Croatia’s national Covid-19 task force announces harsh penalties for violations

NEWS 19.03.2021 15:17
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Source: Foto: Ivica Galovic/PIXSELL

Coronavirus numbers in Croatia have increased by 45 percent since last week, the national Covid-19 response team said at a press conference on Friday, ordering local teams to step up inspections of compliance with the epidemiological rules in place and fine cafe owners who violate the restrictions.

“Croatia is seeing yet another cycle of infection, which started from the southern counties, with new variants of the virus predominating,” said the head of the national Covid-19 response team, Interior Minister, Davor Bozinovic.

He said that as of next week any hospitality establishments found to be in violation of the anti-epidemic measures would not be entitled to government aid. He added that over 30 cafes and restaurants were on the list of inspectors and the police for failure to comply with the coronavirus restrictions.

The aim is to maintain the present system of restrictions in Croatia, where people’s daily routines are least restricted compared to other European countries, Božinović said.

“We want to stop the virus from spreading and enter the tourist season as prepared as possible. We can succeed only if everyone takes responsibility for what is going on in their field,” he said.

In the last 24 hours, 1,112 new coronavirus infections have been registered in the country. The number of active cases currently stands at 6,426, including 918 people who are receiving hospital treatment, of whom 80 are on ventilators. Another 17 infected people have died.

According to today’s figures, the share of positive cases among those tested is 17%, while in the last 14 days it was 11.6%, the director of the Croatian Public Health Institute, Krunoslav Capak, said.

The 14-day incidence rate is 284.45 cases per 100,000 population, which puts Croatia in 8th place among EU member states. The lowest rate was registered in Virovitica-Podravina County (67.8) and the highest in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (666.3).

A total of 1,862 suspected side-effects of coronavirus vaccines have been reported to date, including 1,051 for Pfizer, 108 for Moderna and 701 for AstraZeneca, while for two side-effects it was not clear which vaccine caused them.

Capak said that local public health institutes have been instructed to send more vaccines to areas where there are more elderly people and chronic patients. If in a certain priority group there are many people who do not want to get vaccinated, then people from the next priority group should be vaccinated, he said.

Asked if cases cited by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) had been registered in Croatia, Capak said that results for the death of a 33-year-old man, who had died 12 days after being inoculated, were still pending.

Capak said that 12 cases of venous sinus thrombosis had been registered since the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine began. “That is slightly more than expected, and in most cases those were women aged between 25 and 55,” he said, adding that these were rare cases and needed looking into.

“EMA has said that this requires further analysis, which is why it has not yet decided whether women in this age group should be exempt from vaccination. That means that this risk is not considered to be high and that for women of that age the benefit of vaccination outweighs the risk of disease,” Capak said.

Asked by the press if he, too, like Prime Ministre Andrej Plenković, was willing to get vaccinated with AstraZeneca, Health Minister Vili Beroš said: “I have absolutely nothing against being vaccinated with AstraZeneca and will do so when the time comes. If the awareness campaign requires so, i will be vaccinated with AstraZeneca.”

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