FAQ: What if a Tourist Gets Corona While in Croatia?

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Kateryna Kon / Shutterstock.

Kateryna Kon / Shutterstock.

July 7, 2020 – With the two trends happening at the same time, the rising number of tourists in Croatia, and the rising number of new coronavirus-infections in Croatia, it’s almost inevitable that the two will collide. What to do if a tourist gets corona while vacationing in Croatia? 

We’ve received numerous questions regarding this relevant matter, and in this article, we will attempt to answer most of those questions. Our answers are mostly the translation and the summary of two documents issued by the Croatian Public Health Institute (one regarding tourists, and one regarding the criteria for finishing the isolation; both links to .pdf documents in Croatian). 

So, in a form of FAQ, what do the people in charge of epidemiology in Croatia recommend:

1. What to do if you feel symptoms?

First of all, you need to let the people working in your accommodation that you feel ill. Every hotel, apartment, motel, or camp in Croatia should know what to do in that situation and have one person who will be in charge of that. They’ll ask you not to leave your room, provide you with the surgical masks, and contact a local doctor. The doctor will determine if you’re really a potential COVID patient, and organize the testing and further steps that need to be taken. You’re not to leave your room until you get the test results back, and neither are your close contacts. Nobody will be allowed to enter your room, so you will have to keep it clean yourself (it will only be a day or so before your test results arrive). The food will be delivered to your door. If you test negative, the isolation measures are canceled and you’re free to enjoy the rest of your stay in Croatia.  

While you really shouldn’t do it yourself, without coordination with the local health authorities, here’s an article describing the process of getting tested in Croatia for foreigners – it will cost you 1500 kunas.

2. Do you have to get tested in Croatia?

If you report to anyone that you suspect that you have COVID, you will get tested in Croatia. If you suspect it but want to go home in order to get tested, please be advised that it’s highly risky behavior, both for yourself, your family (or other close contacts) or for anyone you might encounter along the way, so at least take extra precautions (masks, gloves, no close contact with anyone).

3. If you test COVID-19 positive, do you have to go to a hospital? 

No. You will be taken to a hospital if your condition is serious enough that you need to be hospitalized. If you are suffering milder symptoms, and it’s considered safe for you not to be in a hospital, you will not be taken to one. 

4. Which hospital?

That will be decided by the medical staff at your location. Numerous hospitals in Croatia are capable of taking COVID-19 patients, and you will probably be taken to the closest one, but the disease is unpredictable, so it’s possible that things will change if you need additional care. 

5. How long will you have to stay in a hospital? 

Nobody can answer that question. There are so many factors, and as we said, the disease is quite unpredictable. Some recent studies show that the median stay in the hospital for those patients who do not need mechanical ventilation is around 10 days; that certainly does not mean that EVERY patient gets out of the hospital on their tenth day. 

6. How much will the hospital stay cost?

Croatian media reports that the average hospitalization of a COVID-19 patient costs around 50 thousand kunas, for those patients that didn’t require mechanical ventilation, and somewhere around 100 thousand kunas for those that did. Again, those are just averages and the actual cost depends greatly on the individual circumstances for every patient. The usual hospital stay per day in a Croatian hospital costs around 500 kunas, with the price going to close to 1500 per day in the ICU or on mechanical ventilation. 

7. Who pays for the hospitalization? 

For all Croatian citizens, all of the hospital costs are covered by the HZZO (Croatian Health Insurance). 

For all EU +EAA citizens, the hospital costs will be covered by HZZO and then charged to their national health insurers. 

All third-country patients will have to pay for their hospital stays and then get refunds from their travel or health insurance companies. 

8. If you test positive and don’t have to be hospitalized, do you have to stay in Croatia or can you return home? 

Again, it depends. The local administration should have a location set-up for the patients in this situation, where they’ll be able to stay for the duration of their isolation. The same goes for the close contacts of the patients, who will also be asked to quarantine. If you want to return home before your isolation/quarantine period is over, you will have to be approved by the Croatian physicians and your country’s authorities. They will communicate through the IHR system and agree upon the conditions of your return.

9. How long is the self-isolation?

For those who have not tested positive, the quarantine period is 14 days. 

For positive patients, it’s 14 days since the onset of symptoms, and 3 days since the patient has last had fever. For positive asymptomatic patients, it’s 14 days since their initial positive test result. 

10. Where will you be isolated, in your previous accommodation or are there designated spots for the isolation? 

The recommendations by the HZJZ linked above are completely clear: there should be organized accommodation, arranged by the local administration, prepared in advance, for the purpose of accepting foreign (and, in some cases, even some local) patients who have tested positive for COVID-19. The same is valid for their close contacts: there should also be accommodation prepared for them to stay during their 14-day quarantine. 

11. Can a patient get some dental work done after the isolation is completed and the patient is no longer positive? 

After you’re no longer positive and your isolation is completed, you’re free to do whatever you want to do – return home, stay in Croatia longer… You will, of course, need to make arrangements with the clinic where you wanted to get dental work done.

12. Do you have to get tested to show you’re negative before returning back home? 

Croatia does not require you to have a negative test in order to get home. If you are positive, please read answer 7 to see how your return home might happen. 


If you have any other questions we haven’t covered regarding the possibility that a tourist gets corona while in Croatia, let us know and we’ll update this article with those answers. 


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