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.
Due to the ever rising number of new cases of Covid-19 in Croatia, yesterday saw a record number of new cases with 116, the Civil Protection Headquarters have reintroduced a number of restrictions, including the obligatory wearing of face masks in shops.
The wearing of protective face masks in stores across Croatia will come into effect from Monday 13 July 2020.
Until now it was only obligatory to wear a face mask on public transport in Croatia, however from Monday that all changes. Face masks or medical masks will also be required for employees of health care institutions and persons visiting patients, if visits are permitted. And drivers and other employees in public transport and passengers in public transport. Also employees in the catering industry who come into contact with guests or participate in the serving and preparation of food, beverages and beverages and other persons who are obliged to do so by special instructions and recommendations of the Croatian Institute of Public Health.
Speaking to NOVA TV the Interior Minsiter, Davor Bozinovic, said that “masks in shops will be obligatory from the beginning of next week. It doesn’t have to be a medical mask, but I reiterate, autumn could be a more serious challenge, and then the measures could be a little tighter.”
And whilst shoppers, and indeed staff in shops, will from Monday have to wear protective face masks from Monday, guests to restaurants still don’t have to, only the staff working in the catering facilities.
The Civil Protection Headquarters also passed on Friday a new regulation concerning the organisation of gatherings with more than 100 people, such as weddings.
Organizers who expect more than 100 people at the gathering are obliged to submit a notification to the County Centre 112 about the meeting no later than 48 hours before its beginning. Organizers who have registered a gathering in accordance with the Public Gathering Act are not required to submit this notice.
Also, all organizers of gatherings with more than 100 participants are required to keep written records of participants in order to prevent the spread of the disease as effectively as possible in the event of a virus infection.
A dark day for Covid-19 in Croatia as 116 new cases have been recorded in the past 24 hours. The number of active cases of Covid-19 in Croatia has now reached 1,038, among which there are 104 patients in hospital, and four patients on a ventilator.
Two people have passed away in the past 24 hours.
Zagreb has the most number of cases with 35.
Since February 25, 2020, when the first case of infection was recorded in Croatia, a total of 3,532 people have been infected with the new coronavirus, of which 117 have died and 2,377 have recovered. There are currently 4,608 people in self-isolation.
To date, a total of 91,486 people have been tested, of which 1,722 were tested in the last 24 hours, the National Headquarters announced.
In accordance with the current epidemiological situation, the Civil Protection Directorate today passed a decision on the necessary measures for the organization of gatherings attended by more than 100 participants during the declared epidemic of Covid-19 disease.
Organizers who expect more than 100 people at the gathering are obliged to submit a notification to the County Centre 112 about the gathering no later than 48 hours before the planned start.
Over the past 24 hours there have been 4 new cases of Covid-19 in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County.
The four new Covid-19 patients include a young man from Župa and three people from Dubrovnik, including two middle-aged women and a middle-aged man.
A total of 6 people are hospitalized in the Dubrovnik General Hospital. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 4,462 samples have been sent for analysis to Zagreb.
There are 162 people in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours no violation of self-source measures has been established.
The director of the Institute of Public Health, Krunoslav Capak, in an interview with Nova TV, commented on the new epidemiological measures that are expected and said that all options are now being considered.
“The discussion was to limit the number of participants at weddings, but it is more likely that we will leave the number, but introduce a recommendation for all gatherings, weddings, communions, confirmations and set stricter measures. There would be an obligation to report the event to the Civil Protection Headquarters, if there are more than 100 people, and the Civil Protection will organize surveillance. There will also be some local inspections and monitoring as to whether the event and the participants are adhering to the prescribed measures,” commented Capak.
At the moment in Croatia it is only obligatory to wear a facemask on public transport, however the Civil Protection Directorate are considering widening that to all public places in light of the recent spike in new Covid-19 cases across the country.
“It was one of the main topics this morning and afternoon. For now, we have the obligation to wear masks only on public transport, and that could be extended to some other enclosed spaces, but we do not yet know which ones. Mostly those with a larger number of people where it is difficult to keep social distance,” added Capak.
Tonight is the opening night of the 71st Dubrovnik Summer Festival and the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, has announced that all catering facilities, cafes and restaurants, in the city can stay open longer.
“Based on the decision of Mayor Mato Franković, and on the occasion of the ceremonial opening of the 71st Dubrovnik Summer Festival, the extension of the work of all catering facilities in the City of Dubrovnik is approved. Thus on the night of Friday the 10th to Saturday the 11th of July 2020, catering facilities are allowed to operate until 4 am,” sated the City of Dubrovnik.
All cafes and restaurants are obliged to ensure respect for public order and peace in their facilities and to prevent disturbances of public order and peace, and if it does occur, they must immediately inform the Dubrovnik Police Station, added the City of Dubrovnik in a statement.
The tourism industry in Croatia, as in the rest of the world, continues to struggle with the Covid-19 pandemic and its catastrophic consequences for travel. Figures just released show that so far in July the number of tourists in Croatia is around 52 percent when compared with the same period from last year. Croatia should, in any normal year, be in the middle of the tourist season. The beaches full, cafes and restaurants alive with languages from all over the world and the hotels fully booked. But 2020 is no normal tourist season.
The Croatian Minister of Tourism, Gari Cappelli, stated at a government session on Thursday that the highest concentration of tourists is currently in two Adriatic counties - Istria and Primorje-Gorski Kotar, where about half of the current number of tourists in the country are staying, or around 250,000 tourists. Cappelli also pointed out that so far not one tourist has been infected with Covid-19, or indeed has “imported” the virus into Croatia.
"There are practically no problems with Covid-19, safety is everywhere in the facilities and destinations, and it is important that we now have only 10 percent fewer tourists from Germany than at the same time last year," Cappelli said.
According to the results of the annual survey of the German car club ADAC "Routenplanner", one of the largest and most popular European car clubs, Croatia is in second place according to the number of most frequent inquiries of German motorists for travel during the summer holidays, immediately after Germany.
"We know that the German market is our most important travel market, and despite the current situation, interest in the arrival of Germans in Croatia is not decreasing. Compared to our competing countries in the Mediterranean, with safety and a good epidemiological situation, our comparative advantage is proximity and accessibility by car. Since the beginning of July, Croatia has been visited by 107,000 Germans who made 807,000 overnight stays, which is 90 percent of the results of overnight stays in the same period last year, "said Kristjan Stanicic, director of the Croatian National Tourist Board.
The survey covered 85,000 inquiries during May and June 2020, and with 14 percent of inquiries, compared to 9 percent from last year, Croatia came in at second place for the first time.
According to the survey, Germany ranks first with 37 percent of inquiries, while 11.5 percent of inquiries related to Turkey, which ranked third. Italy, after last year's second place, fell to fourth place this year, and Austria is in fifth place.
The index, released on Tuesday, based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) provides data on what level of access each passport offers and what visas are required.
The Japanese passport provides access to most of the world's destinations without a visa, according to the passport index published by the British law firm Henley & Partners.
Persons holding a Japanese passport can enter 191 countries without a visa, or obtain it upon entry. The Singapore passport ranked second, offering visa-free entry into 190 countries. It is followed by Germany and South Korea, which allow entry into 189 countries. Having a Japanese passport has always been helpful, it used to be ranked in second place. And according to the Japanese government, this reflects the good international image of the country, the third largest economy and one of the safest countries in the world.
When ranking passports, current travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic were not taken into account. While Japanese tourists are among those from 14 countries who can travel to the EU again from July 1, entry restrictions remain in place for, say, the United States, whose passport ranks seventh.
The Croatian passport is in 19th place and can be used to travel without a visa to 170 countries. According to this index, Croatia was in 20th place last year, that is, with a Croatian passport it was possible to travel to 169 countries without a visa.
In fact, it is noticeable that the passport of the Republic of Croatia has been gaining in "value" in recent years. In 2018, Croatia was the worst in the EU according to this index. It was possible to travel without a visa to 155 countries. In two years, the citizens of the Republic of Croatia have received 15 new countries of the world for which they do not need a visa if they have the money, time and will to travel.