Croatia braces for COVID-19 as first case is confirmed

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Croatia's authorities reported on Tuesday afternoon the first patient diagnosed with the novel COVID-19 virus who is being treated in Zagreb, while one more suspected case of this infection is in Rijeka.

Health Minister Vili Beros said earlier on Tuesday that the Croatian patient who tested positive for coronavirus and who is isolated in the Fran Mihaljevic hospital in Zagreb showed milder signs of the disease.

The young man stayed in Milan on February 19-21, the minister said after a meeting of the National Civil Protection Team in the government.

The final tests for a man who is currently being treated in the hospital in Rijeka can be expected later on Tuesday, the head of the Rijeka hospital said. That man and another eight Croatians who are now at this hospital work in a factory in north Italy where a score of their colleagues have already tested positive.

Persons who were in contact with young man diagnosed with COVID-19 to be quarantined

Minister Beros added that Croatia's health system had every possibility to respond to the threat. "This is a disease whose clinical characteristics are similar to influenza and we don't expect a major spread or complications from similar influenza infections."

The minister said that the quarantine for persons who had been in contact with the young man from Milan would be organised.

Following the latest developments, the National Civil Protection Team convened in Zagreb on Tuesday morning. The team is being led by Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic.

Minister Beros is travelling to Italy on Tuesday afternoon for a meeting with health ministers from the neighborhood to discuss the latest developments. 

Text: Hina