ZAGREB, 7 April (Hina) – Croatia’s COVID-19 crisis management team stated on Thursday that COVID protocols would be abolished on Saturday and only the protective mask mandate remains in place in medical institutions and nursing homes.
Practically all the current restrictions imposed to curb the COVID-19 pandemic will be lifted at midnight Friday, said the team’s head, Interior Minister Davor Božinović.
Wearing protective masks in public spaces will depend on individuals and sanctions will no longer be imposed for failure to wear masks, Božinović said, explaining that they are still obligatory in hospitals and care homes.
From Saturday, EU citizens can enter Croatia without any requirements, while those arriving from other countries are required to produce COVID certificates upon entering Croatia or fulfil one of the options below.
1. A negative PCR (taken 72 hours before arrival at the border) or Antigen test (taken 24 hours before arrival at the boarder).
2. A vaccination certificate showing final dose taken more than 14 days ago.
3. Booster dose certificate.
4. Proof of recovery from Covid more than 11 days and less than 180 days ago.
5. Proof of recovery from Covid and first dose of vaccine more than 11 days and less than 270 days ago.
6. Pay for a test on arrival and remain in self-isolation until a negative result.
All children under 12 years of age are exempt from providing test results if their parent or guardian fulfil all requirements.
“Third-country (Non-EU) nationals can enter Croatia with a COVID certificate. As for EU citizens, they will no longer need certificates to enter Croatia,” Božinović said.
Health Minister Vili Beroš told the press on Thursday that all the parameters of the pandemic developments were taken into account when deciding to ease the rules.
“We have entered the third year of the pandemic, and we can see that it is waning,” Beroš said, adding that the decision to relax COVID protocols was well-thought-out.
He, however, warned that the time was not ripe yet for declaring the end of the pandemic, and called for caution, especially when the health of senior citizens or citizens with underlying conditions is at stake.
The head of the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ), Krunoslav Capak, said that the relaxation of the restrictions ensued due to the improvement in the epidemiological situation and due to the fact that over 70% of adults have received at least one a shot of a COVID vaccine. Furthermore, an estimated 600,000 people, who have been diagnosed with this disease since the start of 2022, have acquired immunity in that way.
The head of the Zagreb-based Hospital for Infectious Diseases, Alemka Markotić, said that the second-generation vaccines could be developed soon and that the situation with the pandemic could become stable by this autumn.