Friday, 30 July 2021

COVID-19 Response Team: Share of Infections with Delta Coronavirus Variant Rising

ZAGREB, 30 July 2021- The results of the latest sequencing of samples sent on 20 July show that 13% of the samples were infected with the Alpha coronavirus variant while 84% were infected with the Delta variant, meaning that the share of the new variant in Croatia has continued to grow, the COVID-19 response team has said.

Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Friday that according to the latest map of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Croatia remained in the orange zone, recording the smallest daily increase in infections in relation to its competition.

"That fact strengthens our status as the safest tourist destination. That gives us reason for satisfaction, but we must remain cautious," he said.

There are over one million tourists in Croatia, which carries an increased risk of disease transmission, the minister said, calling for compliance with restrictions and for vaccination.

He again called on elderly citizens to get vaccinated, noting that mobile teams had been formed to visit elderly people at home and remind them of the importance of getting vaccinated.

Asked if vaccination would be made obligatory for some sectors, Beroš said that that was not likely at the moment and that what prevailed was the proposal for the smart use of COVID-19 certificates to enable work also for people who had not been vaccinated.

Claim for damages over infection, death during hospital treatment

The minister said that for the time being there were no lawsuits against medical institutions over infection with COVID-19 during hospital treatment but he confirmed that a claim for damages had been filed against the KBC Zagreb hospital by a family who believed that their member had died in hospital infected with COVID-19.

KBC Zagreb officials have said that COVID-19 restrictions and professional rules are complied with at the hospital.

"As for whether lawsuits can be expected, probably yes. I can only repeat that since the start of the pandemic we have acted in line with recommendations by the public health institute for safe work in hospitals," the minister said.

Official: Vaccinated people can transmit infection, should wear masks until vaccination rate is high 

Reporters asked the head of Zagreb's "Dr. Fran Mihaljević" hospital for infectious diseases, Alemka Markotić, to explain research showing that people who have been vaccinated can spread infection with the Delta coronavirus variant equally fast as people who have not been immunised.

She said that this was not unusual as a person who had been vaccinated was protecting themselves but could carry the virus, which was why experts remained cautious and were not saying that those who had been vaccinated should no longer wear masks.

Public Health Institute (HZJZ) head Krunoslav Capak said that epidemiological rules for the 5 August commemoration of Operation Storm had still not been defined and that they would be known on Monday, and as for the Alka tournament in Sinj, he said that a proposal had been made for participants to have COVID-19 certificates and for the number of attendees to be half the envisaged seating capacity.

The COVID-19 response team will hold its next news conference in three weeks' time, on the condition there are no extraordinary situations.

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Plenković: I Believe in Social Agreement Between State and Citizens on Vaccination

ZAGREB, 15 July 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday he believed a social deal would be reached between the state and citizens on vaccination against COVID-19, calling on everyone who can get vaccinated to do so for the benefit of all and stressing that the "tool" for that has been ensured - the vaccine.

In an interview with the HRT public broadcaster, Plenković stressed the goal of vaccination was to gain collective immunity against COVID-19, recalled the government had provided enough vaccines, and congratulated everyone who had been vaccinated, with the percentage of vaccinated people in the adult population now standing at 46.3%.

The prime minister believes the agreement reached with employers would be implemented and that up to 70% of those employed in companies that will apply for business support due to the consequences of the pandemic would get vaccinated.

Earlier on Wednesday, cabinet ministers and social partners held the second round of negotiations at which it was proposed that businesses, where over 70% of workers have been vaccinated against COVID, would get payments for all workers, while those with lower percentages would get payments proportionate to the number of workers with COVID certificates.

PM Plenković appealed for common sense to prevail and solidarity so that all get vaccinated except those who cannot for medical reasons.

Railways - the largest investment

Talking about Croatia's National Recovery and Resilience Plan, the prime minister said no one, including Europe, was imposing reforms on us, but we knew ourselves that we had to carry them out.

He recalled that in addition to COVID, which hit the entire world, Croatia had four times more costs due to the 2020 earthquakes. Plenković explained that was why the entire National Recovery and Resilience Plan was based on the government's program and the national strategy, the key components of which were the economy, investments in all sectors guided by the logic of green and digital transformation and transition.

As for the announcement about the creation of 100,000 new jobs, the prime minister stressed we would achieve that in the sectors where we wanted - in the ICT sector, which was achieving phenomenal results in Croatia, with or mostly without the state, but also in traditional, tertiary industries, such as hospitality and tourism, which were yet to experience real recovery and investments.

Plenković recalled a huge step forward had also been taken in the energy sector and transport infrastructure so now, he said, we only had to make investments in the railway.

On 1 July, the Plenković cabinet adopted a document on the modernization and restructuring of the railway sector, which contains the main reform elements and presents an action plan for the reform of the railway sector. Croatia plans to invest about HRK 33 billion in upgrading the rail sector until 2030.

Status of Bosnia and Herzegovina Croats

Commenting on recent statements by President Zoran Milanović on the status of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the prime minister said there was nothing new in them.

Because, he recalled, the position of the government and the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) has been for years that Croats, as one of the three constituent peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina, must be equal, and the Dayton-Paris peace agreement must be respected.

He recalled that issue had existed since 2006 when Bosniaks elected a member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina for Croats on the territory of the Federation entity, and that unfavorable "electoral engineering" had unfortunately been repeated several times since, the last time in 2018.

For more on Croatian politics, both local and national, make sure to bookmark our dedicated politics section and stay in the loop.

Sunday, 11 July 2021

80% Vaccination Rate in Rovinj Untrue

July 11, 2021 - The 80% vaccination rate in Rovinj, which Health Minister Vili Beroš communicated, has turned out to be untrue. 

While it is undeniable that vaccinating as many people as possible is the most effective measure in the fight against COVID-19, it would be equally good if the public were treated with accurate figures rather than arbitrary calculations by individuals. Likewise, in an organized state, at least the Minister of Health could be expected to present correct information and not present unverified facts to the public, reports Glas Istre.

This is exactly what Minister of Health Vili Beroš did a few days ago when he stated at a press conference that Rovinj is the Croatian record holder in vaccinations and that 80 percent of the city's population has been vaccinated so far. Beroš reiterated the information that appeared on some portals, which was created by a wrong calculation of the figure released to the public at the end of June by the Office of the Mayor of Rovinj, Marko Paliaga.

That release states the following:

"While in most other parts of Croatia, there has been a decline in citizens' response to vaccinations, the situation in the City of Rovinj is more than satisfactory. According to the Rovinj Branch of the Istrian Health Centers, from 11 February 2021 to 24 June 2021, 11,414 citizens were vaccinated at the Rovinj Branch, of which 2,056 at the Health Center and 9,358 at the Valbruna Hall. We also learn from the head of the Branch Office, Dr. Corinne Pellizzer Lanča, that 6,853 received the first dose, while a total of 4,561 people were vaccinated with both doses."

According to the last census, Rovinj has about 14,500 inhabitants, and 11,414 citizens correspond to 80 percent of those vaccinated. However, Mayor Marko Paliaga himself told Glas Istre that he did not know where Minister Beroš got this number because they did not communicate 80 percent vaccinated. Paliaga also confirmed that 11,414 citizens include residents of surrounding municipalities such as Bale and Kanfanar that were vaccinated in Rovinj. Also, it is clear from these figures that so far, only about 4,500 people have been vaccinated with two doses, which is about a third of Rovinj's population. Still, even here, it should be considered that some of those vaccinated are probably from the surrounding municipalities. It is also unknown whether the 6,853 people who received the first dose and 4,561 the second dose are counted or are only people who received only one dose and will be vaccinated with the second dose in the next few months. In that case, the number could indeed reach 11,414 vaccinated citizens, but again, even that number will not include only Rovinj residents.

Regardless of this misinterpretation of figures, it remains an indisputable fact that Rovinj is very successful when it comes to the vaccinated population and that the citizens of this city are aware of how much vaccination means for a successful tourist season in Rovinj, which is the most visited city on the Croatian coast. The only pity is that people at the top of the government who spread unverified figures do not have the same responsibility, thus distrusting those citizens who have not yet been vaccinated.

Dr. Jasna Valić from the Istrian Teaching Institute for Public Health told Glas Istre that they do not have accurate data for Rovinj because they are under the jurisdiction of the local branch of the Istrian Health Centers, but confirmed that 48 percent of the total population in Istria was vaccinated with just one dose. In comparison, 37 percent of the total population received two doses or 31 percent of the adult population. Jasna Valić emphasized that it is easily possible that there was confusion about vaccinations because they are dealing with a lot of different numbers.

"It is not surprising that there was a misunderstanding because there are too many numbers in the game. First, you have to count on those who have gotten over Covid. Then some of them have already been vaccinated, so you have those vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson for whom one dose is enough and then those who are vaccinated with two doses. However, I think it is clear to everyone that the only thing that matters is that we are vaccinated as much as possible because that is the only way to return to normal life," said Dr. Jasna Valić. In contrast, Rovinj Mayor Marko Paliaga says that he is still delighted with the vaccination process in Rovinj despite this misunderstanding.

"The men and women of Rovinj have once again shown a great degree of responsibility and care for the protection of their health and the health of others. This is also one of the key reasons Istria records a far better epidemiological situation than the rest of Croatia. Vaccination is currently the only way out of this situation and the only way we can stop the spread of the virus. I would like to remind you that in some countries with a high vaccination rate, almost all restrictions, including the obligation to wear masks, have been lifted. Therefore, I hope that we will soon achieve mass immunity that will allow us to repeal all or most of the measures that are currently still in force," said Paliaga.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border, and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of vaccination points and testing centers across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Minister Pushes for Higher Vaccination Rate, Says Croatia Can't Afford New Lockdown

ZAGREB, 8 July 2021 - Labour Minister Josip Aladrović said on Thursday that Croatia cannot afford a new lockdown because that would additionally burden the budget and economy, stressing that the time has come to separate responsible people from irresponsible ones but also to find a way to motivate citizens to be inoculated.

"We cannot afford a new lockdown scenario and limited economic activities because that would additionally exhaust the state budget and additionally burden our economy. In those cases, which we wish to avoid with our measures, we could bring into question the forecast of economic growth, we have planned," Aladrović told reporters in Parliament House.

He noted that Croatia has been struggling with the coronavirus pandemic for 16 months and that now it is "time to separate the responsible from the irresponsible, to stimulate responsible employers and workers."

COVID certificates - third criteria to receive govt support 

He underscored that during talks with unions and employers, the ruling majority proposed that, in addition to a decrease in revenue, and the exposure of certain sectors, third criteria should be introduced to receive COVID support, and that would be a COVID certificate. Talks in that regard will continue next week.

"In that way, we will preserve health and protect the economy. We should not neglect the fact that we are in the tourism season. We are now reaching the peak of the season and our tourism season depends on the responsibility of all Croatian citizens, and in particular, those working in the service sector, as potentially, does our future and our economy," claimed Aladrovič.

A current issue being discussed with social partners refers to 100,000 workers who are eligible for COVID grants, recalling that in April last year, during the lockdown, as many as 600,000 workers were eligible for support measures.

These are the risks we wish to eliminate in this way, said Aladrović, convinced that a consensus will be reached with social partners about the grant eligibility criteria and vaccination.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Prime Minister Says Rise in First-dose COVID Vaccinations Encouraging

ZAGREB, 8 July 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday there was a certain increase in the number of people vaccinated against COVID-19 with the first dose, including 8,000 yesterday, which he said was encouraging.

"It's evident that our topics from the last government session have encouraged a certain number of our fellow citizens to be vaccinated," he said at a cabinet meeting, a week after he said that the government would make job-keeping payments conditional on worker vaccination.

Any minority should feel safe and free

Plenković also said that "members of minorities, any minority, sexual, ethnic, should feel safe and free."

He added that some politicians in Croatia still did not realize that minority rights were not a privilege but a guarantee of equality.

"In Croatia, minority rights are a constitutional and legal category, and I insist that they are not to be tolerated but honored," Plenković said, adding that he considered attacks on the LGBT community a hate crime. "We don't want that, we don't agree with that."

He also condemned the hate leveled at MPs of the Bridge party, saying it was unacceptable.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Monday, 5 July 2021

Split Singer Ursula Najev Refuses to Hold Concerts under Current Anti-COVID Rules

5 July, 2021 - Split singer Ursula Najev had to postpone and then cancel her concert series because of organisational difficulties arising from anti-COVID regulations. She posted a statement on her social media outlets that is causing quite a stir.

We are heading towards the middle of a very interesting summer. On one hand, tourist mubers are rising leading to a glimpse of optimism from many in Croatia. On the other, we are seeing increased tensions in the expectation of a potential new wave of infections. The dreaded delta strain of the COVID19 virus is in everyone's minds. The government is trying to disable the spread of the virus by imposing various restrictions. They are also trying to put pressure on those still not vaccinated to do so.

Protest against Aggressive Measures

Media statements by Split performing artist Ursula Najev have grabbed many people's attention. After spending years preparing her concert program „For Amy“, Ursula Najev had to cancel her performance on the Split Riva. The concert was scheduled for tomorrow. After the organisers switched venues and dates of subsequent perfomances because of related restrictions, they eventually cancelled the entire series. The singer spoke out over her social media outlets claiming she refuses to perform under the current conditions.

She claims discriminating against those not vaccinated and forcing people to pay for very expensive PCR tests in order to attend a performance is unethical. In fact, she compared singing in a concert like that to performing at Hitler's wedding. As Index.hr reports, Najev wrote she refuses to organise a concert her family members will not be able to attend. She went on to make a very compelling point by referring to government ideas on offering citizens free theatre or cultural events' tickets as a vaccination incentive. Instead, she proposes the government uses food and beverage vouchers as Croatians are rarely attending cultural events as it is.

Regardless of whether or not you agree with Split based singer, her public statement does raise awareness on massive problems facing performance artists in Croatia. Culture and art were difficult fields to make a living in even before the COVID pandemic. In the past year and a half very little was done to try and alleviate the financial problems of people whose sector is one of the most brutally hit by the pandemic restrictions.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and choose your preferred language.

For more news like this, follow our lifestyle section

 

Friday, 25 June 2021

Over a Million Fully Vaccinated Croatians

25 June 2021 – The number of fully vaccinated Croatians rose over 1 million. This means over 30% of adults in Croatia have received all the necessary doses of the vaccine.

The anti-COVID19 vaccination rush started a few months ago in Croatia. During winter some rather unpleasant truths surfaced as to how the distribution of vaccines among EU countries works. Along with the inability of AstraZeneca to deliver the vaccine in a timely manner, it seems Croatia was not getting its fair share of those that arrived in the EU, especially when compared to some richer countries of the union. The situation did change for the better. In the last few months, Croatian vaccination efforts have been progressing steadily.

Tportal.hr quoted Prime Minister Plenkovic's tweet from this morning in which he boasts good vaccination numbers. He announced Croatia surpassed one million fully vaccinated citizens. He also urged Croatians to continue with the positive trend and enter autumn and winter fully protected.

Promising Numbers

Official data by the Croatian Institute of Public Health say 1.020.266 persons are now fully vaccinated. Out of them, 1.000.279 have received both doses of Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca vaccines. 19.281 persons have received one (and only) dose of the Jannsen vaccine. If you think one million people is not a big number, you are forgetting the size of Croatia. These numbers mean 30,4% of the adult population of the country is now been fully vaccinated. This is not a bad result, especially when all the problems from the start of the vaccination process are considered.

Croatian Institute of Public Health is calling upon citizens to continue showing up for available vaccination appointments. They are also urging older citizens to show up a bit early and limit the amount of time they will have to wait in the heat. Bringing water, something to eat and preferably a sun umbrella is also a good idea.

As the fight against COVID19 continues, Croatians are hoping these numbers continue rising and the rest of the summer brings enough tourism revenue to ensure a more peaceful winter.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia check out our COVID-19 section and select your language.

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Croatia Logs 96 New COVID Cases, 8 Deaths

ZAGREB, 15 June (Hina) - In the past 24 hours, Croatia has logged 96 new COVID cases after conducting 5,924 tests, and eight infected persons have died, the national COVID response team reported on Tuesday.

Currently, there are 767 active cases in the country, including 372 hospitalised patients, of whom 28 are on ventilators, and 5,352 people are in self-isolation.

To date, there have been a total of 358,677 registered cases of the contagion, 8,160 people have died as a consequence while 349,750 have recovered.

A total of 2,086,716 people have been tested for the virus to date, including 5,924 in the past 24 hours.

As of 14 June, a total of 2,164,874 doses of vaccines have been administered, with 1,419,924 people receiving at least one dose and 744,950 people receiving both vaccine doses.

For more about COVID-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 12 June 2021

New Vaccine Rules in Croatia for EU Citizens: No More Waiting 14 Days After Second Dose

June 12, 2021 - In case you missed it, the vaccine rules in Croatia changed on Friday as well, and waiting 14 days after your second dose is no longer needed to cross the Croatian border for EU citizens.

The Croatian Civil Protection Headquarters decided on Friday on the temporary prohibition and restriction of border crossings and thus changed the border crossing measures for citizens of European Union countries, i.e., countries and/or regions of the Schengen area and countries associated with the Schengen area, reports HRTurizam.

The new decision will allow entry to the Republic of Croatia for people coming from the Schengen area, who are vaccinated with two doses of vaccine, as soon as they are vaccinated with the second dose, and will not have to wait 14 days.

With the new decision, cafes can now work up to midnight, but still only outdoors, not indoors.

"This is primarily about the working hours of catering facilities, but also other activities that have so far been limited to 11 pm. From tonight, midnight on June 12, they will be able to work up to midnight. This includes catering facilities, bakeries, casinos, slot machine clubs. This also applies to public events, gatherings, and manifestations," said Davor Bozinovic.

It was pointed out at the press conference that the Council's recommendation would be that Covid recovery is recognized plus one vaccine dose for Covid confirmation to be obtained. For European confirmation, it is a PCR test and one dose, and in Croatia, it can be an antigen test plus one dose.

More than 2 million doses of vaccine have been used.

On Thursday, June 10, 2021, 55,960 doses of vaccine were used, of which 16,250 were the first doses. Thus, the total number of vaccine doses used reached 2.04 million, while 1.39 million people were vaccinated with at least one dose.

The highest coverage of vaccinated with the first dose was achieved in the City of Zagreb (40.2% of the total population, or 48.8% of the adult population), and the completed vaccination was achieved in the highest coverage in Sisak-Moslavina County (22.3% of the total, ie 26, 8% of the adult population).

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border, and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of vaccination points and testing centers across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Thursday, 10 June 2021

PM: Get Vaccinated So We Can Lift Epidemiological Restrictions

ZAGREB, 10 June 2021 - PM Andrej Plenković said on Thursday that vaccination against COVID-19 with the first shot had slowed down due to a decline in citizens' interest and he called on them to get immunized so that a vaccination rate of 50% could be achieved by the end of June and the remaining anti-epidemic measures lifted. 

"I urge once again those who have not done it yet not to hesitate. That is the only way to completely get back to how we used to live because the first dose already provides effective protection against serious forms of the disease," he said at a government session.

He noted that positive epidemiological trends were continuing, with the seven-day incidence having been restored to the level of 10 months ago, which, he said, is owing to a growing number of people who have been vaccinated and those who have acquired immunity, as well as owing to warmer weather and responsible behavior.

He warned, however, that of the adult population, 40.8% had been vaccinated with at least one dose even though enough doses had been secured for the percentage to be much higher.

"We should not stand by and watch countries that were less successful than us in the fight against COVID-19 become more successful in vaccination. By getting vaccinated we are protecting not only our health and lives but also our economy, jobs, salaries, freedom, and the right to a normal life," he stressed.

It is important to vaccinate the planned 50% of adults by the end of June so that epidemiological restrictions could continue to be eased. If that is not done, the tourist season will be at risk, which means additional losses for our economy, he warned.

"We cannot afford that luxury. In addition to the pandemic, Croatia was hit by two earthquakes and that has cost us as much as four pandemics. That situation is specific and that is why the economy must return to the path of continual growth and recovery," Plenković said.

He particularly called on young people to set an example to others, be brave, trust science, and get vaccinated.

Plenković also recalled his meeting with representatives of associations for the protection of domestic violence victims, which was held on Wednesday to acquaint those associations with the planned changes to the Penal Code to be discussed by the government today.

The changes envisage the ex officio prosecution of sexual harassment as well as the prosecution of revenge porn, which is the distribution of sexually explicit images or videos of individuals without their consent, made by a partner in an intimate relationship. They also envisage stronger protection of children and vulnerable groups.

The government also plans to amend the Domestic Violence Act.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border, and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of testing centers and vaccination points across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and choose your preferred language.

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