Figures don’t lie: with a 14-day incidence value of 1113.9 (as of 4 December), Croatia is in penultimate place 26th in the ranking of countries affected by the coronavirus, according to ECDC figures; only in Luxembourg is the situation regarding the coronavirus pandemic even more drastic. The percentage of positively tested persons in the total number of tested persons is 35.6%, or in other words: on average every third test certifies a positive result with the COVID-19 disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. Only Bulgaria and Poland show even worse values. This had to admit also the head of the Croatian staff for public health, Krunoslav Capak, in its press conference to the situation of the Coronavirus in Croatia unapologetically.
However, this is only part of the truth with regard to the coastal regions. While the virus seems to spread almost unchecked in the interior of the country, the coastal areas, with the exception of the urban centers of Rijeka and Split, remain well below the Croatian averages.
Dramatic corona infection figures in the interior of the country
Just how dramatic the overall situation is can also be seen on a map provided by the WHO, which shows the incidence values, i.e. the number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a period of 7 or 14 days, by county in Europe and most parts of Asia. Among the top five counties in Europe where the coronavirus has spread the most in Europe are the five Croatian counties Međimurje (2209), Varaždin (2176), Krapina-Zagorje (1576), Lika-Senj (1541) and Koprivnica-Križevci (1476).
Timetable for easing the corona measures
The fact that this situation has already led to loosening up seems more likely to indicate that large sections of the population have not yet recognized the seriousness of the situation: For example, there are plans to reopen restaurants from a 14-day incidence of 300 corona cases per 100,000 inhabitants, but only if the positive rate of people tested daily does not exceed 10% over a period of seven days. At least there is now however – and this is the positive aspect – a concrete roadmap on how to proceed with the “lockdown light” in Croatia. Obviously one intends thereby also a certain “educational” effect in the regions particularly affected by the Coronavirus.
From now on severe punishments for Corona sinners
First of all, however, one relies on penalties. From 5 December, the following will apply: those who do not wear a mask in the prescribed places will pay 500 kuna; those who organize an illegal gathering of people will be fined between 5,000 and 10,000 kuna. In the commercial sector, the penalty increases again to an amount between 10,000 and 40,000 kuna. In view of the low tide in the Croatian state coffers, it can be assumed that appropriate controls are in place.
Will the Corona lockdown come after Christmas?
In combination with the stricter entry restrictions, which will only allow really justified business trips, the measures should take effect soon, if not Christmas New Year’s Eve and the Orthodox Christmas. What ultimately remains is, as a last resort, a complete lockdown, as we know it from spring 2020. That such measures will be taken should be considered certain if the epidemiological situation does not soon change decisively. Because one thing is certain: Croatia, still a young EU member, cannot afford a tourist season that falls completely into the water.