Croatia stepping up vaccination against COVID

Photo /Vijesti/2021/svibanj/6 svibnja/VRH_1570.JPG

Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Thursday that Croatia was entering a phase of  intensified inoculation against COVID-19 and that, as of this week, significant quantities of vaccines are expected.

"Despite the fall in the number of COVID patients, the pressure on the hospital system is still quite significant. We are registering graver clinical conditions among younger people. The virus isn't choosing, but we can - to opt for vaccination as it saves lives," said Beroš, calling on Croatians to sign up for vaccination.

Of the latest 360 sequenced samples, 57 are the British variant which is a significant fall in the circulation of that variant compared to 13 April when its share was 96%. The South African variant was present in two samples.

"Croatia has received 1.3 million doses of vaccines to date, however we are at a milestone now. This week markedly greater quantities are arriving and that will continue throughout May and June," said Beroš.

To date 979,000 doses have been administered.

More than one in five Croats get vaccinated

Last Thursday a record 46,887 doses were administered in one day and one in every five people have been inoculated or 20.9% of the population have received at least one dose.

More than 18.7% of people aged more than 55 have been inoculated and almost 56% of the population aged 70 or more have received at least one dose.

The highest percentage of people who have received at least one shot are in Zagreb (20.5%), followed by Sisak-Moslavina County (8.1%).

The national COVID response team adopted 11 decisions, four of them are at the national level and relate to extending restrictions of public gathering, crossing borders and the work of hospitality venues until May 15.

Gov't cancels administrative fees relating to intellectual property

The government forwarded to the parliament a bill on fees in the field of intellectual property under which administrative fees are to be cancelled, which should help reduce the burden on the business sector by around HRK 600,000 annually.  

The bill, to be discussed under fast-track procedure, envisages the abolishment of the obligation to pay the administrative fee but keeps the obligation to pay compensation for costs in the field of intellectual property, Science and Education Minister Radovan Fuchs said, adding that this was in line with the Action Plan from May 2020 to reduce non-tax and fiscal levies.

He noted that this would help reduce unnecessary parafiscal levies, notably taking into account the current situation in the business sector, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government also entrusted the Central State Office for Croats Abroad with making a national plan for the development of relations with Croats outside Croatia in the period from 2021 to 2027.

Construction of national broadband aggregation infrastructure to start this year

The construction of national broadband aggregation infrastructure in Croatia should be completed by 2025, with 85% of funding for the project coming from the EU and the rest from the state budget.

The company in charge of this project is Transmitters and Communications Ltd, which was presented with a grant agreement in December 2020 after the project was assessed by both the EU and independent experts as sustainable and feasible.

The project provides for the construction of a nationwide next-generation optical fibre broadband access network with speeds of above 100 Mbs, to which targeted public administration, education, health and other institutions would be connected, said Josip Bilaver, state secretary at the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure.

The total estimated value of the project is HRK 786.7 million, with eligible costs amounting to HRK 770.6 million, of which 85% will be covered by the EU, Bilaver said, adding that these amounts did not include VAT.

Work is scheduled to start at the end of 2021 and end in 2025.

The money for this project has been earmarked in the 2021 budget and in budget projections for 2022 and 2023.

Subsidies for purchase of condensation boilers for earthquake areas

The government's decision will ensure money for the subsidy from the Environment Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund, earmarked for the purchase of condensation boilers and furnaces in buildings that were damaged in the earthquakes in March and December last year, in the City of Zagreb and in Zagreb, Krapina-Zagorje, Sisak-Moslavina and Karlovac counties.

The state will cover 80% of the justifiable costs for the purchase of condensation boilers or furnaces by owners of damaged buildings, flats or family homes damaged in the quakes.

"The Fund's participation in the justifiable cost of a condensation boiler for each residential/commercial unit can amount to no more than HRK 8,000 for a condensation boiler and a maximum of HRK 4,500 for a condensation furnace per residential/commercial unit and it cannot amount to more than HRK 30,000 for one residential/commercial building," Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Tomislav Ćorić explained.

The money required to cover the subsidies amounts to HRK 20 million this year and HRK 5 million next year and has been secured from the Environment Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund.

"I believe these funds will contribute to the reconstruction process in Zagreb and other areas affected by the earthquakes," said Ćorić.

The decision to write-off power bills for earthquake-struck areas refers to the cities of Petrinja, Glina, Sisak and Hrvatska Kostajnica and 12 municipalities in the area.

Text: Hina