The Croatian prime minister said on Tuesday that opening the country’s borders to foreign tourists during the coronavirus pandemic is a “necessary risk.”

As many as seven million tourists came to the Balkan country since the relaxation of virus measures in May, Andrej Plenkovic told a panel discussion organized by the Croatian Exporters’ Association in the capital Zagreb.

He said that any option other than easing the measures is a complete quarantine, and no government, leader or organization in the world prefers to implement such a policy.

COVID-19 cases in Croatia have decreased in recent days, the premier claimed.

Darinko Bago, the head of the association, said tourism is an important income-generating sector for the southeastern European country.

The limited risk taken by the Croatian government by opening international borders during the peak tourism season proved to be right, he added.

The novel virus has infected millions, and claimed hundreds of thousands of lives around the world.

In Croatia, it has infected 12,285 people including 203 deaths 9,553 recoveries, according to the latest figures by US-based John Hopkins University.

Measures such as strict lockdowns and travel restrictions to stem its spread hit several sectors, especially tourism and manufacturing.

China, where the virus first emerged last December, has largely contained the outbreak. There are, however, concerns about a resurgence of the pandemic in Europe, where cases are spiking.

*Writing and contribution by Gokhan Ergocun from Istanbul

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