Wednesday, 9 February 2022

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković Received Booster Dose

February 9, 2022 - The vaccination campaign across the country continues during omicron, as Prime Minister Andrej Plenković received booster dose today. Croatia is currently leading in terms of mortality per million inhabitants, and at the same time, is at the bottom of the EU in terms of vaccination.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković received booster dose of the vaccine, reports Telegram. With the publication of a photo of the moment when he received the dose, Plenković again called on the citizens to respond to the vaccination, especially in the middle of the wave of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

“In addition to my previous recovery from COVID-19 and two doses of vaccine, I also received a booster dose today, in consultation with doctors. The additional dose is particularly important during omicron circumstances. Get vaccinated and use a booster to protect against more severe forms of COVID'', Plenković announced on Twitter. The Prime Minister received the second dose five months ago, on September 10, 2021.

Plenković calls for vaccination in the midst of the collapse of the vaccination campaign. It was announced today that the CNIPH is developing a new strategy because sufficient quantities of vaccines, mobile teams, and counseling centers have not yielded the desired results. Yesterday, only 613 people were vaccinated with the first dose in Croatia.

Croatia is currently leading in terms of mortality per million inhabitants, and at the same time, is at the bottom of the EU in terms of vaccination. The number of deaths in Croatia during the pandemic is 14,244, and in the first week of February alone, 367 people died. In January, 267 people died in the same period, which means that in the first seven days of this month, as many as 100 people died more than in the same period last month - and this can be attributed to poor vaccination.

In Croatia, only 56.5 percent of citizens were vaccinated with the first dose which, when it comes to COVID, is too little to reduce mortality. 54.3 percent of citizens were vaccinated with two doses, and 19.6 percent with the booster. Citizens' interest in vaccination is declining from month to month - yesterday only 613 people were vaccinated with the first dose of the vaccine, and the day before, on Sunday, just 11 of them.

For more, check out our politics section.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Tuesday, 1 February 2022

New Croatian Covid Rules for Travel Outside of Croatia Now in Force

February the 1st, 2022 - Croatian covid rules for travel outside of the country's borders are in force as of today. On top of that, a few other things are changing in regard to the epidemiological measures.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, when will the self-isolation rule for students be abolished, when does their mass testing begin? How will all of this be implemented? Are the schools ready for it? What will the new rules for determining the need for self-isolation look like amid the spread of Omicron and when can the application of these new Croatian covid rules be expected? These are all of the questions floating around as new Croatian covid rules enter into force.

The deputy director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, Ivana Pavic Simetin, advisor to the Minister of Education Bozo Pavicin and the president of the Split-Dalmatia branch of the Association of Primary School Principals. Djuro Baloevic, all talked about this as guests of a recent Croatian Radio show.

Ivana Pavic Simetin first spoke about today's Croatian covid rules, with a special emphasis placed on people planning to travel outside of Croatia. She said the move was done to harmonise Croatian covid rules with those regarding travel at the European Union (EU) level.

''For the first time now, the European Commission (EC) is prescribing how long a covid certificate based on vaccination lasts. These certificates are valid for nine months as of full vaccination from today. The booster dose validity is unlimited for now, but administratively speaking, it will most likely remain valid for year from its receipt. If the scientific evidence reveals anything new about the long-term immunity following a person having their booster dose, then it would be extended depending on new findings,'' she said.

For those who were vaccinated with two doses of the vaccine and then caught and recovered from the new Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus, she said that as far as EU digital certificates are concerned, all three types of certificates can be requested.

''One can be requested based on vaccination, one can be requested based on recovery, and then someone who catches Omicron following their vaccination can get a covid certificate which is valid for six months based on their recovery,'' she explained.

Regarding the shortening of the self-isolation period in the wake of Omicron, she said that the document which will go over every detail will be agreed upon in the coming days.

"The whole idea is based on new knowledge about the Omicron variant,'' said Pavic Simetin.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Monday, 31 January 2022

Epidemiologist Bernard Kaic: Covid Passes Have Less and Less Meaning

January the 31st, 2022 - Croatian epidemiologist Bernard Kaic has stated that covid passes, often called covid certificates or even passports, are having less and less meaning or sense as time goes on and the epidemiological situation unfolds. It appears that the Omicron variant is changing many parameters.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, epidemiologist Bernard Kaic was a recent guest of Dnevnik Nova TV and commented on the current epidemiological situation across Croatia, including covid confirmations, the Omicron variant and vaccination.

"The fact is that covid passes make less and less sense as time goes on with the emergence and spread of the Omicron variant," epidemiologist Bernard Kaic said. Now, at the time of the spread of the new Omicron variant, those who aren't yet vaccinated are more likely to be contagious than the vaccinated are, according to a CNIPH study. The rules have already started to change because of this new strain. Soon, there will probably be more changes regarding the use of covid passes. There will be a lot of changes,'' he added rather vaguely.

Something is constantly changing in this pandemic, it's difficult to keep up with all of the latest changes. All of these changes are fertile ground for conspiracy theories and the acquisition of mistrust. Whoever wants to interpret the changes as a reason for a lack of trust or as some conspiracy theory - can, of course. The fact is that things are changing because the situation is changing, and it's doing so from week to week,'' he explained.

He added that worries that people are still not getting vaccinated enough and believes that those who have not done so yet should make sure they do as soon as possible.

"We still have a large number of elderly people who haven't yet been vaccinated. Omicron rarely causes severe clinical pictures, but with such a wide circulation, we do still have a large number of hospitalised people, and sadly people are still dying,'' he said.

Some people also have doubts and have some odd beliefs when it comes to booster doses as well, but Kaic has a message for them: "If they don't believe what the profession says, let them read some scientific articles."

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Sunday, 30 January 2022

New Croatian Coronavirus Rules to Begin as of February 1st, 2022

January the 30th, 2022 - New Croatian coronavirus rules are set to come into force as of the 1st of February as things are altered to reflect what we know about the Omicron variant.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, after the meeting of the National Civil Protection Directorate with the representatives of the Dr. Andrija Stampar Public Health Institute, statements were given by Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic and the director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, Krunoslav Capak on the new Croatian coronavirus rules.

“As of the 1st of February, we'll extend the decisions which are currently in force. The change that will happen as of that day concerns the regulation of border crossings. From February the 1st, covid certificates will be issued for those vaccinated with two doses for a period of 270 days, with nothing changing for those who need to take PCR tests - they are valid for 72 hours after testing. As far as rapid antigen tests are concerned, it will be possible to cross the Croatian border if it hasn't been more than 24 hours since the test was taken, and when it comes to recovery from the virus, covid certificates will be provided for a period of 180 days since recovery. As of February the 1st, Croatia, in cooperation with the Croatian Institute of Public Health, will issue EU digital covid certificates with these validity deadlines,'' explained Davor Bozinovic.

“There is also the national component of covid certification to think about, this refers to the need for the certificates to enter healthcare facilities, social welfare facilities, as well as state and public services. We aren't going to change anything there. Everyone who has previously been issued with certificates, when it comes to both recovering from the illness and vaccination against it, will be able to use until the date until which they were issued, which is a period of 365 days. We've asked for the recognition of rapid antigen test results for the EU digital covid-certificate, but this hasn't yet been decided at the EU level as we wanted it to be. However, an increasing number of countries are joining our initiative and we expect that decision to be made.

The second part of our meeting on new Croatian coronavirus rules was dedicated to the possibility of shortening the self-isolation period given the speed of spread of the new Omicron variant. The healthcare system, public activities, and other necessary functions are being burdened, but more about that will be explained to you by Krunoslav Capak,'' said Davor Bozinovic, adding that all decisions on new Croatian coronavirus rules will be officially announced on Monday.

Krunoslav Capak then said: ''Omicron causes a milder clinical picture, especially in vaccinated people, but it has also learned to bypass the system and it spreads more quickly than others variants. It's important to reduce isolation and quarantine periods, as its incubation period lasts slightly shorter than those of previous variants, the disease itself is shorter and the person is less contagious. That's why we're considering shortening the quarantine period. An ECDC document was released yesterday recommending that this possibility be considered.

This will be regulated by Croatian Institute of Public Health recommendations which will be adopted soon, but we're considering reducing the quarantine period for all those who are vaccinated down to seven days, as well as shortening the isolation period for patients with only mild or moderate clinical pictures down to five days, provided that they don't show any symptoms for 24 hours following their exit from self-isolation and as long as they return a negative result on a rapid antigen test. For other people, the rule remains the same as it was before.

"As for the booster vaccine, things still haven't yet been properly defined. We provide 365 day covid certificates to people after they receive their third dose because there's still no scientific evidence to suggest how long this booster remains effective. Entry into Croatia, but also into other EU member states using EU digital covid certificates will be possible only on the basis of these new rules, which will be made valid from the 1st of February. We aren't just changing the part for their use within Croatia. If you travel to or from Croatia, then these new rules apply to you,'' added Bozinovic.

Asked whether complete abolition of covid certificates is being considered at all, Bozinovic said: "Their main purpose of them is to slow down the spread of the disease. It is almost impossible to stop this variant from spreading, but with these Croatian covid rules, wearing masks, which we're now emphasising, we can slow it down, and that is the most important thing. The abolition of covid certificates in the EU is not something on the table,'' he said.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Saturday, 29 January 2022

Could Croatian Public Services Grind to a Halt Under Omicron Pressure?

January the 29th, 2022 - Croatian public services are under a lot of pressure as Omicron puts many ZET (Zagreb electric tram) drivers into self-isolation. Could the situation become unsustainable?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Omicron is spreading like wildfire through Croatian public services, and due to the large number of employees on sick leave or in self-isolation, some basic functioning issues have been caused.

The most dramatic situation at the moment can be found in Zagreb's ZET, which is lacking as many as 390 bus and tram drivers. Every fifth ZET driver is off work.

"I'm familiar with the problems ZET is dealing with at the minute. The new strain of the novel coronavirus has created some major problems in public affairs. A large number of employees working for Croatian public services are in self-isolation. This is difficult to organise properly as we're learning that drivers are becoming infected literally overnight. Some corrections have been made as far as the lines are concerned, the schedule has been reduced, but all in all, I don't think that people are overly affected by this situation,'' said Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomasevic.

Railway traffic is also in trouble, and HZ passenger traffic (putnicki prijevoz) is afraid that this is just the beginning. One line, on the Osijek-Bizovac route, has already been interrupted.

"On Thursday and Friday, passengers will be transported by buses on that line. There's a noticeable upward trend in the illness of our employees and our employees being put into self-isolation,'' they said from HZ. At the moment, 19 workers who are employed as train staff and 21 workers who are machine staff aren't at work, and another 12 of them are in self-isolation owing to coronavirus infection, Jutarnji list writes.

In Zagreb's Cistoca, on the other hand, a concerning number of 70 workers are currently on sick leave, and there are only 2050 of them all together. So far, they say, this doesn't seriously affect their functioning, but it might. Coronavirus is also being regularly encountered at the Student Centre here in the capital. There are currently 45 workers in self-isolation.

"Existing workers are being redeployed to Student Centre restaurants where the sick leave rate has increased, so we're bridging this situation," director Mirko Bosnjak explained.

The situation is a bit better for the Public Fire Brigade in the City of Zagreb, as there are currently only 3 coronavirus positive employees, and 3 more are in self-isolation.

"We have a total of 330 workers, and we've been lucky, if I may say so, that not too many of them became infected at once, it's been happening little by little,'' revealed Commander Sinisa Jembrih.

Other Croatian public services which don't immediately spring to mind like ZET drivers might are also facing issues. Customs officers are very much struggling with the spread of Omicron. At the moment, 106 of them are infected or in self-isolation, but the Customs Administration has assured Jutarnji list that the traffic of goods and passengers across border crossings, as well as at internal customs offices, is being dealt with regularly.

"Constant chaos"

Varazdin County has had no particular problems with people being off sick or needing to be in self-isolation while working for the Croatian public services there, but it does have a problems with school and education system employees. the students of three schools are still taking online classes due to the spread of Omicron among their teachers. This number is posing an issue every day and recently a further 31 teachers became infected, and 15 of them were placed in self-isolation.

Medjimurje residents have a bigger problem with their local healthcare workers, although so far there are have been no real problems with the organisation of their work. There are about 30 employees currently ''out of service'' due to coronavirus.

Over in Pula, due to the current situation with the spread of Omicron, most of the Croatian public services affected are the General Hospital and the Teaching Institute for Emergency Medicine. According to the director of the Pula General Hospital, Irena Hrstic, this month alone, 155 of their staff fell ill, out of a total of about 900 employees. Of course, these aren't all solely health professionals.

"We're in a state of chaos all the time, so that hasn't changed. But, we're working and covering ourselves as much as we can, so we do double, triple and all kinds of shifts,'' she pointed out.

In the Vukovar-based utility company Komunalac, which provides waste collection services in the city, there are 35 workers out of 223 sick or in self-isolation, which is almost 16 percent of the total number of their employees. However, according to the company's director Igor Strangarevic, they're still managing to do everything they need to do.

In the Osijek Public Utility Company, 10 out of 88 firefighters are off work, which is why, according to Commander Zoran Paksec, they've shifted their work into three shifts, so people rotate more often.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

Zeljka Karin: 250 Croatian PCR Test Appointments Being Missed Per Day

January the 25th, 2022 - Dr. Zeljka Karin has appealed to Croatian residents to please make sure they call and actually cancel their PCR test appointments as opposed to simply not showing up, as the situation surrounding testing appointments is becoming a severe issue.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, despite the fact that Omicron is spreading like wildfire and that many professionals are now wondering whether testing for the presence of the novel coronavirus has any purpose anymore, there are still huge problems with supply and demand when it comes to the ''gold standard'' test - the PCR.

The problem, as they explained from the Dr. Andrija Stampar' Institute of Public Health, are the testing appointments which go unused because the people referred simply don't bother to turn up. On average, there are around 200-250 such cases every single day. There is a similar situation going on in Split, as well.

“The problem is really that people don't bother to let us know that they want to cancel their PCR test appointment, meaning that they go for a quick antigen test instead or just stay at home after a positive antigen result and doesn't bother to cancel their PCR appointment. I'm appealing to all those who aren't going to come for their PCR test appointments to please let us know. We're waiting for about two days for this sort of testing,'' said Dr. Zeljka Karin, the director of the Teaching Institute for Public Health of Split-Dalmatia County for HRT.

"Don't be fooled into believing that this is just Omicron and that it will pass with a milder clinical picture. Omicron creates different clinical outcomes, depending on the person. In addition, we still have the Delta strain circulating and it is still common. Six people died two days ago. You need to know that to us, when people are dying daily, it means that the virus is far from harmless. You have to go and get vaccinated and adhere to the epidemiological measures," Dr Zeljka Karin added.

Rapid antigen tests taken at home are also a measure of protection for many, and some pharmacies sell up to 150 of these tests a day, ending their days with empty drawers.

“Rapid antigen tests are currently the most sought after commodity in pharmacies and very often in the afternoon, especially before closing, the tests actually disappear. Towards the end of last week in some pharmacies, we were told that there were no tests, but this morning we talked to suppliers and those who don't have any today will get them over the first days of next week, so I think there will be no major problems there,'' said Ana Soldo, President of the Croatian Chamber of Pharmacists, adding that rapid antigen tests are reliable and of high quality.

“Rapid antigen tests for self-testing at home are about the same accuracy as those used for professional purposes, they're only in a different form and the instructions have been adapted to non-medically trained people that they can test themselves. So, their accuracy is mostly over 97 - 98% ", added Soldo.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Saturday, 22 January 2022

Prof Bruno Barsic of KB Dubrava: Only Two Measures Make Any Sense

January the 22nd, 2022 - The director of the covid ward of KB Dubrava in Zagreb, Prof Bruno Barsic has stated that with the emergence of the highly infectious but far milder variant of the novel coronavirus, Omicron, only two measures make any sense. The rest are quite pointless.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Prof Bruno Barsic of Dubrava Hospital's covid ward pointed out to Index that because of the Omicron variant, we have a large number of infected people, but the pressure on hospitals isn't what it was. He stressed that Omicron patients aren't putting any pressure on the hospital and hoped that it would remain like that.

From Thursday the 27th of January, wearing masks in the United Kingdom will no longer be mandatory, working from home will no longer be officially recommended, and covid certificates (NHS covid passes) will no longer be required to enter nightclubs and partake in certain larger gatherings, according British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was recently busted for having parties during the harsh UK lockdown and is being pressured to step down.

The abolition of covid certificates is also being seriously considered in Israel, where Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman has risen up against their continued use. He said that they have no health purposes and that they contribute to creating even more issues and panic.

Cyrille Cohen, one of the Israeli government's vaccination advisers and head of the immunology department at Bar Ilan University, told UnHerd yesterday that covid certificates had become "irrelevant" now Omicron is dominant, and that he expected them to be abolished soon.

“When it comes to the Omicron variant, we don’t see virtually any difference between the vaccinated and unvaccinated, and both can become infected by it more or less equally,” he said.

"That's logical. It's going in that direction. If you have 50 percent of those tested returning a positive result, then what's the use of testing? It seems logical to me that we are going in that direction in this country as well,'' said Prof Bruno Barsic.

He also commented on other epidemiological measures that are in force in this country and pointed out which ones he would drop if he was in charge. "Of all the measures, I would keep those that limit mass gatherings and wearing masks. So far, masks are very important because we can see how rapidly and easily Omicron spreads and infects people,'' he said.

Prof Bruno Barsic also stated that the elderly population still needs to be vaccinated.

"And that's it. It seems to me that the need for less measures is slowly emerging. But I'm not an expert in epidemiology, so I'd leave it to those who are to make those decisions,'' concluded Prof Bruno Barsic.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Friday, 21 January 2022

Croatia Logs 16,670 New COVID Cases, 35 Deaths

ZAGREB, 21 Jan 2022 - A total of 11,114 new COVID cases have been detected by PCR tests in Croatia in the past 24 hours while a further 5,556 cases have been detected with Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) bringing the total daily caseload to 16,670, and 35 people have died from COVID, the Croatian COVID response team reported on Friday.

There are currently 61,671 active cases of the infection with coronavirus in Croatia, including 1,799 hospitalized patients, 193 of whom are on ventilators.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Croatia in late February 2020, a total of 859,264 cases of the novel coronavirus have been registered and 13,335 people have died from the infection, while 784,258 have recovered including 8,601 in the past 24 hours.

A total of 41,682 people are now self-isolating.

To date, a total of 4,074,484 tests have been conducted, including 21,253 in the past 24 hours.

As of Thursday, a total of 5,021,663 doses of a vaccine had been administered with the vaccination rate being 56.34% of the total population or 67.06% of the adult population.

A total of 2,286,291 people have received at least one dose of a vaccine while 2,193,513 are fully vaccinated which is 64.50% of the adult population.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Thursday, 20 January 2022

Croatia's Coronavirus Daily Caseload Hits New Record at 17,489

ZAGREB, 20 Jan 2022 - In Croatia, 11,343 persons have tested positive in PCR tests and an additional 6,146 have been positive in rapid antigen tests in the last 24 hours, the national COVID-19 crisis management team reported on Thursday.

Thus, 17,489 cases set a new record after there were 16,017 new COVID-19 cases in the country on Wednesday.

Currently, there are 59,193 active cases, including 1,792 hospitalized COVID patients, of whom 195 are placed on ventilators.

Since the first registered case of infection with the novel virus on 25 February 2020, there have been 848,150 cases of infection so far. Of them, 775,657 patients have recovered, including 8,315 in the last 24 hours.

The death toll has climbed by another 43 fatalities in the last 24 hours to 13,300.

To date, 64.43% of adults have fully been vaccinated.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Omicron: Bernard Kaic Hints at Epidemiological Measure Alterations

January the 18th, 2022 - Epidemiologist Bernard Kaic has hinted at possible epidemiological measure alterations in Croatia, stating that the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus behaves like a ''totally different virus''.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Omicron seems to be able to get around the immune systems of those who have had previous covid infections, but also in those who have been vaccinated against it. For example, among those who were registered as newly infected on Sunday, about 30 percent were vaccinated with two doses, and five percent with three (the third being their booster dose).

That said, those who have been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus and those who have earned their immunity naturally (by contracting and recovering from the disease) usually only have milder symptoms when they catch Omicron.

Bernard Kaic from the Croatian National Institute of Public Health has emphasised that the Omicron variant seems to successfully avoid previously acquired immunity because it behaves almost like an entirely new virus of its own.

He also pointed out that his colleagues from the field recently sent him the example of a young man who fell ill just one month after first contracting the virus and becoming unwell.

"We'll probably need to change the recommendation to get vaccinated earlier after having the first illness, let's say three months after a person has their first illness," Bernard Kaic told Dnevnik.hr.

"Those who have contracted and recovered from coronavirus should be vaccinated after being ill, regardless of whether they've been vaccinated before or not," said epidemiologist Bernard Kaic, who added that when it comes to Omicron, it appears much harder to remain uninfected.

Alemka Markotic, the director of Zagreb's ''Dr. Fran Mihaljevic'' Clinic for Infectious Diseases explained that the existing coronavirus vaccines don't offer protection against Omicron infection in a high percentage, but they do up to around 30 percent. They do however offer a far higher level of protection against serious clinical pictures requiring hospitalisation, and against death.

Alemka Markotic stated that two doses of the vaccine protect up to 65 and more percent, and the third booster offers protection over 80 to 90 percent - from more severe forms of illness and death.

''The unvaccinated are the reservoirs of new variants of the novel coronavirus, which dictate the development of the epidemic,'' explained Professor Vlahovicek.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

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