A health care worker pushes bed-ridden Covid-19 patient at Varaždin General Hospital (Photo: Vjeran Zganec Rogulja/PIXSELL) A health care worker pushes bed-ridden Covid-19 patient at Varaždin General Hospital (Photo: Vjeran Zganec Rogulja/PIXSELL)

Bars, restaurants, sports venues, and gyms were ordered closed on Friday as the county that is home to around 170 thousand residents went into a near lockdown. All indoor public events and gatherings have been banned and outdoor events are limited to 20 people. Although restaurants are closed to patrons, they are allowed to make deliveries. The only exception that has been made is for church services, which will be allowed to continue, under strict social-distancing and hygiene measures, said County Prefect Radimir Čačić.

Čačić said his county and the whole country were late in enacting tougher restrictions, saying that Croatia was among the worst Covid-19 hotspots in Europe and expected to soon hit a 14-day incidence rate of 1,000 per 100 thousand residents. He also said police would be involved in enforcing the new restrictions.

Asked to comment on the fact that the national task force moved to enact tougher restrictions only two days after the annual Homeland War commemoration in Vukovar which drew around 5,000 participants, although public health authorities had recommended it be limited to 500, Čačić said he believed it was the right thing to do.

“We know that Vukovar turned out phenomenally well. Had there been a political decision based on the epidemiological circumstances to ban the procession, there would have been a protest by the right. I believe it turned out well considering the circumstances and had it been banned, the damage would have been much worse,” Čačić told HRT.

Varaždin County Varaždin County reported 307 new cases of coronavirus and three Covid-19 related deaths on Friday.  Nearly 700 people were tested. The county reported 1,635 new cases over the past week, yielding a seven-day incidence of 973 per 100,000 inhabitants. Varaždin General Hospital is currently treating 186 people with a severe symptoms. Fifteen of them are in the intensive care unit and all but one are on a ventilator. Area hospitals in Klenovnik and Novi Marof are treating an additional 96 patients.