Croatian PM Andrej Plenkovic tests positive for COVID-19

Croatian PM Andrej Plenkovic tests positive for COVID-19

Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has tested positive for the coronavirus but is “feeling well”, his cabinet has said, as the country hit a new record COVID-19 death toll.

Plenkovic, 50, who has led Croatia since 2016 as head of the right-wing HDZ party, started isolating two days ago after his wife contracted the coronavirus.

He had initially tested negative but a new test on Monday was positive, the cabinet said in a statement, adding that he would isolate for 10 days.

“The prime minister is feeling well at the moment, continues his activities and carries out his duties from home, following the instructions of doctors and epidemiologists,” the statement added.

After broadly keeping its caseload under control, Croatia has been battling a steep surge of infections in recent weeks, with some 2,300 patients currently hospitalised in the country of 4.2 million. Doctors in the country have warned of staff and equipment shortages and say the healthcare system will “collapse” if the number of hospitalised patients reaches 3,000.

As authorities announced a record of 74 deaths in the past 24 hours, the government on Monday tightened travel restrictions requesting a negative test for most people seeking to enter the country.

Health Minister Vili Beros also recently tested positive for the virus, but said on Monday that he would resume work.

Hospitals in Croatia are struggling with a surge in patients, limited beds and equipment and staff shortages, as more than 1,000 doctors have themselves become infected.

Croatia has recorded 128,442 coronavirus cases and 1,786 deaths, according to statistics by John Hopkins University.