Ivan Đikić on Coronavirus: We’re Entering Most Critical Phase

Lauren Simmonds

As Index writes on the 28th of March, 2020, Croatian scientist Ivan Đikić addressed the media with a recording and a text explaining the current state of the fight against coronavirus. He cited eight things that he urges people to respect and enforce.

“Croatia is entering the most critical phase of its fight against coronavirus, and citizen participation in this fight is crucial. After speaking with the Minister of Health, Professor Vili Beroš, I’d like to make a statement to the Croatian public highlighting the expert facts that are important to overcome this pandemic as soon as possible,” he writes.

“Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) spreads extremely rapidly and unpredictably and causes the COVID-19 infection with higher mortality in the elderly and in chronic patients. But no generation is fully protected from the infection and in some cases young people die, especially those suffering from other diseases.

Although great efforts are being made to find drugs, there is no effective cure for coronavirus yet. It will take about a year of investment and careful testing before we have a safe and effective vaccine for widespread use,” he warned.

Croatia has so far prevented its uncontrolled spread.

“In Croatia, we have so far succeeded in preventing the uncontrolled spread of coronavirus through proper public health measures. However, the situation in the last week indicates a greater local spread of the virus throughout Croatia and a significant, unwanted, ”entry” of the virus into hospitals,” the scientist noted.

He then went on to say that earthquakes and extensive hospital damage are an additional challenge to be dealt with.

“The aftermath of the massive earthquake that hit Zagreb that has caused shock and injuries to residents, and the enormous material damage in many hospitals poses an additional challenge for the health care system, but for all of us, too. Despite all of this, based on the experience of countries that have already managed to fight coronavirus (China, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan) we can also apply their insights to the current situation in Croatia, so I urge that:

We follow the advice of the Civil Protection Headquarters – It’s of the utmost importance that we all: avoid contacts, stay home, disseminate accurate information and protect the sick and the elderly.

We unify – Members of the Civil Protection, healthcare professionals and all people – only together will we succeed.

Be motivated – If we all follow the guidelines given to us and support the healthcare system, it’s very likely that we will suppress the spread of the virus within 4-6 weeks and gradually reduce the isolation measures (this estimate has been based on data from China). That’s why the maximum motivation of all residents is necessary for us to succeed.

Tse more frequently – The World Health Organisation recommends intensifying testing measures and detecting new cases of coronavirus on time. The procurement of modern instruments and the opening of more accredited laboratories throughout Croatia must be a priority for current investments.

We need to protect the economy and socially vulnerable people – Solidarity with those at risk, concrete financial investments, and the better organisation of the economy in these times of crisis is necessary. In this regard, a number of proposals have been put forward by economic experts.

The education of residents – Education is crucial for long-term success – during isolation measures, information being spread and the education of the general public (through short TV messages, internet networks, media programmes, expert advice) are all necessary. We need to send out short, clear and understandable instructions to the general public.

Be innovative – I appeal to young people because they can be the drivers of new ideas, internet solutions, practical help for the sick and elderly, and be promoters of change in society. For example, young people may be involved in the work of mobile teams to assist with the testing and care of elderly and chronic patients.

We need to put our science and technology to good use – Consideration should also be given to introducing serological tests that detect a person’s immunity to coronavirus (by measuring IgM and IgG antibodies) specifically for healthcare professionals. We need to make more use of local knowledge and technology of institutes across Croatia.

We will surely win this war against coronavirus, but the question is how fast we can do it, and how much human and economic losses are implied. The answer to this important question depends on all of us.

As I emphasised: only through action and human qualities such as knowledge, responsibility, cooperation and solidarity can we succeed in this fight. I believe that Croatia and the people in it have the necessary qualities to see to it that we will overcome this coronavirus pandemic,” concluded Đikić.

Make sure to follow our dedicated section for rolling information and updates in English on coronavirus in Croatia.


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