Croatia set another coronavirus record on Friday, 208 new cases. Two people have died from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours.
The highest numbers of cases are being reported in Split-Dalmatia County, 79, and in the city of Zagreb, 50. The country currently has 961 active cases of Covid-19. Among those fighting the virus, 106 are being treated in hospital and 10 are on ventilators.
Split-Dalmatia County also saw its largest number of new cases since the pandemic began, 79. Two of the new cases are foreigners on holiday in Dalmatia.
Speaking at the daily coronavirus briefing, the head of the Croatian Public Health Bureau, Krunoslav Capak, said the latest surge appears to be fueled by younger people who are contracting the virus while on holiday.
"The leading areas with respect to new cases are Split-Dalmatia County and Zagreb. Other counties are reporting significantly fewer cases. The situation we addressed yesterday, that among the new cases, the average age of patients is 31," Capak said.
Young people tend to move around frequently and it is difficult to pinpoint the origin of their infection, he added.
"It is difficult to determine the exact location where they were infected. What we can say is that around 2/3 of these people had been to crowded nightclubs, bars, and cafes that were open past midnight,” said Capak.
Dr. Alemka Markotić, the head of the Infectious Diseases Clinic in Zagreb urged young people who will soon be returning to school or work to behave responsibly.
"They don't have to give up socializing, but I do urge them to be responsible, to keep a distance from others, and to practice good hygiene. This has been proven as an effective model of prevention. So, I urge young people, who are always the leaders in setting new trends, to raise their awareness on this issue and help the rest of us control these numbers," Markotić said.
Despite the pandemic Croatia's tourism industry has been doing relatively well considering the situation and the surge in Covid-19 cases has prompted some neighboring countries to raise the alarm that Croatia may not be safe. Interior Minister Davor Božinović says Croatian authorities are trying to communicate the message that many parts of the country are very safe. For example, in the areas that have the largest numbers of tourists from Austria, Germany, and Italy, the situation is very good, he said, and that is something they have been trying to convey to the governments of those countries.
"A large number of Croatian counties are classified as green under the international methodology. Several counties are labeled yellow - with 20-40 cases per 100 thousand residents. Only three Croatian counties are in the red,” he said.
With the upcoming Catholic holiday of the Assumption of Mary tomorrow, August 15, public health authorities are recommending to the Church not to hold the usual processions and large gatherings. Capak said the Croatian Catholic Bishops Conference has agreed to go with a minimalist approach this year, which he praised as the right decision.