Omicron variant is threat to all, health minister says

NEWS 28.12.202121:05

The Omicron variant of Covid-19 is a threat to all and will not pass by Croatia, so vaccination is necessary, including the booster shot, Health Minister Vili Beros said on Tuesday.

“It’s also possible for the fourth and fifth waves to merge and for the seasonal flu to join it all,” he said, adding that all of it is a big challenge for the healthcare system.

Beros was speaking to the press after meeting with the directors of public health institutes and county hospitals on the functioning of healthcare during Covid-19.

“We are all agreed that what we lack is (a higher) vaccination rate. We have sufficient hospitals and beds and doctors and nurses,” he said, announcing that all medical and non-medical hospital staff will receive a booster shot.

The minister said the Omicron variant was more contagious than previous ones and that it would result in more daily new cases than ever before. However, it causes milder symptoms, he added, confident that there will be fewer hospitalizations.

“But we must be prepared for all variants and we are ready for the high numbers,” he said, adding that he expects Omicron to show its full force in the second half of January.

The minister said the Arena Zagreb venue and the tents outside Zagreb’s Dubrava hospital were on stand-by to be activated on short notice.

Asked about rewards for medical workers, Beros said he thought the government would find a way to reward them. “Besides financial rewards, we can also talk about other ways of thanking our workers who have been caring for our patients for almost 20 months.”

He went on to say that 473,000 persons in Croatia had received a booster jab, once again appealing to citizens to get vaccinated.