Croatia tightens measures to fight spreading of COVID-19

General view of Porec, Croatia, April 20, 2021. Picture is taken with drone on April 20, 2021. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

ZAGREB, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Amid new record-high COVID-19 daily infections Croatia decided on Friday to tighten measures against the spreading of the disease, including introducing obligatory digital certificates for public sector employees.

Croatia reported 6,932 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the highest daily number since the beginning of the pandemic. Slightly over 50% of around four million Croats are fully vaccinated and experts largely blame a low vaccination rate for a large increase in the number of infections in recent weeks.

"To prevent the disease from spreading we need to reduce the number of people that can gather indoors, increase the number of vaccinated people and increase safety when doing business," said Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic.

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The number of people that can gather indoors will be reduced from this weekend to 50 from 100 unless they have digital certificates that prove they are vaccinated, tested negative or already had the disease.

All indoor gatherings will have to be over by midnight.

From Nov. 15 digital certificates will be obligatory for all public sector employees and all citizens who need services in the public sector institutions. So far, it was a condition only in the health sector and among social care workers.

"If the number of infections continue rising from Nov. 15 we will also introduce digital certificates for entering bars, restaurants or fitness centers," Bozinovic said.

He added that from Jan. 4, 2022, unless the situation improves, the digital certificates will be valid only for those who are vaccinated or have had the disease. Currently it is valid also for those who have tested negative for the virus.

"This period is enough for those who are not vaccinated to do so by the end of the year," Bozinovic said.

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Reporting by Igor Ilic Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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