ZAGREB [current status of the COVID-19]

On April 28 2020, there were 464 confirmed cases infected with the virus in the City of Zagreb. 19 people have died.

  • For its citizens to receive all relevant coronavirus information the City of Zagreb has opened a free hotline that is available to citizens 24 hours a day. Additionally, free phone counselling related to different areas of child development is offered by the Rehabilitation Centre of the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation. Also, psychologists, psychotherapists and psychiatrists at the Mental Health and Addiction Prevention Service of the Teaching Institute for Public Health “Dr. Andrija Štampar” daily provide advice on how to deal with epidemic and how to reduce anxiety levels;
  • Pursuant to the Decision of the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia, due to the increased risk of transmission of COVID-19 disease when using public transport, public transport was suspended on Sunday 22 March. Under the responsibility of the Civil Protection Headquarters of the City of Zagreb, the City of Zagreb introduced, through its public transport operator ZET d.o.o., 17 emergency transport lines for employees whose work continued to be carried out during the epidemic. As part of the loosening of measures following the epidemic of the Corona virus on April 27 20202, and in accordance with the decision of the Government of the Republic of Croatia on the reintroduction of public city and suburban lines, 111 bus lines started operating according to a customized timetable. Tram lines are being established gradually. Thus, from April 29, three tram lines are put into service. Vehicles will continue to be disinfected three times a day as well as cleaned before and after driving, all in order to reduce the possibility of contagion spreading. According to the recommendations of epidemiologists at the Croatian Institute of Public Health, passengers in vehicles should maintain a body distance of at least one meter. It is also advisable to wear protective masks and disinfect hands before boarding the bus. The implementation period of this new driving regime will depend on the development of the epidemiological situation and further guidance from the competent authorities;
  • Following the decision of the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia on working hours of the food markets during the COVID-19 disease epidemic, made in accordance with the recommendations of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, the food markets are open from 8 am to 1 pm. Also, the City of Zagreb organized an Online Marketplace platform for food purchases. The platform directly connects customers and local producers of home-made food from the area of Zagreb and the surrounding area, with the aim of facilitating their business that is threatened by the appearance of coronaviruses;
  • Zagreb City Holding Ltd, Subsidiary Čistoća has begun with regular spring cleaning of the City’s public areas and disinfections due to the coronavirus pandemic. Areas around hospitals, health centres, the city centre, the Central Train Station and tram turn-points are being cleaned and disinfected regularly;
  • For the most vulnerable group of citizens (pensioners), payment of the bills for the services provided by the City of Zagreb and companies owned by the City of Zagreb is extended for three months from the due date on the payment. Likewise, all citizens whose apartments and houses have been damaged in the recent earthquake so that they cannot be resided, are further exempted from paying overheads;
  • Visits to residences for elderly and disabled are not allowed;
  • As of Monday, March 16 2020, the regular education programmes in kindergartens, primary and secondary schools in the City of Zagreb has been interrupted. Employees are required to come to work. Parents whose children attend kindergarten or pre-school programmes, as well as elementary school students from grades 1 to 4, who cannot provide daily care for their children, may bring their children to the respective educational institutions. The Mayor of the City of Zagreb has submitted to the legal procedure the modification of the Program of Public Needs in Preschool Education and Care for Early Childhood and Pre-school Children of the City of Zagreb for 2020, according to which parents / guardians are fully exempt from kindergarten and pre-school fees for the time of extraordinary situation caused by the pandemic. Also, the procedure of determining the psychophysical state of the child / student for enrolment in the 1st grade of elementary school is postponed;
  • All sports events and competitions are cancelled until further notice. Sports facilities in the City of Zagreb will be used only by top athletes in accordance with all hygiene and safety instructions. Use of the facilities for recreation (gyms) is not allowed until further notice. Furthermore, pursuant to the Government’s Decision on measures to limit social gatherings, work in commerce, services and the holding of cultural and sporting events, which entered into force on 19 March 2020, for the purpose of suppressing the spread of coronaviruses, all users of outdoor sports facilities are requested to adhere to the anti-epidemic measures and strict social distance measures for the personal safety and safety of other users, to avoid close personal contacts at least one meter away in the open space and to larger gatherings and to use appliances while using the facilities or come in contact with other surfaces and make sure to wear protective disposable gloves;
  • The Zagreb Zoo is closed to all visitors;
  • Bars and restaurants are closed, except for those preparing and delivering food, providing accommodation services, and public and student kitchens;
  • In accordance with decision of the Government of the Republic of Croatia from April 24 2020, the measure suspending all cultural activities (cinemas, museums, theatres) was modified in a way that cultural exhibitions and fairs are still prohibited, while libraries, museums, galleries, antique shops and bookstores are open for work. Cultural institutions, cinemas and other gathering places are obliged to respect the recommendations of the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia regarding hygiene standards and the number of visitors;
  • The National University Library is closed until further notice and provides online services to its users;
  • Following the instruction of the Ministry of Health, separate offices for the examination of patients suspected of coronavirus infection were established at the locations of health centres in the City of Zagreb. Starting from Monday, March 16, 2020 the above-mentioned offices are open 24 hours a day;
  • A quarantine was set up at the Hotel “I”;
  • Pursuant to the Decision of the Civil Protection Headquarters on the prohibition of leaving the place of residence and permanent residence in the Republic of Croatia, dating from March 23, 2020, it is prohibited to leave the place of residence or permanent residence. Suppliers of essential services, journalists, commuting citizens and emergency services are excluded from the ban. The City Office for Local Self-Government was in charge of issuing passes to citizens who, for vital family reasons (child and elderly care) travel to another place, while family medicine doctors were issuing passes to those citizens who need medical care. On April 19, the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia accepted the proposal of the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Zagreb County and adopted the Decision on the abolition of the necessary measure of prohibition of leaving the place of residence and permanent residence for the territory of the City of Zagreb and Zagreb County. Thus, from April 19 residents of Zagreb County can travel within both the City and the County without an e-pass;
  • Rallies gathering more than 5 people are to be avoided;
  • Hospital medical and technical staff, patients, state and local government employees engaged in combating the coronavirus epidemic are exempt from paying parking fees. For those whose property has been affected by the earthquake, free parking is available in the public garages in the city centre;
  • In order to ensure the regular takeover of meals for the users of public kitchens, in accordance with the measures of the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia for the protection of coronavirus infection and the restriction of public transport, the City of Zagreb, in cooperation with the Caritas of the Zagreb Archdiocese, the Croatian Red Cross, the Red Cross of the City of Zagreb and the Parish of St. Anthony of Padua, organized additional meal distribution points.
  • City Office for Health in collaboration with Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center created an activity booklet for the whole family that consists of 50 activities aimed at developing socio-emotional competencies, communication skills, strengthening psychological resilience, fostering togetherness, cohesion and getting to know oneself and family members better. Activities further include lots of fun elements to help pass the time faster, and to enrich our lives with laughter, optimism, and thus build immunity – physical and emotional.

PRACTICES

Measures for prevention, early detection and treatment of patients, as well as identification of persons potentially exposed to infection and self-isolation are intensively implemented in Zagreb. Primary health care institutions have been included in the fight against the spread of the virus, six ambulances have been set up and a free hotline that provides citizens with 24/7 access to all relevant coronavirus information has been set up.

In order to speed up the diagnosis and increase the number of people tested, the Teaching Institute for Public Health “Dr. Andrija Štampar” introduced “drive in” diagnostics of coronavirus. This kind of testing allows people not to get out of the car and thus increases the safety level of both the person being tested and the health care provider.

The Zagreb Red Cross has joined its forces with the Bad Blue Boys, football fan group with the aim of helping those affected by the coronavirus as well as the earthquake. The Zagreb Red Cross receives hundreds of phone calls and e-mails with citizens’ inquiries every day, and in the most urgent cases it seeks to help as soon as possible. More than 400 volunteers in the Zagreb area help the elderly, disabled citizens and chronic patients every day. They visit more than 50 households daily.

 

On the eve of the coronavirus epidemic, Zagreb was hit by a strong 5.3 magnitude earthquake and a natural disaster was declared. This further complicated the challenges the City of Zagreb had to deal with. As some hospitals have been severely affected by the earthquake it was of vital importance to secure shelter for their patients. Also, those whose homes were destroyed were taken care off and provided with a temporary accommodation.

MEASURES

With the purpose of mitigating the negative effects on the economy of the City of Zagreb caused by the coronavirus, the Mayor of the City of Zagreb, Mr. Milan Bandić, proposed, and the Zagreb City Assembly adopted the following measures:

  • Entrepreneurs who carry on business in offices owned by the City of Zagreb are exempt from paying their rent;
  • To entrepreneurs paying the utility fees for both offices and construction land used for carrying out business activities, the regular amount of utility fees has been reduced by 30%;
  • Entrepreneurs who are obliged to pay utility fees for offices and construction land used for carrying out business activities, whose work has been suspended by the decision of the Civil Protection Headquarters, are fully exempted from utility this obligation;
  • A monthly fee for renting public areas with the purpose of setting up open terraces has been put on hold;
  • The above measures will be applied for the period from 1 April to 30 June 2020, and should the Mayor prove necessary to continue with these measures, in order to preserve the business of the City of Zagreb entrepreneurs and jobs, the period of their application will be extended;
  • For business entities that have received support under the Public Tender for awarding support for the preservation and development of traditional, scarce and productive craft activities-2019 the deadline for submitting reports on the intended use of received funds has been extended by an additional 90 days.

 

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