Croatian authorities announced on Saturday, July 11, that all individuals will be required to wear face masks in most closed and indoor public spaces from Monday, July 13, in efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. According to media reports, face masks will be mandatory for all individuals in enclosed spaces including shops, bars, restaurants, and other places where there is close contact with customers. Face masks remain compulsory for all on public transport. On Saturday, the number of new COVID-19 infections reportedly reached its highest recorded number in a single day of 140 new cases. The majority of cases remain in the capital Zagreb and in the east of the country.
The Croatian government announced a three-phase plan to ease the existing coronavirus COVID-19 restrictions. In the first phase, which commenced on April 27, all retail outlets and other services which did not require close contact with clients, except those in shopping centers, were permitted to reopen. Public transportation has also gradually resumed. In the second phase, that started on May 4, authorities restored services requiring close contact, such as beauty and nail salons, barbers, and hairdressers. In the last phase, starting on May 11, the government allowed gatherings of up to ten people and the reopening of schools from grades 1 to 4. Religious gatherings were permitted as of May 2, although it was not announced how many individuals are permitted to attend a religious event at the same time.
Croatia reopened its borders for limited traffic and Croatia Airlines recommenced domestic flights on May 11. All domestic transportation services resumed also though some regional restrictions on travel remained. As of July 1, all EU/EEA nationals and individuals with permanent residence in the EU countries are permitted to enter the country freely without restrictions. All other foreign nationals are also permitted to enter the country for business, tourism, or other personal emergency reasons. Some restrictions will remain in place.
As of Sunday, July 12, there are 3672 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Croatia and 118 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.