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 Dubrovnik-Neretva County, 19 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in the last 24 hours.
These new Covid-19 cases in the county include 5 males and 4 females from Dubrovnik (of which two males and two females have an established epidemiological link), 4 males from Metković (for one known epidemiological link), one male and one female from Konavle, one male from Ston and one male from Ploče (epidemiological link established). One female person from the borough of Dubrovačko Primorje and one female from Vela Luka (epidemiological link established).
Eleven people across the county have made a full recovery - 2 from Dubrovnik, 4 from Metković, 2 from Ston, and one each from Dubrovačko Primorje, Orebić and Ploče.
16 people tested positive for coronavirus are hospitalized in the Dubrovnik General Hospital.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 10,107 samples have been sent for analysis.
There are 493 people in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours no case of violation of the self-isolation measure has been determined.
The "Women's Bank Walk" event is intended to raise funds to improve the quality of life of women in underdeveloped countries in terms of education and training. It will be held on September 6, starting at 6 pm in front of the Sponza Palace in Dubrovnik with a symbolic walk along the Stradun, of course in compliance with epidemiological guidelines. This major humanitarian action, which marked its 10th anniversary last year, will take place in another 50 cities across Finland and across Europe, mostly on the same day.
It is important to gather as many people as possible, because in addition to donations that will be collected by payments to the account of the association, Finnish sponsors will donate a certain amount of money for each person who participated.
This is the sixth time that the Women's Bank Walk will be held in Dubrovnik and it is a nice opportunity for Dubrovnik to connect with Finland and the rest of Europe in such a humanitarian way and help women in underdeveloped countries in cooperation with them.
Last year, 6,284 Euro were collected at the Dubrovnik Women's Bank Walk, which is an increase of 50 percent compared to the previous year. It is a great success for Dubrovnik as well, because it was in the first place in terms of funds raised, out of a total of 104 cities across Europe where the action was held on the same day!
Due to the fact that most participants were prevented from the coronavirus situation (lack of direct flights, mandatory self-isolation on return…), this year's Women's Bank Walk will not be as planned. Kyösti Mäkimattila, Finland’s most famous tango king, singer and poet was due to attend the event and perform at a charity dinner the next day. Due to compliance with epidemiological measures, the dinner will be held for 20 people who have long been participants in the Women's Bank Walk, with the performance of cellist Mihaela Čuljak and a video address by Kyösti Mäkimattila.
The humanitarian organization that launched the symbolic march for women, Women's Bank (Naisten Pankki), was founded in 2007, after the return of a group of Finnish business women from Liberia, who were caught in poverty there, decided to help. Since its inception, more than 16.8m euros have been raised to fight poverty.
In the last 24 hours, 369 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded, meaning that the last 24 hours were the worst for the number of new cases since the pandemic began. The number of active cases in Croatia today is 2,634.
This is a record daily number of newly infected people in Croatia. The previous record was on August 26 when we there were 358 new cases and two days later 357.
Out of the total number of infected, 269 patients are in hospital, of which 15 patients are on ventilators.
Unfortunately, over the past 24 hours three people have passed away.
Since February 25, 2020, when the first case of Covid-19 infection was recorded in Croatia, a total of 11,094 people infected with the new coronavirus, of whom 194 have died and 8,266 have recovered.
There are currently 8901 people in self-isolation.
To date, a total of 179,838 people have been tested, of which 4,492 were tested in the last 24 hours.
The director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, Krunoslav Capak, announced that the number of new cases in Croatia could fall significantly by the end of the month. He explained to Nova TV what his optimism is based on. He stated that epidemiologists carefully monitor the numbers and use so-called predictive models.
“Based on the input data on the number of patients and other parameters, it is calculated what the curve should look like, when the plateau awaits us, and when the descending part of the curve comes,” said Capak.
“Using one such model, we came to the conclusion that in the middle of September, the numbers should start to descend from the plateau. Last week we had more than 700 patients on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, now this week we have 610 on the same days. And that shows a slight downward trend,” Capak added.
“We hope that the new measures that we have applied and that were proposed by the local headquarters will bear fruit and that our numbers will start to fall,” he said.
The actual number of people being tested across Croatia has increased in recent days, this of course has led to more Covid-19 cases being detected. Capak commented that “We are looking to test as many people as possible, to diagnose as many as possible who return from summer vacations, travel, before their return to their family and to work,” Capak explained. He added that the maximum number of Covid-19 tests that could be carried out daily was 7,000, due to the number of staff and technical capacity.
He stated that epidemiologists decide who and when self-isolation is required “The point is that the epidemiologist should, based on the criteria prescribed, determine what is close contact and what is not. There is no zero risk, he said, adding that the risk depends on whether the contacts had a mask, whether someone took off the mask or did not even have one.
The German government has added Zadar County to the new list of epidemiologically high-risk areas and warned its citizens not to travel to the area due to the increase in the number of Covid-19 cases.
On Wednesday, the German Robert Koch Institute added Zadar to the list of high-risk areas, along with the popular tourist destinations of Šibenik-Knin and Split-Dalmatia counties. Germany has taken a more targeted approach to travel restrictions and has looked at regions rather than a blanket ban on the whole country.
This new warning does not constitute a ban on travel to these areas, but suggests that travellers reconsider their plans. In addition, it allows passengers to cancel trips at no additional cost.
Germany considers high-risk areas to be countries or regions where 50 or more cases of new coronavirus infection per 100,000 population have been reported in a seven day period.
Declaring an area risky means that those returning from vacation must be tested for coronavirus and remain in self-isolation until they get a test result.
When you read headlines on the chaos caused to the tourism industry due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the financial hardship maybe you immediately think about the front line, the hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops of Dubrovnik. And whilst it is clearly true that these businesses have suffered terribly this year and will need a good few years to get back on their feet, there are other areas that probably wouldn’t cross your mind. Tourism, especially in a city like Dubrovnik which earns over 70 percent of its GDP from tourists, is like a spider’s web.
And with the drop in tourist numbers, figures just released show that August was fifty percent down on last year, comes a drop in work for all, especially the things we all need, like going to the toilet. “The number of users of public toilets in the first six months of 2020 was 97 percent lower than in the same period last year,” stated Marko Ivekovic, the director of the public cleaning company in Dubrovnik – Čistoća, for Dubrovacki Vjesnik.
He added that “A better explanation of the decrease in the number of users is given by the following comparison: during April, May and June 2020, about 2,500 users entered public toilets, a number that was realized in 2019 in a 48-hour period.”
The lack of tourists this summer has meant that some public toilets have shortened their working hours and some haven’t even opened at all.
And this year the cleaning regimes in public toilets has seen ever stricter measures, for obvious reasons. Ivekovic explained that in making their decisions, they were primarily guided by the recommendations of the Civil Protection Headquarters on enhanced cleaning and disinfection of public toilets in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 virus infection. And that this has clearly led to some public toilets being closed as “We are obliged to regularly organize the cleaning of the space behind each user, which we simply could not operatively organize at all locations,” adds Ivekovic.
Around the city there are six public toilets, four in and around the historic Old City and then one in Gruz and one in Lapad. Four of six charge users, all four in or just outside the Old City, and the price is 7 Kuna or around 1 Euro, whilst the toilets in Lapad and Gruz are free. However, during the summer tourist season further public toilets are opened on several beaches and islands and these are free of charge. Clearly with not many people “spending a penny” the actual earnings will be considerably less this year.
Čistoća invests on average around 200,000 Kuna a year in the maintenance of public toilets and the improvement of the quality of services. Ten employees are engaged in the cleaning and maintenance of public toilets, adds Iveković.
The number of people suffering from Covid-19 in Europe has reached the levels of March when the pandemic peaked, the director of the European Public Health Agency said on Wednesday, noting that the opening of schools does not necessarily bring new risks.
"The virus did not sleep during the summer. It was not on holiday," Andrea Ammon, director of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, told MEPs at a regular hearing.
Ammon said data from this week showed that 46 people per 100,000 were infected in Europe. “We almost went back to the numbers we saw in March,” she said.
The number of infected in Europe in March began to rise steadily, reaching about 40 infected per 100,000 people by the end of the month, according to the ECDC, and by the end of April it had risen to about 70 infected per 100,000.
The current higher number of infected consequences is partly due to more frequent testing.
Newly infected people are predominantly younger people, Ammon said, a new pattern that has resulted in fewer hospitalizations because the disease is more severe for older people who were more affected in March and April.
But Ammon warned that the number of hospitalizations is now rising again, suggesting an increase in the number of those infected and among the elderly.
The figures, relating to the 27 EU member states, Britain, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, vary widely from country to country, from two infected to 176 per 100,000 people, she said, without specifying the countries in question.
Ammon also stressed that the reopening of schools in September does not necessarily pose an increased risk of infection, given that some countries in Europe that have already opened them this spring have not seen an increase in the number infected.
But she added that it is very important to introduce more security measures, including respecting physical distance and washing hands often.
Prominent Conde Nast media journalist Becki Murray, who is also the editor of the British Harper’s Bazaar, brings this week to Dubrovnik where she is preparing coverage for one of the UK’s most prestigious magazines, Town & Country.
During their multi-day stay at the Rixos Premium Hotel, which will be reviewed as part of the trip, Murray will visit Dubrovnik and the Elaphite Islands. The emphasis of the report for the prestigious Town & Country magazine is on the cultural and historical sights and the rich gastronomic offer of Dubrovnik.
In Dubrovnik, Murray was welcomed by the director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Ana Hrnić. Hrnić pointed out to the journalist that Dubrovnik is a very safe destination with a favourable epidemiological situation and expressed hope that Croatia's status in Great Britain would be revised as soon as possible.
The British market is the most important travel market in Dubrovnik, and UK tourists are traditionally the most numerous in the city.
Currently, British tourists are still in first place in Dubrovnik, and during August in Dubrovnik there were 12,056 British tourists (34% of tourist traffic in August 2019) who realized 61,951 overnight stays (35% of tourist traffic in August 2019).
Dubrovnik is currently connected to the United Kingdom with 28 weekly flights, with British Airways, EasyJet and Jet2.com. Destinations are London Heathrow and Gatwick as well as London Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle, Bristol, Birmingham and Edinburgh.
Murray, delighted with the beauty of Dubrovnik, said: "It pays to come and see Dubrovnik even with two weeks of self-isolation on the way back to the UK".