Lessons in COVID-19 Crisis Comms: Croatian Govt 325k Viber Fans in 12 Hours

Total Croatia News


March 23, 2020 – The Croatian Government is excelling in crisis communications during COVID-19, with their latest Viber initiative gaining over 300,000 followers in just 12 hours. 

As a longterm resident of Croatia, I will confess that I was not optimistic about the quality of the official response to COVID-19. 

But, after a slow start, I will confess that I am struggling to find a better country in all Europe at addressing the issues necessary to stop the spread of the virus. 

Emergency measures are now in place to restrict movement outside the town of residence, public gatherings put on hold, borders closed to foreigners, ferries available only to those with island IDs.

Despite the devastation of yesterday’s earthquake in Zagreb, the focus has been on the bigger immediate danger – COVID-19. 

Additionally, the communication of the Civil Protection Headquarters has been outstanding, and the daily press conferences have been timely, practical and full of no-nonsense information and instruction. 

I suspect I am not alone in my admiration for Health Minister Vili Beros, who has been in the job just 7 weeks. As I wrote recently, he was been a beacon of calm and rationality, at a time when others are losing the plot. You can see the article I wrote about him here. It is little wonder that Beros and Alemka Markotic, Director of the Dr. Fran Mihaljevic hospital, were voted the two most popular people in Croatia in last week’s Index poll.


And now the latest excellent example of crisis communication, which has become a huge hit in just 12 hours since its launch, as we announced at 08:17 in our daily coronavirus/earthquake aftermath live update (which you can follow here):

“You can now follow the Civil Protection Headquarters announcement of the coronavirus on Viber. The headquarters say that this is the result of continuous efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus on the territory of the Republic of Croatia.”

Just 10 hours later, there are already 325,000 people who are following the Viber account, Stozer. To put that number in perspective, the population of Croatia is about 4 million. 

To join the rapidly expanding community to get access to the latest official updates for ‘Stozer’ on Viber, click here.

For more information on the coronavirus crisis in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.  


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