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Croatia’s health minister rules out lockdown and curfew

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Minister Vili Beros (Photo: Tomislav Kristo / CROPIX / Pool)

ZAGREB, Nov 14 (Hina) – Health Minister Vili Beros said on Saturday that he would support the imposition of tighter restrictions if the current situation regarding the spread of coronavirus did not improve, however, there would be neither lockdown nor curfew.

Beros visited the city of Varazdin and the local hospital that is currently caring for 156 patients diagnosed with the coronavirus infection.

The minister held meetings with local authorities and admitted that the epidemiological situation in the north of the country was not good.

All that heightens the pressure on the healthcare system, and cooperation between the counties as well as at the level of the whole country is necessary, he added.

Considering new measures to suppress the virus, Beros said that he supported the activities aimed at tighter restrictions if the situation did not improve.

 “Another lockdown or curfew is out of the question,” he said adding that gatherings could be further restricted and working hours of some hospitality services could be changed.

Varazdin County Prefect Radimir Cacic said that currently, this part of Croatia had the highest coronavirus numbers in Europe and that on average, about ten COVID patients were admitted to the Varazdin hospital on a daily basis.

Croatia recorded 2,866 new coronavirus cases and 38 related deaths in the last 24 hours.

The number of active cases currently stands at 17,090. Of them, 1,655 are receiving hospital treatment, including 184 who are ventilators.

A total of 41,615 people are currently in self-isolation.

Since February 25, when the first case was confirmed in the country, 81,844 people have been infected with the novel virus, 1,006 of them have died and 63,748 have recovered, including 2,484 in the last 24 hours.

To date, a total of 611,357 people have tested for coronavirus, including 9,614 in the last 24 hours

COVID vaccines to arrive in Croatia as soon as they are registered

Croatia, in cooperation with the European Union, has ordered COVID vaccines from several companies, and the delivery of the reserved doses can be expected in the country as soon as the vaccinations are registered, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said at a news conference in Zagreb on Saturday.

Croatia, in agreement with the EU, has concluded several Advance Purchase Agreements.

For instance, the European Commission and AstraZeneca have concluded such agreement on the delivery of 300 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine for the whole EU, and Croatia has ordered 2.7 million doses from that company.

Sanofi is supposed to provide the EU with 300 million doses, and the distribution of its vaccines across the EU member-states will be defined in December, Plenkovic told the news conference.

The EU is going to purchase 200 million doses from Janssen Pharmaceutica owned by Johnson & Johnson, and Croatia has booked 900,000 doses.

Finally, 200 million doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer & BioNTech have been booked for the EU plus an additional 100 million doses, and Croatia has reserved a million doses of this vaccine.

Commenting on the healthcare system in the country and struggle to contain the novel coronavirus, Plenkovic underscored that on Friday, his cabinet allocated HRK 1.34 billion to hospitals for the repayment of a part of the debt to drug wholesalers through a revision of the state budget.

He underscored the government’s decision to approve state aid in the amount of HRK 88.5 million for Croatia Airlines to help it deal with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

Job retention measures, rise in basic and minimum wages by €127 and €120 respectively 

Considering the job-retention measures, the government will have paid more than eight billion kuna for that purpose, he recalled.

He also underscored Friday’s agreement between the government and public sector unions on an HRK 1,500 Christmas bonus and a previously agreed 4% base pay rise.

Thus, the government has reached the target of its four-year policy to have the wages raised by 18.3%.

The basic wage has increased by 952 kuna, and the minimum wage has increased by 904 kuna over that period of four years, he said.

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