Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday that the past week saw a marked increase in the number of new coronavirus cases, and he called for caution, adding that restrictions were being introduced in the Adriatic region.
The largest number of cases were registered in four Dalmatian counties, which are all tourist destinations. The national Covid-19 crisis management team will introduce additional epidemiological measures in the area to minimize the spread of the infection, limit gatherings and make the tourist season possible, Plenković announced at his cabinet’s session.
He also said that as of yesterday Croatia passed the number of 1.6 million people vaccinated with at least one dose against the coronavirus.
“That’s very good, we’re getting closer to the number of 48% of vaccinated adult population. I still call on everyone, especially those in two minds or in fear, to get informed, to have confidence in medicine […] and to decide to get vaccinated,” the prime minister said.
94% of hospitalized Covid-19 patients not vaccinated
He said there was “an abundance” of vaccines and recalled last week’s decision to enable all Croatian citizens without health insurance and Croatians from all over the world, as well as all other foreign nationals, to get vaccinated anywhere in the country. For instance, he said, someone from Mostar going on holiday to Makarska can get vaccinated for free there.
“I would like us to contribute to the protection against Covid beyond our borders as well,” Plenković said, inviting people to use this opportunity.
He also underlined that 94% of hospitalized Covid patients had not been fully inoculated against the infection.
Ministers: Numbers growing, new package of measures to be introduced
Health Minister Vili Beroš said at the government session that the number of Covid cases was rising and that the epidemiological situation in some counties called for caution, while Interior Minister Davor Božinović announced the introduction of a new set of measures.
In the two-week period from July 5 to 18, Zadar, Split-Dalmatia, Primorje-Gorski Kotar counties and the City of Zagreb registered the largest number of new cases, Beroš said.
He said the situation in hospitals was generally favorable, with the exception of some hospitals in Dalmatia.
There are currently 122 patients in hospitals, 13 of whom are on ventilators, he said, reiterating that 94% of hospitalized patients had not been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Plenković could agree with Milanović on lifting restrictions after summer
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Plenković had again underlined the importance of vaccination for the tourist season and said he could agree with Croatian President Zoran Milanović about lifting restrictions after the summer.
He reiterated that anyone could get vaccinated whenever they wished. “There is an abundance of vaccines. The European Commission has ordered for 2022 and 2023 1.8 billion doses from Pfizer alone,” Plenković said, adding that this year Croatia would receive almost eight million doses.
“We have enough vaccines so that everyone in Croatia as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina can get two doses,” he said.
He also said he could agree with Milanović that all COVID restrictions should be lifted after the tourist season.
Croatia’s 2021 tourist season better than last year’s
Plenković said this tourist season was better than last year’s and that tourists from neighboring countries wished to come to Croatia.
“If we succeed in not having the tourist season end on August 5 or 15, I’d like it to last until the end of August and then in September, October, November and December for well-informed people to come, our traditional guests who won’t waver if there is some drama.”
But, he warned, “if hot spots appear and there is a stampede, there can be a change in 48 hours – quarantines and restrictions can be introduced because no one wants to import their citizens to spread the infection.”
Plenković went on to say that five symbols would appear on Croatian euro coins. “Nikola Tesla was the most desirable based on an Internet poll.”