Friday, 4 December 2020

Croatians Still Put Most Trust in National COVID-19 Response Team

ZAGREB, Dececmber 4, 2020 - The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in Croatia having a serious problem with citizens' lack of trust in state institutions, the Jutarnji List daily says in its Friday issue.

Croatians are more or less satisfied with the work of the national COVID-19 response team even though only 30% of respondents who took part in a survey conducted in August and September this year said they were satisfied with it.

Citizens are even less satisfied with the work of other relevant institutions, and they are the least satisfied with the work of parliament (only 12% are satisfied) and the government (20%).

Since the autumn and winter of 2020 are a particularly challenging period in terms of the spread of the coronavirus infection, since citizens are exhausted by the process of dealing with the crisis and the government and other relevant stakeholders are expected to make responsible and demanding decisions to protect public health while preserving the economy, it is of key importance to invest effort to make citizens trust the relevant institutions and call on them to cooperate.

This is the conclusion of the first comprehensive survey of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the nation's mental health and its social consequences.

The survey, financed by the Croatian Science Foundation and covering 1,060 respondents, was conducted by a team of psychologists, sociologists and political scientists as part of a research project dedicated to social recovery following the coronavirus crisis.

The project is headed by Professor Dinka Corkalo Biruski from the Psychology Department of the Zagreb Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

A rather interesting finding is that roughly the same percentage of respondents said that they do not worry at all (15.3%) or worry very much (14.1%) about getting infected with coronavirus.

Also, two in three respondents said their current standard of living is the same as before the crisis, which makes it seem that in the period before the survey was conducted the crisis did not have a major impact on people's assessment of their standard of living.

The poor fear the consequences of the pandemic the most.

The special circumstances citizens had to deal with during the pandemic are perceived as moderately stressful, with the uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic being the factor that causes the most stress, the daily says.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

President Says Court Decision Won't Put End to Discussions About COVID Team's Work

ZAGREB, Sept 16, 2020 - President Zoran Milanovic said on Tuesday that the Constitutional Court got cold feet when deciding about the constitutionality of epidemiological measures adopted by the national COVID-19 response team, noting that its ruling would not put an end to discussions about the team's work.

"(Those measures) suspend certain human rights and they do so for a longer period of time. A very vague and loose legal framework was adopted and the Constitutional Court got cold feet, but that's only human," Milanovic told reporters in a comment on the Constitutional Court's decision that the COVID-19 response team's epidemiological masures are in line with the Constitution.

"The ruling is as it is, there will be problems because of it, in my opinion, it is not wise and in that sense, I take note of it. I cannot go against it, but I will not keep silent and will defend the Constitution and constitutional freedoms the way I understand them," Milanovic told reporters.

The Constitutional Court is a political body, which in the case of the COVID-19 response team has made a political decision, the president said, adding that this was a rule of democracy.

President Milanovic, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Croatian Armed Forces, was answering reporters' questions at Pleso Airport, where he attended a welcome ceremony for the 12th Croatian contingent returning from the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.

Milanovic reiterated his position that there was a state of emergency in Croatia, a state of natural disaster, just as in the whole of Europe, and that debates about the constitutionality of decisions made by the team managing the coronavirus crisis would not stop.

He added that a few months ago he had warned that "in the case of the COVID-19 team a house was being built without legal foundations."

He believes that the situation could have been avoided elegantly and one could have avoided "questions about jurisdiction, whether one has the right to issue orders and whether those orders exist or are fiction."

Milanovic believes decisions of the Constitutional Court should be debated because they concern important social topics.

"That is called making the nation literate. People should be able to discuss anything, and if something is unjust, they should be able to oppose it. This is simply fear of criticism," Milanovic said when asked to comment on the view of some HDZ members that decisions by the Constitutional Court should not be debated.

Milanovic, however, does not share the view of some of the opposition parties that the Constitutional Court should be abolished.

"Of course not; but it is a political institution, it is not a regular court. There is no close connection with classic adjudication," he added.

The decision on fighter jets political

Asked about the condition of MiG jets, which at the time of his government's term in office were overhauled in Ukraine, Milanovic said that the jets were in the best possible condition compared to the condition they could be in.

"When their age is taken into account, one can say that they were saved with the overhaul in Ukraine, which cost the state US$ 10 or 15 million. That's an insignificant amount for the state. It was an absolutely good job back then. If we had not done it, we would not have any jets today, but we still have a certain number of jets that fly... it was a necessary move, but it has its shelf life," Milanovic said.

He repeated that now one should buy new planes, that the government was in charge of the process but that he believed the US offer should be given priority for a number of reasons.

"They have just donated us two helicopters. Those are all factors that should be taken into account when making a decision. The government must be as neutral as possible but eventually, the decision is a political one," Milanovic said.

Monday, 7 September 2020

Croatian Headquarters Now Extending Midnight Rule for Bars and Clubs

September 7, 2020 - Contrary to this morning's news, Minister of Interior Davor Bozinovic announced this afternoon that the National Civil Protection Headquarters would extend the midnight ban on bars and nightclubs because the epidemiological situation in the country had not improved. 

"Unfortunately, we cannot say that the epidemiological situation has improved. This then presupposes that the decision to ban nightclubs and bars after midnight will be extended," Bozinovic told reporters during the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Lucko Anti-Terrorist Unit, as reported by

The ban on clubs after midnight was introduced after clubs, primarily those on the Adriatic, proved to be places where the coronavirus spread.

"I have to point out a few related facts about these 180 newly infected. It is an even younger age group than yesterday, averaging 31 years. Most of them can be connected with gatherings on the Adriatic coast ", said the head of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, Krunoslav Capak, in mid-August.

According to that decision, bars and clubs were allowed to work until midnight. The decision was initially made on August 14 and extended on August 27 with a validity period until September 7.

Regarding the possible abolition of visas for the United States for Croatian citizens, he reminded that in the last two or three years Croatia has worked intensively to meet the conditions for entering the system of exemption from the need for Croatian citizens to have visas to enter the United States.

He has personally been to the U.S. twice, where several agreements have been signed, and a number of bilateral agreements and arrangements have also been signed, he said.

The abolition of visas for the United States requires the number of denied visas to fall below three percent, so Bozinovic appealed to Croatian citizens to contribute to reducing the number of denied visas in relation to the number of applications submitted below three percent. “I believe we will fulfill that task,” he said.

Asked if he would refinance the costs to civil servants who encourage them to get a visa, he said he knew how some states did it so it would be nothing new.

"As far as that is concerned, I am sure that it is one of the foreign policy interests, and even a priority, and it is certain that the state will help as much as it can," he said.

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Monday, 27 July 2020

Opposition Agrees with President's Criticism of COVID-19 Response Team

ZAGREB, July 27, 2020 - Homeland Movement MP Milan Vrkljan said on Monday the current COVID-19 response team should be dissolved.

"We agree with the president of the republic that it's a para-body, a body outside the constitution and the law and that it was established in the interest of a very small, narrow group of people covered by party affiliation," he told press.

As for the establishment of a new team, Vrkljan said the parliamentary health committee should discuss the issue and propose to the government how a new team should be established.

He said the team should be relieved of any politics as soon as possible and be left up to experts, and that everyone in Croatia who could and should say something should be involved in its work. "That's definitely not just doctors who are members of the HDZ."

Grmoja: Parliament should examine COVID-19 response team's activity

MP Nikola Grmoja of the Bridge party said parliament should "definitely" examine the activity of the team which had lost all credibility.

He said the case of HSLS MP Dario Hrebak showed that "if you are close enough to those in power, you don't have to self-isolate if you are needed for the parliamentary majority."

Grmoja said the team was compromised by the fact that its key members were candidates in the recent parliamentary election, and that Bridge agreed with President Zoran Milanovic's assessment of the team.

"Bridge was the first not to give the team those powers," he said, adding that the current team might be dissolved.

"It's possible, but that would require the goodwill and the political will of the prime minister to include in the team's work people who will be proposed by all parliamentary parties," Grmoja said.

He added, however, that those in power would refuse "because the team was their key lever in the election campaign and the election victory and they will keep it that way, but they will also bear the consequences."

President Zoran Milanovic said on Sunday that the national COVID-19 response team was not legally established and that it needed authority for the decisions it was making, and that parliament should play a key part in that.

"I warned the prime minister that people will sue the state because the decisions aren't legally founded. That team is a para-body. The Constitutional Court will have to decide on that."

Monday, 27 July 2020

Government: Decisions by National Coronavirus Response Team not Unconstitutional

ZAGREB, July 27, 2020 - The government has responded to President Zoran Milanovic's statement that the national coronavirus crisis response team is a "paraconstitutional" body, saying that the decisions by the team are not constitutionally questionable and that it is odd that he wants the new virus to be accepted like tooth decay.

"It is odd that the President of the Republic wants us to accept the coronavirus like tooth decay while at the same time calling for the declaration of a state of emergency, i.e. activation of Article 17 of the Constitution. The decisions made by the national coronavirus crisis response team are not constitutionally questionable or political. They are made based on guidance from medical professionals and their primary aim is to protect the lives and health of our citizens," the N1 television channel published the government's response on Sunday evening after President Zoran Milanovic's appearance in its current affairs programme earlier in the day.

The government recalled that the legal basis for the crisis response team's decisions was the law on the protection of the population from contagious diseases, the civil protection law and Article 16 of the Constitution.

The restrictions imposed to contain the spread of the virus and protect human life were proportionate and well balanced, which is also in accordance with the Constitution, the government said.

"The team will continue to do their work responsibly and efficiently and prepare new measures to contain the spread of the infection, while further monitoring the development of the epidemiological situation," the government said in its response.

N1 said that the Constitutional Court declined to comment on Milanovic's statement.

In the interview, Milanovic said that war was not the only state of emergency. "Is the situation we are now living in normal and usual? Of course, it is not. War is not the only state of emergency. This is a natural and economic disaster and it is on this ground that we are having our rights restricted. At first, they are absolute, but you cannot live in a community where your rights are absolute and your obligations non-existent," the president said.

He also commented on the role of the national coronavirus crisis response team. "It is not normal that a group of people who have not been elected by the people should decide how many people are allowed to attend a wedding celebration. I am in favour of taking an initial decision by a two-thirds majority. The government needs a power of attorney for how many people can attend a wedding celebration and I would give it to it if I could."

Saturday, 11 July 2020

Masks Mandatory in Shops and More: HQ Announces Next Measures in Croatia

July 11, 2020 - Friday was the worst day in Croatia since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. 116 new cases were recorded, and new measures were announced. reported on Friday evening that a record 116 new coronavirus cases were reported over 24 hours. This is also the first time that the number of newly infected people reached triple digits in Croatia. Two people died.

There are currently 1,038 active cases in Croatia, according to a statement from the Headquarters. Among them, 104 patients are in hospital, of which four are on a ventilator.

Since February 25, when the first case of infection was recorded in Croatia, a total of 3,532 people have been reported to be infected with the coronavirus, of whom 117 have died and 2,377 have recovered.

There are currently 4,608 people in self-isolation. To date, a total of 91,486 people have been tested, of which 1,722 in the last 24 hours.

Headquarters announces a new decision

In accordance with the current epidemiological situation, the National Headquarters passed a Decision on the necessary measures for the organization of gatherings attended by more than 100 participants during the pandemic.

Organizers who expect more than 100 people at the gathering are obliged to submit a notification to the County Center 112 about the gathering no later than 48 hours before the planned start. Organizers who have registered a gathering following the Public Gathering Act are not required to submit this notice.

Also, all organizers of gatherings with more than 100 participants are obliged to keep written records of participants, so that in the event that someone is infected with the virus, the spread of the disease can be prevented as effectively as possible.

Control over the implementation of the decision, as well as compliance with the recommendations and instructions of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, will be carried out by teams composed of civil protection inspectors and police officers.

HZJZ has published the details of the instructions and rules for large gatherings, and you can read them HERE.


Update: On July 13th, the National Civil Protection Headquarters issued a clarification of their measure of mandatory mask use in Croatia, in which they listed the groups of people who are not obligated to wear masks. Those groups include:
- children under the age of two,
- children between the ages of two and before school-age, if they exhibit strong resistance towards wearing a mask,
- children should wear masks for a limited period of time, up to an hour or two,
- people with mental health issues, where their mental health problems cause strong resistance towards wearing a mask or inability to remove it on their own,
- people communicating with hearing-impaired persons, who need to lip-read to communicate, as well as hearing-impaired persons themselves
- people with breathing problems caused by existing chronic diseases or conditions,
- people in an altered state of consciousness, or while unconscious,
- everyone else who is unable to remove the mask from their face without someone else's help.

Bozinovic: We will certainly introduce stricter measures at the border

Chief of the National Headquarters Davor Bozinovic explained to Dnevnik Nova TV the latest measures anti-pandemic measures and commented on Friday's record high cases.

“I can’t rule out that there won’t be some approximate number tomorrow, maybe even higher,” he said.

"As for border crossings, we will certainly tighten measures, some will have to go into a two-week self-isolation or come with a test that shows they are not infected. This applies to third countries, BiH, Serbia ... Students studying will have to go through self-isolation," he said.

If you go to a wedding in Belgrade, you don't have to go into self-isolation because we are EU citizens, and Bozinovic says that these are the recommendations of the European Commission.

"The introduction of self-isolation for passengers from Serbia and BiH is the only rational measure," Bozinovic replied.

From the beginning of the week, mandatory masks in stores

Masks in stores will be mandatory from the beginning of next week, and Bozinovic says it will be an obligation. “It doesn’t have to be medical masks, but I repeat, autumn could be a more serious challenge, and then the measures could be a little tighter,” he said.

Guests in catering facilities will not have to wear masks, i.e., they will not be mandatory. They will be mandatory for staff.

“If a gap is maintained, the virus is powerless here, but where close contacts occur, it is a situation where the virus is spreading fast and in that sense, we have made recommendations today because they are our main hotspots,” he said.

Asked if the measures should have been tightened before, he replied: "This is a long struggle, someone says up to two years. Any measure that means closing an activity, the question is whether you will open in the winter, when the conditions are even more difficult. This is not at all easy," he noted, adding that they plan to return to daily National Press conferences.

Markotic: With large gatherings, people can endanger those around them

"This is something that is dangerous. Trends say that we must be as responsible as possible and start tightening measures," said the director of the Clinic for Infectious Diseases "Dr. Fran Mihaljevic" Alemka Markotic for Dnevnik, answering the question about how she received Friday's news that we, for the first time, exceeded the number of one hundred new patients in one day.

When asked which of the measures on the table will be introduced first, Markotic said that the gatherings of over 100 people would be accompanied by a series of stricter measures and instructions and there will be controls.

"The most important thing is for people to understand that we had an ideal situation that we can restore if they adhere to simple measures. Gathering large numbers of people can endanger those around them," she said.

She also spoke about extinguishing new hotspots that have mostly spread in recent days from large private gatherings.

"Our health service has worked well, it has brought many hotspots under control, but not only the civil protection system and the police can operate alone. Everyone else needs to work together. The virus is there, the disease is there, it can be very dangerous and cause large numbers. If it increases, it is to be expected that there will be serious illnesses among the younger ones as well, and stricter measures will have to be taken - reducing the number of people who can gather, stricter controls will be introduced, and wearing masks will be introduced in shopping malls. It is for Croatia and for the tourists who come; and there are practically no sick people among the tourists, who are obviously behaving extremely responsibly," said Markotic.

The director of the Civil Protection of the Republic of Croatia, Damir Trut, spoke for RTL about the new measures and their implementation.

When asked when the measures on mass gatherings will take effect and how the police and inspectors will check who is adhering to them, he said:

"The decision has been approved and will take effect on Monday, so everyone has time to prepare and report all gatherings they are obliged to. So from 100 people onwards. And that inspectors can make a plan to monitor the gatherings. What is prescribed will be monitored for such gatherings. That list is important if there is an infection so that it is easier to find contacts. Basically, everything that has always been prescribed and if we have adhered to it, this would not have happened."

He adds that masks could be mandatory indoors.

"That's right, we are talking about introducing masks in all enclosed spaces. As we have introduced in public transport and it has proved to be good. We must all be aware that we must control ourselves and be the ones who adhere to the measures. There is no control that can control 4.5 million people in Croatia. We need to be aware that this is a way to protect ourselves from infection, how to stay healthy and how to protect others. "

He says that Croats from BiH will not have to isolate themselves.

The coronavirus has been spreading rapidly across the country in recent days. Weddings proved to be significant hotspots. About 15 people became infected at one graduation celebration in Kutina. Today, it was reported that four members of the band who played there were also infected.

In Zadar, the hospital is practically closed.

In the area of ​​Zadar County, there are 14 newly infected people with coronavirus, and out of that number 12, a wedding was held in Zadar last weekend, while two people became infected somewhere else, the County Civil Protection Headquarters reported.

Among the new patients, the statement said, is a health worker from the Zadar General Hospital who became infected outside the hospital, and ten doctors and three nurses are in self-isolation.

As 057info reported, the anesthesiologist of the Zadar General Hospital, indirectly connected to the wedding, was infected.

"I can confirm that due to special epidemiological circumstances, only emergency operations and scheduled operations for malignant patients will be performed until further notice. All patients will be taken care of and there is no reason for concern," hospital director Zeljko Culina told 057info.

The Zadar Civil Protection Headquarters was informed about the situation in the Zadar hospital, and the director informed Minister Vili Beros about the situation. If necessary, doctors from other cities will be temporarily hired to perform surgical procedures in the Zadar hospital, reports 057info.

The total number of infected people in the Zadar area is now 36, and as many as 22 are related to last week's wedding.

In Zagreb, the source of the infection is unknown in 13 people

There are 35 new cases in the City of Zagreb, 22 are contacts of already infected people, and the source of the infection is still unknown for 13.

There are a lot of new cases in Osijek-Baranja

Out of a total of 153 samples that were tested for the coronavirus in the last 24 hours in the Osijek-Baranja County, as many as 20 were positive. Most (12) newly positive people are from Đakovo, seven from Višnjevac and one from Feričani. All contacts are already registered patients with coronavirus.

At the Clinical Hospital Center Osijek, two people are on a ventilator, and a total of 22 patients are being monitored.

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