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.
In the last 24 hours, no new cases of coronavirus infection have been recorded in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County.
A total of 5 people are currently hospitalized in Dubrovnik General Hospital. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 5,445 samples have been sent for analysis.
There are 298 people in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours no violation of the self-isolation measure has been established.
The headquarters of the Civil Protection of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County continues to appeal to the citizens to adhere to all prescribed measures by the Croatian Institute of Public Health and the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia.
The effect of the Covid-19 pandemic is possibly best shown with the number of invoices issued by businesses up and down the country during the crisis. Clearly the tourism and travel industry is on the front line in the battle for revenue with tourism numbers seriously down on 2019. But the knock-on effect across the country shouldn’t be ignored. From coffees in street cafes, bottles of local wine, seafood, transport, banking and real estate just about every branch has been badly hit due to the lack of tourists.
From the 24th of February to the 19th of July the number of invoices issued in Croatia was down by 30 percent when compared to the same time period from last year. An invoice could be a multi-million Euro deal between two companies or a 10 Kuna bill for a cup of coffee. But a drop of 30 percent clearly shows the negatives effects the Covid-19 pandemic is having. Of course there is a corresponding drop in the value of invoices issued, this time by 19 percent, according to data from the Croatian Tax Administration.
Restaurants in Croatia have been particularly hit by the Covid-19 crisis with a massive 48 percent decrease in the number of bills issued in the mentioned period, and a huge decrease in value of those invoices by a whopping 57 percent. It is hardly surprising that many restaurants have laid off staff, cut costs or closed down altogether.
Likewise, the accommodation sector has been hit with a 30 percent decrease in the number of invoices issued in the mentioned.
The Chinese contractor on the Peljesac Bridge, China Bridge and Road Corporation (CRBC), has finally found a way to bring the workers necessary for the installation of the steel span structure of the bridge to its construction site in Croatia and China.
As confirmed to Večernji list by CRBC, they have arranged a charter flight from China with one airline, which will bring its workers, including welders needed to enlarge the segments of the span assembly, to Croatia. The Croatian representative office of CRBC says that they plan to bring about 150 workers this summer, of which 100 are welders.
"Preparation of the charter flight is going smoothly and it is predicted that it will land in Croatia at the end of July," commented CRBC.
And as they said in Hrvatske ceste, that flight was planned for July 27, and will land at Dubrovnik Airport. But given the coronavirus pandemic, the arriving Chinese workers will not go to the construction site immediately, but will first have to go through self-isolation. Thus, the CRBC says that these 150 people, after coming to Croatia, will be accommodated in a hotel that they have booked for 14 days of self-isolation.
In addition, due to the coronavirus, production in Chinese plants that produce parts for the Peljesac Bridge has been suspended for some time. But now 28 new segments are ready for the trip to Croatia, which, as confirmed in CRBC, will be loaded on a ship for Croatia at the end of August after the quality check.
Croatia has found itself on the Dutch orange list of countries since Tuesday due to an increase in Covid-19 cases, and Dutch citizens are "strongly recommended" to have a 14-day self-isolation upon their return to the country, the authorities there announced.
"Travel warnings for Bulgaria, Romania, Sweden and Croatia will remain orange for a while. This is due to the epidemiological situation in those countries. If you still decide to travel there, it is strongly recommended that you go into 14-day self-isolation immediately upon returning to the Netherlands," reads the website of the Dutch government.
"Currently, the coronavirus infection rate in Croatia has increased. Therefore, the country from yellow has been placed on the orange list of countries," the government said.
The Dutch government also warns citizens that the situation with any country can change abruptly and that they keep this in mind when making travel plans.
ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, not really a name that rolls off the tongue, however it could be one that becomes part of daily life. This rather long and complicated abbreviation is the name given to a vaccine for Covid-19 that Oxford University has been developing since January, and the first trials have shown that the vaccine is safe.
The studies involved 1,077 people and showed that the vaccine helped to produce antibodies and T-cells that are able to fight the Covid-19 virus, reports the BBC.
Of course, it is too early to say whether the vaccine is sufficient for protection, but the findings are very promising. The UK has already ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine.
The vaccine was named ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. It is evolving at an unprecedented rate. It is made from a virus that causes colds in chimpanzees, writes the BBC.
The virus has been severely altered so that it cannot infect humans and resembles the coronavirus as much as possible. This means that the vaccine mimics it and that the immune system can ‘learn’ how to attack it.
The study found that 90 percent of people developed neutralizing antibodies after a single dose. Only ten people received two doses and all produced neutralizing antibodies.
Most research deals with antibodies, but they are only one element of the human immune system. Antibodies are tiny proteins produced by the immune system that stick to the surface of the virus and can disable it.
T-cells, a type of white blood cell, help coordinate the immune system by spotting which cells in the body are being attacked and destroying them.
Almost all effective vaccines include both antibodies and T cells. In a study by experts from Oxford, the number of T-cells jumped by 14 days and the number of antibodies 28 days after vaccination.
The vaccine is safe, but there are side effects, which are not dangerous. Fever or headache was developed by 70 percent of people. These side effects, scientists say, can be addressed with paracetamol.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done before we confirm that our vaccine will help fight the pandemic, but these results are promising,” said Sarah Gilbert of Oxford University.
The vaccine will certainly not be widely used for months to come, but according to what we have been able to see so far, important steps have been taken in the direction of the coronavirus vaccine, writes the BBC. Adding that “More than 10,000 people will take part in the next stage of the trials in the UK.”
Oxford’s Covid-19 vaccine produces a good immune response, reveals new study.— University of Oxford (@UniofOxford) July 20, 2020
Teams at @VaccineTrials and @OxfordVacGroup have found there were no safety concerns, and the vaccine stimulated strong immune responses: https://t.co/krqRzXMh7B pic.twitter.com/Svd3MhCXWZ
More than 600,000 tourists are currently holidaying in Croatia, and some counties have a 60 percent occupancy rate compared to the same time last year, while by the end of the year the tourism results on a country level could reach 40 percent of last year, said Tourism Minister, Gari Cappelli, said on Monday.
"Today we have almost 600,000 tourists, mostly foreigners, and there are about 90,000 locals. Croatia is a safe destination no matter what happens," Cappelli said after a session of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ).
Greece, he said in comparison, currently has only seven percent of turnover compared to last year. On the other hand, Croatia has over 50 percent of its turnover in July compared to last year, and more than 30 percent at the level of the previous part of the year.
He pointed out that in some counties, such as Istria and Primorje-Gorski Kotar, more than 60 percent of arrivals are realized compared to last year. According to him, tourism workers are well prepared for the epidemiological conditions in which they work.
However, the tourism results in the south of the country are considerably less positive than Istria, with Dubrovnik the hardest hit.
He stated that the prices of tourist services were reduced in a number of destinations, on average by 10 to 30 percent. The accommodation sector has seen wildly different approaches to prices. Some hotels and private apartments have stuck to the same prices from last year, whilst others have dropped them by up to 300 percent. According to online booking agencies a good sized family apartment in a central location in Dubrovnik this summer is around 50 Euros a night.
The largest tourist turnover so far this year has come from the markets of Germany, Slovenia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Austria. This is hardly surprising as tourists from these countries can drive to Croatia, with Istria being the first coastal destination.
In the last 24 hours, no new cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County.
A total of 5 people are currently hospitalized in the Dubrovnik General Hospital. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 5,268 samples have been sent to Zagreb for analysis.
There are 274 people in self-isolation, and no violation of the self-isolation measure has been established in the last 24 hours.
The headquarters of the Civil Protection continues to appeal to the citizens to adhere to all prescribed measures by the Croatian Institute of Public Health and the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia.
Better safe than sorry! Wearing a protective face mask in Croatia has been the norm, in fact the law, for the past week or so, but this is taking protection to a new level. Face masks must be worn in shops and on public transport, but wearing them in the Adriatic whilst swimming isn’t on the list of must wear destinations.
Actually swimming in a face mask must be tricky to say the least. Get that mask wet and you have a soggy mask dripping on your nose, and breathing whilst swimming must also be a challenge. But this over-protective swimmer in Cavtat yesterday wasn’t taking any chances. We can only presume that she didn’t decide to go scuba diving later.
Hats off to the swimmer for setting a new high point in the fight against Covid-19.