Tighter Measures in Croatia from Weekend, Bozinovic and Capak Weigh In

Daniela Rogulj



July 21, 2020 – On Monday, 25 coronavirus cases were recorded in Croatia, which is the lowest number in the last month.

Last weekend, 309 gatherings of more than 100 people were held, and we will see the outcome of that in five to seven days. A particularly problematic gathering was a wedding in Ivankovo, where 50 people became infected. Vukovar-Srijem County is the current focus of the corona crisis and, thus, the county with the strictest measures.

Index.hr reports that, according to Minister Bozinovic, new measures will be introduced for the whole of Croatia this weekend, and we will find out on Wednesday precisely what these measures are.

The director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, Krunoslav Capak, was a guest on RTL Danas on Monday.

“The National Headquarters has been talking for some time about limiting the number of participants in various gatherings, which is an epidemiological problem. I guess it will happen, but I can’t say. We are talking about the number that would be allowed, there is no decision yet on the agenda,” Capak said.

In Slovenia, the maximum number of participants at a gathering is 50, and at the request of the Health Institute, this number may be higher with special restrictions. There are many more at gatherings in our country, and Capak says that the Croatian Public Health Institute cannot prescribe it individually.

Asked if the Headquarters were wrong not to impose restrictions on gatherings earlier, Capak replied: “We are continuously talking about the need to get used to the coronavirus lifestyle. We felt that these numbers we gave, with the limitations we gave in the recommendations, were not excessive. If everyone followed the recommendations, the situation would be better. Whether it is better to discuss stricter measures and oversight of those measures or to limit the number is very difficult to decide. We try to balance between letting the population live normally, but with recommendations and education to bring the number of patients lower.”

To the reporter’s claim that it is similar to the Swedish model, Capak reminds us that Croatia is very far from Sweden.

“They are the most liberal country in Europe and one of the most liberal in the world. They did not have a quarantine. They let the economy work normally, schools and kindergartens worked, it is a completely different situation than in Croatia,” he said.

He described what an epidemiologist’s hunt for the contacts of an infected person from a wedding looks like.

“In two cases when there was a large gathering, epidemiologists informed citizens through the media to put themselves in isolation and report to an epidemiologist or doctor if they were at the gathering, but even that was not well received among citizens. We corrected that, we offered help to epidemiologists to talk to all these participants, it’s a terribly hard job. Imagine you have to contact 300 people in a couple of days. We have cases where people don’t want to admit they’ve been in contact, especially if it’s a company that, if it closes, can’t function. We appeal to the citizens that it is very important, when they are in self-isolation, then they cannot transmit the disease,” he said.

He announced new measures for concerts

“We didn’t close concerts, but the question is whether it is profitable for a musician to hold a concert with a third of the seats in the hall,” he said, and when asked what would change for concerts, he added:

“We would increase the number of participants, to mark all the seats, and to make ticket sales exclusively electronic. Seating will be likely; standing is very difficult to control.”

Bozinovic: New measures this weekend

Minister Davor Bozinovic also spoke about the new measures for Dnevnik Nova TV. As he said, stricter measures will start being applied this weekend.

“We will tighten something,” Bozinovic said, and when asked by a journalist what exactly, he said the number of people at large gatherings would be limited.

“It turns out you can’t change tradition overnight, and the fact is that all those gatherings where people hug, which is normal, are susceptible to the spread of the coronavirus,” he said.

He says it is up to the epidemiologist how much that number would be limited, but it is certainly less than a hundred, and the measures will be adopted to start to be applied this weekend.

To read more about news in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.


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