Saturday, 23 January 2021
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

Alemka Markotić, director of the Clinic for Infectious Diseases "Dr. Fran Mihaljević", said in today's HTV show Dobro Jutro, that the areas of Croatia affected by the earthquake are one of the priorities for vaccination and that most likely the entire shipment of the Moderna vaccine will go there.

She added that there is an increased danger of an increased number of new Covid-19 cases, especially since there was an upward curve in Sisak-Moslavina County just before the earthquake.

"It's very important that people get vaccinated in the area," she said.

Markotić said that there has been a significant downward trend in the number of new Covid-19 cases across Croatia for two weeks now, but also that evident decrease in new cases over the holiday period was due to the fewer number of people tested.

She added that for almost a week we have seen an important and significant downward trend in the number of hospitalized people and those on ventilators, which is also good for the health system which, she said, has been quite overstretched in recent weeks.

"At one point, unfortunately, we were among those who have the highest number of infected and hospitalized in percentages, however, such a situation occurred more or less in most countries in Europe and in the world," Markotic told HRT.

 

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Dubrovnik is a photographer’s dream, let’s face it you can throw a camera in the air and capture a stunning photo. And every day Instagram is filled to overflowing point with some absolutely blasting of the pearl of the Adriatic.

We have selected our top five “Hello 2021” photos from Instagram. Check out our top five inspiring Dubrovnik Instagram photos from last week and keep sending us your own photos and videos of the region. We just love your feedback!

And don't forget to follow our Instagram page

 

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Last year was certainly a year to forget for the travel and tourism industry, and figures just in from Croatia’s airports highlight just how challenging 2020 was. Last year Croatia welcomed 2.2 million fewer passengers than in 2019, according to a report from Croatian Aviation.

In the first days of the new year, Croatian airports published their monthly statistics for December and thus concluded the number of passengers, operations and cargo for the previous, the year in which commercial aviation experienced its biggest decline in history!

The capital’s airport, traditionally the busiest in the country, handled 924,823 passengers last year, which was almost half of all passenger numbers to Croatia last year. However, this figure was a massive 73 percent drop from 2019 when over 3.4 million passengers travelled through Zagreb Airport.

And Split Airport, in spite of a relatively solid summer period, welcomed just over 674,000 passengers last year, a massive drop of 79 percent.

And the third busiest airport and the southernmost airport in Croatia, Dubrovnik Airport, had by far the worst year. Dubrovnik tourism industry was especially struck by the pandemic and the airport was the biggest loser in 2020 with an 88 percent decrease in passenger number compared to 2019. Only 330,147 passengers passed through Dubrovnik Airport last year, compared to a whopping 2.89 million in 2019.

 

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Our world has recently been turned upside down with the arrival of a new puppy. Not, only our world but our laundry basket, our vegetable basket and our linen basket, yes, they have all been turned upside down by him as well.

It’s been a decade since we had a bouncy puppy in the house. And this one is as bouncy as a rubber ball on a trampoline. He reminds me of a mobile phone. To charge just add food. And when fully charged he’ll be mad for the next eight hours. But when his battery dies, so does he.

Of course, even though he isn’t a small dog, my wife loves him to sleep on the bed. We’ve spent many a night in a foetal position, or in some weird yoga pose, trying to make room for Toto. Of course him sleeping on the bed has certain obvious drawbacks, apart from the fact that we wake up with strained muscles.

Let’s just say trying to get intimate with Toto snoring is a little bit of a passion killer. Now our older dog has already learnt the lesson, she has that face of “Oh, no! Here they go again,” and jumps off the bed in search of peace and a good night’s sleep. Toto isn’t up to speed just yet; he didn’t get the “jump off the bed when they get really close” memo. To him it looks like a game, which probably isn’t much of a compliment of my love making abilities, and he can’t understand why we haven’t thrown him a ball or a plastic chicken yet.

“Just leave him, he’ll jump off the bed soon,” whispered my wife. Of course this sentence was followed by Toto licking my foot. Realising that Toto was too young to be seeing what he was seeing I coaxed him off the bed and onto his bed. I worked for exactly 8 seconds. And then a large paw landed on my back and two blinking eyes peered at me from the darkness with a look of “play with me now.” No amount of coaxing, yelling or promises of rewards could convince Toto to get off the bed.

So plan B. I carried him out of the bedroom and locked the door behind me. Plan B failed as soon as it had started. Yelps, barks and scratches at the door were all we could hear. No matter how loud we turned up Sade she still couldn’t drown out our puppy. Opening the door, he again made his way to his target, our bed. There we were both sat upright in bed, candles burning, wine glasses empty and with a curious puppy laying between us probably thinking “when will we start to play again.” We had to laugh.

Time for plan C! We changed rooms. Thinking that Toto was more connected to the bed than another room. It seemed to work. Sade was back on and fresh candles were lit, and no sign of Toto. Now on a previous trip to London I had invested in my love life – no not Viagra, but a present for my wife (or rather for me) from Victoria’s Secret.

This was lingerie with a capital L! If I had bought the wings as well she could have been stomping down the catwalk.

Now as you ladies know lingerie can be a minefield of straps, buckles and clips. There are probably fewer fastening contraptions on a straight-jacket. Just how you ladies know how to put half of these things on boggles me. And often for men actually getting into through the barricade of belts and buckles is an IQ test.

If they would have hung Harry Houdini over the Mississippi in lingerie and not padlocks and chains he would still be hanging there today. And then a shadow in the darkness, a silhouette in the candle light. Toto’s back! And this time he has his eye on what he thinks is a rope to pull. This particular “rope” was in fact a dangling piece of lingerie. Don’t ask me which piece, as already mentioned it’s a minefield.

So this is how we celebrated the New Year. Chasing a puppy with an expensive piece of underwear clamped between his jaws running at light speed around our living room. The harder we chased the faster he ran. He even did one of those shakes of the head, like he was killing a bird in his mouth, with the Victoria’s Secret underwear. Now there is a saying that whatever you do on the first day of the year you’ll be doing for the rest of the year. I have a feeling that saying will be spot on this year.

Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to  

   

   

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In the last 24 hours, 1,401 new cases of Covid-19 virus infection were recorded, and the number of active cases in Croatia today is 5,798.

Among them, 2,084 patients are in hospital, of which 191 are on respirators.

Unfortunately, a further 38 people have passed away due to the virus.

Since February 25, 2020, when the first case of infection was recorded in Croatia, a total of 219,347 people have been infected with the new coronavirus, of which 4,342 have died, a total of 209,207 have recovered, of which 1,359 recovered in the last 24 hours.

There are currently 18,747 people in self-isolation. To date, a total of 1,070,562 people have been tested, of which 8,609 in the last 24 hours.

The vaccine from the American manufacturer Moderna received the green light from the European regulator on Wednesday and became the second coronavirus vaccine approved in the European Union.

Now that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has given the green light, the vaccine still needs to be approved by the European Commission and this final step is expected very soon so that vaccination can begin and accelerate the vaccination of the European population.

The EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) gave the green light at a meeting on Wednesday, as an earlier extraordinary meeting on Monday ended without a conclusion.

On December 21, the EMA recommended the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.

Since vaccinations began in the European Union a week ago, hundreds of thousands of Europeans have received the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine.

 

 

Croatia has been hit by yet another earthquake. According to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre the latest earthquake measured 5.3 on the Richter Scale and lasted for a few seconds.

The epicentre was yet again in the Petrinja region, around 48 kilometres southeast of Zagreb, and earthquake struck at exactly 6:00 pm.

So far there are no reports of injuries or indeed material damage.

 

Last year's Covid-19 affected tourist season in Dubrovnik forced many Dubrovnik renters to turn to long-term leasing as opposed to renting out to tourists on Airbnb and booking.com.

According to the data of the State Administration Office of the Department of Tourism, as of December 15 2020, 8,397 apartments were registered in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, while last year there were 8,725.

The Covid-19 pandemic, added to the fact that new tax laws came into effect in Dubrovnik which increased the amount that renters paid, have meant more people are moving to long-term leasing.

By mid-December across the entire Dubrovnik-Neretva County there were 328 fewer private renters, or 2,071 fewer beds than last year. And from this number in the City of Dubrovnik there were 141 fewer private renters, meaning around 843 fewer beds.

The indications are that 2021 will be significantly better, in terms of tourist numbers, than 2020. Last year Dubrovnik saw around 20 percent of the tourists of 2019 and early predictions suggest that this year that number should double to 40 percent of 2019. However, financial levels are unlikely to follow suit, as hotels and apartments drop prices to attract guests, meaning that incomes could increase to 30 percent of 2019.

 

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