Dubrovnik residents look to the past to understand coronavirus lockdown

DUBROVNIK, Croatia (Reuters) - The streets of Dubrovnik, known as a location for the 'Game of Thrones' series and host to 1 million tourists last year alone, have remained empty since early March when Croatia closed its borders to halt the spread of the new coronavirus. Niksa Selmani, a local historian, said the situation today resembles a period in the 14th century when the city, then capital of the Republic of Ragusa, went into isolation to stop the spread of the plague

Reuters April 12, 2020 00:11:07 IST
Dubrovnik residents look to the past to understand coronavirus lockdown

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DUBROVNIK, Croatia (Reuters) - The streets of Dubrovnik, known as a location for the "Game of Thrones" series and host to 1 million tourists last year alone, have remained empty since early March when Croatia closed its borders to halt the spread of the new coronavirus .

Niksa Selmani, a local historian, said the situation today resembles a period in the 14th century when the city, then capital of the Republic of Ragusa, went into isolation to stop the spread of the plague.

"Under a 1377 decision, anyone arriving from outbreak areas had to spend a month in quarantine on the island of Mrkani or in Cavtat, in precisely determined places," Selmani said.

"After a month, they would be allowed to enter the city," he said, adding that trade continued even during such times of quarantine.

Later in the 16th century a row of houses known as the Lazerettos was built outside the city walls as a quarantine facility. Today this area is known as an artistic quarter where exhibitions are held - though not during the current lockdown.

Croatia, where tourism accounts for 20% of national output, has so far reported 1,534 infections from the coronavirus and 21 deaths.

Luka Vidak, a Dubrovnik resident, walked along the main street in the old town and expressed his faith in the lockdown but added that he hoped it would soon end.

"We see from some past times that quarantines were necessary and did their job," he said.

"I believe this virus will go as it arrived, swiftly, as did those from the past."

(Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Ivana Sekularac; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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