(Photo: Srecko Niketic/PIXSELL) (Photo: Srecko Niketic/PIXSELL)

"Observing the trend, particularly in the past two weeks, the incidence of new infections in Istria County has fallen to below 100 people per 100,000 inhabitants. Based on EU criteria, Istria has thus entered the orange zone in terms of the number of COVID cases," said the director of Istria's public health institute, Aleksandar Stojanović.

He added that the hospital system was stable and that currently there were 30 hospitalised patients in Pula General Hospital, compared with 80 patients at the end of December.

"At the moment the process of vaccination is extremely important, but unfortunately it has slowed down. About 2,400 people have been vaccinated in Istria and about 500 have received a second dose. This week, we did not receive any new doses and we expect 1,170 more next week. However, people waiting for a second shot will certainly receive it because doses for that purpose have been secured," added Stojanović.

The head of the Civil Protection Directorate in Istria County, Dino Kozlevac, says that Istria is calling for the opening of gyms, fitness and recreational centres and for outdoor sports to be allowed as of Monday as well as for all cafes to be allowed to serve coffee to go.

Kozlevac stopped short of calling for the unilateral opening of all cafes and restaurants in Istria; saying that it would be recommendable for the entire country to conduct a coordinated re-opening of the hospitality industry throughout the month of February.

"The date being mentioned is 8 February and that is an optimistic estimate but we will see. At the moment the best thing would be for all cafes to be open at the national level because opening them only in Istria would lead to problems," he said.

According to the national Civil Protection Directorate, Croatia recorded 875 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours based on 7,200 tests, for an infection rate of 12 percent.

The number of active cases now stands at 3,050. There are 1,381 COVID-19 patients being treated in hospital, 135 of whom are on ventilators.

Source: HRT