PM: Local COVID-19 Response Teams Can Only Tighten Restrictions, Not Relax Them

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“I don’t understand it because they can only tighten restrictions adopted at the national level, not relax them,” Plenković said during a visit to Makarska in a comment on the announcement by the head of the Istria County COVID-19 response team, Dino Kozlevac, that cafes in Istria would open their terraces on March 1 owing to a favourable epidemiological situation in the county.

Possible relaxation of epidemiological restrictions will be decided by the national COVID-19 response team in consultation with the government, the PM said, describing opposition to restrictions defined at the national level as politicking.

Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović, who heads the national COVID-19 response team, said today in a comment on the Istria County COVID-19 response team’s announcement that there was no need to use the current epidemic for muscle-flexing ahead of local elections in May this year.

He, too, warned that regional COVID-19 response teams could make decisions to tighten epidemiological restrictions, which have to be approved by the national team, but that they could not relax them before the national team did so.

Plenković also commented on a proposal by Primorje-Gorski Kotar County not to vaccinate people over 60 with the AstraZeneca vaccine for some time, which prompted him on Monday to announce amendment of the Act on Teaching Institutes of Public Health.

“We must prevent county public health institutes from pursuing their own policies that are contrary to those of the World Health Organisation and the European Medicines Agency and to the position of the Croatian Public Health Institute, and from sending discouraging messages to people over the age of 65,” said the PM, announcing that the relevant law would be amended as soon as possible to prevent such cases.

Commenting on the decision by the national COVID-19 response team to allow the reopening of betting shops and casinos, he said that they did not do it because they wanted people to gamble.

“We know that if they are closed, they do not pay concession fees to the state while we have to pay them job-retention allowances and cover their fixed costs,” he said.

Assistance scheme for quake-hit Banovina to be unveiled on Thursday

He announced that a programme with measures to help the earthquake-hit area of Banovina would be presented at a government session on Thursday.

“The programme is ready, the Economy Ministry has been working on it with other departments. After it is discussed by coordinating bodies, it will be discussed by the government on Thursday.”

Plenković believes there will be a tourist season this year.

“The Tourism Ministry campaign has been underway and we are doing our best to make Croatia a safe and attractive destination and to revitalise tourism,” he said, noting that current epidemiological figures were good and that the number of new infections was declining both in absolute numbers and in relation to the number of tests.

During his visit to Makarska, Plenković met with Mayor Jure Brkan and his associates and presented them with a contract on the donation of the state-owned, 23,000-square-metre Peškera Forest, a park located by the town beach, to be upgraded by the town authorities.

For the latest on COVID-19 in Croatia, check out the dedicated TCN section


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