ZAGREB, Aug 19, 2020 – Health Minister Vili Beros said on Wednesday, in a comment on the tightening of measures by some countries towards their nationals returning from Croatia, that it was an act of political pressure to put the epidemiological situation under control, which, he said, was legitimate conduct.
“Based on my talks with fellow health ministers, I believe this is an act of political pressure by all those countries. The new school year is approaching, in some countries it will start sooner than in Croatia, and they want to put their epidemiological situation under control. That is fully legitimate and if you look back, we, too, acted that way towards our neighbours,” Beros told reporters after a session of the inner Cabinet.
Experts to decide on masks in schools
Beros said that he believed those countries would stick by their agenda despite Croatia’s efforts.
We, too, are preparing for the school year, which begins somewhat later, as well as for the autumn, health-wise, he said.
As for the wearing of masks in schools, Beros repeated that experts would have a say on the matter and that the World Health Organisation (WHO), too, would present its position by the end of the month.
“I think that (masks) will not be necessary for the smallest children, but the solution for older children, notably in high schools, is yet to be defined. Experts should state their position, and the Science and Education Ministry task force has also been discussing the matter,” he said.
Beros noted that the health system was preparing intensively for the autumn.
“The system has been operating in the conditions of the ‘new normal’, complying with certain epidemiological criteria, triage, and that slows down its work. But many institutions have been coping excellently and are making up for delays on waiting lists from before the coronavirus crisis, for example in Dubrovnik and Zagreb. I believe the system will continue to function appropriately and adapt to the epidemiological situation.”
Apart from the fight against the coronavirus, Beros said other priorities for his department were the revitalisation of the Institute of Immunology, stepping up the project to build a national and university hospital for children’s diseases, the establishment of an emergency medical helicopter service, preserving the functional efficiency of the health system and taking care of human potential, primarily in primary care.
Talks launched with the finance minister on the financial sustainability of the system
The minister said that talks had been launched with Finance Minister Zdravko Maric on the financial sustainability of the health system.
“Croatia sets aside 7.4% of its GDP for the health system. With €804 per capita annually it is very difficult to secure the existing level of healthcare, and the EU average is more than €3,000,” said Beros.
In consultation with the Finance Ministry we are trying to find some elements that would enable the health system to be financially sustainable, Beros said, adding that increasing the price of supplementary health insurance was not an option at the moment.