epidemic in the past week.

He underscored the additional efforts made to expose fake news on the coronavirus and their consequences.

"False claims about the coronavirus pandemic can put human lives at risk and they further provoke anxiety and fear. Therefore, I call for utmost caution and relying solely on official sources of information," Beroš said.

He also said that there were 1,518,719 infected persons globally, with 88,502 fatalities and 330,589 recoveries.

In Croatia, a total of 13,125 persons have been tested, of whom 1,343 tested positive since 25 February. The percentage of those who have tested positive is 10.11%, Beroš said.

He also presented a graphic illustrating the trends for the number of infected persons in Croatia since the outbreak, which shows that the increase in the number of cases is still linear and that there is no significant increase.

More coronavirus news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Croatia Importing 250 Ventilators

ZAGREB, March 31, 2020 - Twenty-seven COVID-19 patients are currently on ventilators, Croatia has 803 ventilators and 250 new ones will be imported gradually, Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Monday.

There are offers of ventilators from the East but the machines must be inspected first, he said at a press conference of the national civil protection authority.

"Our fate is in our hands. The number of patients can be lower by the day. It's all up to us, to me, to us all," Beroš said.

Persons ordered to self-isolate must notify sanitary inspectors or epidemiologists when self-isolation measures end.

The terms under which a patient can be discharged from hospital to isolate at home are being reviewed, said Alemka Markotić, head of Zagreb's Fran Mihaljević Infectious Diseases Hospital.

Initially, more patients were young or middle aged and they recovered more quickly, she said, adding that those infected "are positive for coronavirus about 24 days and they will be under supervision 28 days because they aren't expected to be positive after that period."

More coronavirus news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Saturday, 7 March 2020

Confirmed Coronavirus Cases Rise to 12 in Croatia

ZAGREB, March 7, 2020 - Another person in Croatia has been diagnosed with the new coronavirus, bringing the total number of the people infected to 12, the national civil protection authority said on Saturday morning.

*Follow this page for updates from Total Croatia News on the coronavirus in Croatia. Contact numbers for epidemiologists, travel advisories and measures for preventing the spread of the coronavirus can be found here.

The newly-infected person is a close family contact of the second person who tested positive for COVID-19 in the northern city of Varaždin, the Fran Mihaljević Hospital for Infectious Diseases in Zagreb confirmed. This latest case has been the fourth case of the positive test in that northern city.

Apart from Varaždin, in Zagreb there have been three patients to date and five in Rijeka.

Last Thursday, Health Minister Vili Beroš declared a danger from an infectious diseases epidemic as an administrative measure at the recommendation of the Croatian Public Health Institute. The measure will enable the minister to reallocate people and equipment in the healthcare system as necessary.

According to the data provided by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), on Friday there were over 5,500 cases that have tested positive in the 27 EU member-states, Great Britain and in the European Economic Area countries.

Both Croatia and the European Union currently have sufficient resources to respond to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, however, it remains to be seen how long this crisis will last, Croatian Minister Beroš said in Brussels on Friday after an extraordinary meeting of the European Union's health ministers over the COVID-19 virus.

More coronavirus can be found in the Lifestyle section.

*Follow this page for updates from Total Croatia News on the coronavirus in Croatia. Contact numbers for epidemiologists, travel advisories and measures for preventing the spread of the coronavirus can be found here.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Epidemiological Situation with Coronavirus in Croatia Satisfactory

ZAGREB, March 5, 2020 - Health Minister Vili Beroš submitted a report on the epidemiological situation surrounding the coronavirus outbreak at a cabinet meeting on Thursday, saying that the situation in the country was satisfactory given that only ten people were infected.

*Follow this page for updates from Total Croatia News on the coronavirus in Croatia. Contact numbers for epidemiologists, travel advisories and measures for preventing the spread of the coronavirus can be found here.

"Of the 251 people tested to date, 10 are positive for now: three in Zagreb, five in Rijeka and two in Varaždin. This epidemiological picture is promising and satisfactory because there are only three hotspots. These are imported cases and their contacts were quickly detected and placed under supervision by epidemiological services," the minister said.

Beroš noted that the patients in Zagreb and Rijeka were infected by one imported patient, while in Varaždin there are two isolated cases of imported patients. The ratio of people who tested positive to the number of those tested is 3.98 percent, he added.

The minister said that the epidemiological situation was not that serious as to require closing schools, and that a number of other measures were ready for activation if necessary.

"If the situation escalates, we will respond," Beroš said, adding that alternative ways of conducting school classes were ensured.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković stressed that no decision had been made to suspend school classes. "We are monitoring the situation and everything we have done so far is sober, rational, transparent and informative, and no other measures are in place. It is important that the public knows this," he added.

Beroš said that there were plans to conduct classes online but that this was just a theoretical possibility for now. "I hope this crisis lasts as briefly as possible and that warm weather will lead to the epidemic abating. There's no need to alarm the public," he said, urging caution at public events.

Beroš said there have been no plans for now to cancel events as part of the Croatian presidency of the European Union. He added that the authorities were implementing the planned epidemiological measures to contain the infection and called on everyone to follow the recommendations from the authorities and to exercise caution.

A total of 95,484 people worldwide have been infected with the coronavirus, of whom 15,054 outside China. The death toll has reached 3,286, including 271 outside China.

"In Europe, which has seen a noticeable rise in the number of cases, 4,370 people have been infected and 114 of them have died. The hardest-hit countries are Italy with 3,089 cases, France with 285, Germany with 262 and Spain with 228 cases," Beroš said.

He said that the national civil protection authority was meeting on a daily basis and that all government departments were involved.

All health institutions and private health workers have been advised to postpone providing health tourism services to people from areas affected by the coronavirus. All people who have visited those areas, namely China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Iran and northern Italy, are asked not to attend public gatherings in the interest of public health, Beroš said.

He announced that EU health ministers were meeting in Brussels on Friday to discuss the measures being implemented by member states and agree a strategy in countering the outbreak.

More coronavirus news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

*Follow this page for updates from Total Croatia News on the coronavirus in Croatia. Contact numbers for epidemiologists, travel advisories and measures for preventing the spread of the coronavirus can be found here.

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