Friday, 15 January 2021

Vili Beros on Relaxing Measures in Croatia: Magic Number Is...

January 15, 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beros spoke about relaxing measures in Croatia on February 1 and the magic number needed to get there. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Headquarters has successfully avoided giving a heads up of when something will open or close.

However, Minister of Health Vili Beros knows best about what will open, when, and what we can hope for and revealed that magic number to RTL Direct on Thursday night.

The magic 14-day incidence rate is 300 per 100,000 inhabitants.

"More precisely, we are at 344 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over 14 days, so we are not below 300 yet. This is why our epidemiologists avoid this famous traffic light. Precisely because the number of newly infected is not the only parameter. It’s not the same if you open in the winter or summer, it’s not the same if you have a mutated virus in the environment, it is not the same if the incidence is different in the environment and it is growing in some neighboring countries. Therefore, there are a number of parameters," Beros said.

However, the main epidemiologist Krunoslav Capak stated that something would change when the number falls below 300.

"Insisting on a certain orientation number, it is around 300, but at the moment, caution is needed above all. This good epidemiological situation offers optimism, but it is also encouraging the path we must take. The situation in Europe is not good, the virus mutation is not good, all these are factors that we must take into account when deciding on relaxing measures," Beros said.

The question remains when the measures will be relaxed. This is of particular interest to parents whose children are athletes.

"We have been saying since the beginning that it is necessary to monitor the epidemiological situation from day to day and make decisions. Therefore, at this moment, I cannot say that we will relax measures on February 1. This will depend exclusively on the epidemiological situation and several other factors that will be relevant in those days. If we do relax measures, it will be gradual, at this moment, we still do not have an order," said Beros and added:

"We can say that this will be one of the first activities, especially if these activities take place outside, in conditions that are epidemiologically satisfactory."

Croatia has the biggest decline in the number of new infections in Europe.

"We always say that it takes some time for the measures to take effect. There is also the responsibility of citizens, which is extremely important, and I think they increasingly realize that it is a serious disease that leads to death. Responsible behavior of citizens, as well as measures, have yielded these results," the minister said.

Vaccination in many countries is not going according to plan.

"Given that we are a small country, not so economically powerful, it is fortunate that we are a member of the European Union. It is on the principles of solidarity and fairness that ECDC has determined the dose for all EU countries using the Eurostat methodology. There is no dose war. We have a large number at our disposal, but the problem is that running in production is not easy. All producers have this problem, and later when it develops, it is a bit easier," Beros said, adding:

"Basically, I've been talking about spring, but it's more realistic to expect herd immunity by summer because 70 percent of the population needs to be vaccinated for it."

He also explained the course of vaccination, i.e., when young people should be vaccinated.

"We have seven priority groups in our plan. The seventh group is younger people who do not have any health problems, and, realistically, they will start getting vaccinated at the end of March and the beginning of April," Beros told RTL.

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

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Minister Vili Beros: One Million Croats Vaccinated Before End of March?

January the 13th, 2021 - Could Croatia manage to vaccinate one million Croatian residents before the end of March? According to Health Minister Vili Beros, it's not only possible but deeply desired.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Health Minister Vili Beros said there was going to be no easing of any anti-epidemic measures as yet, adding that the epidemiological situation across Croatia was now better and that the pressure on the healthcare system, which has been terrible of late, was finally diminishing.

"I want to believe that this is the result of the responsibility of people, but it also showcases the full meaning of what our measures are. We must not do anything that would jeopardise these positive trends, especially if we look at the events going on in Croatia's surrounding countries, the so-called the third wave. This is the possible consequence of socialising more indoors during the festive period, and also with regard to the specific situation in Croatia, which are the tragic events in Sisak-Moslavina County. Circumstances there can contribute to the spread of the epidemic, so we must be careful,'' Minister Vili Beros warned to Dnevnik HTV.

Interest in the vaccine

When asked how satisfied he was with how vaccination is going in Croatia, he said that the government had done everything possible to provide the vaccine.

"There's a lot of interest in it, and more vaccines are needed. People have put their faith in science, in the profession, in medicine. We need to reach a vaccination rate of more than 70 percent, and I believe we'll achieve that. There are 17,550 doses of the Pfizer vaccine arriving per week, there'll be 264,000 doses by the end of March. Moderna's vaccine is coming today, and there'll be a total of 52,000 doses of that by the end of February, the good news is that AstraZeneca has made progress too and the EMA will approve the vaccine on January the 29th. It's realistically possible that we'll be able to vaccinate a million people in Croatia by the end of March,'' said Minister Vili Beros.

Minister Vili Beros said private healthcare workers will be vaccinated in late January and in early February. The priority in vaccination, he reiterated, are those most vulnerable people living in homes for the elderly, employees of the social welfare system and healthcare workers. In the second phase, those over 65 with chronic illness or underlying diseases will be vaccinated, and those younger than 65 will be vaccinated at the end of February and at the beginning of March, depending on the dynamics of vaccine delivery.

The conditions in the earthquake-stricken Sisak hospital...

He commented on the situation in the Sisak hospital, saying that when it comes to statics, technical elements, the profession must have its say first.

"Engineers are evaluating the situation in the Sisak hospital. The surgical building is safe, according to the profession, unlike other buildings,'' he said.

The coronavirus crisis has cost a lot, he pointed out and stated that more than 1.132 billion kuna was spent on testing, treatment and sick leave, 82 million kuna on special drugs, 420 million kuna on vaccines, equaling a total of 1.634 billion kuna.

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Monday, 11 January 2021

Minister Beros: Trends Positive, No Relaxation of Border Measures Yet

January the 11th, 2021 - Croatia’s epidemiological measures are improving, but Minister Beros isn’t about to relax anything yet, including the current border measures.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Krunoslav Capak stated that as far as the data for last Monday is concerned, when looked at on a weekly basis, there has been a 14.5 percent drop in Croatia’s infection rate. The current incidence is 366.4, the lowest is in Dubrovnik, and the highest is in Medjmurska.

Croatia’s 14 day incidence rate when compared to the EU puts the country in 14th place out of 27 EU countries. 1502.1 is the highest incidence and is in the Czech Republic.

Croatia is also in 20th place in terms of coronavirus related mortality in the European Union. 20.7 percent is the Croatian share of positives in terms of total testing, and 29,746 people were vaccinated before 19:00 yesterday.

Minister Beros said that Croatia is doing really well in recording positive epidemiological trends, the number of newly infected and hospitalised is now much smaller. These lower figures indicate the level of responsibility of Croatia’s residents, but they also speak of the scope of the country’s current anti-epidemic measures.

"By no means should we reverse this trend and realise the third wave that is now being talked about a lot and that is happening in the surrounding countries, which is the result of increased socialising. There is no way we can relax anything, there will be no measure loosening. An example that describes this very well is the American research which showed that over 50 percent of new coronavirus infections are in people who have been infected by asymptomatic carriers, that is why masks continue to be very important,’’ said Minister Beros.

When asked about the measures at the Croatian borders, Minister Davor Bozinovic said that the decision he will make on January the 15th, will be based on the situation in Croatia’s immediate region and environment, which is still not good.

"At the moment, we aren’t considering any relaxation of the currently valid border procedures," Bozinovic said briefly.

 For the latest on coronavirus in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

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.

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Cakovec Woman, 82, Dies of Heart Attack: Minister Beros - Unrelated to Vaccine

January 5, 2021 – Health Minister Vili Beroš stated that an older woman in Cakovec died of a heart attack the day after receiving the coronavirus vaccine. Beroš said she was negative for coronavirus and her death had nothing to do with the vaccine.

At today's press conference of the National Civil Protection Headquarters, Health Minister Vili Beroš said that an 82-year-old woman from a nursing home in Čakovec died on December 28, 2020, after receiving a coronavirus vaccine the day before. He explained the whole situation.

"After the vaccination on December 27, 2020 between 2 and 4 pm, the lady was checked and was in good condition. The next morning, on December 28, the epidemiologist checked her condition through the head nurse at the nursing home, which was also good. Sometime around 5 pm that day, the lady's clinical condition worsened. An ambulance was called, but the woman died an hour later in the nursing home," said Beroš.

According to the autopsy findings, the patient was negative for coronavirus. She died of cardiac decompensation, i.e., heart failure. The patient was a chronic patient. She had asthma and a probe, a tube that is inserted through the nose for feeding. The patient was lying down and could not walk.

Due to her health condition, especially asthma, the epidemiologist estimated that the person needed to be vaccinated, and she died of a heart attack a day later.

"The Commission in the Ministry of Health has not proven that the cause of death was related to vaccination. Suppose our most vulnerable people are vaccinated, which will sometimes mean patients with high comorbidity. In that case, it is always possible (as has already happened in the world and some neighboring countries) that someone will die without it being related to vaccination," Beroš said.

This event has been reported to the Agency for Medicines and Medical Devices HALMED, as a potential suspicious side effect and will be further evaluated. However, the Commission at the Ministry of Health considers that the patient's death is not related to the coronavirus vaccination.

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

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Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Civil Protection Headquarters Staff Get Vaccinated, Vili Beros Doesn't

January the 5th, 2021 - Croatia's Civil Protection Headquarters staff have received the coronavirus vaccination and have urged others to be responsible, Health Minister Vili Beros, however, did not have the vaccine, but has stated that he will do so as soon as his recently acquired immunity expires, so in three months.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, at the press conference of the Civil Protection Headquarters, in front of the cameras, the director of the Clinic for Infectious Diseases, Dr. Alemka Markotic, the director of the CNIPH Krunoslav Capak and Minister of the Interior Davor Bozinovic, received the new coronavirus vaccination, while Minister Vili Beros said that he wouldn't be getting vaccinated for now.

“I was in doubt about what to do myself because I got over the illness. My position is as follows, I'm absolutely in favour of vaccination. At this point I've acquired immunity. I don’t think it’s ethical for me to be vaccinated at the minute, I publicly promise to get vaccinated when my immunity passes within the next three months. I must mention that I'm not the only one who has overcome the disease. As for all of us who are three to six months from recovery from the disease, I don't think we should be vaccinated yet, but we should do so when our acquired immunity expires. I will get vaccinated when the profession says I should,” Minister Vili Beros said.

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Monday, 4 January 2021

Croatia Receives Another 17,550 Doses of COVID Vaccine

ZAGREB, 4 January, 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beros said on Monday that an additional 17,550 doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been delivered earlier in the day, and that 12,285 people had been vaccinated since Croatia started administering the vaccines against this infectious disease.

Beros said that a lower number of tests performed in the last few days could be ascribed to the fact that this was the period of Christmas and New Year holidays.

The minister expects more tests to be conducted as of mid-January.

As of the current stringent anti-COVID measures that are in place until 10 January, the minister said that their prolongation would depend on the epidemiological situation.

Croatia has registered 361 new coronavirus cases and 54 infection-related deaths in the last 24 hours, the national coronavirus response team said on Monday.

The number of active cases stands at 5,899 and 2,453 people are receiving hospital treatment, including 196 on ventilators.

With the 54 latest fatalities, the death toll has climbed to 4,126.

Since February 25, when the first case of infection was confirmed in the country, 213,319 people have been infected with the novel virus. A total of 203,294 have recovered, of whom 852 in the last 24 hours. Currently 16,865 people are in self-isolation.

A total of 1,035,076 people have been tested for coronavirus, including 2,985 in the last 24 hours.

Saturday, 2 January 2021

Health Minister for Reorganising, Adapting to New Circumstances After Quake

ZAGREB, 2 January, 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beros said on Saturday the ministry's task was to reorganise healthcare in the wider area hit by Tuesday's devastating earthquake, adding that it was necessary to adjust to the new circumstances and transfer patients to hospitals in Zagreb to "receive the adequate assistance."

Speaking to the press while visiting the Sisak General Hospital, which sustained extensive damage, Beros thanked its staff for receiving 32 patients and conducting over 90 checkups since the tremor.

Petrinja hospital temporarily unusable

The minister said "unfortunately... the building of the hospital in Petrinja is temporarily unusable and can't be made functional quickly in any way."

He said enough rapid antigen tests for coronavirus had arrived in the quake-struck area. "Over 1,500 vaccine doses have been ensured. Given that new doses are arriving on a weekly basis, it's certain that we will adapt to the new conditions and that as many doses as necessary will be reallocated for this county."

Beros said he did not expect everyone there to be vaccinated but that he would appeal that as many people as possible did to prevent the epidemic from spreading. He added that it took three to four weeks to acquire immunity, underlining the importance of vaccinating people as soon as possible.

Emergency medical aid containers set up

The minister said containers for emergency medical aid were set up in Petrinja because the local hospital was demolished.

"We are adapting to the circumstances. The ministry has instructed all health centres and family doctors to adapt to the new circumstances," he said, adding that medicines would be delivered to people with chronic diseases who lost their homes.

The director of the Petrinja hospital, Tomislav Dujmenovic, asked the contractors building a new hospital building to resume their work as soon as possible, saying the new building would solve all their problems.

Thursday, 31 December 2020

Beroš: Record Blood Donations Yesterday, Over 1000 Vaccine Doses for Petrinja

December 31, 2020 – Health Minister Vili Beroš commented on the record blood donations collected in Petrova Hospital in Zagreb yesterday and coronavirus vaccine doses sent to the quake-affected area.

As N1 reports, in front of the Dubrava Hospital, where some COVID positive patients arrived from the earthquake-affected area, Health Minister Vili Beroš commented on patients' situation after the earthquake.

Record blood doses after 1995

"This morning, I received information from the Croatian Institute for Transfusion Medicine that yesterday, a record number of blood doses was collected in Zagreb's Petrova Hospital, over 750 doses. The last time we had a similar turnout was August 5, 1995, the beginning of the Storm war operation. This shows the consciousness of the Croatian people," said Beroš.

"From a health point of view, this is a challenge. We want to provide health care to everyone. Given that most health facilities have been severely damaged, I believe we will respond adequately. As much as 90 percent of the Sisak hospital is out of order, so we have to adjust the health system and provide health care to the entire surrounding area," said Beroš.

He pointed out that many health centers are out of order. He also revealed that the Health Ministry sends about a thousand doses of vaccine to the affected area.

'Virus is still here'

"On Saturday, a team of epidemiologists from the Croatian Institute for Public Health will vaccinate all people who are in collective accommodation, emergency workers, and emergency services who are in the area and who will be there for three weeks, including all members of civil protection. Plans exist to adapt to the situation. Epidemiologists will estimate the situation and see how many vaccines are still needed. We are sending more than 1000 doses," said Beroš.

The Minister pointed out that there are enough reserves of protective equipment. He also said that the problem of drug delivery would be solved. Rapid antigen tests are being conducted among nursing home users in the area to find out if there are infections in collective accommodation.

"After the earthquake, Minister Aladrović contacted me. They enabled the accommodation for nursing home users from Petrinja in the Popovača Hospital and other places. There are positive cases among the users, so we are looking for accommodation for them with the county authorities. We still have to stick to measures, masks, distances, disinfection. The virus is still there. These circumstances favor its spread," said Beroš.

The Minister stressed that all health professionals with COVID patients must receive the promised money for the reward.

For more on the Petrinja earthquake, please follow our dedicated section.

Monday, 21 December 2020

Beros: COVID Crisis Has Cost Health System HRK 927.4 mn

ZAGREB, Dec 21, 2020 - Health Minister Vili Beros said on Monday that the COVID crisis had so far cost the health system HRK 927.4 million.

Data show that by December 18, HRK 574.4 million was spent on testing, HRK 268.9 million on treatment and more than HRK 83 million on sick leaves, Beros said at the national COVID-19 crisis management team's press conference.

He also said that a meeting was being held at the Health Ministry with drug wholesalers regarding the health system's debt to them.

Beros said that the number of new COVID-19 infections had started dropping.

The average number of services provided in all health institutions in Croatia is at 67.21% compared to the second week of December 2019.

"These are encouraging data as they show that despite the burden of COVID-19 positive patients we are finding ways, strength and opportunities to respond to other needs, especially in oncology," Beros said.

Despite the fact that the health system has completely adapted to COVID patients, the number of services provided in Zagreb's hospitals is at 74% compared to the second week of December last  year, and only the KB Dubrava hospital, which is completely focused on treating coronavirus patients, has provided 11% of other services.

Other patients using KB Dubrava's services, 3,993 of them, have been sent to other health institutions via the call centre, Beros said.

He added that there were also institutions like the Magdalena Clinic which is at 119% of provided services due to taking over some of KB Dubrava's cardiac surgery patients.

Beros said there would be no changes regarding the realisation of the right of health workers to a full salary after getting infected with COVID.

He said that all those who had got infected at work would receive 100% of their salary, but they have to ask their employer for confirmation.

(€1= HRK 7.5)

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