Croatia abruptly changed the conditions for Czechs to enter the country. Starting Friday, July 2, people have to submit confirmation that they were vaccinated against or have recovered from COVID-19. Another option is a COVID-19 passport or a valid negative test. “Nobody expected that. We were not informed. We were surprised that they changed it this way,” Prime Minister Andrej Babiš commented.
“They justify this step by saying that the COVID passport has been valid since July 1, so in principle, the conditions have not changed, it is just no longer possible to travel only with an ID; it is necessary to have the COVID passport,” Babiš said on the morning of July 1.
He admitted that it was a complication for tourists who were counting on only needing an identity card and may now have problems at the border. He expressed hope that the Croatian side would be tolerant.
“The COVID passport is starting to come into force, and Croatia last night hastily decided that tourists from the Czech Republic (as well as other countries) must prove they have it at the border. However, the rules we have agreed on also apply — 22 days after the first dose or a negative test or one that shows antibodies,“ wrote Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek on Twitter.
The information was also confirmed by the Croatian Embassy in the Czech Republic.
“People must indeed confirm vaccination, valid on the 22nd day after the first dose, a negative antigen or PCR test, or demonstrable antibodies,” said Eva Davidová, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
It is also important to fill in the Enter Croatia arrival form.
Interior Minister Davor Božinović announced the change to the conditions of entry into Croatia on Wednesday. He said that the decision of the local government is closely related to the fact that the COVID passport came into force within the European Union. According to HRT radio, the rule should apply until July 15.
Božinović explained that the goal is to have more effective control of the development of the epidemic in the country and to make an effort to prevent uncontrolled entry. According to him, the use of the COVID passport simplifies and unifies control measures. From July 2, there will be no problem with obtaining a certificate of illness, recovery, or passing a negative test, the minister assured. They will be available at test sites, even for foreigners.
People arriving in Croatia from high-risk countries must submit a certificate of vaccination with the first dose of Pfizer, Moderna, and Sputnik V in accordance with the decision of the Civil Protection Staff of the Republic of Croatia. Visitors must prove that it has been 22 to 42 days since their first dose.
Croatia also accepts vaccination with the first dose of AstraZeneca, if administered a minimum of 22 and a maximum of 84 days prior to entry. Vaccination with a single-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson or Janssen is also valid.
Croatians will also recognize a negative PCR test that is no older than 72 hours, or a rapid antigen test no older than 48 hours.
Children under the age of 12 traveling with legal guardians are exempt from the obligation to submit a negative test. They do not have to enter quarantine if their guardians meet the previous conditions.
There are exceptions for several groups of people, including people only passing through Croatia, although they must leave the country within 12 hours of entering. People commuting to work, those traveling for education, healthcare workers, and others are also exempted.
Starting in mid-June, trips to Croatia were unrestricted for the Czechs. Czechia, together with Slovakia, got on the list of green countries. The entry rules were, therefore, the same as before the coronavirus pandemic.
The EU digital COVID certificate, COVID passport, took effect in the European Union on July 1 to make it easier for people to travel around Europe.
Title image: A Croatian border police officer inspects travel documents at the border crossing between Croatia and Slovenia, in Bregana, Wednesday, June 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)