Minister Vili Beros: I Believe We’ll be Able to Relax Measures on 15th

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, new strains of the novel coronavirus have now been confirmed in 70 countries, while they haven’t yet been found in Croatia. When asked if we were just extremely lucky in that regard, Minister Vili Beros answered for RTL Direct:

“I don’t know how crazy our luck has been, but I know that we made sure to look at everything, including our measures at the borders, so that this new strain wouldn’t manage to arrive. Back in December last year, the British Consortium for the research of the genome of COVID-19 detected that there were several variants of the virus circulating. We know of the British B117 strain, which is now present in 45 countries, and there is local transition in 13 countries.

The spread of this virus is somewhat more rapid and therefore we believe that the regions where the incidence of newly infected people is highest can be identified and this could indirectly indicate the existence of such new variants of the virus. There is also the South African variant which is present in 11 countries and in some of our neighbouring countries. All of this leads to extra caution. We’re taking all of these elements into account when determining any measures.

There’s no clear data that there is such a hotspot in Croatia in which the infection would spread faster and thus indirectly indicate the presence of new variants. But we can only find out by sequencing, and we’re just adapting to the need for that sequencing. We’ve engaged a number of healthcare and scientific capacities to do the same. The European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention will provide sequencing for Croatia and all other European countries, in the form of 200 samples per week. They’re also bearing the cost of transport and evaluation. We don’t have the clinical parameters that would indicate such a thing,” Minister Vili Beros explained.

He also referred to neighbouring Slovenia’s failure to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“I’m not full aware of the details of their epidemiological situation. It’s clear that there’s no universal recipe for solving the issue of this epidemic. From day to day it’s necessary to evaluate a number of parameters, medical and non-medical ones, and to balance between those measures aimed at preserving health and those aimed at preserving economic activities. That balance is extremely difficult to find. I believe that is the cause of what’s going on there. I believe that Slovenia is just as responsible as Croatia,” he said.

He then answered the question of whether he is planning evaluate some illogical things, such as the big crowds on Sljeme etc.

“Everything that is determined through the introduction of any measures makes some sense. But overall compliance and non-compliance represent a spectrum in the epidemic. This isn’t typical only for Croatia but for all European countries. In other countries, too, illogicalities are present. When we talk about coffee ”to go” options for coffee shops and petrol stations… Well, are petrol stations a place to hang out, talk and sit around? No, they’re for refueling vehicles, and we can take coffee to go there, too, but after that we leave.

However, coffee can be taken ”to go” from a bakery in the city, and so you end up with 20 people standing in front of it with coffee, the journalist pointed out and asked: Why is that allowed, and those from who have cafes aren’t allowed? Are you going to revise some of these things on February the 15th to make more sense?

“I believe that the epidemiological situation will continue to be stable and that there will be no new outbreaks or variants and that we’ll as such be able to evaluate all these elements and continue to slowly relax the measures. However, we do need to remain extremely careful because there can be no room for impatience. Everything needs to be done very carefully and with a lot of thought in mind. It isn’t the goal of any of us to act restrictively. We act on those segments of life that the epidemiological profession deems to be risky,” concluded Minister Vili Beros.

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