Sunday, 05 April 2020
Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas

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.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

Coronavirus lockdown has certainly brought out the creative side of many people, but not many have got this creative! An absolutely brilliant video was published by Philipp Klein Herrero on his YouTube channel. If you can’t hit the ski slopes you can always ski at home.

 

 

“Just before the current health situation locked us in, I was about to go Freeriding with my family. It was supposed to be the big adventure of the year, the one I had been eagerly awaiting for a year. Therefore, the lockdown had me thinking about skiing the whole time, so I started to think how I could ski without leaving my living room,” commented Herrero with the video.

Now that’s how to creatively fill your time whilst stuck at home.

Check out the video below

Record breaking years after record breaking years, over two million tourists a year in a city with a population of 40,000, over 14,000 beds in private rentals, highlighted as one of the main victims of over tourism, and then came COVID-19 coronavirus. From riding the crest of a wave to crashing onto the pebbly beach. Dubrovnik had been for a few years the victim of its own success, or rather the victim of poor organisation and non-existent planning, and throw a few A-line film and TV productions into the mix and hey presto. However, surely it was always better to have over tourism than under tourism? We are finding out at first-hand what a lack of tourists means, we are all guinea pigs in a global experiment.

 

 

The latest blow to the tourism industry in Dubrovnik is the news that American Airlines has cancelled all flights between Philadelphia and Dubrovnik this year. Last year was a historic one, the first direct flight connection between Croatia and the US since the end of the Homeland War. And the flights proved extremely popular, so much so that a daily service was on the schedule this summer. Of course one of the reasons Americans loved to visit Dubrovnik was the fact that for many of them it was actually called King’s Landing. Game of Thrones brought not only the eyes of the world but also a new reason to visit the pearl of the Adriatic.

The second most numerous tourists in Dubrovnik last year, in terms of nationality, were travellers from the States.

Now, according to a report on the specialised website Ex-Yu Aviation, American Airlines have cut their entire schedule for Dubrovnik, flights that were supposed to arrive between June and October are now on cancelled until next year. It is a heavy blow for the city’s tourism industry, American Airlines not only carried almost 18,000 passengers to the southernmost airport in Croatia last summer, but this year had seriously upgraded their service. There were even rumours that in 2021 new flights from Chicago would be introduced.

all smiles as first american airlines flight lands in 2019

All smiles as first American Airlines plane to Croatia in 28 years lands at Dubrovnik Airport in 2019 - Photo Tonci Plazibat 

 

“Nobody is booking travel”, Vasu Raja, American’s Senior Vice President for Network Strategy said. “If we can reduce our capacity this summer, we can reduce our expenses”, added Raja.

2020 will be a year of challenges for Dubrovnik Airport, airlines have either postponed services that were due to kick-off in April and May to June and July, or they have cancelled altogether. The first case of coronavirus in the wider Dubrovnik region was detected at the airport, meaning that the airport has firmly closed its doors until the middle of this month, no commercial flights are landing.

And the year had started on the wrong foot, passenger figures in January were 22 percent down on the same month from the previous year, and unsurprisingly March was almost a total write-off, passenger numbers fell like a pebble in the Adriatic, down 66 percent.

A total of 893 Croatians have been repatriated since the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic and several hundred are due to return this weekend, Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic-Radman said on Saturday.

A total of 155 passengers, mostly Croatians as well as several citizens of Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro, are arriving in Zagreb on Saturday evening aboard special Croatia Airlines flights from Portugal, Spain, Italy and Sweden, he said.

The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs has sent protective masks and gloves for the passengers, who will need to observe social distancing rules. Upon arrival at the airport, they will be examined by doctors and will be ordered into quarantine or self-isolation if necessary, the minister said, noting that it was the government's obligation under the constitution to ensure the repatriation of Croatian nationals.

On Sunday, 37 Croatians are due to arrive in Zadar by catamaran from Ancona and more than a hundred are expected to arrive in several buses from Tyrol.

Grlic-Radman said that the governments of Slovenia, Hungary, Austria and Italy had helped the Croatian authorities with previous repatriations. "This situation has shown how solidary we can be and how much we can do together. When you act alone, you cannot do much but you need to work in cooperation with others."

A total of 893 Croatians have been repatriated to date, including 564 from third countries such as India, the United Arab Emirates (Dubai), Morocco and Peru. Last week, 13 Croatians returned by bus from Tyrol, and as many arrived in a six-car convoy last night, the minister said.

Coronavirus lockdown might have stopped friend and family getting together for a coffee, as is the norm in Dubrovnik, people are finding creative ways to enjoy a caffeine blast.

The recently formed Facebook group “Corona Dubrovnik” has in a short time managed to get a great following and the members certainly have a sense of humour. This latest video was posted by Ivana Orlic and brought a smile to our faces.

Well done Ivana!

According to the latest data in Dubrovnik-Neretva County, the total number of people infected with COVID-19 in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County is 59, with 9 new cases detected in the last 24 hours, announced the Civil Protection Staff of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

15 positive patients are hospitalized, with three patients from the county already hospitalised and on respirators in Split and a further two are expected to travel to Split to the respiratory centre of the Clinical Hospital Centre Split.

A total of 466 samples have been sent to Zagreb for analysis. And yesterday a further 65 samples were sent for analysis. There are 39 people positive for COVID-19 at home in isolation.

No violations of the self-isolation measure have been identified in the last 24 hours.

 

Since the 25th of February this year, when the first case of COVID-19 coronavirus was confirmed in Croatia until today there are 1,126 cases of the virus. At the regular press conference today of the Civil Protection Directorate the news on the current coronavirus situation in the country was announced and unfortunately another four patients have lost the battle with COVID-19 bring the number of fatalities to 12.

 

 

Over the past 24 hours a further 47 new cases of coronavirus have been detected in Croatia, meaning that the number of cases is slowly falling on a daily basis, but as the Minister of Health, Vili Beros, pointed out there is no room for complacency. He pointed out that the next two to three weeks are critical in fighting the epidemic.

A total of 1,117,860 cases of coronavirus infection have been reported worldwide. 59,203 people have died while 228,990 recovered.

Dr. Krunoslav Capak explained that all those citizens returning to Croatia would be examined by an epidemiologist and a border sanitary inspector. If they have symptoms or have been in contact with infected people, they will be given a measure of self-isolation. If someone is found to have symptoms of COVID-19 infection, that person will immediately go to hospital for isolation. "Those who do not have symptoms or have mild symptoms and have conditions for self-isolation are advised to be treated at home," said Krunoslav Capak.

Fortunately, there are still no outbreak of the virus in any nursing homes in Croatia. Capak pointed out that this was one of the strict measures introduced at the time, "We introduced them early and later intensified them when the epidemiological picture changed."

And although the weather is turning warmer and sunnier Capak warned "We at the Civil Protection Headquarters, keep communicating that the next few weeks are critical! I urge the people to stay home. Physical activity is important but even this can be temporarily delayed. Do not go out in groups.”

#STAYATHOME

 

The Croatian Ministry of the Interior has taken to Twitter to praise citizens for following the strict current coronavirus measures and staying at home. With photos from Croatian cities, up and down the country, almost completely empty as the vast majority of people are obeying lockdown instructions.

There have been a few scattered cases of people gathering in parks and even a café bar in Zadar, but on the whole it would appear that the overwhelming section of the population is staying home, and taking exercise in the countryside far away from built-up areas.

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Dubrovnik is in coronavirus lockdown. It is a strange sight. The historic city core of Dubrovnik is almost completely empty with only the swallows and streets cats left to enjoy the ancient façades.

These photos were sent to us and clearly show that the message of #stayathome is working.

Check out the photo gallery of the Old City of Dubrovnik is coronavirus isolation

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