19:25 / 13.09.2021.

Author: Katja Miličić

COVID uptdate: Security guards protect school from anti-maskers



Foto: Kristina Stedul Fabac/Dusko Jaramaz / PIXSELL

Croatia reported 167 new coronavirus infections and seven deaths from COVID-19 on Monday. The number of new cases is low due to slow testing over the weekend. Hospitals are treating 592 patients, 59 of whom are on ventilators.

Security guards protected students and teachers at an elementary school in Krapinske Toplice entering the building this morning as anti-maskers continued to protest. Security guards were hired after protesters stormed into the building last Friday. Some 10 protesters showed up again on Monday but they pulled back once police arrived.

The protest was initiated by the parents of an eight-grader who refuses to wear a mask, which is required in shared spaces inside the building. The parents brought the student to school again on Monday. The principal of the school said the student was again asked to wear a mask, refused, and walked out of the building in protest.

The Ministry of Education has sent a team of psychologists to the school to help teachers and students cope after last Friday's incident. Minister Radovan Fuchs also visited the school today. He said the rules apply to everyone.

"Certainly it was not pleasant for the younger or older kids to have to witness a bunch of people storming into the school, yelling, shouting insults. That is unacceptable and it will not happen again,” said Fuchs, adding that he was coordinating with the Interior Minister and that police would “enforce that which is codified in law”.

In related news, Health Minister Vili Beroš is pressing health care workers to get vaccinated. He announced that all heath care workers reporting to work starting on October 1 will have to show their COVID certificates. The head of the Clinical Hospital Center in Split, Ivo Ivić, says he's against this method of pressuring workers.

"I favor motivating workers in the health care system. I would also prefer that this was a measure mandated across the EU because then it would be enforceable. If it is not EU-wide, I'm afraid we might lose workers that we badly need,” Ivić said.

Only 60% of health care workers are vaccinated. In dental medicine, that number is even lower, 38%. Boris Ujević, the vice president of the Croatian Association of Hospital Physicians, says it is alarming that some countries in the EU have higher vaccination rates among the general population then Croatia has among its medical workers. In part, he blames the problem on disinformation. A story that has spread rapidly through younger medical community claims that the vaccine can leave women infertile. That claim has been debunked and there is no scientific evidence that the vaccine has any effect on fertility, he said.

Croatia's overall vaccination rate among the adult population is stagnating at around 52%.

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