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.
Our Dubrovnik inspired face mask competition has come to an end and thank you to everyone who entered. We were giving away two rather unique face masks inspired by the art of the famous Dubrovnik artist – Viktor Šerbu.
All the entries were put into the hat and the computer randomly picked two winners – and they are Cathy Turner from the UK and Diana Žarak from New Zealand.
Don’t forget that you can buy these face masks, they are available at a number of outlets through Dubrovnik, including Algerba on the Stradun, Nautika Gift Shop on Pile, Panorama Gift Shop on Srđ, Dubrovacka Kuca gift shop, IT Usuge in Mlini and Perla Adriatica on Ploce.
And keep following The Dubrovnik Times as we have another great prize draw coming soon.
Austrian Conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said in Vienna on Friday that he expects the situation to normalize in the summer of next year, after a severe autumn and winter marked by the coronavirus pandemic, reports N1.
"In short, I would say based on what we know today, that it is likely that next summer could be normal and that it should be," he told reporters.
"But at the same time, it must be clear to us that the coming months will be difficult. The beginning of the school year, winter and numerous activities are moving from outside to closed. And the flu wave is coming," he added.
Austria wants to avoid new general movement bans and intends to step up infection prevention, while the number of those infected is rising from a record more than 300 new cases a day this week following the phasing out of measures.
Vienna made a decision to restrict movement very early, in mid-March, and began easing measures from mid-April, first by opening shops, then cafes, restaurants and theatres, to determine in July the obligation to wear masks in shops.
Austria, with its high-quality hospital system, has so far been relatively spared by the coronavirus pandemic compared to other European countries. From the outbreak of the epidemic to Friday, the disease has killed 733 people in the country.
French President Emmanuel Macron warned on Friday not to close the borders between EU member states again, believing it was counterproductive and ineffective against the spread of coronavirus.
The day after French authorities expanded the red zones to include large parts of southern France, Macron called for European coordination and joint approaches to local hotspots.
“Closing the borders between the two countries makes no sense when there are hotspots, areas of active circulation as we now call them, which are clearly identified,” he asserted during a visit to a pharmaceutical factory.
Europe has millions of cross-border workers, some of them moving between two unaffected regions in different countries, and it would be “absurd” to limit “everyday life, economic life,” he warned.
Macron said he had discussed the issue with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her visit to his summer residence in the south of France last week and that he expected the issue to be further worked on in the coming days.
“We will work in the days to come to make progress on this issue,” he said. Adding "Let's not repeat the mistakes of March on this issue. It is counterproductive and, above all, ineffective in fighting the spread of the virus."
In the past 24 hours, Croatia has recorded 357 new cases of Covid-19, the second worst day for new infections since the pandemic begun.
There are now 2,560 active cases across Croatia, and among them 212 patients in hospital and 11 people on a ventilator.
Unfortunately, over the past 24 hours three people have died due to the virus, from Zadar, Split and Vinkovci.
To date, a total of 9,549 people have been reported to have contracted Covid-19, from which 180 have passed away and 6,809 have made a full recovery.
There are currently 8,770 people in self-isolation. To date, a total of 162,301 people have been tested, of which 2,065 were tested in the last 24 hours.
The majority of new cases were recorded in the Split-Dalmatia County, 114 new cases, followed by the City of Zagreb, with 71 new cases, the Brod-Posavina County, with 27 and the Zadar County, with 23 new Covid-19 cases.
The head of the National Staff for Civil Protection, Davor Bozinovic, said at a press conference that they already had ready decisions on new measures based on the proposals of county headquarters.
"Decisions are ready for the area of Zadar, Brod-Posavina, Dubrovnik-Neretva and Međimurje counties, and Varaždin County is being prepared," said Božinović and explained what the measures refer to. "It will refer mainly to gatherings, but everyone has their problems depending on the activity, so we respect the specifics. Measures include limiting the presence of people at weddings to 50, private celebrations to 20 people, funerals to 50 people, increased obligation to adhere to all epidemiological measures for social gatherings, there are also masses and exhibitions. When we talk about Međimurje County, they are concerned about holding events, so we have made it clear that they can be held only if everyone follows the recommendations and instructions."
"We can't just look at the numbers. We are going towards autumn, of course, that poses a higher risk. Of the total active cases, 7-8 percent are hospitalized, those with people with moderate to severe symptoms. 0.4 percent are on a ventilator. At the moment, nothing dramatic is happening in that context, but of course we are vigilant all the time. We need to look at it in a broader context in order to make some judgment about the current situation," commented Alemka Markotic, the Director of the University Hospital for Infectious Diseases "Dr. Fran Mihaljević” in Zagreb.
In the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, 12 new cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in the last 24 hours. These 12 new cases include two women and one man from Dubrovnik who are contacts of a previously known case, 6 men from Metković (of which 4 are contacts from previous cases), one woman from Metković also a contact from an earlier case. One male person from Vela Luka and one person residing in Zagreb, who is currently in the borough of Zupa.
Over the past 24 hours 10 people have made a full recovery - four from Dubrovnik, two from Korčula, two who do not reside in our county, and one each from Konavle and Zupa.
There are currently 7 people positive of Covid-19 hospitalised in the Dubrovnik General Hospital.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 9,070 samples have been sent for analysis.
There are 381 people in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours no cases of violation of the self-isolation measure have been identified.
The headquarters of the Civil Protection of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County continues to appeal to citizens to adhere to all prescribed measures by the Croatian Institute of Public Health and the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia.
Belgium has added the Split-Dalmatia and Šibenik-Knin counties to the red list of areas from which passengers must be tested for Covid-19 or go into self-isolation for 14 days when arriving in Belgium.
Croatia, as a country, is on the green list of the Belgian authorities, but these two counties are the first parts of Croatia to be added to the Belgian red list. The same counties are on Germany's red list, reports Index.
Belgian authorities are threatening heavy fines for those returning to Belgium from one of the red areas, but official figures, released on Wednesday, say only 40 per cent of passengers from the red areas are actually tested after returning to Belgium. Anyone entering Belgium must fill in an online form before traveling, stating where they have stayed during the journey in the last ten days or so.
The Croatian economy fell by 15.1 percent in the second quarter compared to the same period from last year, which is its largest ever decline since data has been recorded, and is a consequence of the Covid-19 crisis.
The estimate shows that the quarterly GDP in the second quarter of 2020 was 15.1 lower in real terms compared to the same quarter of 2019, states HINA.
Seasonally adjusted quarterly GDP compared to the previous period shows a negative rate of change of 14.9, and compared to the same quarter of 2019 it is lower by 15.1 in real terms.
Six analysts, who took part in the HINA survey, on average expected GDP to fall by 13.9 percent year-on-year. Their estimates for the autumn ranged widely from 12 to 17 percent.
This is the first decline in the economy since mid-2014, and the largest since 2000, when the CBS monitored the data.
The biggest drop of 8.8 percent so far was recorded in the first quarter of 2009, at the beginning of the global financial crisis.
The sharp economic downturn in the second quarter was the result of a coronavirus pandemic and restrictive measures aimed at controlling the virus, which paralyzed economic activity from the second half of March to the end of April.
In the first quarter, the domestic economy managed to avoid a downturn, but GDP growth slowed to just 0.4 per cent year-on-year, its slowest growth in six years.
In the second quarter, on the other hand, the impact of the Covid-19 crisis was much stronger.
"Partial to complete cessation of economic activity, in response to the suppression of the Covid-19 pandemic, has had a strong impact on the deterioration of the producer and consumer confidence index, with high rates of decline in almost all industries, from retail to a number of industrial activities." from analysts in the HINA survey.
The ‘lockdown’ caused a record drop in personal consumption, the largest component of GDP. CBS data show that retail trade turnover in the second quarter sank by about 13 percent compared to the same period last year.
"According to the movement of retail trade, it could be concluded that personal consumption sank by about 15 percent, and the data indicate a decline in exports of goods by 13.5 percent and imports by 22.8 percent," said one analyst.
Poland will ban flights from 46 countries from September 2, and Croatia is among those affected, according to a draft law released on Thursday, as the country struggles with an increase in the number of people infected with the coronavirus.
The decision is part of targeted measures by the Polish government, which this time is trying to curb the virus without complete quarantine.
"Due to the threat of the spread of Covid-19 virus infection, it is necessary to enforce the right to introduce a flight ban in order to minimize the threat to public health," the regulation said.
Poland closed its borders and cancelled all flights in March to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It gradually eased restrictions, opening shopping malls, hotels and restaurants in May.
Polish national company PLL LOT resumed international flights on July 1, almost four months after suspending them.
Among the countries that will be affected by the flight ban are Croatia, France, Spain, Montenegro, Romania, the United States, Israel, Mexico and Brazil.
Poland has had 64,689 coronavirus cases and 2,010 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.