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News or fake news, that is the question here: False report of Croatia’s border opening after COVID-19 pandemic made the rounds

Empty Marina Novigrad - Covid-19 pandemic
They want to be used and moved: Yachts in the Marina Novigrad are eagerly waiting for their owners.
Sometimes it is only a small step from "news" to "fake news". On May 5th, some news portals reported that after the COVID 19 pandemic, entry into Croatia is now possible again with a PCR test that should not be older than 24 hours. As a result, the telephones at SeaHelp headquarters were no longer idle, and some members even considered having themselves tested at Vienna Airport for a fee, in order to then travel immediately to their yachts. Just in time they were dissuaded from their plans. The fact is that the report is partly correct, but only concerns Croatians returning from abroad, such as guest workers or truck drivers, who do not stay in the country for more than 72 hours. Therefore, it should be made clear once again that when the borders are reopened and there are actually reliable statements about the possibility of entry, SeaHelp members and all those who follow SeaHelp via homepage, Facebook or Twitter will be among the first to know about it.

Just a misunderstanding

Here is the background to the report, which is almost reminiscent of the legendary press conference of former GDR Politburo member Günter Schabowski on 9 November 1989. As is well known, this opened the border to the GDR, because Günter Schabowski had not read the draft to the end.

Croatian guest workers from Germany had COVID-19

Fact is: Alemka Markotić, head of the Clinic for Infectious Diseases Fran Mihaljevic in Zagreb, gave an interview to the Croatian broadcaster HRT, which among other things dealt with imported infections with the virus SARS-CoV-2. Specifically, two Croatian guest workers, who have a job in Germany, had spent a weekend holiday with their families in Virovitica/Croatia. On the day of their return journey, both had shown health problems indicative of COVID-19 and had tested positive.

Entry with PCR test

In this context, referring to the 72-hour rule for Croats working abroad, she told the HRT (original quote): “Anyone wishing to enter Croatia must have a PCR test in their country, which should not be older than 24 hours”. And further on: “Only with this confirmation can one enter the country in the future.”

Does not apply to “normal” tourists

Anyone who tears these quotations out of their overall context and comments on them without questioning them could, of course, arrive at the reverse conclusion that anyone with a corona test could actually enter the country for 72 hours. However, we have done further research: At one of the following press conferences, a journalist explicitly asked how this statement from Alemka Markotić should be interpreted. The answer, which was then not published, was that this regulation does not apply to “normal tourists or foreigners”.

Behind the scenes negotiations on tourism corridors

However, as we have learnt from well-informed sources, negotiations are currently taking place behind the scenes on the forthcoming opening of borders or tourism corridors. But SeaHelp will only announce this via its communication channels when the subjunctive can no longer be used, but when definitive statements are available and their implementation is assured.

Earlier border openings possible through agreements

Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli recently told the HRT on the issue of the COVID 19 pandemic: “We are serious about opening the border and planning. We are in frequent contact with some countries. Our aim was to create a common protocol for all. We are aware that, for example, some of us, such as Slovenia and Austria, are in a better epidemiological situation and it is logical that we can negotiate with these countries about opening the borders earlier”.

SeaHelp on Facebook and Instagram

If you don’t want to miss any news, you should follow us on Facebook and Instagram. There you will also find “water level reports” from time to time, which you can use to get an impression yourself.

Update May 7, 2020:

A Facebook user thankfully pointed out to us that the current entry possibilities should be specified more precisely. Here are the facts.

May enter:

  1. Croatian citizens returning to Croatia
  2. EEA nationals and third-country nationals entitled to long-term residence in Croatia (Proof by means of a registration certificate – Boravišna dozvola (EU citizen) or Boravišna iskaznica (third country national)
  3. Croatian nationals without permanent residence in HR together with their family members who do not hold HR citizenship themselves Possibility to enter only for 72 hours, but even then home quarantine applies.
  4. so-called special groups and, on separate request, key personnel of companies.


All persons entering the country on passenger transport, except transit travellers and frontier workers for official work (applies only to daily frontier workers between Croatia and Slovenia or Hungary), are obliged to undergo a 14-day home quarantine or quarantine when crossing the border.
Negative SARS-CoV-2 tests are currently not recognized in Croatia for the exception from the 14-day self-isolation!
To return abroad, the Croatian quarantine/self-isolation can be left before the 14 days are over.

Detailed regulations can be found in the link of the WKO.


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