Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.
In the Split-Dalmatia County, a large percentage of the delta strain of Covid-19 is present, in as many as 70 percent of new cases, said Željka Karin, the director of the County Institute for Public Health, at a press conference in front of the Split hospital on Friday.
The whole of Croatia needs to work on the epidemiological situation because health workers are doing everything in their power, said Karin.
"The numbers are growing. Unfortunately, we warned about this when we called for vaccinations, despite the fact that there are resistances and misconceptions about it that are spreading through the media, other communication channels and among people. The only way to reduce and stop the epidemic is a high level of vaccination, she added.
In the Split-Dalmatia County, only 39.8 percent of people have been vaccinated, and in Croatia about 45 percent, said Karin, adding that in that county there is a higher number of patients due to tourists arriving there. She reminded that "the whole of Croatia mostly lives from tourism".
"The numbers of mostly younger age groups are growing. They are spreading the infection to the elderly, so even today, but also yesterday, we have whole families among the newly infected,” said Karin.
This weekend around 78,000 passengers are expected at the Split airport and ferry port, which is the highest number of arrivals this year.
"Today and tomorrow, 170 planes will arrive at Split airport, 130 of which are commercial and 40 private, and they will by carrying around 28,000 passengers, which is the most during one weekend this year," commented Split Airport.
Split Airport has re-established flights in July with almost all tourist markets with which it was connected by air before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. The airport has direct flights to 24 different countries, and indirectly to many other countries.
"There has been a noticeable increase in the number of Americans arriving from Amsterdam on a plane that flies the Amsterdam-Split route three times a day," added a spokesperson for the airport.
During June this year, the Split airport had a turnover of 117,000 passengers, which is the highest traffic in June compared to all other airports in Croatia. And in the first half of July 140,000 passengers passed through the airport.
According to the information from the Public Health Institute of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, as of today, the quality of the sea on the beach of the Dubrovnik President Valamar Collection hotel is again of excellent quality, the Valamar Group reported.
As a reminder, on July 14, during the fifth sea quality survey this season, the Institute found that the results of the analysis of the sea for swimming on the beach of the Dubrovnik President Hotel in Dubrovnik, sampled on July 12, did not correspond to microbiological indicators.
In the last 24 hours, 139 new cases of Covid-19 virus infection were recorded, and the number of active cases in Croatia today is a total of 723. Among them, 112 people are in hospital, of which 12 are on ventilators. Unfortunately, a further 2 people died in the past 24 hours.
Since February 25, 2020, when the first case of infection was recorded in Croatia, a total of 361,488 people have been infected with the new coronavirus, of which 8,236 have died, a total of 352,529 people have recovered, of which 99 in the last 24 hours.
There are currently 3,789 people in self-isolation.
To date, a total of 2,213,700 people have been tested, of which 3,834 in the last 24 hours.
As of July 16, 1,584,407 people have been vaccinated with at least one dose, which is 40.32 percent of the adult population.
After it was announced Wednesday night that Croatia was to be placed on the British list of green countries, and that the first British tourists would arrive on the Adriatic on from the 19th of July the tourism sector has been inundated with concerns after the initial wave of happiness.
The United Kingdom is one of the countries with the highest growth in the number of newly reported cases of the so-called delta strain, and it is feared that a wave of British tourists could close the tourist season, so these days the National Staff is considering introducing some additional restrictions on the arrival of British tourists.
As the Croatian newspaper Jutarnji list reports, the possibility of introducing mandatory antigen testing for all vaccinated Britons is being discussed. Arguments for the introduction of a rapid antigen test are a desire to preserve the season and open borders despite the spread of the delta strain that has already caused chaos in some Mediterranean countries, such as Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Greece.
Namely, the National Staff believes that the cost of one hundred Kuna for a rapid antigen test would not be a greater financial burden for tourists, however on the other hand, it would still increase security and reduce the number of imported viruses.
Apart for the British, the same measure of restriction is being considered for visitors from Russia.
In the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, nine new cases of coronavirus infection have been reported in the last 24 hours.
These are five males and four females; four from Dubrovnik, two each from Konavle and Metković and one from Opuzen.
Twelve people made a full recovery - eight from Dubrovnik, two from Ploče, one from Zažablje and one person who does not reside in the county.
In the last 24 hours, 560 samples were processed, and since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 91,126 samples have been analysed.
Eight people tested positive for coronavirus were hospitalized in the Dubrovnik General Hospital.
There are 266 people in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours no case of violation of the self-isolation measure has been recorded.
There are currently 730 thousand tourists in Croatia, meaning that the number of tourists across the country has reached 75 percent of the number from the record-breaking 2019. However, the fact that the European Centre for Control (ECDC) has taken the whole of the Croatian Adriatic coastline off the green list and moved it onto the orange list has been a warning.
The Minister of Tourism and Sports, Nikolina Brnjac, pointed out that Croatia can save this year's tourist season if we all adhere to epidemiological measures.
“Today there are 730 thousand tourists in Croatia, which is 150 thousand more than at the same time last year,” said the Minister. Adding that “Most guests are from Germany, followed by Slovenia, Austria and Poland. The counties with the most tourists are Istria, Primorje-Gorski Kotar and the Split-Dalmatia County.”
And commenting on the fact that the Croatian coastline is now ranked as orange by ECDC she said that “This is a good warning to us that we must adhere to epidemiological measures, that we must be vaccinated. A warning is also today’s ECDC report that the delta strain is here and is spreading very fast. What we must primarily take care of is our own health.”
The Prefect of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Nikola Dobroslavić, has urged for stricter measures against the spread of Covid-19. The recently updated European Centre for Disease Control map of Europe listed the whole of the Croatian Adriatic coastline as orange, instead of green as it had been before. And whilst this map is only used as advice for European Union countries the fact that Croatia’s most popular tourist destinations are now listed as orange should concern the tourist industry.
Dobroslavić hinted at stricter Covid-19 measures as he commented that “On the occasion of the growing number of cases and returning to the ECDC orange list, and after talking to members of the Headquarters, I sent a letter to mayors calling on them to engage in maintaining a good epidemiological picture in the county. All mass public events should be controlled, provide the necessary measures, space and hygiene, or ask for EU COVID certification. Those events that are risky should not be approved! We need health, we need tourism. Let's be responsible, adhere to the measures. And we also get vaccinated!"
And as the UK opens up to tourism from Monday the 19th of July there are clearly fears that more cases of the delta strain will arrive in Croatia.