Health Minister, Vili Beros, said in Parliament on Thursday that testing for Covid-19 and treatment of patients suffering from the disease have cost the government 2.31 billion kuna (€307 million) over 18 months from the beginning of the pandemic in late February 2020 to August 2021.
This was all paid using funds from the public health institute, i.e. mandatory health coverage paid out of gross salaries of all employees in the country. Beros disclosed this figure while presenting a report on measures taken to fight the coronavirus pandemic in Parliament.
Beros deflected criticism that efforts in combating Covid had starved the health care system of resources needed to tackle the usual public health issues, saying that “contacts between Croatians and their general practitioners had dropped by only 1.9 percent” and that “the number of phone calls and e-mail messages had increased” while preventive health screenings, notably for cancer patients, were “largely proceeding normally, considering the circumstances.”
Vaccine effective in 75-80 percent of cases involving new coronavirus strains
Beros also said that the vaccines currently used are effective against new strains of the coronavirus which have recently emerged.
“We have to be grateful to science and medicine for producing a vaccine that is effective against new variants in 75-80 percent of all cases. However, this vaccine, just as any other vaccine, does not offer a 100 percent protection,” Beros said.
He said that the June-August period during the summer tourist season the pandemic was “much less intense” which “contributed to excellent results in tourism.”
Over the past few months, the health care system adapted to this lower intensity, meaning that the number of dedicated Covid wards was reduced, Beros said. At the same time, the provision of medical services to other types of patients increased.
1.5 million vaccine doses administered over three months
Beros said that since early June, 249 checkpoints offering rapid testing had been set up across the country, mostly in coastal areas, which also issue the so-called Covid certificates. Between June and August, some 1.5 million vaccine shots were administered to Croatians.
“Despite the large number of incoming tourists… we managed to maintain a calm and stable epidemiological situation in the country, securing for ourselves the status of the safest Mediterranean destination,” he said.
(€1 = 7.51 kuna)