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We want to launch tourism without underestimating risk of infection, Croatian minister says

Zadar (Photo credit: Sam Barber/Unsplash)

ZAGREB, May 13 (Hina) – Croatia wants to launch tourism without underestimating the risk of infection and its authorities have been in contact with European institutions and neighbouring countries whose citizens vacation in Croatia, the head of the National Civil Protection Authority, Davor Bozinovic, said on Wednesday.

“Our aim is to launch tourism but without underestimating the risks related to the spread of COVID-19. In that regard, we are all in touch,” Bozinovic, who is also Minister of the Interior, told a regular press conference.

The European Commission on Wednesday released several documents related to lifting restrictions on travel across European Union internal and external borders in an effort to help EU countries reactivate tourism as one of the most significant economic branches.

Bozinovic underlined that border police will allow entries into Croatia but in keeping with conditions previously set.

“There is a set of conditions under which entry into Croatia will be possible and this European document is the basis for reactivating tourism if the coronavirus allows it. I think that we in Croatia have shown that we have been successful in handling that disease,” he said.

He recalled that the Croatian Institute for Public Health (HZJZ) had prepared epidemiological recommendations for hospitality facilities, hotels, and border crossings.

A map of European regions

Bozinovic said that a map of regions in Europe would be prepared and updated on a daily basis by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Europe’s chief institution for infectious diseases.

He specified that everyone will have access to that map and then make individual decisions on travel, on the condition that they meet the conditions to enter a particular country.

“The intention of that document is for citizens to be informed, to provide recommendations to countries and people involved in tourism so that two key conditions for making tourism happen this year – relaunching tourism and minimising the risk of the disease spreading –  are met,” said Bozinovic.

Asked about the application to track citizens, Bozinovic denied that the application was intended for that and that its purpose was contact tracing.

Its purpose is to better inform the public and track the effectiveness of various measures aimed at curbing the outbreak, including social distancing and contact tracing.

“People who wish to download the application may do so on a voluntary basis. It is a solution that is not controlled by any institution. It does not contain personal data nor telephone numbers but is an attempt to assist people. After all, it is in everyone’s interest to be informed via the application that they have been close to someone who is positive for the coronavirus so that they can be tested and see whether they too have been infected,” explained Bozinovic.

Speaking about print in hospitality facilities and hairdressers’ salons, Bozinovic said that it was not banned hence it can be “everywhere just like before.”

HZJZ Director Krunoslav Capak told the press conference that all the people who had been on a recent flight from Frankfurt to Croatia had been identified and sent into self-isolation.

There were 74 passengers on board the flight that arrived on 2 May, and among them, 12 were infected with the coronavirus.

Instructions for people crossing the border – passive health monitoring

The border police took down their details. We scanned all their passports and addresses, Capak said and explained that the latest decision on cross-border travel means that measures of self-isolation at borders have been rescinded, however, the measures recommended by epidemiologists are still valid.

“People crossing the border do not need to go into self-isolation but they are given instructions on how to proceed for the next 14 days, which includes taking one’s temperature and avoiding contact with others, which is almost like self-isolation,” Capak, describing this as passive health control.

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