ZAGREB, June 23, 2020 – Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) president Andrej Plenkovic said on Tuesday that July 5 remains to be the date of the parliamentary election and that wise and smart balancing was needed to do good for the economy and protect the public healthcare system.
Asked by the press in Rijeka if the election date stayed the same, he said, “Of course it does. I don’t understand how holding the election can even be brought into question.”
He said the Electoral Commission was in charge of that. “No spins or, mainly opposition, arguments about some lack of safety. That isn’t so. Croatia today, regardless of 20 or 19 cases, remains one of the three EU countries with the least active COVID-19 cases per million inhabitants and this is the message about Croatia as a safe country.”
Plenkovic said he was tested for COVID-19 three times and that he could get tested every day if epidemiologists thought it was necessary.
He said experts clearly indicated that COVID-19 was at its lowest intensity during the summer and that everyone was much more skeptical about what the situation in the autumn would be like.
“That’s why we decided, thinking of citizens’ health safety, that we need the election and new legitimacy now when the disease is at its lowest intensity so that we can form the government and deal with economic and public health challenges in the autumn.”
Plenkovic said the somewhat higher number of infections were localised and that it was necessary to once again increase the protection of hospitals and care facilities. “We have to learn to live with COVID-19 until there is a vaccine at a global level.”
Asked about a recent tennis tournament in Zadar which caused an outbreak, he said it was necessary to see if the organisers had done all they should have but that their intention was very good, to bring the world’s top players.
He said a couple of players and coaches were positive. “We’ll see if there are other consequences. The first tests yesterday were quite good, it seems, as only one boy is positive.”
As for his meeting with Serbian player Novak Djokovic, Plenkovic said, “We said hello. I thanked him for the tournament taking place in Zadar, we took photos and went our way. I think there is nothing to fear about that.” The result of Djokovic’s COVID-19 test is expected today.
Asked if the outbreak could cost Zadar the tourist season, he said it could not. “It will cost it as much as the media spin it, so be a little more reasonable. There are some people who badly want everything to be negative, and our task is to do everything for things to be positive in Croatia, not in terms of COVID-19 testing, but tourism and development.”
Plenkovic said another lockdown would result in no revenue or economic activity. “We have to be wise about that and smartly balance to do good for the Croatian economy while protecting the healthcare system.”
Asked if measures on the border with Serbia might be tightened, he said the national civil protection authority would see about that. If a large number of infections are confirmed to be originating from a country, Serbia for example, measures at the border can be tightened, he added.
Asked about the Slovenian health minister’s statement that he was worried about the daily rise in new infections in Croatia, Plenkovic said Slovenians were among the most numerous tourists in Croatia and that the opening of borders was agreed to with Slovenia before any other country.
“It’s normal for the minister of health to follow the situation in other countries, just as we are. I believe we will keep the number of new infections under control and that we will ensure the normal movement of Slovenian citizens in Croatia and Croatian citizens in Slovenia. That’s in the interest of both our countries.”