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Croatia makes indoor mask-wearing mandatory amid COVID-19 surge

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ZAGREB, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) — Croatia’s national civil protection authority adopted new measures on Monday to tackle the recent resurgence of COVID-19 outbreak, including mandatory mask-wearing in all public indoor places.

Croatian Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic announced at a daily press briefing that starting from Monday, wearing a mask is required in all public indoor settings where a minimal two-meter distance can not be maintained.

“We are not satisfied with the epidemiological situation in Croatia, although we can say that it does not differ from the situation in Europe,” Bozinovic, who also heads the national civil protection authority, told reporters after the introduction of new measures.

Masks are mandatory in bars and restaurants, and customers can take them off only when they are seated at the table. New restrictions also include mandatory use of masks in churches.

Until Monday, wearing a mask was just a government recommendation. The minister also called for the right use of the masks, with both mouth and nose being covered all the time.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), face masks should be used as part of a comprehensive set of measures to suppress COVID-19 transmission and save lives. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020, wearing masks in public has been widely accepted in Asian countries like China, South Korea, Japan and Vietnam to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Bozinovic called for mask-wearing in open spaces when it’s impossible to keep a physical distance. This measure, however, is not required but recommended.

Organizers of cultural events, sports gatherings, religious ceremonies, weddings, and funerals, where more than 50 people are expected, are required to send a request for such gatherings, no later than five days before the planned event.

Croatian Health Minister Vili Beros announced on Monday the purchase of new respirators. But the minister said respirators and trained specialists are currently enough.

Croatia has seen a sharp rise in new COVID-19 cases recently, with record high single-day cases of 542 registered on Thursday.

Since Feb. 25, when the first case was reported in Croatia, there have been 20,621 confirmed cases, including 327 fatalities, according to the Croatian Institute of Public Health. Enditem

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