Could Croatia Reintroduce Coronavirus Measures? Capak Says So

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Krunoslav Capak has stated that given the fact that we’re now far better acquainted with the novel coronavirus, we know a little more about it and how it functions, although it always surprises us in some way, we can say that strict epidemiological measures such as lockdowns, closures, bans on gatherings etc, will probably no longer exist.”

He added that classic epidemiological measures are still being recommended, such as keeping a certain level of physical distance from others, wearing masks in places where there are more people, for example, when using public transport or going to concerts.

“The possibility of some measures coming back, however mild, exists”, Capak said, before adding that is is what we have at our disposal – that is, social distancing and wearing a mask. If necessary, if the Croatian epidemiological situation worsens and if this measure proves to be effective, the Civil Protection Directorate will certainly resort to such a measure.

Capak also said that “we do now have quite a large number of patients” – for the last week, the average has been 790 per day among those who are confirmed to be positive for COVID-19 following a PCR test, and there are still about the same number of those who are positive for the virus on rapid antigen tests which can be done at home.

“Given that this is a mild variant of the disease, Omicron, and now we also have Omicron BA.4 and BA.5, which is an even milder but more contagious variant, we probably also have a lot of asymptomatic cases that we don’t even know about,” said Capak for HRT.

“If we judge ourselves by these PCR-positives, that is, those we report as sick, then we can say that this number is no longer growing, but stagnating, varying a little from day to day, but stagnating so that we think that we’re only now at the peak of that BA.4-BA.5 wave,” he said.

Low vaccination rate

Capak added that we are threatened with a new wave if a new mutation does develop.

Referring to the comment about the large number of deaths from or with the coronavirus even during this time in which a far milder variant is dominant, Capak said that with Omicron, we have about 700 PCR-positive and an average of 12 deaths per day, while at the peak of the Delta variant back in November of last year we had five to six thousand PCR-positive and an average of 52 deaths per day.

“This is a somewhat milder form of the disease,” he said.

He pointed out that the Croatian population older than 60 years is much less vaccinated than in many other European countries, where the rate stands at more than 90 percent for people over 60 and 80 years old, while in this country it is between 70 and 80 percent for the same population.

The lack of reliability of tests performed at home

Answering a question about the reliability of antigen tests which can be performed at home, Krunoslav Capak said that the technique of taking the swab is very important, such as whether the swab is pushed deep enough into the nose to wipe the mucous membrane on which the virus is located.

“The home tests and the rapid antigen tests that we have now are also used in laboratories, so they are quite reliable, but they can’t match PCR testing, which is 99 percent sensitive and reliable. So, PCR testing is still the golden rule and the gold standard in coronavirus diagnostics,” said Capak.

Capak also said that at the moment, very few people in this country have been vaccinated with a fourth dose, while we have almost a million people who have been vaccinated with three doses, expressing the hope that they will also be vaccinated with the fourth.

For more on coronavirus in Croatia, make sure to check out our dedicated section.


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