Croatia tightens Covid measures as death toll continues to surge

Croatia’s National Civil Protection Headquarters announced new measures to fight the surging spread of Covid-19, further limiting attendance at public gatherings, wedding ceremonies, funerals, private events and sports competitions.

In light of the 3,000-odd daily coronavirus infections and 40-plus deaths in the last few days, the authorities said that the measures taken so far had not been sufficient to ensure that the health care system can sustain its pandemic response, Xinhua news agency reported.

The new restrictions limit the size of outdoor gatherings to a maximum of 25 people. Weddings cannot be attended by more than 15 people and private gatherings by 10 people. All night-clubs will have to remain closed, while bars and restaurants can stay open until 10 p.m. only. The sale of alcoholic beverages is forbidden after 10 p.m.

The new measures will take effect on Saturday and will last until Dec. 15. They will be enforced by civilian personnel, the police and officers of the State Inspectorate.

Schools will not switch to online education for now, except for classes where someone is infected.

There have been 2,958 new Covid-19 cases in Croatia in the past 24 hours, the country’s Institute of Public Health said on Friday. Almost 30 percent of those tested got positive results.

Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic told reporters on Friday that the new restrictions were needed because the number of new cases had not declined in the past two weeks.

Since February 25, when the first Covid-19 case was confirmed, Croatia has recorded 96,837 Covid-19 cases in total, of which 1,257 had died.

As the world is struggling to control the pandemic, countries across the globe — among them Germany, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States — are racing to find a vaccine.

Croatia has ordered Covid-19 vaccines from several companies via the European Union, and delivery is expected to start as soon as the vaccines are registered, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said last week.