“Thank you all and stay responsible,” were the words of the Health Minister this week as the new cases of Covid-19 plummeted to almost zero. I think it’s safe to say that the worst is behind us. Life is getting back to some kind of normal. Its probably only a matter of time before we declare ourselves a corona-free country. And I think that we can be proud.
Starting from the top and the government handed power quickly over to the experts, to the contact tracing apparoch that proved vital, to the swift and strict regulations that locked down the country and to all of us who actually obeyed the advice. The daily press conferences, that are now a thing of the past, conveyed the message without trying to sugarcoat it and in a calm and competent manner. As another Englishman living in Dubrovnik (yes, I am not the only one) commented “What a great job, and super communication all the way, ending in a nice thank you. Impressive.”
And it is clear from the praise that we are getting from all over the world that our efforts didn’t go unnoticed. Maybe we should get the whole team from the Civil Protection Directorate to run the country from now on. Apolitical, composed and rational with a clear and understandable message. Let’s face it if the Croatian Minister of Health, Vili Beros, was English he would be Sir Vili by now! Clearly the key was handing over total control to the experts.
And that is the frustrating thing. Why, oh why does Croatia function like a Swiss clock in troubled times and yet in times of peace it goes back to being a Mickey Mouse watch? “If Croatia as a whole could behave like this in normal times then I would be living in Switerzerland,” said one friend. He isn’t wrong.
It must be something in the DNA. If nothing’s wrong then we’ll find something to break. If everything is going smoothly then we’ll make some waves. And, true to form, as the Covid-19 pandemic was dying out the politics and disorder reared their ugly head.
Personally, I am going to miss the dignified approach. It is obvious that if you give the wider public a reasoned and regulated attitude that makes sense that they will follow you. For two months they followed with determination and discipline, and the results were world beating. We shouldn’t underestimate our achievement. Far from it we should use it as a foundation to build upon. If we don’t learn from this unprecented period then we only have ourselves to blame. If we can’t look back in five or ten years time from now and say, “that experience made us stronger and as a result we implanted the following measures,” then we would have failed.
One of the greatest political leaders of all time, Sir Winston Churchill, once famousily said that “the success of a nation can be judged by how you educate your younger generations and how you look after your older ones.” Croatia has just successfully looked after all generations in a fight against an invisible enemy. If that doesn’t give us hope and belief of a brighter tomorrow then nothing will.