Thursday, 2 December 2021

Minister Says Number of New Infections Down Compared to Last Week

ZAGREB, 2 Dec 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš said at a government session on Thursday that the number of new coronavirus infections was down 14.5% from the previous week and that the number of hospitalizations was also slightly smaller even though pressure on the health system was still significant.

The test positivity rate in the past 24 hours was 38.35%, a drop of 14.5% compared to last week and 26.5% compared to two weeks ago.

A total of 2,391 people are hospitalized, which is a slight decrease in the number of hospitalizations. In the past 24 hours, 30 people were put on ventilators and 24 of them are unvaccinated, said Beroš.

Despite the decline in the number of infections, hospitals are still under strain and the situation is most difficult in the northwest of Croatia, in the hospitals in Zabok, Varaždin, Čakovec and Koprivnica, where nurses and ventilators from other health institutions are being sent.

"The capacity for the admission of COVID-19 patients keeps increasing, and over the past month, the number of beds for those patients was increased from 2,253 to 3,580, which is currently insufficient. The number of hospitalizations in that period grew by 85%, from 1,330 to 2,545," he said.

As for the new coronavirus variant Omicron, the minister said that it was considered more dangerous because it had twice as many mutations as the Delta variant. However, experts note that vaccines continue to provide a high degree of protection from severe clinical symptoms and hospitalization, he said.

A total of 209,000 people have received the third vaccine dose so far.

As for vaccination with the first and second doses, one should strive to achieve the vaccination rate of Zagreb (75%), with the 70-74 age group having the highest vaccination rate, with 90% having received at least one shot.

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Saturday, 27 November 2021

New Coronavirus Strain: Vili Beroš Blames Unvaccinated

November 27, 2021 - A new coronavirus strain was detected this week in South Africa. Referred to by the WHO as ''Omicron'', it is highly infectious and may have already reached Europe. Minister Beroš addressed the media to update on the situation in Croatia and focused the blame on the unvaccinated.

Minister of Health Vili Beroš sent a statement to the media about a new coronavirus strain that has started to spread and which the WHO called Omicron, reports

"We are monitoring the situation in the world and in Europe. We are in constant communication with all relevant departments in order to be maximally prepared for a new strain of the virus.

At this time, the final effect of these 30 mutations on the spike complex of the virus is still unknown, ie whether it represents an improved version of the delta virus in terms of infectivity and level of resistance to the vaccine.

The announcement of pharmaceutical companies, known from before, promises that they can adapt the vaccine in a shorter time.

But let's not forget, basic epidemiological measures are also effective against this virus: distance, masks, disinfection, ventilation, and avoidance of gathering! And against new mutations - vaccination!

It was a large pool of unvaccinated that gave life to a new strain of the virus. We’re smarter than that, it’s not too late to turn around! Let's listen to the profession, respect epidemiological measures, and get vaccinated", concluded Beroš.

In the last 24 hours 5,502 coronavirus cases and 51 COVID-19 deaths have been registered in Croatia, the national crisis management team said on Saturday.

There are 34,553 active cases, including 2,506 hospitalized patients, of whom 324 are on ventilators, while 28,272 persons are self-isolating.

To date, 3,424,751 persons have been tested for the virus, including 13,372 in the last 24 hours.

Croatia has registered 599,977 coronavirus cases to date as well as 10,695 related deaths and 554,729 recoveries, of which 5,629 in the last 24 hours.

To date, 53.43% of the total population has been vaccinated against COVID-19, including 63.77% of adults, 56.85% of whom have completed vaccination.

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Saturday, 6 November 2021

Minister Says Croatia at Peak of 4th Wave of Pandemic

ZAGREB, 6 Nov 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš told the national radio (HR) on Saturday morning that over 7,000 new cases of the infection with coronavirus had been registered in the last 24 hours.

Croatia is now at the peak of the new wave of the pandemic and unfortunately, today we have registered over 7,000 new cases.

The minister declined to predict the scenarios for the future.

Let us do our best, and the best thing is to get vaccinated and comply with the basic anti-epidemic measures, said Beroš.

He said that the hospitals were not under strain such was the case in the previous waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He called for responsible behavior of all so as to prevent an excessive burden on the healthcare system.

Vaccination reduces possible reservoirs for the virus, he said, reiterating the benefits of immunization such as fewer chances of getting seriously ill.

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

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Beroš Announces Wider Use of COVID Certificates

ZAGREB, 4 Nov 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš announced on Thursday that the national COVID-19 crisis management team would introduce a new package of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus, including wider use of COVID certificates, but there would not be a new lockdown.

"We are completely clear that we must react. A new package of measures is being hammered out and it will be presented at a press conference tomorrow. Epidemiologists will this time again put forward measures which will be agreed on with the goal of preventing the spread of the infection, a further rise in the number of new cases, and ensuring the stability of the health system," Beroš told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

He confirmed that the new measures included a wider use of COVID certificates, although he "certainly hopes that we wouldn't need a COVID certificate to go for a coffee or to a shopping center".

"There are a number of other measures with which we can try to prevent the further spread of the virus. We'll see everything tomorrow," said Beroš, noting that the new measures sought to strike a balance between restrictions and normal life.

He underscored that the citizens who had been vaccinated had been taken into account in the new package of measures.

"There cannot be a new lockdown. Those who are truly protected, those who have recovered from the infection and been vaccinated, we cannot restrict their lives," Beroš said.

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

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Thursday, 4 November 2021

Beroš: Statements by Individuals About Deterioration of Health System Untrue

ZAGREB, 4 Nov 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Thursday that statements by individuals about the deterioration of the health system were not true and that all COVID and non-COVID patients were being taken care of without delay.

"I wish to appeal to the media that statements by individuals about the deterioration of the health system are simply not true. Indeed, large resources are being redirected towards the treatment of COVID patients, which could have been avoided by timely vaccination. However, all COVID and non-COVID patients are being taken care of without delay," Beroš told a cabinet meeting.

National COVID-19 response team considering a possible new set of measures

The head of the national COVID-19 response team, Interior Minister Davor Božinović, said that they were considering a possible new set of measures to contain the spread of the virus. He said that interdepartmental talks were ongoing and that the public would be informed of any new measures in due course.

Beroš said that today's number of 6,310 new cases in Croatia was by far the largest daily number recorded to date.

"The causes of this surge lie in ourselves alone, in our refusal to comply with the basic epidemiological measures, and in our insufficient awareness of the benefits of vaccination," Beroš said.

7 in 10 new cases and 8 in 10 patients on ventilators unvaccinated

He said that the test positivity rate was 43.90 percent, and 233 infected people had been hospitalized in the 24 hours alone. In the past week, of the total number of new cases, 72.8 percent were not vaccinated, and 77.2 percent of the patients on ventilators were not vaccinated, he warned.

"However, the newly-awakened interest among citizens in getting vaccinated is encouraging. As many as 14,379 persons were vaccinated yesterday, the largest number in a single day to date," the health minister said.

Beroš said that 29,627 people had so far received a booster shot against COVID-19, adding that three percent of children aged 12-14 and 18.6 percent of young people aged 15-19 had been vaccinated to date.

"Insufficient compliance with the epidemiological measures and refusal to get vaccinated are the main causes of the rapid spread of the virus. We are seeing consequences at all levels of the health system," Beroš warned and once again appealed to citizens to get vaccinated.

He said that the ministry had instructed local coronavirus response teams to ensure additional capacities for medical treatment in their counties.

Božinović said that 11,578 inspections had been carried out in the past week to check compliance with the epidemiological measures. He said that the irregularities mostly concerned the provision of catering services after midnight and failure to wear face masks and maintain a physical distance in enclosed spaces. He said that 27 infringement notices, 176 written warnings, 14 oral warnings, and 17 fines had been issued in that regard.

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

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Thursday, 28 October 2021

Hospitals Mobilised Due to Rise in COVID Cases, Says Health Minister

ZAGREB, 28 Oct 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Thursday 33.77% of coronavirus tests were positive and that hospitals would be additionally mobilized, including the reopening of the Arena Zagreb center for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting, Beroš said 74.5% of those infected and 75% of those hospitalized over the past week had not been vaccinated, and that among today's new cases 27% were under 20 and 60% were aged 20-40.

"The health system is preparing for new, additional burdens," he said, adding that experts of the Health Ministry's crisis management team concluded yesterday that it was necessary to increase the number of beds and intensive care units in Zagreb.

The ministry has instructed county civil protection teams and health centers to reopen COVID departments to relieve the pressure on hospitals.

Beroš said there was increased interest in vaccination, with 3,790 more people receiving the first dose in the first three days of this week than last week.

He said 56% of adults and over 88% of doctors have been vaccinated and urged everyone, notably the elderly, to get vaccinated. More than 14,000 persons have received a booster shot, he added.

The head of the national COVID-19 crisis management team, Interior Minister Davor Božinović, said the increase in new cases showed that people did not comply with COVID rules as much as they should.

That is why police, civil protection, and state inspectors will step up the monitoring of compliance in public transport, hospitality establishments, shopping centers, and at public gatherings, including weddings, he added.

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

Monday, 25 October 2021

Health Minister: One Dose of Blood Can Save as Many as Three Lives

ZAGREB, 25 Oct 2021 - One dose of donated blood can help save as many as three lives, Health Minister Vili Beroš said in a message on Monday marking the National Voluntary Blood Donors Day, observed on 25 October.

"One dose of your blood can save as many as three lives. The Blood Donors Day is an opportunity to thank all those who have made this noble gesture and invite others to do the same. A big thank-you to the Croatian Red Cross for its commitment, for encouraging citizens to donate blood, and for saving lives on a daily basis," Beroš said on Twitter.

The Croatian Red Cross (HCK) also congratulated the blood donors, saying that they are "a true value of this society" and thanking them for saving people's lives.

The HCK brings together the largest number of blood donors in Croatia, meeting 80 percent of the healthcare sector's demand for blood donations. It said that despite the coronavirus pandemic, it managed to collect 142,265 doses of blood, of the total of 176,938 doses collected in Croatia last year.

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Friday, 22 October 2021

European Commissioner Urges Croatians to Get Vaccinated

ZAGREB, 22 Oct 2021 - European Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides visited a COVID-19 vaccination point in Zagreb on Friday with Health Minister Vili Beroš, telling Croatian citizens to get vaccinated and listen to scientists' messages, not messages on social media.

Get vaccinated to protect yourselves, your fellow citizens and so that hospitals are not full of patients again. That's a very clear message, based on science and the reality we know. Listen to scientists, not experts on social media, Kyriakides said.

We are not in the same situation as in 2020. Today we have a safe and effective vaccine which was approved for use in the EU. We have enough vaccines, but we must go forward. We don't want to have a pandemic of the unvaccinated, she added.

Croatia has vaccinated about 55% of its adult population against coronavirus. It must accelerate it because in the EU we have more than 75% of the population fully vaccinated. That's why it's necessary to accelerate vaccination as much as possible so that we don't have areas in the EU that are still unprotected, she said.

Minister Beroš commented on a letter by five members of the government's Scientific Council who distanced themselves from statements made by Council member Gordan Lauc.

He said that when members of a scientific forum individually commented on "expertly established facts" on social media, contrary to the forum's clearly stated views, such commenting "is damaging."

Beroš added that he said yesterday all he had to say about Lauc and the Council and that, as far as he knew, most Council members wanted to continue to be part in it.

They don't intend to leave the Council as that would send a bad message of inconsistency, he added.

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Thursday, 21 October 2021

Beroš: Some Scientific Council Members Do Harm But Have Right to Their Opinion

ZAGREB, 21 Oct 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš on Thursday criticized comments by a member of the government's Scientific Council, Gordan Lauc, related to vaccination, saying that Council members should send a clear message and be aware that their opinions could be harmful.

Beroš added, however, that Lauc has the right to his own opinion.

"It is bad when everyone has the same opinion. That would show that we made a mistake somewhere. But I am critical of what is made public. I appeal for that to not be the case and that everyone who participates in the Scientific Council be aware that by presenting their opinion on social networks they could be doing harm," Beroš told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

He underscored that that is why he personally appealed to members of the Council to send clear messages and not to confuse citizens.

Commenting on Lauc's post on Facebook that "the consensus of the Scientific Council is that vaccines are a poor protection against infection," Beroš said that everyone has the right to their own opinion but the common stance after the Council's meetings, which is a voluntary advisory body for the government, is made by a government representative.

Asked if Lauc would be ousted from the Council, Beroš said that Lauc is responsible for his own opinions but that he believes "individuals will realize that expressing their opinions is damaging and that that will change."

First step in reform is to combine public procurement

Beroš also spoke about the proposed reform of the health system which the ministry has sent to interested institutions for their ideas and proposals.

He announced that as part of the reform, regardless of amendments to the law on healthcare, the first step will be to combine public procurement in health institutions.

"A precondition to combine public procurement is their ownership structure because the ministry and state do not have the option to impose any obligation on county hospitals to join in combined public procurement. Combined public procurement is the first step we will deal with and certain steps have already been taken in that regard," he said, adding that the results would quickly be visible.

"Whether it will be necessary to centralize county institutions or not is still a matter of dispute. We will see what the final draft decision will be after consultations," he said.

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Sunday, 17 October 2021

Minister Attends Course in Medical Response to Major Incidents

ZAGREB, 17 Oct, 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš on Sunday attended a course in medical response to major incidents at the "Dr. Josip Benčević" Hospital in Slavonski Brod, saying that the course integrated the competence and experience of the entire health system.

It is excellent that the course is being held in Slavonski Brod but we must train experts in other regions as well, Beroš said, announcing that the Croatian Emergency Medicine Institute would finance ten such courses across the country in the next two years.

Beroš recalled that a result of training of Croatian medical workers was also the timely response to an accident that happened this past summer, when a bus with Kosovo registration plates overturned on a highway in Croatia. The accident resulted in a large number of injured passengers and 10 fatalities.

The natural disasters that have hit Croatia over a short period of time also point to the importance of enhancing the competencies of the emergency services, he said.

"In this hospital courses like this one have been held for 15 years. So far 449 professionals have attended them and an additional 60 are attending this course," he said.

The Slavonski Brod course is a post-graduate course of the European Society for Trauma and Emergency Surgery. It has been organised for the eighth year by the Health Ministry, the Croatian Institute for Emergency Medicine and the Slavonski Brod-based Croatian Society for Disaster Medicine.

The director of the "Dr. Josip Benčević" Hospital, Josip Samardžić, said that the hospital has competent staff as well as experience from the 1991-95 war, which it has transformed into a modern response to major disasters.

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