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 Dubrovnik-Neretva County, three new cases of Covid-19 infection have been reported in the last 24 hours. These are two people from Korčula, family contacts of a previously positive person, and one person from Vela Luka, an employee of the home for the elderly "Mother Marija Petković" from Blato. All remaining employees and residents of the home were tested and the findings were negative.
As of today, one person, from Blato on Korcula, has been cured.
A total of 6,673 samples have been analysed since the beginning of the pandemic.
There is one person hospitalised in the Dubrovnik General Hospital.
There are 161 people in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours, one violation of the measure was recorded.
A dramatic drop in greenhouse gases and air pollutant emissions during the Covid-19 lockdown will have a small impact on global warming, scientists say. Recent analyses show that by 2030, global temperatures will be only 0.01 degrees lower than expected.
But the authors point out that nature’s recovery could have a significant impact on long-term forecasts. A strong green impulse could keep the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees by the middle of this century, the BBC writes on Friday.
Earlier studies also indicated changes in greenhouse gas emissions after the transport system stalled as part of measures against the coronavirus pandemic. Global daily carbon emissions fell 17 percent at the height of the crisis.
The new study builds on that data using results from Google and Apple on global population movements. The team led by prof. Piers Forster of the University of Leeds calculated that gases and air pollutants changed from February to June 2020 in 123 countries.
Experts found that they fell the most in April. Carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and other emissions are less than ten to 30 percent globally, mainly due to traffic shutdowns.
But new research shows that the fall in some greenhouse gases has offset the effect of others in terms of global warming.
Nitrogen oxides from transport usually heat the atmosphere. They have fallen 30 percent, as has sulphur dioxide, which is mostly formed by burning coal.
The release of this gas helps to form an aerosol that reflects sunlight back into space and thus cools the planet. This reversal of effects, combined with temporary restrictions due to the pandemic, means that the effect on global warming by 2030 will hardly be felt, scientists point out.
"While temporary changes are helping, carbon dioxide emissions need to be reduced permanently to reflect global warming," Forster said.
Dubrovnik is an absolute magnet for mega yachts over the summer period, from Russian billionaires to pop stars and famous designers, and 2020 in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic is no different. Quite the contrary there seem to be more luxury mega ships than a normal summer.
And one particularly caught the eye today as she sailed into the Bay of Zupa. Power Play, yes the name indicates the role of the yacht, is a 55.5-metre-long superyacht support vessel, that carries on board a whole host of fun. From submarines, speed boats and even aircraft, Power Play has lots of toys, really expensive toys.
“Our clients have fantastic ideas for diving, aircraft, luxury toys and serious boats. They are planning adventures of a lifetime and even getting involved in underwater exploration, science, film-making or racing yacht events. As a shipbuilder, it’s exciting to be a part of making their ideas a reality,” commented the product director of the Dutch shipbuilder Damen, Mark Vermeulen, to Super Yacht News.
And as this rather unconventional yacht sailed into Zupa this morning the silhouette caused locals to look twice.
Croatia will send humanitarian aid to Lebanon in the amount of around 900,000 Kuna for the needs of protection of human lives and repair of material damage caused after the devastating explosion in the port of Beirut, the Government of the Republic of Croatia decided on Thursday at a telephone session.
Based on the needs and priorities expressed by Lebanon through the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism, the Government decided to send equipment worth 20,000 euros or 150,000 Kunas to help, and these are disposable suits with chemical protection, latex gloves and surgical sterile gloves.
Croatia will also send financial assistance to Lebanon in the amount of 100,000 euros or 750,000 Kunas. With this decision, Croatia joins a number of foreign countries and international organizations in expressing solidarity with the Lebanese people and the citizens of Beirut after the disaster that hit them due to the devastating explosion two days ago.
Never has the north-south divide in tourism in Croatia been so highlighted than during these Covid-19 times. Whilst many destinations in Istria and the north of Dalmatia are reporting almost the same figures, in terms of tourist arrivals, as last year, the same can’t be said for Dubrovnik. Numbers have been banded around, will Dubrovnik reach 20 or 30 percent of last year’s totals, but one thing is clear 50 percent is only wishful thinking.
So why is it that Dubrovnik is seriously lagging behind the rest of the country? How can it be that in a city that earns around 70 percent of its GDP the hotels are empty? There is no magic answer. There are however a number of cold, hard facts that go some way to offering a solution.
Clearly the first is a simple one – geography. Dubrovnik is the southernmost city in Croatia. Now this would be a positive thing if the majority of tourists were coming from the south, but they aren’t, quite the opposite. Driving to Dubrovnik from Zagreb is hard enough, but driving from Austria, Germany, France or the UK, well that’s not for the faint-hearted. The much publicised motorway, A1, that was supposed to connect Dubrovnik to the rest of Croatia, and indeed the rest of Europe, is still only lines on a piece of paper. Here is one reason why the north of Croatia is doing a roaring trade, a big percentage of their tourists arrive by car.
Hostage to airlines
This leads onto the second, and probably more vital point, air transport. Dubrovnik is almost exclusively an “air destination” with 2.9 million passengers passing through Dubrovnik Airport last year. With such a heavy reliance on international flights to fill the hotels, the restaurants and rent-a-cars any disruption of this link has catastrophic consequences. Of course, Dubrovnik isn’t unique, it is like any other island in the Mediterranean, expect it isn’t actually island. Or is it? With the spit of land at Neum separating Dubrovnik from the rest of the country then it seems more and more like an island.
Dubrovnik Airport on July 20 2020 - Photo Mark Thomas
In this sense Dubrovnik is very much a hostage to the airlines. Now, this was true before the Covid-19 pandemic, it is just that the pandemic has shone a spotlight on this relationship. No flight, no tourists. In June 2019 (and cover your eyes if you work in the tourism industry) a grand total of 416,000 passengers were handled by Dubrovnik Airport, in June this year that number was a less than grand 10,600. The maths is easy to see. In July, one of the busiest months in the city, there were 515,000 passengers in 2019 and 59,000 in 2020. In the three months of May, June and July 2019 a total of 1.24 million passengers passed through the southernmost airport in Croatia, in 2020 a mere 74,000. That is some shortfall to make up.
Demographic of guests to Dubrovnik a telling factor
The third factor making the north-south divide as wide as the Grand Canyon, is the demographics of guests to Dubrovnik. This factor is of course linked to the two above points. For the past decade the most numerous tourists in Dubrovnik have been from the UK. According to data from the Dubrovnik-Neretva County Tourist Board there were 53,000 UK tourists holidaying in the county through July 2019. This July that number has plummeted to 5,700, or almost 90 percent less. The second most numerous guests over the past few years, thanks mainly to the HBO serial Game of Thrones, has been Americans. And here’s where the numbers fall off the chart, throughout July 2019 33,400, a year and a global pandemic later and July 2020 saw only 1,600 US guests, or 4.7 percent. Just the loss of these two major travel markets is enough to cripple the city’s tourism industry. Then throw into the mix that Dubrovnik was also popular with South Koreans, Australians, Chinese and Swedish and the true reality of life in the south is revealed. And that’s before you factor in the massive loss due to the 800,000 cruise ship passengers that will not by docking in the port this year.
Starting from zero, and that’s pretty much where the city’s tourism started as there were zero passengers through Dubrovnik Airport in April as it was closed all month, is a long climb to get back to some normality. British Airways have actually stated that they don’t see a normalisation of passenger number s and flights before 2023. And whilst that has undoubtedly been an increase in flights, especially from the UK, it is only the very beginning of a very, very, long road to recovery.
In the past 24 hours, 28 new cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in the Republic of Croatia and unfortunately one person has passed away, commented the National Civil Protection Headquarters today.
The number of currently active cases is 561. Among them, 110 patients are in hospital, of which seven are on a ventilator.
Since February 25, 2020, when the first case of infection was recorded in Croatia, a total of 5,404 people have been infected with the new coronavirus to date, of which 155 have died and 4,688 have recovered. There are currently 2,171 people in self-isolation.
To date, a total of 125,317 people have been tested, of which 934 in the last 24 hours.
In the last 24 hours, no new cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, meaning that over first six days of August there have been two new cases of Covid-19 in the county.
A total of 6,598 samples have been analysed since the beginning of the pandemic. And there is currently only person positive for Covid-19 hospitalized in the Dubrovnik General Hospital.
There are 164 people in self-isolation across the county, and in the last 24 hours there were no violations of self-isolation measures.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 47 cases of self-isolation violations have been identified.
The headquarters of the Civil Protection of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County continues to appeal to citizens to adhere to all prescribed measures by the Croatian Institute of Public Health and the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia, including wearing a protective face mask whilst in shops and on public transport.
This has got to be the good news story of the week so far. After getting entangled in buoys in Cavtat this sea turtle was lucky to have a team of young boys who saved her, quite possibly saved her life. The sea turtle had become stuck in the ropes of the buoys on the beach of Hotel Croatia in Cavtat, luckily her story ended well.
“Despite the strong south, we immediately jumped in to help the turtles. We untied the turtle, but it was difficult to get on the rocks because of the big waves, so we called the team from the Water Sports Center Cavtat to pick us up with a speedboat,” commented Bartol Braica, one of the three lifeguards on the scene.
He added for Dubrovacki Vjesnik that, “When we pulled out the turtle, we saw that she had swallowed a hook and line. We called the Animal Welfare Association, they told us to tear off the line and that the turtle would break down the hook over time. So we did and let her back into the sea.”
Well done to all involved in this Cavtat turtle rescue mission!