The head of the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ), Krunoslav Capak, said at a news conference on Friday that the Omicron variant of coronavirus was spreading rapidly, but was not yet the dominant variant in Croatia.
The fifth wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the country has begun as the fourth wave is subsiding, he said.
“Hospitalisations always come 14 days later, and it may happen that their number will follow this surge in new infection caseloads,” said Capak.
Only three cases of infection with Omicron were detected in Croatia in December. However, last Tuesday, the variant accounted for 80% of the new cases in Zagreb and 30% in the second largest city of Split.
Capak said that the Omicron variant would first become dominant in Zagreb and the wider area of the port city of Rijeka. For the time being, it does not seem to be dominant in continental Croatia, he noted.
Croatia’s capacity for PCR tests seems to be reaching its maximum, with 20,000 tests per day being performed now. The authorities are considering a possibility of recognising rapid antigen tests as diagnostic tests, Capak said.