Zadar Once Again Finds Itself At Center of Croatia’s Coronavirus Debate

Total Croatia News

Zadar was already the focus of Croatia's COVID response after the Adria Tour. Now a wedding has resurrected the virus again.
Zadar was already the focus of Croatia's COVID response after the Adria Tour. Now a wedding has resurrected the virus again.

July 11, 2020 — Zadar has become a magnet for epidemiologically dubious events, as a wedding for a Croatian general’s daughter produced a second wave of infections which trumped Novak Djokovic’s Adria Tour.

Zadar was once a lodestar in Croatia’s fight against the coronavirus. The small seaside gem consistently kept infection rates lower than its other, larger coastal kin, including Split and Rijeka. The contact-tracing operations produced a swift tracking of other potential infections.

During Croatia’s coronavirus lull, Zadar cobbled together one of the longest streaks of without new coronavirus infections.

Then Zadrani cut loose and started partying.

Zadar reported seven new COVID-19 infections today. The new cases include a members of seaside town’s emergency medical apparatus. Many can be traced back to a single wedding held for the daughter of a Croatian general integral in the country’s COVID-19 response, with members of the Defense Ministry in attendance.

The bacchanal last Friday drew about 300 attendees from all over Croatia, including 11 employees of the Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces. None were sent to self-isolation, according to Index.

The wedding has become the epicenter of discussion over new measures and restrictions, and prompted a nationwide debate over gatherings.

The director of the Institute of Emergency Medicine in Zadar, Ivica Erlić, confirmed for Slobodna Dalmacija that one of his doctors, who was at the Zadar wedding last weekend, was positive. But since then she has not returned to work, so no one in the Institute has had to isolate as a result.

Two other new infections are connected to the wedding and the others became infected elsewhere, the County’s Civil Protection Headquarters reported on Saturday.

The wedding pushed the bounds of the epidemiological measures allowed by the government, creating 23 new infections as of Friday.

“Because of this infected health worker, self-isolation was determined for 10 anesthesia specialists and three nurses, so four doctors from other hospitals are coming to Zadar,” announced the director of the Zadar hospital Zeljko Culina at a press conference in front of the Zadar Polyclinic on Friday afternoon.

Epidemiologist Dr. Alan Medic warned that if several more such weddings happen “the story will no longer be able to be controlled”. He hinted that there were indeed more than 300 people allowed at the wedding.

“Not everyone has to shake hands with everyone, not necessarily so much intimate contact,” he said. “Today is the seventh day since the wedding. We expect another day or two of the influx of new cases. I’m more afraid of their contacts because we had a transmission within the family, where a colleague was infected. She was not at the wedding. 

“It is impossible to do the whole reconstruction, we have a colorful list of about 300-350 guests, band members, staff … We call them all guests,” Medic said on Friday.

The General in question is the commander of the HV Support Command, which set up tents in front of the Dubrava Hospital during the quarantine with the soldiers.

In mid-April, he met with then-Defense Minister Davor Krsticevic and Health Minister Vili Beroš in Zadar and explained that the role of the Croatian army in defending against coronavirus was very important.

Fuzul pointed out that the military has elaborate plans and the ability to take many things upon itself. Fuzul also talked about measures against coronavirus. He particularly emphasized spacing as a measure of corona protection.

“Respecting the guidelines of the National Civil Protection Headquarters, we follow them by adapting them to our daily activities,” he reportedly said at the time. “We work with maximum protection measures, respecting distance and everything else that was ordered. […] Thus, we do not burden the civil system, but we can take the burden on ourselves.”

The health minister Beroš shifted four doctors from elsewhere in Croatia to Zadar, hoping to plug a staffing shortage created by the wedding’s new infections.


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