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.
The coronavirus crisis has left the cobbled streets of Dubrovnik echoing to the sound of silence. The Stradun would normally be packed, the side streets bustling with cafés and restaurants and the roads already busy. Today the picture is very different.
The vast majority of people are at home, following the instructions of the authorities, Dubrovnik resembles a ghost town.
Check out this video sent to us clearly showing the empty streets -
The number of people infected with coronavirus in the Dubrovnik – Neretva County has risen to 43 with 2 new cases confirmed today. At the regular daily press conference of the County Civil Protection Headquarters, the latest data arrived, according to which the total number of infected people in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County is 43, which means 2 more cases have been confirmed.
13 patients are hospitalized, three have been previously transferred to the respiratory centre of in the Split Hospital, and their condition is difficult but still stable. And on a positive note two people have recovered from the virus.
There are 25 people positive for COVID-19 in self-isolation in the county. No violations of the self-isolation measure have been identified in the last 24 hours, and a total of 14 cases of violations of the self-isolation measure have been identified since the start of the pandemic.
Only emergency personnel are still allowed at Dubrovnik Airport.
"In the past 24 hours, 96 new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Croatia. The total number of infected people has soared to 963. Six people have died and there are 34 patients on respirators,” commented the Croatian Minister of Health, Vili Beros, at the daily press conference today.
On the positive front 73 patients have made a full recovery. A total of 7,680 people have been tested and the average age of coronavirus patients in Croatia is 48.27 years-old. "We must not relax and we must continue to act responsibly," Beros stressed.
The director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, Krunoslav Capak, added that 21,071 people were in self-isolation, of which over a thousand were healthcare workers, with 53 doctors tested positive.
"We are fine. But we don’t know at what stage of the game we are, whether we are nearing the end of the first half, the second half, but it is certain that we are preparing and that we will play extra time if necessary," concluded Beroš. Adding "The whole of Croatia is on pitch and we are playing a match against coronavirus for the health of the entire nation. It is essential to follow the instructions."
The staff members of the Civil Protection Divertive reiterated - stick to the directions, keep an eye on personal hygiene and keep social distancing.
A bitterly cold northerly wind, freezing temperatures and snow, yes snow, greeted Dubrovnik this morning as April opened with extreme weather.
The hills and mountains in the wider Dubrovnik region have a dusting of snow, like icing sugar on a birthday cake, and still the sleety snow start to fall. The current temperature in Dubrovnik is a chilly 3 degrees and with the northerly wind the real feel is unbelievably minus 6 degrees!
The forecast for the rest of the day shows highs reaching 10 degrees with light rain and sleet all day.
“We have five new cases of infection since yesterday. This is still a stable and satisfactory epidemiological situation, according to experts, but the figures themselves have repeatedly warned that the situation is very sensitive, that the epidemic is still a great threat and that we should act accordingly. It is good that the epidemic did not enter the elderly population, which is most vulnerable to the effects of coronavirus. It shows that we behaved well at this time and that we adhered to self-isolation and all prescribed measures,” commented the Prefect of the Dubrovnik – Neretva County at today’s press conference.
There are currently 39 cases of COVID-19 in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, with five new cases confirmed in the past 24 hours.
“So far, 258 samples have been sent for testing and there are 39 positive patients in the county, we are expecting more results from four samples,” said the Head of the County Civilian Protection, Josko Cebalo.
Breaking down the number of patients by region in the Dubrovnik – Neretva County there are 16 patients in Konavle, 15 in Dubrovnik, 5 in Trpanj 2 in Zupa and 1 in Vela Luka. The average age of patients is 52 years-old, with the youngest being 15 years-old and the oldest 77 years-old, most are in the 50-59 age group.
The number of coronavirus cases in Croatia has risen to 867 today with news of 77 new cases of COVID-19 in the country. At today’s regular press conference, the Croatian Minister of Health, Vili Beros, confirmed that in the past 24 hours there have been 77 new cases of coronavirus in Croatia bringing the total number of people who have been infected to 867.
So far 7,015 coronavirus tests have been carried out, and there are 32 people on respirators. On a positive note 67 patients have made a full recovering from the virus.
"After the initial shock that hit the health system and after the earthquake, the Croatian health system is returning to normal. Life must move on and it must not stop. It will certainly not stop," Beros added.
Breaking down the figures the age structure of the patients is as follows - 41 people under 20, 101 people older than 70, 165 people between 40-49 years, and 187 people between 50 and 59 years-old.
“We remind you that the best defence against this virus is to maintain personal hygiene and avoid close contact. Therefore, these measures forbid all activities with large number of people in close contact and gathering of more than 5 people,” informs the government via their special coronavirus website.
One of the largest cruise companies in the world, MSC Cruises, have stopped all operations with their entire fleet until the 29th of May.
In a statement from the cruise company they stated that “MSC Cruises has decided to further extend the suspension of all cruises throughout the fleet to 29.5.202 in view of the continuing extraordinary circumstances caused by the COVID-19 virus facing the whole world.”
The company previously announced the temporary suspension of all ships until the 30th of April as governments around the world further stepped up public health and safety measures to protect the local population and prevent the virus from spreading, and today's decision by MSC Cruises to extend the suspension is aimed at providing additional support for the effectiveness of such efforts.
The company added that “MSC Cruises is in constant communication with all guests and their travel agents whose reservations are affected by this decision and apologizes sincerely for the inconvenience caused. With today’s announcement, the company aims to provide travel agents and guests with reservations on affected cruises as much time as possible to change reservations to a different date. MSC Cruises will offer guests affected by this extraordinary measure the option of switching the full amount of cancelled cruise payment to a future cruise of their choice departing by the end of 2021 with an additional generous on-board credit.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) together with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Government of Japan have announced that the rescheduled Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will take place from 23 July to 8 August 2021, and the Paralympic Games will take place from 24 August to 5 September 2021.
The rescheduled dates were agreed during a telephone conference call earlier today with IOC President Thomas Bach, Tokyo 2020 President Mori Yoshirō, Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko and Olympic and Paralympic Minister Hashimoto Seiko.
The new dates are exactly one year after those originally planned for the Olympic Games 2020: 24 July to 9 August 2020 and Paralympic Games: 25 August to 6 September 2020.
Following today’s decision, President Bach said: “I want to thank the International Federations for their unanimous support and the Continental Associations of National Olympic Committees for the great partnership and their support in the consultation process over the last few days.”
“I would also like to thank the IOC Athletes’ Commission, with whom we have been in constant contact. With this announcement, I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Government and all our stakeholders, we can master this unprecedented challenge. Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel.”
Andrew Parsons, the President of the IPC, added: “It is fantastic news that we could find new dates so quickly for the Tokyo 2020 Games. The new dates provide certainty for the athletes, reassurance for the stakeholders and something to look forward to for the whole world. When the Paralympic Games do take place in Tokyo next year, they will be an extra-special display of humanity uniting as one, a global celebration of human resilience and a sensational showcase of sport.”
The decision was taken based on three main considerations and in line with the principles established by the IOC Executive Board (EB) on 17 March 2020 and confirmed at its meeting today. These were supported by all the International Summer Olympic Sports Federations (IFs) and all the National Olympic Committees (NOCs):
To protect the health of the athletes and everyone involved, and to support the containment of the COVID-19 virus.
To safeguard the interests of the athletes and of Olympic sport.
The global international sports calendar.
The decision gives the health authorities and all involved in the organisation of the Games the maximum time to deal with the constantly changing landscape and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.