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First coronavirus case on a Croatian island confirmed

Hvar

ZAGREB, March 20 (Hina/24sata) – Eight new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Croatia, which puts their total number at 113, and one patient has been put on a ventilator, the National Civil Protection Authority said on Friday.

The Civil Protection Headquarters of the Split-Dalmatia County held a press conference also on Friday to confim a third case of coronavirus in the Split-Dalmatia County, a person on the island of Hvar who had recently returned from Austria and had been in self-isolation.

This is the first confirmed case on a Croatian island. There was also a second case confirmed in Dubrovnik on Friday.

The National Civil Protection Authority called on citizens to comply with measures adopted by the government considering that there have been reports of irresponsible conduct.

“The average age of the patients is 42.6, which is the reason why the clinical picture of most of them is good. There has been no deterioration of the symptoms in most cases, except for one person, who has been put on a ventilator,” Health Minister Vili Beros said at a news conference.

“The epidemiological situation indicates certain local transmission of the virus. But that is not important now as a few days ago we decided to raise our defence to a higher level. We know the number of those infected, we know the dynamic at which their number is growing, we expect more cases in the coming days but at present we are glad about the current dynamic and will try to maintain it as long as possible,” said Beros.

He underlined that according to reports from Italy, as many as 40% of Italian citizens are not complying with health authorities’ instructions, while Chinese health authorities underline the importance of following those instructions, which is of crucial importance for stopping the spread of the infection.

The head of the Dr Fran Mihaljevic Hospital for Infectious Diseases, Alemka Markotic, said that the patient on a ventilator was a middle-aged person and was stable while the other patients who had been hospitalised exhibited milder symptoms.

Markotic called for compliance with instructions from the competent authorities and warned against moving in groups. She also advised elderly people and people with chronic conditions to be very cautious and stay in self-isolation, underlining the importance of prevention.

So far 1,604 tests for coronavirus have been done, and five patients have recovered. Among those infected are 11 doctors.

Close to 13,000 Croatians are in self-isolation, 790 cases are under medical supervision, 84 people are in quarantine, of whom 52 are Croatian nationals, and 18 drivers are in quarantine as well, Public Health Institute head Krunoslav Capak said.

Capak warned against revealing the identity and location of the infected to prevent their stigmatisation.

He said that three doctors employed at Zagreb’s KB Dubrava hospital had tested positive for the coronavirus and that it was very likely that some of their patients had been infected.

Minister of the Interior Davor Bozinovic, who heads the national civil protection authority, said that restrictions imposed by the competent authorities were mostly complied with but that there were also cases of irresponsible behaviour.

“We will increase our efforts to ensure restrictions are being implemented. Police will step up patrols, notably in locations where a larger number of citizens gather, and they will warn against larger gatherings,” said the minister.

He added that the civil protection authority would probably introduce more restrictions to reduce the risk of the novel coronavirus spreading.

“This concerns playgrounds as well as some other locations where citizens gather. We have to take a clearer stand on funerals and weddings as well. We will have to define a measure to regulate the matter in the current situation,” he said.

He said that international transport was proceeding normally in the form of convoys while passenger transport in the country had practically come to a halt.

Since Thursday evening no foreign national has entered Croatia except for a few dozen passengers in transit, he said.

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