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.
A clear 14 days, it has been a full 14 days since the last case of Covid-19 was detected in the Dubrovnik – Neretva County. The number of people who contracted the virus remains at 118.
According to currently available data in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, no new cases of coronavirus infection have been recorded in the last 24 hours. The remaining findings sent for analysis on Tuesday were negative, as were 38 samples sent for analysis on Wednesday while 5 are still being processed.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 2,816 samples have been sent to Zagreb for analysis.
As of today, 2 positive patients are hospitalized in the Infectious Diseases Department of the Dubrovnik General Hospital.
A total of 7 citizens are in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours no violation of the self-isolation measure has been established.
The Slovenian government was the first in the EU to declare an end to the coronavirus epidemic almost a week ago, despite protests that it was too early. It seems that Croatia will wait for some more time for that decision.
And when asked if Croatia could soon declare itself as corona-free the Croatian Minister of Health, Vili Beros commented "We certainly won’t do that yet. It is a new disease, the challenges are numerous,” for the newspaper 24 sata.
“For example, when we had a measles epidemic, we determined its end solely on the basis of medical criteria - it lasts until the moment when the last case is the period of maximum incubation or two such periods, depending. This is something completely different, which I have not encountered in 25 years of work in this institution,” explained Bernard Kaic, the head of the Department of Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases at the CNIPH.
After the relaxation of security measures by the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia and the adoption of new measures and instructions on behaviour in public inter-county passenger transport, FlixBus returned to the roads on 11 May 2020 and connected Zagreb and Varaždin with cities such as Zadar, Split and Trogir. From 28 May, the connection of the southern part of Croatia continues, with Flixbus buses travelling all the way to Omis, Makarska, Ploče, Opuzen, Metković and Dubrovnik.
Passengers are still encouraged to think about their safety when buying their tickets and to use the online way of buying tickets via a free mobile application or website. This will reduce unnecessary physical contact and long queues. Special attention is paid to enhanced prevention, hygiene and disinfection of the bus area for passengers and drivers, protective equipment for drivers as well as regulated boarding and disembarking of passengers with the maximum capacity.
“Bus transport of passengers even after the situation around the coronavirus should remain an important part of a sustainable and affordable way of traveling. The allowed capacity on the existing FlixBus bus lines is mostly full. We expect further easing of the measures of the Civil Protection Headquarters in order to continue with unhindered traffic throughout Croatia and enable passengers to realize their planned tourist or business trips,” commented Ante Grbeša, director of FlixBus CEE South region.
The latest airline to announce their 2020 summer flight schedule to Dubrovnik is the Spanish low-cost airline, Volotea. The first flights to Dubrovnik will commence in June with Volotea connecting Dubrovnik to a total of 11 European destinations. And the airline is currently offering special discounted tickets, with a single ticket around 29 Euros.
This summer Volotea, according to their official website, will connect Dubrovnik to Venice, Strasbourg, Nantes, Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Marseille, Bari, Palermo, Athens and Mykonos.
With the Croatian borders slowly opening the first guests came to Croatian marinas this weekend. These are Slovenes, Austrians and Germans, who had come to check on their vessels and to see what condition they were in. Although the marinas operated throughout the coronavirus epidemic, it was only with the easing of measures that the first guests began to arrive. According to the epidemiologist, there are no restrictions on guests coming to marinas.
“Croatian marinas are open to receive guests and boat owners with close family members can visit their boats without restrictions. Also, there are no restrictions for the entry and departure of ships within Croatian territorial waters, and vessel servicers work without restrictions", commented Kristijan Pavić, the President of the Management Board of ACI. Restrictions apply in marinas, shops, restaurants and cafes as well as in other facilities and purposes outside marinas. Pavić notes that with the gradual opening of the borders, the arrival of sailors who rent boats is beginning. Admittedly, in a negligible number, but this is also the beginning, writes Novac.hr.
At the moment, ships longer than 24 meters can enter Croatia freely from international waters and moor in marinas, although cruise ships are prohibited from entering Croatian waters and ports until the epidemic regulations concerning cruise ships are lifted.
Nautical tourism is one of the tourist branches for which an enormous drop in guest demand is predicted. In France, Spain and Italy, they predict a drop of as much as 80 percent. Croatia will not be exempt from that either. But, the announcements say that this year, thanks to the impressive fight against Covid-19 and the excellent epidemiological situation, Croatia could profit in the mega yacht segment. Maritime agent Andrija Šimić from the company Simmor reveals for Jutarnji list that this summer Croatia, along with Montenegro and Greece, could be a hit in the Mediterranean for owners and renters of mega yachts, ie yachts longer than 24 meters.
According to him, the "migration" of these vessels to Croatia has just begun. “The corona situation has made tectonic shifts in yachting. The owners of mega yachts that are moored in Italy have a plan to start their season from Croatia because they cannot wait for Italy to fully open and become operational,” he says. According to him, "in the next 30 days, the arrival of about 70 mega yachts from France and Italy is expected." These are yachts intended for charter, but also those in private ownership. Although Spain is quite far away, a dozen yachts have already arrived in Croatia from that country. Apart from the arrival of mega yachts from Mediterranean ports to Croatia, our coast should be the first destination for mega yachts from the Caribbean. Namely, the hurricane season begins in the Caribbean and now these vessels are moving towards the Mediterranean.
A large number of mega yacht owners decided to come to Croatia first because on May 3 we sent clear messages that mega yachts were welcome. I think that the entire Mediterranean season will concentrate on the triangle Croatia - Montenegro - Greece, where the situation with the Covid-19 is approximately the same", emphasizes Šimić.
This optimism is also confirmed by the director of ACI, Kristijan Pavić, who points out that soon they expect the arrival of larger ships in their marinas, and they receive daily inquiries from guests about the working conditions of marinas and renting boats.
The most popular budget airline in the world, Ryanair, has announced a new flight schedule for Dubrovnik for this summer season. In fact, Ryanair is restoring around 40 percent of its flights across Europe from the 1st of July, meaning they will be operating almost 1,000 flights a day.
Ryanair will start flying to Dubrovnik on the 1st of July from Dublin and will operate this route twice a week. Then on the 2nd of July the low-cost airline will open another route to Dubrovnik from Vienna. This Austrian line will land four times a week in Dubrovnik.
Both of these connections had already been planned for Dubrovnik for 2020, although the frequency and start dates have been altered. The Dublin connection was planned to operate four times a week.
Ryanair has also announced flights, although on somewhat of a reduced schedule, for this summer to Zadar, Pula, Rijeka and Split.
German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, said after a meeting with colleagues from countries bordering Germany that he believes a summer holiday in Europe will be possible this year but with certain limitations.
"In this year of the corona crisis, we want to enable a European summer holiday, but we must act responsibly. In order to succeed, the holiday must be predictable and, above all, safe," Heiko Maas said after meeting with foreign ministers.
He said security concerns two aspects: the first is to allow German tourists to return home safely, which requires the gradual opening of borders and the lifting of quarantine rules.
Another aspect, Maas said, concerns measures against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
"We need to be sure that we do not pay for summer tourism with the second wave of contagion. That is why we need to agree on health and hygiene standards in tourist centres," the German foreign minister said.
He stressed that Germany as a “world champion when it comes to travel” feels particularly responsible when it comes to reopening the travel season.
He stressed that he hoped the German government's recommendations not to travel abroad, at least as far as European countries were concerned, would be repealed on June 14.
"Today's talks on Monday brought us closer to that goal. We must continue this harmonization of positions and measures in the coming days," Maas said.
The German Foreign Minister also discussed the reopening of the tourist season on Monday with the foreign ministers of countries known as tourist destinations of German citizens, including Croatia.
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