The situation in Croatia is relatively stable, and as the statistics show, Croatia survived the epidemic peak. To get the outbreak under control, Croatian government brought whole country into lockdown, and banned (besides border crossing in or out of the country) all people to leave their permanent personal residence. The travel ban, both for international and internal movement of individuals, will stay at least until 4th May for sure. Plus, besides grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and shops selling food and hygiene products, all shops and services have to stay close, including schools, churches, restaurants, etc.
In public places all need to keep distance from 1 to 2 metres, and all gatherings and events of more than 5 people are banned. Face masks are not compulsory in public places. They are only advised for chronic patients, patients with any diseases targeting lungs and other airways, or for those, who might belong to the most vulnerable groups.
Croatia is testing those, who are suspected to be infected by COVID-19 in several priority groups: medical workers and hospitalized patients, people, who might infect a large amount of individuals, citizens older than 65 years old and/or with chronical diseases and people with respirational diseases. As for medical material, the Ministry of Health stated that there are sufficient testing kits, and more protective masks are ordered. It did not state who will deliver it. But, Croatia received international assistance (whether financial or material) from several countries and international organisations, for example, China and the EU.
Furthermore, the government introduced a package with measures to save both employees and employers, and which should help restarting economy. As for the employees, the government will repay minimum net wages for all, who their employers will not lay off. For this reason, the government proposed to increase the net minimum wage for March, April, and May. The employers and companies are divided into several groups according to decrease of their income, and will get appropriate remission of taxes for March, April, and May (partial or complete). The minimum decrease in income to get an exception in taxes is 20% of their yearly revenue.
Croatia implemented all measures without announcing the state of emergency. The Croatian Constitution includes several articles, which concern restrictions of human rights and freedoms in time of war or natural disaster, restriction of movement or an article, which requires all restrictions to be proportionate to the need to protect human lives. Although the state of emergency was advised by several constitutional lawyers in Croatia, as this crisis has no precedence in modern history, and the constitutional legislative is enough to handle the situation without announcing a state of emergency.
Croatia is handling the crisis very well thanks to early recognition of the threat and implementing restrictions as fast as possible despite of protests of the neighbouring countries and fact, that they were among first in Europe. The population rallied around the flag, and the result is very low death and infected rate. The government thanks for this situation to all the experts, with whom they discussed how to advance to stop the infection.
Written by Michael Andruch, April 2020.