ZAGREB, June 25, 2020 – The director of the Fran Mihaljevic Infectious Diseases Hospital said on Thursday that there were currently two hotspots of the COVID-19 infection in Croatia, one in the eastern city of Djakovo and the other in the capital Zagreb, which account for half the number of the newest cases of the disease.
“We have two hotspots, one in Djakovo and the other in the Sv. Ivan hospital in Zagreb and they account for half the number of people registered today in Croatia. The others are individual cases in various areas,” Markotic told the N1 television channel commenting on the spike in the number of infections as Croatia recorded 95 new cases in the past 24 hours.
Markotic said that for an entire month since the borders were open, Croatia fared well, however, in the past two weeks there has been an increased number of citizens who travelled to Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina where there are still a large number of people infected.
“At the same time, we knew that certain risks existed with the possibility of people being allowed free movement and with arrivals, however, it is important to adhere to the measures in place,” she added.
Markotic explained that compulsory self-isolation had been imposed for travellers from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and North Macedonia because that is where the largest number of infected people had come from to Croatia.
“These are at the same time in line with the European Commission’s stance towards third countries, while on the other hand that is where the highest number of infected people came from,” she said, adding that she hoped the measures would be short-term.
Asked about citizens with dual citizenship, Markotic said that the virus does not recognise citizenship.
She commented on the issue of open borders with countries that have also recorded a spike in infected people like Germany, saying that there had not been many cases of infected people coming from there.
“If that were to occur, then the same measure would be imposed on them too,” she said.
She added that the European Commission had recommended opening and closing borders with countries in the region that have a similar epidemiological situation.
Markotic commented on the decision to face masks to be compulsory on public transport, adding that she personally did not support penalising people.
“Conscious, serious, and responsible people should not need to be penalised after we explained so many times about the need to wear masks. It would have been better if we didn’t have to make wearing masks mandatory,” she added.
Markotic commented on public opinion that the national response team was in fact a Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) team and had nothing to do with the medical profession.
“I haven’t experienced that. I have never been a member of any political party, including this one,” she said and added that she has also experienced successful cooperation with non-HDZ members on the response team.
She claimed that the politicking came from other sources and not the response team.
“The politicking has probably resulted from electioneering and the attempt to politicise and undermine the authenticity of what the response team has been saying may have partially contributed to this situation,” said Markotic.