What was feared, but discussed only very quietly, has become a grim reality this week. As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 13th of July, 2020 the number of newly infected people in 24 hours in Croatia has now exceeded 100, Krunoslav Capak sat down to explain the situation in more detail.
While for two days in a row we’ve been recording higher numbers of 140, measures are all out on the table and are being discussed, and depending on the situation, stricter measures may be introduced because the focus has become nightclubs, weddings and all sorts of family gatherings.
The director of the Croatian Institute for Public Health, Krunoslav Capak, explained to RTL just how the preparations for the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic are going
When asked who will control whether people wear masks, Krunoslav Capak stated that the National Civil Protection Headquarters remain against repressive anti-epidemic measures.
“We’re against repressive measures because we think they’re provoking revolt. We’re for people’s education on the matter and we think that is enough. We think they’ll understand that they need to wear masks in places where there are more people,” he stated in hope, adding:
“Control is possible, and there’s a possibility that civil protection officers or the police will be obliged to do so.”
Will there be a scene like the recent one when the police dealt with one person who was riding a train without a mask?
”If public order and peace are disturbed, then the police are called. In my opinion, this type of supervision shouldn’t be carried out. We’ll see how it goes. I think it’s important to wear masks indoors where there is a high risk of spreading the infection,” Krunoslav Capak replied.
He said that there are fines for the non-implementation of measures related to the protection of public health, and Krunoslav Capak pointed out that dealing punishments for not wearing masks will be the last resort because he thinks that education and appeals for compliance are much more important than repression is
“The WHO has been saying for several days that a much more complicated situation awaits us in autumn than the one we’re experiencing now, and we’re preparing for it. If it gets worse, it will be important that people wear masks in other places, so in a way, we can consider all this to be a preparation for autumn. The most important thing is that we educate people and that they get used to the fact that it’s important to apply preventive measures, and I think that repression is much less important than that,” he noted.
Quarantine, Capak points out, prevents the spread of the virus, but it is also unsustainable for a number of reasons – both in an economic and in a psychological sense.
“I don’t think that we’ll bring quarantine in again in autumn, but that we’ll manage suppress the spread of coronavirus with segmental and rapid measures. The virus will remain among us, we’d like it to be smaller numbers than it is now and we’re working intensively on that. Coronavirus is here, it is among us and it will not disappear,” he stated.
One of the measures regards reporting gatherings of over 100 people…
“We’ll explain this decision at a press conference tomorrow. We think that for those gatherings for which there is otherwise a vertical list, such as religious events, there should be no obligation to report it. This refers more to family gatherings in restaurants, hotels, fire houses, where our source of infection is at the moment. We’ve already prescribed measures for indoor pools, they’re wide and high spaces where there is a lot of air, there is a limited number of visitors. I think it’s less than a hundred people, but we can also revise it,” said Krunoslav Capak.
When asked if he would respond to an invitation to a wedding with 300 guests, he said that he had already said that he wouldn’t unless it was a member of his immediate family.
“Given how much the virus is present in the population now, the organisation of such weddings is very demanding and challenging. We’ve prescribed measures and strengthened them. If they’re all adhered to, there will be no transmission of the infection. Such a wedding will go well. However, 300 people in one place is always a risk,” he explained.
Seven days have passed since the election, and Capak says we don’t have any infections related to the election. He emphasised that it is necessary to wait fourteen days for the maximum incubation time to pass and then look at the situation.
“So far, we’ve not reported any cases,” he said.
President Zoran Milanovic compared the coronavirus to tooth decay. Krunoslav Capak said that the Headquarters, as far as he knows, hasn’t talked to him so far. He doesn’t consider his statement a slap in the face to the Headquarters, but thinks that he wanted to say that it is an infection that can be compared to some other banal disease.
“I think the intention to alleviate panic and fear of infection is a bit exaggerated because tooth decay is something banal that is relatively easy to deal with, while this is one serious disease of which we have thirteen million sufferers and half a million deaths worldwide.”
Krunoslav Capak said they had completed a serological survey in Croatia and would release the results perhaps as early as tomorrow, if not in the coming days.
“2.4 percent of the respondents, 1,054 of them, have developed antibodies that prove they have had an encounter with the new coronavirus. Which is a lot more than the number of recorded patients we have. This means that there are many more people among us who have encountered the infection than we know. Only a few of them have neutralising antibodies, meaning they’re not protected from re-infection. We analysed it carefully. Only 2 percent of those who have IGG antibodies have neutralising antibodies, which means they’re not protected from re-infection,” Krunoslav Capak told RTL.
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