Croatia braces for third COVID-19 wave, announces new rules

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ZAGREB, March 31 (Xinhua) -- Croatia on Wednesday announced new measures to combat the spread of coronavirus as the number of new infections is on the rise again.

In Zagreb, the country's capital, and in the central-southern Split-Dalmatia County the wearing of face masks will be mandatory outdoors as well starting Thursday. In Split-Dalmatia, bars and restaurants will have to close by 8 p.m.

The country's National Civil Protection Headquarters banned indoor sports activities that have been allowed since March 1, and all sports events have been canceled in two southern counties.

Under the new rules, travelers wishing to enter Croatia are required to present a negative antigen test or proof that they have been vaccinated or infected in the past six months.

The new measures will enter into force on Thursday and will stay in place until April 15.

The Croatian National Institute of Public Health has confirmed 2,623 new COVID-19 cases -- a 47 percent increase week-on-week -- and 19 deaths in the past 24 hours.

"We have a serious increase in numbers today," Davor Bozinovic, interior minister and head of the National Civil Protection Headquarters, told journalists on Wednesday. "This is called the third wave of COVID-19. We have seen how suddenly it hit neighboring countries. The trend is not good in the whole of Europe."

Since Feb. 25, 2020, when the first COVID-19 case was recorded in Croatia, 271,632 infections and 5,947 deaths have been confirmed as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the Croatian Institute of Public Health. Enditem

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