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 island of Lokrum is very much Dubrovnik's green oasis and in the glorious September sunshine with lessening crowds and more pleasant temperatures it is an ideal place to day-trip.
A 15-minute ferry ride from the hustle and bustle of the Old City of Dubrovnik and the rich Mediterranean vegetation wraps you in a blanket of nature.
Check out our photo gallery of Lokrum from this weekend
In the last 24 hours, 29 new cases of coronavirus infection were recorded in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County.
These are 13 males and 16 females: seven from Dubrovnik, five from Vela Luka and Župa dubrovačka, four from Konavle, three from Blato, two from Korčula and Lumbarda and one from Trpanj.
40 people made a full recovery: 22 from Dubrovnik, four from Blato and Ston, two from Metković, Ploče and Župa dubrovačka and one from Konavle, Lumbarda, Vela Luka and Lastovo.
In the last 24 hours, 533 samples were processed, and since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 138,076 samples have been analyzed.
15 people tested positive for coronavirus were hospitalized in the Dubrovnik General Hospital. Two patients require intensive care and are on ventilators.
907 people are in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours, one case of violation of the self-isolation measure was recorded.
In the last 24 hours, 837 new cases of Covid-19 virus infection were recorded, and the number of active cases in Croatia today is a total of 8,184.
Among them, 692 people are in hospital, of which 99 are on ventilators.
Unfortunately, a further 15 people died.
Since February 25, 2020, when the first case of infection was recorded in Croatia, a total of 399,891 people have been infected with the new coronavirus, of which 8,595 died, a total of 383,112 people recovered, of which 1,215 recovered in the last 24 hours.
There are currently 23,028 people in self-isolation.
To date, a total of 2,790,935 people have been tested, of which 9,098 in the last 24 hours.
As of September 25, 3,407,385 doses of vaccine were consumed, and 44.49 percent of the total population and 53.38 percent of the adult population were vaccinated.
Croatia will donate an additional 200,000 doses of vaccine to poor countries through the COVAX mechanism, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković announced, joining in with a video message at the Global Citizen Live concert, which was held in several cities around the world on Saturday.
"Tonight on Global Citizen Live we are sending a message of unity in the fight against climate change, extreme poverty and the consequences of Covid-19. Croatia will donate an additional 200,000 doses through COVAX. The vaccine must be available to all people around the world," said Plenković.
He added "Guided by the main principles of humanity, solidarity and compassion, this is our additional contribution to complete the puzzle of global donations."
The Covid-19 vaccine is currently being sent to poor countries through the COVAX initiative supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Vaccine and Immunization Alliance (GAVI).
More than 230 million doses of vaccine have been sent to 139 poor countries through COVAX so far, well below the target of two billion doses by the end of 2021.
Some of the biggest pop names from Billie Eilish and Ed Sheeran to Elton John performed on Saturday night at a series of Global Citizen Live concerts in an effort to raise global awareness of climate change, hunger and the right to access vaccines for all.
Concerts were held in New York, Paris, Lagos, Rio, Sydney, Mumbai and other cities and broadcast live.
Global Citizen describes itself as a movement with a mission to end extreme poverty by 2030 and uses incentives such as concert tickets to place pressure on governments on issues related to sustainability and equality.
So we had another mass vaccination event this week, or as they call them anti-vaxxer demonstration. It’s just another way to get to the same end. These are basically mass herd immunity events. It has all the elements, a mass of people not wearing masks, unvaccinated people, people shouting at the top of their lungs and people all squashed together.
It’s like Christmas for the virus. I’m all for freedom of speech and civil liberties, although I’m not quite sure what the anti-vaxxers are fighting against. They are basically protesting against something that isn’t compulsory. If you don’t want to get vaccinated then don’t, why do you have to shout about it.
I’m guessing that at some point Croatia will have to open all the restrictions, although that time probably won’t be before next year. My destination for this Christmas, the UK, has absolutely decided that opening up is the best policy. “It’s like a light version of the Swedish approach,” said a friend from London.
Condensing it right down, the government saw that they had reached the upper limits of the people who wanted to get vaccinated, and they saw that the older population were almost totally protected, so they opened up completely to spread the virus amongst the rest of the population. All of a sudden masks were not compulsory, sporting events could have as many supporters as they liked and discos reopened. “It looks like – if you don’t want the vaccine we’ll give you Covid,” commented my friend.
I’m following the situation on the island as we’re planning a big family Christmas this year. And of course in these times the most crucial, and indeed changeable, part of the journey is making sure we follow Covid regulations.
And as we’re driving, and crossing half of Europe, we’ve got a lot to follow. But some good news, very good news, came out of the “reopening” UK this week, news that will a) save us a lot of money and b) earn Dubrovnik more money.
All passengers who are fully vaccinated will no longer need to take the expensive PCR test, at least when returning to the UK from low risk countries. From the 4th of October fully vaccinated passengers arriving from low-risk countries will be permitted to take a cheaper lateral flow test, rather than the privately administered PCR lab tests now required. The insistence on PCR tests has meant that travel from the UK has been expensive, with PCR tests costing up to 80 Euros. That’s basically how one government decision saved me around 400 Euros in PCR tests.
More importantly it caused a wave of holiday reservations as the Brits welcomed the news by clicking “book now” on their laptops. “It is amazing how many people booked flights in October,” a UK travel agent told me. Adding that “If there were flights in November, December, all year round, there would be people booking and coming to Dubrovnik.”
A multiple Emmy-winning investigative reporter and producer from the States, Peter Greenberg, once told me “Airlines must be directed to fly all year round and build up the winter tourism. Otherwise all you are doing is perpetuating the problem of overcrowding. You have to figure out – are you listening to the airlines or are the airlines listening to you. Right now it would seem that the airlines aren’t listening to you at all.” He was right. We are now seeing that people are willing to travel in October and even November, but of course, in fewer numbers than in August, but the demand is there.
Has it taken a global pandemic to realise that we can have winter tourism? But will anything change, probably not as we aren’t the masters of our own destiny, we are hostages to the airlines. As I told you we’re having a big family Christmas this year. We booked the villa which will be our festive base last Christmas. And at the time of booking 70 percent of the villas were already fully booked. Winter tourism is alive in the UK.
In the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, 31 new cases of coronavirus infection have been recorded in the last 24 hours.
These are 17 people from Dubrovnik, three from Konavle, Metković and Župa dubrovačka, two from Slivno and one from Korčula, Ston and Vela Luka.
One male from Metković (born in 1956) died.
41 people made a full recovery: 14 from Dubrovnik, 11 from Župa dubrovačka, three from Dubrovacko primorje and Ploče, two from Konavle and Ston and one from Blato, Korčula, Kula Norinska, Lumbarda, Trpanj and Lastovo.
In the last 24 hours, 740 samples were processed, and since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 137,543 samples have been analyzed.
14 people tested positive for coronavirus were hospitalized in the Dubrovnik General Hospital. Two patients require intensive care and are on ventilators.
There are 893 people in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours, two cases of violation of the self-isolation measure were recorded.
The British national airline, British Airways, will gradually reduce the number of routes and weekly operations to Croatian airports in October.
At the beginning of October, British Airways will have a total of four active flights to Croatia, but the number of weekly flights will gradually decrease from week to week, reports Croatian Aviation.
Dubrovnik is traditionally the most important destination of this UK airline in Croatia, which is evident from the number of weekly flights. Namely, British Airways has the largest number of weekly operations from London to Dubrovnik Airport.
Until the last day of October this year (October 31), British Airways plans to operate between Heathrow and Dubrovnik as many as 11 times a week! Two daily flights are available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, and one flight each on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Although the company has considered the possibility of traffic on the line between Heathrow and Dubrovnik in the winter flight schedule, however this will not happen due to low demand in the winter months.
The whole of Croatia has remained in the red zone on the new European Union Covid-19 map from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
The epidemiological situation is best in Europe in Hungary, the Czech Republic and Denmark, and good conditions are also in parts of Italy and Spain. The worst situation in Europe is in Slovenia, which is the only one marked in dark red.
Red, to remind you, means a 14-day incidence of 75 to 200 infected per 100,000 inhabitants with a positive share of more than 4 percent, and areas where the 14-day incidence is infected from 200 to 500 per 100,000 people.
In the last 24 hours, 1,373 new cases of Covid-19 virus infection were recorded, and the number of active cases in Croatia today is a total of 8,615.
Among them, 694 people are in hospital, of which 89 are on ventilators.
Unfortunately, a further 15 people died in the past 24 hours.