Friday, 19 February 2021

Headquarters Suspect 10 More Cases of New Coronavirus Variant, Maybe Even Croatian Variant

February 19, 2021 – The National Civil Protection Headquarters said they suspect ten more cases of a new coronavirus variant and that we may even have a Croatian variant. Regarding the epidemiological measures, Davor Božinović pointed out there is still no relaxation.

Today, the National Civil Protection Headquarters held a press conference on the coronavirus situation in Croatia. In the last 24 hours, 388 new SARS-CoV-2 virus infection cases were recorded, and the number of active cases in Croatia today is 2313. Among them, 798 patients are in hospital, of which 73 are on a respirator. Eight people died.

Since February 25, 2020, when the first case of infection was recorded in Croatia, 239,254 people infected with the new coronavirus have been recorded, of which 5,407 have died. A total of 231,534 people have recovered, of which 358 in the last 24 hours.

There are currently 11,725 people in self-isolation. To date, 1,293,415 people have been tested, of which 4,986 in the last 24 hours.

Croatia has the third-lowest incidence in Europe

At the press conference, the latest data on vaccination in Croatia were presented – 93,012 people were vaccinated, and 56,963 people received two doses of the vaccine, meaning that the vaccination was completed for them.

Krunoslav Capak stated that today's number of new cases is 388, a week ago there were 371 new cases, and two weeks ago 549 new cases.

"This is the first time in more than a month that the daily figure is slightly higher than a week ago. The current incidence is 111.4. The highest is in Split-Dalmatia and the lowest in Istria. In the EU, Croatia is in third place. Only Finland and Denmark have a lower incidence than Croatia. The Czech Republic currently has the highest," Capak said.

New quantities of all three vaccines to arrive next week

There were 832 reports of suspected vaccine side effects: 781 on Pfizer, 33 on Moderna, and 18 on AstraZeneca.

Next week, we will get 23,400 Pfizer vaccines. Moderna will send 16,000 doses on February 25. We will get 52,658 doses from AstraZeneca. By the end of March, it will be just over 700,000 doses.

"It is difficult to predict the end of the second phase, but this group includes about one million and 200-300 thousand people, but we do not know how many want to be vaccinated. The vaccination platform will start soon, from which we will draw data, and we will know how many people want to be vaccinated in the second phase, so we will be able to say how much time we will need," Capak said.

Health Minister Vili Beroš referred to the possibility of importing Russian vaccines. He says it all depends on the dynamics of vaccine arrival. However, if the European Medicines Agency does not approve the Russian vaccine, HALMED (Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices) may intervene to introduce such a vaccine. They are considering the possibility and have approached the Russian authorities for additional documentation.

'We expect that the situation will be much better before the summer'

Capak commented on the vaccination outcome.

"It is very difficult to estimate when we will vaccinate most of the population. We also have people who have survived COVID-19. We do not know how long the immunity lasts in those people. We do not know how long the immunity from the vaccine will last. When our immune system rises, there will not be so many sensitive people that the virus can spread quickly. We expect that the situation will be much better before the summer. If you get vaccinated with AstraZeneca, you probably won't have to wear a mask," Capak said.

Journalists were interested if they are at risk and whether they should be vaccinated. Capak said journalists are not in the group of people at risk, but they are priority workers such as airport workers and the like.

"There are many such occupations that will be a priority, and when the time comes, we will make them public. We have a request from the Croatian Journalists' Association to consider the risk and to put journalists among the priorities when the second vaccination phase is completed," said Capak.

About the British, Brazilian, and Croatian variant

Capak also spoke about the British coronavirus variant. So far, he says, we have 11 confirmed cases in Croatia.

"What is new is that the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ) introduced a screening test for new variants. Yesterday, we tested 17 samples, of which we have ten suspicions of a new variant, and we sent all samples for confirmation to the Infectious Diseases Clinic. We will have confirmation whether they are British variants or not," said Capak.

He also talked about the Brazilian variant of coronavirus.

"The person tested for the mutation does not prove that it is a Brazilian variant, but it is one of the possible mutations and may belong to some other species. I would not call it the Brazilian variant. Maybe it will be called the Croatian variant because it has one mutation that other variants can have," Capak explained.

Still no easing of epidemiological measures

Davor Božinović commented on the possibility of COVID passports.

"This is a sensitive matter because, in Europe, it is considered that there should be no discrimination. And we will set ourselves up practically. We talked to the Ministry. On the one hand, it is still too early. Surely the talks will intensify to see how to do everything in our power to get tourism up and running to record a more successful tourist season than last. We achieved about 50 percent of the results from the record 2019, and by that, we are ahead of all our friends from Europe and beyond. You can be convinced that we are talking about it and that we will find the right path and, through bilateral contacts do everything to make our season as successful as possible," said Božinović.

Next week will be one year since the first case of coronavirus in Croatia. Alemka Markotić referred to the past year. She said that many patients are being monitored and that we will fight with the consequences of COVID-19 for many more years.

Božinović said that it is not yet possible to announce the easing of measures at the moment.

"For us, the decline in the infection cases lasts for more than two months, and we record a small but still growing growth today. I would not give an assessment at the moment. This may be due to cooling. We will see when it warms up how the numbers will move and what they will show in a week or two at the beginning of March," said Božinović.

They will continue to talk and make decisions.

Sources: Index, Jutarnji

To read morea bout coronavirus in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Gym Owner Released from Custody, Called on Prime Minister to Resign

February 2, 2021 – The gym owner who opened his doors yesterday in Zagreb's Trešnjevka, despite the Civil Protection Headquarters' ban, has been released from custody.

Andrija Klarić, the 51-year-old gym owner, who was handed over to the custody supervisor yesterday on suspicion of having committed the criminal offense of spreading and transmitting a contagious disease, was released from custody today.

'What I did was right'

Recall, Andrija Klarić opened his gym in Trešnjevka in Zagreb yesterday morning, thus violating the current ban on the work of gyms and sports centers set by the Civil Protection Headquarters. Article 180 of the Criminal Code stipulates that a person could be punished by up to two years in prison for such an act.

However, as Index reports, the prosecution did not ask for pre-trial detention, so he was released. Klarić stated that the prosecution had no evidence against him, that he was not a spreader of the infection, and that double standards applied in Croatia because some could work while others are forbidden the constitutional right to work.

He even called on Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to resign and call elections because he believes that the government is not coping well with the coronavirus crisis. Also, he invited citizens to gather tomorrow for a protest on Ban Jelačić Square at 10 am and "oppose the deprivation of civil liberties."

"I knew that what I was doing was right. I know we're not spreaders of the virus. They don't have any evidence. Of the total number infected by November 1, 181 are from 'gyms,' which is less than 0.5 percent. They can't declare gyms dangerous places," said Klarić.

Spas and shopping malls still operating

He compared the example of gyms with spas and shopping malls that are opened.

Klarić claims that everyone in the gym adhered to epidemiological measures and that everyone who came to exercise had already gotten over the coronavirus. The police officers, the state inspectorate, and the state attorney, he says, were fair and kind. They were even "embarrassed that they had to do it."

"The police officers were phenomenal. At the end of the investigation, the gentleman said – a hero, not a criminal," Klarič said after his release from custody. He says that he would repeat the same thing in the same circumstances and does not think he did anything wrong.

"He who is ready to give freedom for security. did not deserve either. When injustice becomes the law, then resistance becomes an obligation," Klarić stressed, adding that everything possible should be done to prevent those who do wrong.

'Small step for Andrija, significant for Croatia'

His lawyer Gordan Marović also gave a statement to the media.

"He will be released. The State Attorney's Office of the Republic of Croatia (DORH) did not request pre-trial detention for him," Marović said.

"He understands this as a fight not only for his justice but also a fight for everyone. He believes that there were a lot of people not fighting for their own rights," Marović said about Klarić, adding that he feels injustice.

"The right to work is a matter of personal freedoms and human rights. The constitution guarantees the right before the law, and we see that not everyone is equal before the law because some can work, others cannot," he added.

When asked why Klarić did it, given the penalties and given that he did it himself, Marović paraphrased Neil Armstrong: "This is a small step for Andrija, but a big one for Croatia. Someone has finally put his personal interests ahead of society's interests."

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

Monday, 1 February 2021

Owner Opened His Gym Today Despite Headquarters' Ban, Police Arrested Him

February 1, 2021 – Despite the ban on the work of gyms issued by the Civil Protection Headquarters, valid until February 15, 2021, one owner opened his gym today in Trešnjevka, allowing people to exercise. The police arrested him shortly after the opening.

As of today, Croatia is slightly easing epidemiological measures in two segments. Elementary school students are returning to classes, and outdoor training is allowed. The terraces of cafes and restaurants remain closed, as do gyms and sports centers. But some gym owners were overwhelmed and decided to open their doors.

One of them is Andrej Klarić, the owner of the Quantum Premium Gym. He opened his gym's doors in Zagreb's Trešnjevka, despite the Civil Protection Headquarters' measures imposing a work ban. Several people came to exercise, aware of the consequences, Index reports.

'It's unbearable to live off the minimum salary for so long'

Last night via Facebook, the gym owner publicly invited the exercisers to come, and since then, the police have been on duty at their doorstep. A few minutes after the people started exercising this morning, the police and the inspection entered and closed the doors, leaving many journalists who gathered outside.

While people were exercising in the gym, the police arrested the owner. Klarić is one of the few who dared to make such a move but claims that he has nothing more to lose. He says he was tricked, no longer trusting anyone, and that the lockdown was unnecessary without any effect.

"The reasons why I did this are very simple. From the first day when the facilities were closed, I was against their closure because I believe that the already existing measures were more than appropriate," Klarić told 24sata before his arrest.

He added that it is unbearable to be patient and live on the minimum salary for so many months.

His daughter Duga Klarić made a brief statement, expressing surprise that more police vehicles than trainers had gathered. She pointed out that the gym remains open today because they were told so.

"They told us that we received a fine, but that we could stay open today, so we stay open today," the owner's daughter said, adding that she did not know how high fine they received.

However, the police identified all the people who were exercising at the gym this morning, and the gym is now closed. No one is inside, and there are still two police cars in front of it.

Messages of support

Klarić is already receiving messages of support from all sides. Dražen Oreščanin, the director of the Voice of Entrepreneurs, also came to the scene to support Klarić, who is about to stand trial.

"I came to support Mr. Andrija Klarić on behalf of the Voice of Entrepreneurs, ahead of the trial that awaits him regarding legal aid because it is something we provide to all our members through the program. The police are behind me. I asked them if I could come in, and they told me I couldn't. The gym is closed and locked. I also talked to the owner's daughter. She told me that he was taken into custody, so he was arrested, and he went to give a statement. We wouldn't want him to spend 30 days in custody because of the possibility of a repeat offense. We were there to show his support," Oreščanin said in a Facebook video.

He thanked everyone who supports Klarić and called on everyone to join the protest action on Ban Jelačić Square on Wednesday at 10 am.

Božinović: Police and inspectors acted following the law

At a press conference of the Civil Protection Headquarters, Interior Minister Davor Božinović briefly commented on police interventions due to the gyms' opening, saying he was aware of one case.

"I know that the police and the inspectors of the Civil Protection and the State Inspectorate, who go on patrols together, will enforce the law. I am sure that what they have acted so far was acted in accordance with the law. If everyone would decide for themselves when to open facilities during an epidemic, what measures would he determine, then there would be no need for specializations such as the specialization of prof. Capak or immunologists. This situation is not easy for anyone, but I think that people are showing rationality and resisting attempts to create an atmosphere where there is no epidemic or that it has passed. By all parameters, Croatia has the least strict measures in the EU, and if we keep this downward trend, we can talk about new corrections," Božinović said.

When asked about the sanctions that await the gym owner, Božinović did not want to speculate about it because it is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation.

"We recently changed the laws in the Parliament because there are situations in which we must resort to sanctioning behavior that is risky for the spread of the infection. Let's leave it to the institutions,“ said Božinović.

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

Friday, 29 January 2021

List of All Measures in Croatia Valid Until February 15, 2021

January 29, 2021 – According to the National Civil Protection Headquarters' decision, a minimal easing of measures will take effect from tomorrow. A list of all measures in Croatia valid until February 15, 2021.

With the presentation of the minimum concessions of measures, which include the return of all primary school students to schools and outdoor sports, the National Civil Protection Headquarters today announced four new decisions. Three decisions concern the extension of existing measures for public transport, for shopping malls, and for borders. The fourth decision contains all the measures that remain in force, as well as the changes that have been introduced in the field of sports.

Here are all the measures that are in force from midnight until February 15, 2021:

  • a ban of all public events and gatherings attended by more than 25 people in one place;
  • a maximum of 10 people from a maximum of 2 different households can be present at private gatherings and ceremonies;
  • public events, gatherings, and ceremonies of all kinds can last until 10 pm;
  • a maximum of 25 people may be present at funerals, final farewells, and urn layings; condolences to the bereaved must not be expressed through close contact, and cemetery administrations are obliged to monitor compliance with anti-epidemic measures;
  • limitation of working hours for bakeries and shops for bread and bakery products until 10 pm;
  • a ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages between 10 pm and 6 am;
  • suspension of catering facilities and provision of catering services on family farms, except for catering facilities from the groups "Hotels", "Camps" and types Student Dorms or Akademis from the group "Other catering facilities for accommodation", which may only serve guests who use the accommodation service in them, i.e. pupils or students.
  • As an exception to this anti-epidemic measure, catering facilities from the group "Restaurants", the group "Catering facilities" and types of coffee rooms, pubs, buffets, inns, taverns, and cellars from the group "Bars" are allowed to prepare and deliver food and beverages. These catering facilities may prepare or deliver food in compliance with all anti-epidemic measures in one of the following ways: by personal takeover before entering the catering facility without entering it, by delivering food from the catering facility by own delivery vehicle, by delivering food from the catering facility based on the contract business cooperation concluded between caterers and third parties (legal or physical-craftsmen), who are registered and entered in the Register of entities in the food business, the so-called "drive-in" way.
  • suspension of wedding ceremonies;
  • suspension of casinos, slot machine clubs, and betting points;
  • suspension of gyms, fitness centers, and sports and recreation centers indoors;
  • suspension of children's and other workshops and organized dance schools;
  • suspension of all amateur cultural and artistic performances, programs, and events, and rehearsals of amateur ensembles, groups and choirs, including church choirs;
  • ban on the food and beverages consumed during cinema screenings;
  • suspension of fairs and other forms of economic and tourist events or events where products are sold, exhibited, or displayed;
  • prohibition of all indoor training except for: clubs competing in the 1st and 2nd rank of competition in senior competition and in the 1st rank of competition in junior competition at the national level in team sports, clubs that compete in individual sports in senior competition in team club competitions at the national level in the highest rank in the league competition system, and training and competitions of categorized athletes in individual sports and athletes of national level who are preparing for European and world competitions in accordance with the list which, at the proposal of the Croatian Olympic Committee, the Croatian Paralympic Committee, and the Croatian Sports Association of the Deaf, is approved by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports (Does not apply to water sports and contactless individual sports in sports balloons);
  • permitted sports competitions and trainings can be held only without spectators and with strict adherence to all prescribed epidemiological measures, the organizers are obliged to ensure that all athletes and necessary technical staff adhere to the prescribed epidemiological measures, and that sports facilities are used exclusively for permitted activities;
  • foreign language schools can only operate online or otherwise to maintain remote contact;
  • driving schools can hold only online classes or otherwise to maintain long-distance contacts, driving lessons can last a maximum of 45 minutes with mandatory measurement of body temperature before entering the car, a break between two candidates must be a minimum of 10 minutes to ventilate and disinfect the car, and records must be kept of all participants in driving lessons;
  • mandatory use of face masks or medical masks outdoors when it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least 1.5 meters;
  • the obligation of tenants, building managers, employers, and representatives of public institutions to regularly disinfect all common areas (handrails, elevators, work surfaces, toilets, etc.);
  • a recommendation that religious rites be broadcast whenever possible through radio, TV, or other means that will allow believers to attend a religious rite without coming to religious facilities.

Anti-epidemic measures do not apply to:

  • professional artistic performances and programs that do not include choral singing;
  • cinema screenings;
  • exhibitions in museum, galleries, and other exhibition spaces;
  • coronsessions of representative bodies.
  • For all events and gatherings, the number of people present is limited due to the size of the space. At least 7 m2 of net area must be provided for each person present, in strict compliance with all prescribed epidemiological measures of the Croatian Institute of Public Health. Also, at the entrance to the facility, a notice must be clearly displayed about the largest possible number of people who can be present in the facility at the same time.

The organizers of the gatherings are obliged to ensure regular ventilation of the premises, that no more people than the allowed number are present, and that everyone adhere to all prescribed epidemiological measures of the Croatian Institute of Public Health.


Monday, 25 January 2021

Božinović: There Will Be No Major Relaxation of Epidemiological Restrictions

ZAGREB, 25 January, 2021 - The national COVID-19 response team is considering the relaxation of the ban on gatherings as of February 1 but there will be no major relaxing of epidemiological restrictions, the team's head, Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović said on Monday, ahead of the adoption of a new set of measures.

"There will be no complete lockdown in Croatia as in some other European countries but there won't be any major relaxation of the restrictions either. We need time to see what happens with the new virus strains," Božinović said.

The current restrictions are in force until the end of this week and before they expire, a new set of measures will be made known, with three restrictions regarding commerce, borders and public transportation likely to be extended, while the relaxation of the ban on gatherings is being discussed the most.

"In the current situation, there is not much room for a strategy of major relaxation of the restrictions. The worst thing would be to open something suddenly and then to have to close it down again," he said, noting that statistics on the number of new infections were better and better but that those number were not insignificant.

Future decisions will be impacted by the spread of the new virus strains which have already appeared in Croatia's neigbourhood, by the slowing down of the vaccination process and the fact that we are still in the winter period, he added.

As for plans by cafe and restaurants owners to stage a protest against anti-epidemic measures, Božinović said that protests were a democratic instrument but that he did not know against whom and what they would protest as restrictions had not been introduced with the intention of making someone's life harder.

"We all hope that as the number of new infections declines and vaccination proceeds some kind of normal life will be restored but it is clear that it won't happen tomorrow," he said.

Markotić: We can't be sure mutated viruses are not already in Croatia

The head of Zagreb's Dr Fran Mihaljević hospital for infectious diseases, Alemka Markotić, said that the situation regarding virus mutation was being seriously followed and that one could not be absolutely sure that the mutated viruses had not already appeared in Croatia.

"There are for the time being no hotspots with an extreme increase in the number of new infections, which is an indirect indicator that the mutated virus, even if it has arrived in Croatia, is not replicating significantly. There will be more mutations in the future but they need not necessarily be bad for humans. Mutations more often harm the virus than they increase its contagiousness. The situation will be followed," said Markotić, noting that existing PCR tests can detect the British virus strain.

Capak: Croatia will not engage in bilateral talks with vaccine producers

Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ) head Krunoslav Capak said that Croatia was registering a 20% decrease in the number of new infections in the last seven days compared to the week before.

A total of 69,984 persons have been vaccinated and 11,907 have been revaccinated, he said.

For those who need a second shot, vaccination will be postponed for a week due to lack of the vaccine but that will not affect the quality of vaccination or immunity as the second shot can be received up to 42 days after the first one, he said.

He noted that Croatia did not plan to hold bilateral talks with vaccine producers as a common approach had been agreed at EU level but stressed that in the next four weeks Croatia would obtain 14 fewer boxes of the vaccine or 13,650 fewer doses.

Moderna should deliver 4,800 doses on Sunday, and in early February 10,800 doses should arrive for which there is no information that they could be delayed, Capak said.

"AstraZeneca has been instructed by the European Commission today to respect the deadlines and the agreed quantities better, so we hope that after today's videoconference we will receive good news. The first delivery should be in mid-February, of 44,000 doses," he said.

"We are thinking about what to do if small deliveries continue but we believe that larger quantities will arrive. Much of the effort is now directed at making the pharmaceutical industry change the drastic reduction in vaccine deliveries for all EU countries," he said.

So far 284 suspected side-effects have been reported for the Pfizer vaccine, including 16 allergic reactions requiring administration of drugs and two requiring administration of adrenaline.

There have been 10 reports of side-effects for the Moderna vaccine, and the side-effects have all been mild.

The current 14-day incidence in Croatia is 216 new infections per 100,000 people. It is the highest in Sisak-Moslavina County, with 385.6 cases and the lowest in Istria, with 92.9 new infections per 100,000 people.

Friday, 15 January 2021

Civil Protection Headquarters: More Changes at Croatian Borders, Measures in Force Until January 31

January 15, 2020 – At today's press conference of the National Civil Protection Headquarters, Interior Minister Davor Božinović explained the changes at Croatian borders and commented if there would be any easing of measures from February 1, 2021.

The National Civil Protection Headquarters held a press conference on the current epidemiological situation in the country.

In the last 24 hours, 715 new cases of the SARS-CoV-2 virus were recorded, and the number of active cases in Croatia today is 4653. Among them, 1855 patients are in hospital, of which 160 are on respirators. Thirty-three people died. There are currently 18,048 people in self-isolation.

Krunoslav Capak, Director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, explained the situation with testing and the incidence rate.

"5335 people were tested. A week ago, we had 1098 positive cases. The total number in the first five days of this week is 3819, 23 percent less than the first five days of last week. The incidence is below 300 – 288.8 in the last 14 days. The lowest incidence is in Dubrovnik and the highest in Međimurje. Croatia ranks 7th in the EU in terms of seven-day incidence," Capak said. The share of positive cases in those tested is 16.4 percent.

Decisions about border crossings

Davor Božinović clarified the decision on the temporary ban on restricting crossing Croatian border crossings.

"Croatian citizens can stay in neighboring third countries for up to 12 hours in case of urgent and necessary reasons. These are rare situations when there is no other choice for people. For example, funerals, absence of public transport, people in transit, students, going to the doctor, purchasing medicines, etc.," said Božinović.

He added that the decision on passengers coming from the area on the Croatian Institute of Public Health's special list applies to everyone – to their citizens and citizens of all countries coming from those countries. These are passengers from the UK and South Africa. It is valid that they can enter Croatia only with a negative coronavirus test and be quarantined for 14 days. The quarantine can be shortened to 7 days in case of another negative test.

Božinović and Capak on easing measures

As Index found out earlier, the easing of epidemiological measures is possible as early as February 1, but provided that the number of newly infected people continues to fall, i.e., the share of new cases in the total number of daily tests continues to fall. The first in line for easing the measures would be gyms and terraces of cafes and restaurants. Also, there is almost no chance that restaurants and cafes' closed spaces will open from February 1st.

At a press conference today, journalists asked Božinović if there would be any easing of measures from February 1.

"The fact is that only this week, we decided to extend the measures, which last until January 31, 2021. We will continue to work as before: daily monitor the Republic of Croatia's epidemiological situation and the countries around Croatia, EU countries. It is not in our interest to defend anything other than what is estimated to be due to the virus's spread. In that sense, we will take all factors into account a few days before this decision's expiration. This is wintertime. Everything is being done to achieve an effective way to fight the epidemic - ventilation, masks, keeping distance, etc. We are constantly thinking about measures, and we will continue to do so, but today it is not realistic to announce something, and we will not do it. We have a little more than two weeks to monitor the situation. No one in this epidemic is an island," said Božinović.

Božinoć added that when adopting measures, they must also consider the winter weather so as not to overload the health care system. Asked whether these measures would be in force until the spring, Božinović said:

"I don't know why you came to that conclusion. I just said that we would have meetings with other departments, ministers in the Government a few days before the expiration of this decision."

They monitor all important parameters every day and will make a decision based on them. It is too early to announce anything, they said.

"It is evident to us that these results in reducing the number of newly infected consequences are fewer contacts, fewer gatherings indoors, fewer private gatherings, and celebrations. It is the foundation of the fight against coronavirus, especially in winter conditions. This is easier to implement in some situations and more difficult in some others. There are activities for which this is not a particular problem, and for some, it is. We are sorry for all who suffer in such a situation. We can not let the health system not respond to people's needs when it comes to Covid and other diseases."

Asked whether individual sports would be allowed, Krunoslav Capak replied: "We are analyzing the situation. We cannot announce the easing of measures. Some sports federations have sent inquiries and letters. We are responding to them and communicating with the Ministry of Sports."

Krunoslav Capak said that there had been no case of influenza infection in Croatia. Alemka Markotić pointed out that no new strain of coronavirus had been recorded in Croatia, which had been noticed in Great Britain, Ireland, and South Africa.

Sources: Index, Jutarnji list

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Civil Protection Headquarters: No Easing Measures in Croatia

January 5, 2021 – National Civil Protection Headquarters members presented the news related to coronavirus in Croatia at today's press conference.

In the last 24 hours, 1071 new cases were recorded, and the number of active cases in Croatia today is 5908. Fifty-three people died, of which one 36-year-old who had asthma and obesity. There are currently 17,448 people in self-isolation.

The Croatian Institute of Public Health director, Krunoslav Capak, said that in a week, we have 23 percent positive cases from those tested, and Slovenia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, and Poland are worse than us.

According to last night's data, 13,798 people were vaccinated, of which 443 were in Sisak-Moslavina County. A total of 1,040 people were vaccinated in Sisak.

No relaxating measures yet

As Index reports, Interior Minister Davor Božinović said that at this point, our numbers are slightly better. However, analyzing our situation and beyond in Europe, Croatia sees something that is already called the third wave of the epidemic.

"Many countries are entering a new lockdown, and we will closely monitor all trends to avoid similar developments in Croatia. We take seriously the experience of easing measures in Europe and the emergence of a new strain of coronavirus discovered in an increasing number of countries. It may appear in Croatia sooner or later," said Božinović.

Alemka Markotić, the Director of the Clinic for Infectious Diseases "Dr. Fran Mihaljević" in Zagreb, said they had not found any associated mutations so far.

"Some samples are still being tested. It is the work of several teams. The analyzes are comprehensive, so we would not like to fly out with half-information. As soon as we get all the necessary information, we will go public with it," said Markotić about the new strain of coronavirus.

Božinović added that they need to pay attention to the effects of earthquakes, Christmas, and the New Year. In that context, they have not yet made a decision, but there are no thoughts about any relaxation of measures yet.

As for local headquarters, Božinović says it is not an option for them to propose easing measures. Passes were revoked due to the known circumstances related to the earthquake, and the Headquarters are not considering reintroducing them.

Vaccination in front of the camera

Today, the National Civil Protection Headquarters members Davor Božinović, Alemka Markotić, and Krunoslav Capak were vaccinated in front of the camera, but not Health Minister Vili Beroš. As he says, he will be vaccinated when his acquired natural immunity drops. Namely, the Health Minister recently overcame the coronavirus himself.

"I was in doubt about what to do myself, and after consulting with the profession, I support vaccination. I will get vaccinated when my acquired natural immunity drops. Seeking extra protection when there is not enough vaccination is not considered ethical, "said Beroš.

As he said, he is not the only one who got over the coronavirus. There are 214,000 people who did. All of them who overcame the disease three to six months ago should not be vaccinated at this time, but when their acquired immunity is degraded.

Beroš also stated that an 82-year-old woman from a nursing home in Čakovec died of a heart attack one day after being vaccinated from coronavirus. Her death has nothing to do with vaccination, the Minister explained. Following the law, the entire event was reported to the Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices HALMED.

"A thousand people die in Croatia every week. When you vaccinate older people because you are trying to protect them from coronavirus, which is very deadly for them, of course, some of them will die. Just before my arrival here, I received information that 13 people died in Europe, and it was proven that it was not related to the vaccine," said Capak.

He added the second phase of vaccination will begin in the second half of January. Minister Božinović emphasized once again that there was still no indication of easing the measures

To read more news about coronavirus, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 18 December 2020

Headquarters Announce New Measures in Croatia: Ban on Inter-County Travel, New Rules for Christmas Mass

December 18, 2020 - The National Civil Protection Headquarters announced new measures in Croatia at the 11 am press conference on Friday. reports that in the last 24 hours, Croatia has recorded 3,222 new cases, and the current number of active cases is 21,297. 10,478 people were tested in the last 24 hours; there 310 new patients in the hospital. Compared to yesterday, there are 29 new patients on ventilators. 68 people died. 

“The seven-day incidence per 100,000 inhabitants in the Republic of Croatia is 591.1. The highest is in Međimurje County, then Zagreb County, and the lowest in Dubrovnik-Neretva and Istria. Within the 14-day incidence rate, Croatia is in 25th place. Luxembourg and Lithuania are higher,” said Krunoslav Capak at the start of the press conference.

After Capak, Minister Vili Beroš took the floor: "Within the current knowledge, those who have already had coronavirus and currently have immunity will probably not get sick in the coming period. However, due to the presence of the virus, they can transmit it and infect other people. This is very important because even those who have survived can transmit the disease to others.

The virus has condemned us to togetherness, and in the context of measures, we must think of each other. Wearing masks is essential, as is vaccination. To achieve collective immunity, we need to talk about it because with the vaccine we are not only protecting ourselves but for others as well.”

Davor Božinović continued: "It is great to talk about the start of vaccination, but it is a process that will continue throughout the next year. We will be able to breathe a sigh of relief in the next six months if responsible. That is why we made several decisions until January 10, 2021. We are trying to send a message about how important it is to calm the population and discourage socializing in this risky period. It is a combination of measures of the Headquarters and other government activities," said Bozinovic, before introducing the measures. 

"First, there is the beginning of school holidays, allowing students to go on vacation until January 18. The movement and number of people in public transport will thus be reduced," Bozinovic said. He added that the government will hold talks with the Croatian Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. The initiative is for workers to use old vacations during Christmas and New Year decisions.

Two decisions have been made; one is the extension of measures with some changes.

"On Christmas Eve and Christmas, mass will be held according to the special instructions of the CNIPH, with one believer per 7 square meters of the church instead of 25 people, regardless of the church's size.

The rule of one person per 7 square meters is also introduced for cinemas, theaters, and other places that belong to the domain of culture.

It is forbidden to leave the county in which the person resides. This does not apply to emergency activities and supplies, daily migration, security services, pharmacy delivery, journalists, patients requiring medical purposes, commuting to and from work if necessary and cannot be done from home, emergency persons preventing the spread of COVID-19, and diplomatic staff.

This is not the introduction of passes; this is a travel ban. Passes are issued only in exceptional cases, when necessary. The message is that everyone refrains from traveling, visiting, and contact for the holidays. The intention is not to extend the restriction of movement after January 8," Bozinovic said.

"It is important to reduce work activity. It is not very high at this time of year anyway, but there are exceptions, so there is a possibility of passes for exceptional cases. We appeal to everyone to refrain from traveling and gathering and socializing for two weeks," said Bozinovic.

NEW EPIDEMIOLOGICAL MEASURES - from midnight on December 22 to January 10

School holidays

- Students are on holiday until January 18, which reduces student mobility and public transportation


"On Wednesday, a meeting was held with representatives of the economy. The next two weeks, December 23 - January 8, to enable the use of annual leave to reduce the number of infected people further. Representatives of the largest trade union centers that support this initiative were also introduced," Bozinovic said.

Private gatherings and ceremonies

- maximum of 10 people

- maximum of 2 different households


- when possible, via radio, TV programs, and otherwise

- exceptionally on December 24 and 25 according to special recommendations of the CNIPH

Professional and artistic performances

- the number of persons present is limited due to the size of the space

- at least 7 square meters per person

Ban on inter-county movement, from December 23 to January 8 (TCN has more on this HERE)

- it is forbidden to leave the county in which the person has a permanent or temporary residence. This does not apply to staff necessary for traffic maintenance, daily migration of employees in health care services, pharmacy delivery, utilities, gas and electricity supply, security services, journalists, patients, travel to and from work, emergency services to help prevent the spread of disease and diplomatic staff

- when entering/leaving the county, the measure should be adhered to, and you should have an identification card proving your status or pass

- the pass is issued by the county headquarters

- does not apply to the City of Zagreb and Zagreb County

- The travel ban enters into force on December 23 and lasts until January 8

Nove epidemiološke mjere od... by

"We want to tell citizens to be patient through this risky part of the year without contact so we can wish each other all the best for the upcoming holidays. This is a time-limited decision and is not extended unless necessary due to the epidemiological situation. Around January 8, we will see the results of our behavior during the holidays."

As for people who have already paid for hotel accommodation or holiday home, Bozinovic said: "There are a number of justified reasons for issuing passes. These include people caring for the elderly, enforcing court decisions on the right to spend weekends with children, but also reservations for hotels and other accommodation until the day this decision takes effect. Those who have paid can keep their plan."

They also clarified measures related to churches. "HZJZ is preparing a special document for religious events. Every believer should have 7 square meters of space and there must be a notice at the entrance to the church," said Capak, adding:

"We will appeal to the church to ensure that the faithful monitor the implementation of the prescribed measures. As for the area in front of the church, the provision of a maximum of 25 people applies. In addition, it will contain recommendations members of the same household do not need to keep a distance. It is recommended to set up benches for believers from the same household and to have every other bench in use from the entrance to the altar."

Asked why catering facilities are not allowed to do the same, Capak said: "Because it is impossible. We persistently communicate that we are taking measures to reduce contacts so as not to ban certain activities that are necessary for economic and other reasons. This measure is related to respecting the wishes and needs of believers for spiritual peace and the need to celebrate the holiday. Religious celebrations are allowed with 25 people, but for Christmas Eve and Christmas we have allowed it to be with minimal epidemiological risk, so that believers can celebrate the holiday."

On the arrival of the vaccine in Croatia, Capak said: "We do not yet have any documents to know the exact quantities. The first symbolic delivery for all EU countries will be on December 26 and we will receive that quantity. We have Pfizer's promise to deliver the complete tranche by the end of the January. We will probably find out what the quantity will be at the beginning of next week."

More soon...

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Monday, 14 September 2020

Constitutional Court Makes Decision on Civil Protection Headquarters

September the 14th, 2020 - The Croatian Constitutional Court has been given the task of deciding on whether or not the instructions being given by the National Civil Protection Headquarters during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic are constitutional and legal.

The National Civil Protection Headquarters have been the subject of a lot of conversation over the months since the coronavirus pandemic found its way to Croatian territory, with some claiming the decisions they make are illegal and unconstitutional. As such, the formal body competent for such matters has been given the final say on whether or not Vili Beros and company are allowed to set the rules as they do.

From remarks about needing to wear masks when using public transport or going shopping to all out protests in the very heart of Zagreb, the National Civil Protection Headquarters have faced a barrage of complaints from irritated citizens who would, for their own respective reasons, either prefer to not take any anti-epidemic measures or simply dispute the alleged politicisation of the team involved in passing those decisions.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 14th of September, 2020, the Croatian Constitutional Court ruled on the constitutionality of several laws and a package of 27 different constitutional complaints against measures passed by the National Civil Protection Headquarters related to the coronavirus pandemic.

At its session held on the 14th of September 2020, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia made a  decision on the constitutionality of the decisions made by the National Civil Protection Headquarters and as such the measures being prescribed by them.

The Croatian Constitutional Court clarified in a statement that it had decided that the Nationl Civil Protection Headquarters had not violated anyone's constitutional rights by making the series of decisions that they have been given the means and power to do since the outbreak of the pandemic within Croatian borders.

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Saturday, 22 August 2020

National Civil Protection Headquarters Staff Meet with PM Andrej Plenkovic

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 21st of August, 2020, members of the National Civil Protection Headquarters met with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic recently and discussed the numbers recorded in the last few days, as unfortunately records are being broken for the number of newly infected people with coronavirus. Krunoslav Capak commented on the epidemiological situation for Nova TV.

Krunoslav Capak says that he, Davor Bozinovic, Alemka Markotic and Vili Beros were at the meeting with the Prime Minister and exchanged information and commented on the situation, but didn't come to any conclusions. They will soon invite representatives of local headquarters to Zagreb for a meeting to discuss activities and measures that await us in autumn.

"We think the measures are good. Unfortunately, not everyone sticks to them. A lot of people came, the tourist season is above expectations. A lot of young people are on the coast, and the symptoms of the disease are favourable to us, most of those who get sick have no symptoms, so they act as if nothing is happening and have fun in nightclubs and outside of them, and now when they're return home inland, they're turning out to be even more positive than expected.

It's important to catch them as much as possible when returning from these risky events and places, isolate then and put their contacts in isolation,'' said Capak for Nova TV, adding that epidemiologists are working intensively on that.

Capak also explained why Croatia doesn't have a list of countries from which it would be forbidden to enter the country. He says the criteria was agreed upon before the season according to European Union recommendations which were to open borders to countries with a similar epidemiological situation.

"Our goal was to invite as many EU citizens as possible to Croatia," he said, noting that most European countries are "green towards Croatia." But he added that “we're intensively considering putting some countries on the red list, those with a higher incidence of infection than us. We're in the middle,'' he said.

He also pointed out that the criteria for the number of infected per 100,000 inhabitants is relative and that most of the countries that put Croatia on their "red lists" have adopted these measures only temporarily. When asked about the new masks that allegedly destroy the new coronavirus themselves, he answered that they received this information and those at the National Civil Protection Headquarters, including his own assistants, tried to find the literature, but there is no information about that.

"It is important to say that any such protective mask that is declared to be virucidal should be tested. For now, we don't have confirmation of that and I'd therefore not recommend them,'' said Capak, adding that they asked HALMED for information about these masks.

For more on the National Civil Protection Headquarters and coronavirus in Croatia, follow our dedicated section.

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