More new infections in Croatia, we should trust science and medicine to have a good tourist season

Photo /Vijesti/2021/srpanj/16 srpnja/HN20210716121472.jpg

Over the past week, Croatia registered 18% more coronavirus cases than the week before due to gatherings and the tourist season, the national COVID-19 crisis management team told a press conference on Friday.

Croatian Institute of Public Health director Krunoslav Capak said Croatia had 66 new cases on average this time last year, whereas now the average was 104.

"We are at the start of the tourist season and we are doing worse than last year. This is a warning that we should comply with epidemiological measures," he said, appealing to citizens to get vaccinated.

The head of the crisis management team, Interior Minister Davor Božinović, said all mass gatherings of young people which could not be controlled led to more infections.

"They know the infection is generally not a threat to them, but all that is being counted and the data are internationally available. The result is that today Adriatic Croatia is orange."

That's also due to the fact that Croatia is a tourist destination, with 750,000 tourists currently vacationing in the country.

"We must understand that at all levels. We must calibrate approaches and decisions in line with that. If something is restricted along the coast, it doesn't have to apply to the parts of the country that are green," said Božinović.

He said it was necessary to ban events and gatherings which could not be controlled and where it was not possible to establish participants' COVID status.

The average incidence is 31.4.

Health Minister Vili Beroš said the fact that the coast was no longer green but orange "is more than sufficient warning that COVID-19 is a vicious disease and that the virus is still among us." He added that Croatia had all the prerequisites to have its coast declared green again and to save the tourist season.

He said anti-vaccine activists had a strong campaign. "We must choose who to believe, science and experts who save lives or unfounded elements."

Beroš said that vaccination at his ministry had increased to 63%.

As for mandatory vaccination and possible penalisation, he said inter-departmental talks were under way and that every option was on the table. He added, however, that they were closer to education and raising awareness about vaccination than to making it mandatory.

Beroš said COVID certificates were not coercion but a way to ensure "co-existence with the virus. We'll have to accept them as a new way of communicating. It is proof that we have done everything for our own sake, but it is also proof of safety for others."

Asked about a Facebook post by Gordan Lauc, a member of the government's Science Council, in which he claimed that those vaccinated were the generators of new variants, the head of Zagreb's infectious diseases hospital, Alemka Markotić, said the virus was always looking for a way in.

If over 80% of the population had been vaccinated, which could have been achieved in all of Europe, we would have closed the door to the virus quickly, she said, adding that one could not count on wider protection before over 80% of the population was vaccinated.

"Those who have been vaccinated are safe, but as long as there those who have not, we are all in danger," she said.

Markotić also said scientists were inclined to count in future only those seriously ill in each state rather than the number of positive cases.

Text: Hina