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Belgrade Media Report 1 April, 2020

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United Nations Office in Belgrade

Daily Media Highlights

Wednesday 1 April 2020

LOCAL PRESS

Djuric: Kurti did not abolish taxes (RTS/RTV/Tanjug/Beta)
The first death in the Serbian government of a coronavirus: State Secretary deceased (B92)
Another 160 cases, totally 1,060 infected (RTS)
Brnabic: Coronavirus Self-Checker available as of today (Tanjug/RTS)
Vekic: Citizens to go to healthcare centers as soon as they symptoms (RTS)
Temporary hospital at Belgrade Fairgrounds meets all conditions prescribed (Tanjug)
Kon: No serious reason to shut down Belgrade (RTS/Beta)
Constitutional Court to assess legality of state of emergency measures (Beta)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Dzaferovic welcomes decision of EU to allocate funds for healthcare sector and support to economy of B&H (Fena)
First contingent of Serbia’s assistance to arrive to the RS (RTRS)
Domestic, regional politicians and analysts agree that EU failed test of solidarity in crisis caused by coronavirus pandemic (EuroBlic)
In B&H, over 440 confirmed cases of the virus corona (N1)
Authorities in Una-Sana Canton intensively work on preparation of isolation facilities for patients infected with COVID-19 in all municipalities (FTV)
FB&H cantonal hospitals face lack of equipment and test kits (BHT1)
Less than 3,000 COVID-19 tests have been carried out in B&H since start of coronavirus crisis (N1)
Names of those violating home isolation measures in the RS published (ATV)
Croatia

In Croatia 963 infected: 96 new cases (N1)
Drive-in testing launches in Zagreb (Hina)
Montenegro

National Coordination Body of Montenegro extends application of temporary measures (CDM)
In Montenegro 14 people under the age of 18 infected with coronavirus (CDM)
Republic of North Macedonia

Pendarovski: Situation remains complex, future developments depending on pandemic duration (MIA)
Osmani: Crisis teams to be set up in local communities to deal with Covid-19 (Republika)
Government presents second set of measures to cushion blow from coronavirus (MIA)
Mickoski: The set of measures is a huge disappointment for the citizens (Republika)
One patient died; 25 new cases registered in North Macedonia (MIA)
Albania

Albania confirms 16 new coronavirus cases (ADN)

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES

Export of medical items to Serbia triggers debate (The Hindu)

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LOCAL PRESS

 

Djuric: Kurti did not abolish taxes (RTS/RTV/Tanjug/Beta)

 

The Head of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric said that Albin Kurti did not abolish taxes. Do not fall for the fake news. “The Prime Minister of the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina has announced, to be quite precise, only a partial suspension of taxes, and this is conditional, while introducing new punitive measures for our citizens and the economy, which he calls reciprocity,” Djuric said in statement from the Office for Kosovo and Metohija. He said this did not de-escalate the situation and did not return the situation prior to the introduction of anti-civilization taxes, but that it introduces, in a perfidious way, so far non-existent barriers for trade and movement of people and goods. According to him, Pristina continues to play with this issue and the economic perspective of the society in Kosovo and Metohija. He says the decision presents a performance intended for one part of the international community. “However, I believe it is by no means time for measures like those adopted by Pristina tonight, but this is a time when even deep and substantial differences with Pristina need to be put aside, as we all need to work hard and directly cooperate on overcoming the epidemic that does not know borders, political commitment, religion and nation,” he said.

 

The first death in the Serbian government of a coronavirus: State Secretary deceased (B92)

 

State Secretary at the Ministry of the Environment, Branislav Blazic, has died of coronavirus, it was unofficially confirmed for B92.net. After testing positive for coronavirus he was placed in the Infectious Diseases Clinic, and in a statement to the press five days ago, Minister Goran Trivan said that Blazic was connected to a ventilator.  Blazic was born on this day in 1957 in Kikinda. He was the founder of the Serbian Progressive Party and a member of the Presidency. He graduated from the Belgrade University School of Medicine and was a specialist in general surgery. An official biography of the Ministry of Ecology states that from 1986 to 1988 he was Chief of the Emergency Service in Kikinda. He also worked as a surgeon at Kikinda General Hospital. As an official of the Serbian Radical Party, he was elected three times as a federal MP, twice as a republic MP, and from 1996 to 2000, he was a deputy in the Assembly of the AP of Vojvodina. From 1998 to 2000, he was appointed Minister for the Environment. He was the Mayor of Kikinda from 2004 to 2008.

 

Another 160 cases, totally 1,060 infected (RTS)

 

According to the latest information, another 160 cases have been registered in Serbia, so the total number of infected in 1,060. Another five deaths, so far 28 deaths in Serbia. Until 1 April, the National reference laboratory of Torlak Institute tested 4371 people who fulfilled the criteria for testing (staying in the area of intensive transmission of virus and presence of symptoms of infection of the respiratory tract). Since the last report on 31 March at 15:00, 810 persons were tested, and 160 of them were positive.

 

Brnabic: Coronavirus Self-Checker available as of today (Tanjug/RTS)

 

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic stated that a Coronavirus Self-Checker system has been launched today, which works on the basis of a simple log in with a citizen’s personal health insurance number and the medical card number. Brnabic said on her Twitter account that the goal of this system is to reduce crowds and waiting time at medical centres and speed up the process of curing. She explained that the findings obtained through the Coronavirus Self-Checker are automatically sent to doctors at COVID-19 offices set up at community health centers (24 hours). This is a fight of every individual for our entire society and only together will we win, the Prime Minister wrote, with a message “stay home”. Brnabic also posted a link https://www.e-zdravlje.gov.rs/landing/ and referred to website https://covid19.rs and https://chats.viber.com/covid19info. A COVID-19 notice was posted on the Ministry of Health’s e-health website, which states that the algorithm for treating a person suspected of having a virus infection defines the responsibilities of the health care physician in the COVID-19 surveillance system, where each community health center should enable direct communication of a person with suspected COVID-19 with a physician.

 

Vekic: Citizens to go to healthcare centers as soon as they symptoms (RTS)

 

The State Secretary at the Serbian Health Ministry Berislav Vekic told Radio and Television of Serbia (RTS) that citizens who have symptoms similar to that of coronavirus can go for a check-up at the local healthcare centers. Vekic said that separate medical offices have been set up at the local healthcare centers for citizens with coronavirus symptoms where they will undergo diagnosis, measuring of temperature, taking a complete blood count and X-ray, after which they will be advised by the doctor whether to go in self-isolation or to take other steps. Vekic said that the heathcare centers will be open from 07.00 to 22.00 and that after 22.00 citizens can go to the Infectious Diseases Clinic or to general hospitals. He underlined that the interim hospital at the Belgrade Fairgrounds currently has 49 patients, of whom 39 men and 10 women with milder clinical condition. In each of the three shifts there are 10 doctors and 25 nurses.

 

Temporary hospital at Belgrade Fairgrounds meets all conditions prescribed (Tanjug)

 

The Serbian Defense Ministry stated that Hall 1 of the Belgrade Fairgrounds, where the Serbian Army set up a temporary hospital for the treatment of persons with milder symptoms of the coronavirus infection, meets the requirements stipulated by the regulation on quarantine sites and hospitals. According to a statement from the Ministry, Ombudsman Zoran Pasalic confirmed this on Sunday, 29 March, after a detailed inspection of the temporary hospital before the admission of patients. The Serbian Army provided in Hall 1 the area for accommodation, dining and watching TV, for religious needs, and there are also books, magazines and daily newspapers available. Showers and hot water are also provided. Patients have three meals a day and a snack. Cooked meals are served for lunch, provided by the Students’ Centre. The Defense Ministry and the Serbian Army are responsible for the outdoor security service, organization of basic needs regarding accommodation and personal hygiene and the external disinfection of the space on the Fairgrounds. Medical treatment of patients in the temporary hospital is carried out by the Ministry of Health, the statement adds.

 

Kon: No serious reason to shut down Belgrade (RTS/Beta)

 

Epidemiologist Predrag Kon said that there is no serious reason to shut down the Serbian capital even though it is one of the worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic. According to Kon, a 2-hour curfew would be a last resort. “There would be reason to shut down Belgrade if we were expecting a big event such as the New Year. Easter is coming but it is not celebrated on the streets,” Kon told RTS. He said that the 24-curfew would make sense to prevent the spread of the coronavirus but added that he was seriously concerned but that there was no serious spreading of infection. “The introduction of a complete ban on movement would make sense at a moment when the coronavirus epidemic could no longer be controlled,” he said but added that the coronavirus could not survive two weeks of absolute isolation. He said there was no serious reason for isolating Belgrade, one of the coronavirus hotspot, and that possible introduction of the 24-hour ban on movements remained as the last straw, but added that the authorities were in charge of making decisions and that they would have the support of the experts. He said that successes in fighting the coronavirus had been achieved. Kon added there would be reasons to quarantine the capital if we were ahead of a big festivity like New Year. “We are ahead of Easter which is not celebrated in the streets,” Kon said. He added that the measure had a point in preventing the further spreading of the virus and that he was seriously afraid that something could happen, but that was not the case. “The 24-hour ban on movements is meaningful when the epidemic cannot be controlled any more. The virus cannot survive during two weeks of absolute isolation,” Kon said. He also said that this Tuesday was a tough day, but he was still “cautiously optimistic.” “That’s because we did not go over the maximum of 131 infected in one day which we had, and because we did not have a sudden jump, a double number of sick people daily,” Kon said. He added that further step in fighting the epidemic would be to find some 80,000 contacts of those already infected.

 

Constitutional Court to assess legality of state of emergency measures (Beta)

 

The Belgrade Center for Human Rights (BCHR) submitted an initiative to Serbia’s Constitutional Court to access the legality of the two articles of the Decree on Measures during the state of emergency and the Order banning people’s movements, Beta reported. The Center says in a statement that the Decree hasn’t envisaged concrete measures for the protection of human and minority rights, but has authorized the Interior Ministry to, with approval from the Health Ministry, decides on its own. That, according to the Center, violates the Constitution. “The Constitution says the parliament by a majority vote prescribes measures which deviate from the human and minority rights during the state of emergency. In case the parliament cannot convene, the government, with the President’s signature, can prescribe them,” the Center said. It added that in such a case the government should pass the Decree to the parliament for ratification within 48 hours after it brought it, or when the parliament could meet at the latest.

 

REGIONAL PRESS

 

Dzaferovic welcomes decision of EU to allocate funds for healthcare sector and support to economy of B&H (Fena)


Chair of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Sefik Dzaferovic welcomed the decision of the EU to allocate assistance to B&H amounting to 80.5 million Euros for healthcare sector and support to economy. “Apart from this assistance, it is especially important to know that the EU will enable B&H to access the Agreement on Joint Procurement of Medicinal Equipment needed for fight against coronavirus. This will make it possible for us, together with EU members, to acquire respirators and other medicinal equipment and easier and faster way,” Dzaferovic told Fena. Dzaferovic especially thanked European Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Oliver Varhelyi, with whom he discussed this matter over phone last week. “One of the topics discussed with Commissioner Varhelyi was enabling B&H to participate in acquiring of respirators along with the EU. I am truly glad to hear the information that the EU decided to assist B&H in such way,” said Dzaferovic. Dzaferovic added that he expects competent institutions of B&H to urgently react and respect accelerated procedure for accession to this agreement with the EU.

 

First contingent of Serbia’s assistance to arrive to the RS (RTRS)


The first shipment of aid from Serbia is expected to arrive in Banja Luka on Tuesday evening, to help the Republika Srpska (RS) in fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The shipment includes five clinical and five transport respirators, 30,000 epidemiological masks, 2,000 protective suits, 200 protective glasses and 50,000 sanitary gloves. Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik said that this is an important message for the people in the RS and the material help is not the only thing that counts, but the fact that Serbia cares for the RS. He stressed that this is important because the RS has a hard time obtaining materials necessary for the fight against the coronavirus. Dodik said that Serbia showed the capability to procure equipment through China and their market, despite their own situation and to help the RS. Healthcare institutions in Glamoc, Drvar, Grahovo and Petrovac, municipalities in the Federation of B&H inhabited mostly by Serbs, are experiencing shortage of medicinal equipment and food supplies. RS Prime Minister Radovan Viskovic announced that the RS Government will deliver 50 tons of flour to these four municipalities while Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic also recently announced that Serbia will deliver assistance to these four municipalities. Minister of Health of the Canton 10 Vasilija Broceta said that she hopes the assistance of the RS and Serbia will be of help in this crisis but she noted that nobody contacted her as yet with regard to the assistance.

Domestic, regional politicians and analysts agree that EU failed test of solidarity in crisis caused by coronavirus pandemic (EuroBlic)


Many analysts and politicians strongly criticized the EU over past month and resented it for not demonstrating enough readiness or ability to cope with coronavirus pandemic and EU member countries too, especially Italy, criticized EU. Politicians in B&H and region also expressed their dissatisfaction with slow reaction of the EU. The daily reminded that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that there is “no great international or European solidarity”. The daily also reminded that Serb member of the Presidency of B&H Milorad Dodik gave a similar statement at the beginning of the pandemic after the EU adopted a decision on limitation of export of medicinal equipment to non-member countries, because of which Russia, China and Turkey were the first countries to assist B&H. RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic presented a similar stance several days ago and she reminded that everyone was frustrated because the EU failed to react in an adequate manner at the beginning of the crisis. Political analyst Slobodan Soja said that disappointment with the EU never comes before a country joins the EU, but only after they join it so countries which aspire to become EU members will maintain their European enthusiasm because they have no other rational option. Soja assessed that the EU failed the test on the example of Italy and noted that a year and a half ago 47% of Italians saw no advantage of being a member of the EU but this percentage increased to 67% over last several days. Head of the International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) from Ljubljana Zijad Becirovic stated that the coronavirus pandemic was a new test for the EU and its future and he said that the EU is still recovering from financial crisis and migrant crisis. Becirovic said that he expected to see more solidarity within the EU when it comes to fight against coronavirus pandemic but, unfortunately, there was only more selfishness. Finally, Becirovic said that it can already be concluded that the EU failed and he reminded that the EU still has not adopted joint regulations on migrant crisis although this crisis has existed for the past five years.

In B&H, over 440 confirmed cases of the virus corona (N1)

 

With the latest results from Sarajevo University Clinical Center in B&H, over 440 people positive on COVID-19 were registered today. RS Health Minister Alen Seranic this morning confirmed new coronavirus infections in this B&H. entity. “Of the 157 samples tested, 17 were positive. As of today, there are 243 registered cases of virus coronas in the RS. One person died in the University Clinical Center (SKB) Mostar on Monday evening due to the coronavirus. This is the fourth case of death caused by the coronavirus in the HNC. The woman that passed away on Monday evening was in critical condition and she was connected to a respirator. Another three persons were connected to a respirator in Mostar and they were in critical condition.

 

Authorities in Una-Sana Canton intensively work on preparation of isolation facilities for patients infected with COVID-19 in all municipalities (FTV)

 

The authorities in Una-Sana Canton (USC) are intensively working on preparation of isolation facilities for patients infected with COVID-19 in all municipalities. Isolation facility of the Bihac outpatient clinic started working on Tuesday. Isolation facility of the Bihac outpatient clinic is physically separated from the rest of the departments of this healthcare institution, but it is close enough so that doctors and nurses can treat patients infected with COVID-19 at all times. Last week, sports hall in Cazin was turned into an isolation facility for 56 people, while disinfection tunnel will be installed in Cazin on Wednesday. At the same time, premises of Cazin Madrasah ‘Dzemaludin Causevic’ have been turned into a forced isolation facility where citizens from USC who violate self-isolation decisions will be placed.

 

FB&H cantonal hospitals face lack of equipment and test kits (BHT1)


Countries in the region started recently implementing the measures of broader testing of citizens for the coronavirus in order to detect new cases and to stop the further spreading of the virus. B&H authorities and authorities on other levels still do not perform such a method and the Federation of B&H (FB&H) health institutions report a lack of certain pieces of equipment and test kits for the coronavirus. A total of 2,500 test kits for the coronavirus have been sent to B&H by the EU and distributed to cantonal hospitals in the FB&H and hospitals in the RS. Additional 5,000 will be sent by the EU by the end of the week. Certain cantons in the FB&H do not have either test kits or sample bases in their hospitals. President of the FB&H Doctors’ Chamber Harun Drljevic said that the information that is being published is not right because there are not enough test kits and one cannot know the real state. Experts say that another issue is the long wait for test results because certain cantonal hospitals do not have the opportunity to perform tests on their own. They stressed that test kits are not divided fairly among cantons and the functioning of the entire health sector in the FB&H is put into question. Hospitals in the FB&H are facing the issue of a severe lack of protective equipment.

Less than 3,000 COVID-19 tests have been carried out in B&H since start of coronavirus crisis (N1)

 

According to official information, less than 3,000 COVID-19 tests have been carried out in B&H since the beginning of coronavirus crisis, although crisis headquarters in B&H claim that there is no shortage of COVID-19 test kits. Part of the public wonders if this is sufficient and doctors of medicine recommend that more testing should be done.  However, part of health authorities believes that not everyone should be tested but only suspected cases. The World Health Organization (WHO) stated two weeks ago that it has a simple message to countries on how to deal with the coronavirus outbreak sweeping the globe: “Test, test, test.” Federation of B&H Assistant Minister of Health Goran Cerkez stated at the press conference in Sarajevo on Tuesday that 1,308 tests have been carried out so far in the Federation of B&H. As for the RS, the RS Minister of Health and Social Protection Alen Seranic stated that 1,649 tests have been carried out so far in this entity.

 

Names of those violating home isolation measures in the RS published (ATV)


The RS Ministry of Administration and Local Self-Government published names of persons who violated home isolation measures over last 24 hours. Reporter noted that 76 citizens who violated curfew measure on Monday were fined. Two persons failing to respect isolation measure were also fined. Reporter commented that this type of behavior definitely does not contribute to prevention of spreading of Coronavirus, adding that the situation is additionally undermined by individuals spreading panic and misinformation. Last such case was registered in Banja Luka when one person had been inviting people in his viber group to launch revolution, refuse to respect curfew and take over institutions of the RS.  Head of the RS Ministry of Interior’s PR department Mirna Miljanovic underlined that this activity has elements of criminal offense. She added that assessments of a competent prosecutor’s office was different. Legal expert Milan Petkovic underlined that there are elements of criminal offense in abovementioned case.

 

In Croatia 963 infected: 96 new cases (N1)

 

In Croatia, there are 96 new cases of coronavirus, 963 in total, Health Minister Vili Beros said at a press conference by the National Headquarters on Wednesday. 7680 people were tested and 12.52 percent tested positive. There are 34 patients which are on the respirator machines and 73 have been recovered. The average age is 48.27 years. Despite measures and calls from both the media and the HQ, some irresponsible citizens continue to violate the rules of self-isolation.

 

Drive-in testing launches in Zagreb (Hina)

 

The Andrija Stampar Teaching Institute of Public Health based in northern Zagreb introduced drive-in testing, the first place in Croatia to do so, which should speed up the health care system’s diagnostics capacity. “Higher rate of testing is the best method for early diagnostics and the prevention of the spread of the coronavirus, so the new way of testing at the institute, where people can drive up the building and get tested without leaving their car, will contribute to efforts to identify infected persons quickly,” the Institute said on Tuesday. The institute added that the drive-in testing will be performed for patients referred by general practitioners, i.e. the service will not be open to the public.

 

National Coordination Body of Montenegro extends application of temporary measures (CDM)

 

National Coordination Body has agreed to extend temporary preventive measures until 15 April. Temporary measures shall enter into force on the day they are published in the Official Gazette of Montenegro. Exceptional cases, subject of international cooperation and of special state interest will be considered by the National Coordination Body. Failure to act upon measures will be sanctioned.

 

In Montenegro 14 people under the age of 18 infected with coronavirus (CDM)

 

At the press conference by the Institute of Public Health on the epidemiological situation of coronaviruses in Montenegro, Director of the Institute of Public Health, Boban Mugosa, said that 11 new cases had been registered, and that they had two registered deaths. “We now have 120 coronavirus positive people. This situation suggests that local transmission will occur. Any physical contact is a big risk,” says Mugosa. Mugos pointed out that 14 infected people are under the age of 18.

 

Pendarovski: Situation remains complex, future developments depending on pandemic duration (MIA)


The situation remains complex and all scenarios regarding future developments depend on the pandemic duration. The Council agreed there is adequate setup by the state and effective cooperation among institutions, said President Stevo Pendarovski after Tuesday’s Security Council session focusing on the state of emergency because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Pendarovski said services working 24/7 on preventing the spread of the coronavirus have to be commended for their efforts – health professionals, the police and the army. There is daily coordination among central and local authorities and all resources are invested in the crisis management efforts. The Council reviewed the different aspects and effects of the outbreak, from the standpoint of the healthcare system, police, army, foreign affairs, finance, economy…

“The Council concluded that the situation remains complex and all scenarios regarding future developments depend on the pandemic duration. The Council agreed there is adequate setup by the state and effective cooperation among institutions. World Health Organization recommendations are strictly implemented, and citizens’ conduct has been exemplary with a few exceptions,” said Pendarovski. He added the economy is suffering as a result of measures for restricted movement and closure of borders. “We are seeing that even the most developed countries are facing an enormous challenge in this segment. We are about to see a difficult period that will require series of measures and responsible decisions in order to mitigate as much as possible the damages to the national economy. This requires the use of all economic capacities and enforcement of most radical measures in dire need and with limited timeframe,” said Pendarovski. The Security Council will meet again prior to the end of the state of emergency in order to discuss its possible extension while analyzing all vital parameters for such a decision. “The tough days are not behind us. But I urge for calm, responsibility and solidarity. Respect the recommendations, stay home and go out only if necessary. I am sure we will beat this outbreak together,” added Pendarovski. Besides the Council members, the session was also attended by Army Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Vasko Gjurchinovski, Intelligence Agency Director Erold Musliu, National Security Agency Director Viktor Dimovski, National Bank Governor Anita Angelovska-Bezhoska, Deputy PM for Economic Affairs Mila Carovska, Deputy PM for European Affairs Bujar Osmani, Health Minister Venko Filipche, Finance Minister Nina Angelovska and Economy Minister Kreshnik Bekteshi. Minister of Interior Nakje Chulev did not attend due to health reasons and was replaced by the additional MoI.

 

Osmani: Crisis teams to be set up in local communities to deal with Covid-19 (Republika)

 

The Coordination Body on the coordination of crisis teams in local self-governments (municipalities and the city of Skopje) held Tuesday a session at the Secretariat for European Affairs (SEA) to tackle the threat of Covid-19, SEA informed. Bujar Osmani, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of European Affairs, chaired the body as the main coordinator of the body.

In addition to the regular conclusions on constituting the work of the body and determining its scope of work, at the very constitutive meeting the Coordination Body decided to task municipalities to immediately set up special crisis teams to deal with epidemic challenges at the local self-government level as a competent body, and at the level of local communities, which will ensure closer coordination with the needs of the citizens and closer access directly on the ground. We must provide organized and coordinated presence at the lowest level on the ground, in order to provide timely and adequate support to the citizens, but also reliable information and reporting on the situation, said Osmani, pointing to the local communities as the closest units to the citizens, as well as the coordination of municipalities and their activities as the best instrument for direct access to citizens.

 

Government presents second set of measures to cushion blow from coronavirus (MIA)


The government unveiled Tuesday its second set of measures aimed to soften the blow of the coronavirus crisis. It includes financial support to private companies enabling them to pay salaries in the amount of minimum wage (250 Euros) to their employees in next two months, April and May. Also, all elected and appointed office holders, including the President, the PM, ministers and lawmakers, will see their salaries reduced to the amount of the country’s minimum wage. The set of measures was adopted at Tuesday’s session of the government. Its estimated amount stands at nearly 200 million Euros. Under the new measures, there will be no pay cuts for employees in North Macedonia’s public sector. Furthermore, athletes, artists and media workers will get paid minimum wage in April and May. Workers who will be laid off as a result of the crisis will get paid 50% of average salary. The set also offers subsidies to cover 50 per cent of salary contributions and no-interest loans for the companies, provided by the Development Bank. Also, auto mechanics, hair salon owners, barbers, bakers, etc, can apply for the government support envisaged in the second set of measures. “No one, especially small and micro-sized companies, is exempted from the second set of economic measures of the government. All the necessary efforts will be made to make sure as many people as possible keep their jobs,” he told the news conference. Presenting the set of measures, PM Oliver Spasovski said that for each measure, a decree with further details will be adopted by the government. Spasovski urged the citizens to follow the recommendations and measures of the government because ‘together we are stronger.’ “The threat we are facing shows how vulnerable we are, how dependent we are on the behavior of others. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the response to this threat is to stay together in the fight against the new virus. We’ll all come out of this adversity is we stay together,” he stressed. The second set of measures was adopted in consultation with the members of the Economic Council and the business community.

 

Mickoski: The set of measures is a huge disappointment for the citizens (Republika)

 

VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski believes that the set of measures presented by interim Prime Minister Oliver Spasovski is a huge disappointment for the citizens. According to him, this is far from enough, and when the situation was not tragic one would certainly say that the government is joking about such measures for the economy. According to Mickoski, this is far from the aid offered by neighboring countries. “This set is not comparable to what countries in the region offer. Serbia has offered 5 billion Euros in aid to citizens and businesses. Slovenia 3 billion Euros, Greece 6.8 billion Euros and so on. In Slovenia, only employees of affected businesses will receive 700 Euros in assistance. And the state will pay their contributions, 150 Euros for all full-time students in Slovenia. Families with three or more children will receive a bonus of 100 Euros. And those who have more than three will receive 200 Euros assistance a month. Serbia has announced 100 Euros in aid to every adult citizen. That’s about 520m Euros. And with a full minimum wage they will help individual businesses. This is how the states around us deal with the situation,” Mickoski explained.

 

One patient died; 25 new cases registered in North Macedonia (MIA)

 

The Ministry of Health announced that a 65-year-old patient from Labunista died at the Infectious Diseases and Febrile Clinic in Skopje last night. The patient had previous comorbidities: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, heart failure and obesity.

Regarding the patient who died on Sunday morning in a hospital in Struga and who had postmortem smear, he was positive for Covid-19, the Ministry said. In the past 24 hours, 25 new cases of coronavirus have been registered in the country in Skopje – 7, Kumanovo – 7, Prilep – 2, Tetovo – 5, Struga – 2, Gevgelija – 1, Kocani – 1, thus giving the total number of 354 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in North Macedonia. According to the place of residence, so far cases of Covid-19 have been registered in Skopje – 183, Kumanovo – 54; Debar – 47, Stip – 15, Prilep – 12, Tetovo – 13, Struga – 9, Veles – 6, Bitola – 4, Ohrid – 3, Kavadarci – 2, Gostivar – 1, Gevgelija – 2, Strumica – 1, Kriva Palanka – 1, Kocani – 1. Over the past 24 hours 257 tests have been performed, of which: through the Institute of Public Health – 131, through the Veterinary Faculty – 25, Biotech – 24, the Clinic “Jan Mitrev” – 2. So far, a total of 3,775 tests of Kovid-19 have been carried out, reads the statement.

 

Albania confirms 16 new coronavirus cases (ADN)

 

Albania has confirmed 16 new coronavirus cases bringing the total number of infected persons to 259. Institute of Public Health specialist Silva Bino said experts continues to identify new cases and trace the contacts of confirmed positive cases. In the last 24 hours 152 people have been tested, of whom 16 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed. The average age of positive cases with COVID-19 is 50 years-old. The number of people who have died from COVID-19 in Albania is 15, while the number of COVID-19 survivors is 67. The map of those affected by COVID-19 expands in Tirana, Durres, Kavaja and Korca.

The geographical distribution of positive cases is as follows:

  • Tirana 140 cases
  • Durres 29 cases
  • Lushnje 4 cases
  • Elbasan 5 cases
  • Fier 23 cases
  • Kavaja 5 cases
  • Rrogozhina 2 cases
  • Korca 16 cases
  • Vlora 5 cases
  • Shkodra 8 cases
  • Lezha 5 cases
  • Berat 1 true
  • Has 2 cases
  • Kruja 5 cases
  • Tropoja 4 cases
  • Puka 3 cases
  • Mirdita 2 cases

    The Ministry of Health and Social Protection once again addresses the citizens: Respect the measures of social distancing, because this is the only way we can overcome this challenge,” said Bino.

 

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES

 

Export of medical items to Serbia triggers debate (The Hindu, 31 March 2020)

 

Despite reported shortfalls of necessary items for medical professionals, India exported a major consignment during the weekend. According to the UN Development Programme (UNDP), Serbia procured nearly 90 tonnes of “medical protective equipment” from suppliers located in different parts of India. “The transportation of valuable supplies purchased by the Serbian government has been fully funded by the European Union while the UNDP, Serbia organised the flight and ensured the fastest possible delivery,” UNDP in Serbia declared in a social media message. The delivery has triggered discussion in social media with comments pointing at shortages of many necessary items that the medical community in India is facing in the fight against the novel coronavirus. Doctors and nurses from various parts of the country have been sending out videotaped messages urging the government to ensure necessary items for their safety during treatment of coronavirus (COVID-19) patients. While the Ministry of External Affairs is yet to elaborate on the full list of items that the Serbian government has purchased from here, available information from Customs suggests that the items exported included 35 lakh pairs of sterile latex surgical gloves. The Centre, in recent weeks, has prohibited several items from being exported in view of the urgent requirement in the country. India is also looking at procuring equipment from abroad, including from China and South Korea. The shortage of essential medical items in the fight against the outbreak also featured during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s video conference with 130 Indian envoys across the world on Monday.

He discussed possibilities of procuring equipment from different parts of the world to ensure effective response to the crisis. Envoys stationed in China and South Korea also briefed the Prime Minister about the items that could be exported to India.

 

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