Health Minister Vili Beroš said that protesters against COVID certificates are hypocrites because now they are opposed to testing, vaccination and restrictions, and "then they will come knocking on the doors of the overburdened healthcare system."
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"It seems that Saturday's protest produced a new motto - take care of yourself, infect others. You can be against, but give us an alternative," Beroš said in a message to opponents of COVID certificates while speaking to the press after a meeting of the ruling coalition.
"The government, trying to avoid tougher restrictions such as a lockdown, has offered an alternative. Take advantage of testing because that's the way to stop the infection from spreading to others. Think of others, don't be hypocrites. Don't avoid testing, vaccination and epidemiological measures and then coming knocking on the doors of the overburdened healthcare system," Beroš said.
"I know that there were no flat-earthers among the protesters, but I know that there were doctors and intellectuals, which can mean only one thing - these people are manipulated, and the manipulators have shown their true colours," Beroš said, adding that "populists are using the deaths of our fellow citizens to promote their political views and score political points."
He called on the citizens to trust the medical profession and doctors, and criticised those refusing to get tested.
Beroš said that European countries that had introduced COVID certificates earlier were now witnessing the benefits of their use. "COVID certificates do not stop the epidemic from spreading, but help contain it. If people are responsible enough, epidemiologists believe that that should suffice," the health minister said.
Justice and Public Administration Minister Ivan Malenica said on Tuesday that fines for those flouting the mandate to show their COVID-19 certificates in public law bodies would range between 30,000 and 50,000 kuna ( €4,000 to 6,800).
We have envisaged pecuniary penalties for the responsible persons who fail to respect the relevant law. Fines are between HRK 30,000 and HRK 50,000, and we believe that they will prompt those institutions' heads and persons in charge to respect the decisions made by the national COVID-19 crisis management team, said the minister. ■