On a day when I'm writing this blog, there are five people in Croatia found positive on Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV as experts like to call it. It's hard to predict whether numbers will grow, and how much. It's even harder to say where this virus will travel next. We live in a globalized world, after all, and with millions of people travelling who can predict the path of a virus like this?
What does it mean in a city like Split, big reception destination for tourists from around the world?
It's almost inevitable that Coronavirus will cause serious damage to travel industry everywhere in the world, and also in Croatia and Split. That's why it's important to know that authorities in your potential destination (and I hope that for many of you Split will be the one) do everything they can to limit perils of this kind of global epidemic. Split is a big transit centre, and as season approaches number of planes, trains, buses, cruise ships, ferries will grow. Some of those means of transportation will arrive to Split from areas heavily affected by virus, and that dictates measures of precaution. Everything is taken very seriously, especially since virus appeared in Italy. Croatian public health agencies is on alert, and travellers from exposed regions are under strict control. After all, all five (so far) discovered patients are closely connected, and got a virus from the same source. So, if you see that traffic on a border is sometime slowed down, it's for common cause. It's better to check all passengers more careful, than to be sorry later.
However, let's not panic. There is no need to buy tons of food, and no need to stop travelling, but with reasonable caution. Information on Coronavirus are everywhere, but try to inform yourself through some more reliable sources, and not via rumours. World Health Organization brings everything one needs to know, and how to protect. Croatia has its own bodies and institutions dealing with a crisis. If you feel like you have some common symptoms, don't hesitate to call and report. Croatian Institute of Public Health has two emergency phone numbers, +385 (0)91 468 30 32 and +385 (0)99 468 30 01. Also, you can always call usual emergency number 112. Also, they published very informative Q & A guide on Coronavirus. Croatia created a network of possible quarantine facilities in all bigger centres, including Split, and whoever is diagnosed with Coronavirus will be taken care of. Our medical services can meet this challenge. And yes, if needed, pretty much everyone in our hospitals speak English or some other languages.
So far, there are no indications that Coronavirus affected booking in Croatia. Tourist Board Split director Alijana Vukšić said that February actually brought a rise of number of visitors from big markets like USA or Germany. Number of Chinese travellers fell, but nothing more than in any other part of the world.
- We are sure there is no need for panic, and we will continue to follow instructions from institutions who are in full alert, she said, and national Ministry of Tourism shares those views.
That's almost the same as many scientists are saying. In short, it's like this; "Yes, Coronavirus is a big problem, but panicking can only make it worse".
Or, stay calm, be careful, and keep travelling. You will be more than welcome in Split.