Coronavirus crisis: 56 confirmed cases in Croatia

NEWS 16.03.2020 10:48
Source: ODD ANDERSEN / AFP

Seven more people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Croatia, bringing the tally up to 56, the national crisis management team said on Monday morning. So far, three people have fully recovered.

Out of the newest cases, one was discovered in the Adriatic city of Rijeka, another one in the Karlovac County, which is the first case there, and five more in the capital of Zagreb, one of which is a doctor from the Zagreb University Hospital Centre, who had returned from abroad recently. He has been hospitalised at the Zagreb Fran Mihaljevic Hospital for Infectious Diseases.

“All of the patients are exhibiting mild symptoms, no one has suffered any life-threatening complications yet,” Health Minister Vili Beros said, adding however that more serious cases can be expected soon. “We can expect that three to five percent of those infected will have more severe symptoms.”

More than 830 tests have been done so far in Croatia, with 15 results still pending, and nearly 9,000 people are under supervision, Beros said.

Zagreb Dubrava Clinical Hospital, with 500 beds, will become the new respiratory centre, and patients who are currently staying there are to be moved to other hospitals and clinics in Zagreb.

However, since two doctors from the Dubrava Hospital have tested positive for the coronavirus, and it was confirmed that they had contact with more doctors and patients than previously thought, around a hundred patients cannot be evacuated and will have to stay in the Dubrava hospital.

Last week, schools and universities across the country were closed down for a period of 14 days. Public gatherings expecting more than 100 people have been banned.

On Friday, Croatia’s flag carrier, Croatia Airlines, announced it would suspend all international flights serving Croatian cities of Split, Dubrovnik, and Rijeka until further notice.

Also, Croatian Foreign Ministry has expanded the list of high-risk countries and territories, which now includes, among other countries, most of Europe, the United States, and Canada. The full list can be found on the Ministry’s website. All foreign nationals who enter Croatia from the blacklisted countries will go into compulsory 14-day quarantine, while all Croatian nationals will have to go into 14-day self-isolation. 

Head of the Croatian Public Health Institute, Krunoslav Capak, appealed on Monday to the elderly to refrain from using public transport or shopping in large retail chains, saying the government was looking into ways of delivering food to those who belong in vulnerable groups.

This story is developing and will be updated as more information becomes available.