ZAGREB, Oct 19 (Hina) – A member of the government’s Scientific Council, epidemiologist Branko Kolaric, has expressed concern about Croatia’s healthcare system becoming overloaded due to a surge in the daily number of coronavirus cases.
Speaking in an interview with the public television service HRT on Sunday evening, Kolaric was asked to comment on warnings from the scientific community that there were between 50,000 and 100,000 infected people in Zagreb and that over the next week Croatia might see 2,000 new infections daily, from the current 1,000.
Noting that he did not know what these estimates were based on, Kolaric said that it was possible that the number of daily cases would reach 2,000. “We have come from 500 to 1,000 daily infections and it is not impossible for this number to grow to 2,000,” he said.
The epidemiologist said that the present attitude of the public towards the epidemiological measures in place and their adherence to these measures could lead to the public health system overloading. He said it was questionable whether the present measures were enough to reduce the number of new infections, expressing concern that the health system might become overburdened soon.
Today 548 people in Croatia are hospitalised for COVID-19, in neighbouring Slovenia the University Clinical Centre in Ljubljana is almost filled to capacity, while the Czech Republic has agreed with Germany on the possible treatment of its patients in Bavaria and Saxony, it was said.
Speaking of the number of hospitalised cases in Croatia, Kolaric said that the focus now was on COVID-19 cases and that there was less hospital capacity for treatment of other diseases.
There are 14,460 hospital beds in Croatia and 800 respirators.
Commenting on the interviewer’s remark that the measures in place in Croatia were considerably milder than those elsewhere in Europe and whether tighter restrictions could be expected, Kolaric said that such decisions fell within the remit of the national coronavirus response team, but that he believed the measures would have to be tightened.
Health minister calls for more coronavirus testing points in Zagreb
Health Minister Vili Beros has called on the Croatian Public Health Institute, the Fran Mihaljevic Hospital for Infectious Diseases and the Andrija Stampar Teaching Institute for Public Health to urgently organise additional COVID-19 testing points in Zagreb so that people would not have to wait in kilometres-long lines.
“Our aim is to reduce the kilometres-long lines of people waiting to get tested. I am confident that all the competent authorities will find the way and space for additional testing,” Beros said on Facebook on Sunday.
In the last 24 hours, 286 new coronavirus cases have been identified in Zagreb and 830 people have been ordered to self-isolate. Currently, the number of active cases in the city stands at 1,336 and 6,410 people are in self-isolation.