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Health Minister: 32% fewer new cases, relaxing measures depends on few elements

Downward trend in number of coronavirus cases continues croatia

Krunoslav Capak, Vili Berošš, Davor Božžnović (Photo: HINA/ POOL/ CROPIX)

ZAGREB, 21 January (Hina) – Ahead of a cabinet meeting on Thursday, Health Minister Vili Beroš said that compared to last week there were now 32% fewer cases of COVID-19 and today’s data indicates 39 fewer hospitalised COVID patients and 15 fewer on ventilators.

Beroš said that we still have a high number of fatalities which forces us to be on alert. “We expected that the number of deaths would start to fall but that has not happened. However, there are fewer hospitalised patients in a serious condition,” he said.

To date a total of 60,958 people have been vaccinated including 7,843 who have received both doses.

Beroš says that Croatia has not registered any cases of the new strain of coronavirus and that based on recommendations, it plans to increase the number of virus sequencing.

This was discussed yesterday at the European Commission’s Scientific Council because Europe is worried about the new variant of the virus and has recommended stepping up of sequencing genomes in those situation where a larger number of infected people emerges which was recently the case in Varaždin and Međimurje counties and with arrivals from high-risk countries like South Africa and Great Britain, he explained.

Beroš said that that sequencing will be conducted in institutions that have the equipment for that type of genetic analysis such as the infectious diseases hospital and that he believes that the scientific community will contribute as the majority of institutions have that equipment.

When it comes to relaxing measures in Croatia, the minister said that the number of new cases is just one of the elements relevant to decide on measures. However, the decisions are also influenced by other facts such as winter months, the epidemiological situation in our neighbourhood, the emergence of the new strain of the virus, increased mobility with school starting and so on. 

“I think the worst thing now would be to consider steps that are not founded. Most of Europe is stepping up measures so it is not realistic to expect any relaxing until the epidemiological situation can guarantee safety,” said Beroš.

Plenković: Coronavirus situation encouraging, we’ll see what to do after 1 Feb

The epidemiological situation in Croatia is encouraging and if the downward trend continues, the government will consult with the national coronavirus response team, epidemiologists and its team of economists over the weekend to see what can be done after 1 February, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday.

In the last seven days Croatia has recorded 1,429 new infections, or an average of 604 daily. “These are the numbers we had in mid-October and they are six times lower than they were six weeks ago,” the prime minister said at a cabinet meeting.

The 14-day incidence rate has decreased to 258 per 100,000 people, which is half the number recorded three weeks ago.

Plenković said that Croatia ranked fifth in the EU in terms of the weekly average of cases per million people, behind Greece, Finland, Bulgaria and Belgium.

He recommended caution, given the vicious nature of the virus and a new strain that has emerged.

“If the present trend continues, we will have consultations over the weekend with the national coronavirus response team, epidemiologists and the government’s team of economists to see what we can do as of 1 February, given that the existing regime is in place until 31 January,” the prime minister said.

He announced that the European Council was holding a video conference this evening, with the vaccination process as the main topic.

“It is important that we have coordinated activities of all EU member states and that we try to find solutions together so that as many doses of vaccine as possible reach the member states according to the distribution schedule,” Plenković said.

He said that efforts would be made by spring to vaccinate as many vulnerable people as possible, after which the general public would be vaccinated.

 

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