Phone conversation between Vucic and Tanin (RTS)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic talked over the phone with the UNMIK Head and SRSG Zahir Tanin, primarily about the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic in our country and the region. Tanin expressed regret over the victims of the infectious disease in Serbia and supported President Vucic in combatting its spreading. Vucic said that he was concerned over the spreading of the disease to Kosovo and Metohija and voiced Serbia’s resoluteness to help the Serb community in Kosovo and Metohija, but also readiness for full cooperation with the Albanians and joint work with the representatives of the provisional institutions in Pristina in stopping Covid-19. They also discussed the political and security situation in Kosovo and Metohija on the occasion of the upcoming Security Council session devoted to the report of the UN General Secretary on UNMIK’s work, which will be held via a video conference. Vucic underlined that SC sessions devoted to UNMIK’s work are important for Serbia for maintaining continuity of examining the issue of Kosovo and Metohija, as well as for regular informing about the political and security situation that is far from stable.
Pompeo thanks Vucic for helping Americans get back home in the time of coronavirus (RTS/Politika/Tanjug/Beta)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic received a letter from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thanking him for transporting US citizens from Serbia to the US. Serbia had closed its borders and introduced a state of emergency due to the coronavirus epidemic, and thus all air traffic had been suspended. “As governments around the world seek to protect their own citizens from the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to convey my deep appreciation to you and the government of Serbia for your assistance to citizens of the United States in their time of need. By providing the opportunity to US citizens in Serbia to return to the United States on a Serbian government-chartered Air Serbia flight on March 26, you allowed 64 US citizens to return to their homes and families during what is an uncertain and challenging time for us all. I also want to commend both Air Serbia personnel and the authorities at the Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport for the support they provided to organize the flight on such short notice and for the heroism and compassion they demonstrated to the passengers on board. On behalf of the United States, I thank you for your support and friendship during these difficult times, when the strength of our bilateral relationship truly stands out. I look forward to the day when this pandemic has passed and we can continue to work together to build a more prosperous future for our people,” reads the letter of the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Israeli President voices support to the people of Serbia (RTS)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic spoke earlier today over the telephone with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. President Rivlin said that with this call – he wanted to express support for President Vucic and the people of Serbia in the fight against the infectious disease Covid-19.
The two agreed that coronavirus knows no boundaries and that international cooperation is vital for successfully combating the spread of the infection. They expressed mutual regret for the victims of the disease in Serbia and Israel respectively and expressed hope that the taken precautions measures would make the number of lost lives as small as possible. Vucic said he was pleased to recall his meetings with President Rivlin in Belgrade and Jerusalem, and that he expected Serbia and Israel to continue developing their bilateral relations and diversified cooperation. He noted that Serbian and Jewish people had shared the same fate throughout history, especially in World War II, and stressed that there is no, nor will there be, anti-Semitism in Serbia.
Vucic hands over 13 ventilators for hospital in Novi Pazar (RTS/B92)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic arrived in Novi Pazar this morning, a new hotspot of coronavirus infection. Ministers Rasim Ljajic, Zlatibor Loncar, as well as Mayor Nihad Bisevac and hospital director Meho Mahmutovic greeted Vucic in front of the municipal building where a truck with respirators was parked. Vucic, after delivering 10 clinical and three transport respirators to the hospital, met with the leaders of the city of Novi Pazar. After meeting with the leaders of Novi Pazar in the municipal building, President Vucic addressed the public. He says a lot of help has been brought to Pazar, which has been donated permanently: 10 clinical respirators, three transport respirators that can be used partly as clinical, then 22.000 surgical masks, 3.000 epidemiological masks, thousands of gloves, rubbers, protective suits and 250 suits.
“Everyone should know that we care about you and take care of your health,” Vucic said, expressing hope that the outbreak in Novi Pazar would be curtailed. He asked the residents of Novi Pazar to be disciplined, adding that he knew they were living fearlessly and that it was the worst insult for them when someone told them that they were afraid of something, that is why he told them that they were afraid to stay at home, so that they would in spite proved otherwise.
Vucic said that the infection came to Pazar through dominoes that were played with people who came from abroad and that now two children (one two-year-old, and one child of three years of age) got infected, just through dominoes played with their grandparents. “What we could do as the Serbian state, we did it and showed that we make no difference whether one is a Serb or a Bosniak, that we are human and that we will fight for the health of all people”. Vucic also said that he had discussions with the mayors of the municipality for one hour and that the Serbs and Bosniaks at the meeting spoke as brothers with no difference, with the aim of preserving life in Novi Pazar. “I ask people to be disciplined, the next two weeks will be extremely difficult. Please show responsibility and seriousness. Today we started talking about big projects here and next year the railway from Pozega to Duga Poljana will be built, which will connect the whole Pester with Belgrade and Sarajevo”, Vucic said, and thanked them for their hospitality. He added that next time he would come under different circumstances, he would discuss with them numerous economic projects. Minister Rasim Ljajic addressed people after the President. He stated that this visit of the President bears the message that this is the first visit of the President since the outbreak of the epidemic. “It’s something that the citizens of Pazar will know to appreciate,” he explains. He also explained that it is necessary for citizens to be disciplined in order to keep citizens healthy and to save lives. As Ljajic states – “It is not a shame to be ill, it is a shame to be irresponsible”. Mayor Nihad Bisevac claims that the situation is difficult and worrying and thus this assistance is so appreciated. He thanked fellow citizens who respected the recommendations and measures, but also rebuked the minority who did not respect the measures taken. “I want to thank the President for everything he does for this city,” he said at the end of his address. “I think this is the biggest help at the most important moment. Today, the president came for who knows what time in Novi Pazar, but what has been done today makes our hospital a serious center, and tomorrow when we finish the new facilities that are planned, we will be a serious center in the region,” said Meho Mahmutovic, Director of the Hospital. He added that it was neither a moment nor a time for not complying with the measures that were prescribed, as both people and the system were threatened. “That’s how you threaten our entire system,” he says, and finally thanked President Vucic for thinking of Novi Pazar.
Vucic: The next two weeks will determine our destiny (B92)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that our destiny in the fight against COVID-19 will be determined in the next two weeks. “I would say three weeks, but the next two will determine our destiny. There is no doubt about that,” he said. He pointed out that 573 respirators had been delivered to Serbia since the crisis broke out, and that we have paid for another 1.000. “You know, when America orders 30.000 respirators, then there is fight for them. Money doesn’t matter, just to get one,” he said. He said Serbia was able to get respirators because we were “resourceful and responsive”. Vucic said that ninety percent of the people were responsible and that the remaining ten percent were causing problems. “We go to the park, to Fruska Gora for a barbecue, it doesn’t matter how many people we get infected,” he said. “No one is crazy and eager to torture people, whatever they think of me and others. Afterwards, we will have a fight to preserve jobs and the economy,” Vucic said. He also spoke about his health, which prevented him from attending the presentation of new economic measures last week. “I’m not a man who is particularly healthy. Those who want to talk about mental health would be happy about that. That’s fine, and as for the latter, I have the usual problems that I will have to deal with,” he said.
He emphasized that he did not want to “hide in a mouse hole” and wanted to show the people that he is with them even in times of trouble. “I ask people to get ready for Catholic and Orthodox Easter that there would be no gatherings,” he said, recalling that Merkel made a similar decision in Germany. He also said he did not expect a large number of our nationals returning from abroad for the holiday. “Few people are currently arriving from abroad. Some are just getting fired at work, some realized that they will not return to work soon, so they want to return home. We expect up to 10.000 more returnees,” he said.
Dozens of soldiers from the 1st Brigade infected
Vucic said that dozens of soldiers from the 1st Brigade were infected and that those were the soldiers who organized the quarantine in Morovic and Palic. He pointed out that they had suffered a major blow and we are grateful to them for that. He pointed out that it was a difficult night for us and that doctors would give information at a press conference. “We have many difficult days ahead and many are not aware of it,” Vucic said. He added that only Serbia and Romania faced with so many newcomers from abroad. “Only us and Romanians in the region had this influx of people from abroad. All these are good people, it is not their fault that they found themselves in the hotspot of infection, but we had all the fatal consequences of those who came from Milan, Lugano”, he said.
Brnabic: Next two weeks crucial in fight against coronavirus (TV Pink/Tanjug)
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic once again called on all citizens of our country to respect the measures put in place by the state in the fight against coronavirus, warning that the next two weeks are the time when our society fails or wins in that fight. Brnabic told TV Pink on Sunday that disobeying these measures and at the same time applauding doctors every evening is a culmination of selfishness and hypocrisy. Doctors who work 12 hours or more are slapped in the face when, after such strenuous shifts, they go out into the street and see a mass of carefree walkers, Brnabic said. This is a time when every individual needs to work for the whole community, and every day when you break measures and go out for a walk is a day longer for your parents, grandparents, to sit at home in isolation. Once again, I urge that the measures be respected, please, if not for your sake, then for the sake of solidarity with doctors, medical professionals, the elderly and chronic patients, she said. According to her, if we all respected the restrictive measures and went out only when we had to, in two weeks we would have a different situation in which the government could possibly ease the measures. Brnabic underlined that one day of epidemic is very long for her, but that citizens cannot do that. A day has never been longer. 31 days you lie down every night with information about how many people died that day or are on ventilatory support and wake up with a call to find out how many people died during the night, Brnabic said, adding that this is not a game or fake news. She said she is proud of how the Infectious Clinic in Belgrade looks like now, pointing out that there are cases where health systems of rich and large countries lost control in the fifth week of the epidemic.
Dacic receives letter of gratitude from German, French, British Ambassadors (Beta)
Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic has received letters of gratitude from the German, French and British ambassadors to Serbianfor support and cooperation during the coronavirus
outbreak, the Serbian foreign ministry reported on 4 April. “Germany, France and Great Britain are grateful for support and cooperation in these difficult times around the world” in the wake of the outbreak of the coronavirus, a press release said, adding that the letters were sent separately by the German Ambassador, Thomas Schieb, his French counterpart, Jean-Louis Falconi, and Britain’s Sian MacLeod. The German diplomat underlined the efficient operation of airlines between Belgrade and Berlin and Stuttgart and Belgrade, which had made it possible for citizens of both states to return home. The Ambassador added that Serbia, of course, could continue to count on the solidarity and assistance of the EU and its members. “I am confident that the comprehensive support measures that the EU has launched will have a positive effect on developments in Serbia,” Schieb said. Falconi said that the solidarity had confirmed again the strength of the friendship between France and Serbia their strategic partnership. The British Ambassador sent a similar message of gratitude in which he added that cooperation between diplomatic networks was indispensable.
Ljaljic: Reciprocity worse than taxes (Beta)
Serbian Trade Minister Rasim Ljajic said the reciprocity Pristina was announcing was worse than the one-sided 100-percent taxes. “Some goods passed through – negligible amounts,
but they got through. If reciprocity is introduced in the way that it has been announced — meaning that all invoices have to state that the delivery is being made to the Republic of Kosovo, these goods will not go through, because our customs authorities do not recognize those documents,” Ljajic said. He added that in this event trade would “be zero,” stressing that the only thing that made sense was to completely abolish the unilaterally introduced tax and go back to how things were before Nov. 21, 2018, when that tax was imposed.
Borrell: Lajcak will be able to move the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue (RTS)
EU High Representative Josep Borrell said that the newly appointed EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue and regional issues Miroslav Lajcak will be able to again launch the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue,” RTS reports. The newly appointed Special Representative began working on a new post on Friday, and Borrell assessed that the abolition of the tariffs by Pristina is good news that will be helpful. “I cannot say what Lajcak’s plans are, but the current difficulties in travel will certainly slow down immediate efforts,” Borrell said after a video conference of European foreign ministers. Borrell said Lajcak would help the EU give due attention to the Kosovo problem and stressed that the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue has been one of his priorities since the beginning of his term. “We may not be able to resolve the conflict between Israel and Palestine, but we must be able to resolve this conflict in our immediate neighborhood, a problem affecting one country and Kosovo, which is not recognized by all EU members but with which we have cooperation agreements,” Borrell added. The agreement between two parties would pave the way towards Europe, the head of European diplomacy said, and concluded that the appointment of Lajcak as EU special representative for dialogue was “an investment that will generate profit”.
Jeremic: Idea of borderless Europe shaken, international solidarity scant (Beta/BBC)
Vuk Jeremic, head of the Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development, and the world’s best-known Serbian economist Branko Milanovic, agreed on 5 April that the Covid-19 pandemic had revealed that international solidarity could not be counted on and that nation-states were largely left to their own devices, noting that the current crisis would have serious political, economic and social consequences. “The idea of a borderless Europe has been shaken to the core, because it turns out everyone is shutting off and conducting their own autonomous policy when the chips are down. As during the euro crisis, Europe has split into a north and south, and there are conflicting views on ‘corona bonds’ which would be jointly guaranteed by all members of the monetary union,” said Jeremic, who is also the president of the People’s Party in Serbia, in a video talk with Milanovic, the Center said in a press release. According to the statement, the Center has launched a Corona Dialogue series, featuring Jeremic speaking to the world’s foremost experts in various fields and of various outlooks, in the interest of better understanding the impact of the pandemic. Milanovic said the pandemic crisis “is very sobering in terms of European solidarity,” adding that Europe had also split along western and eastern lines. “There is no solidarity in hard times. Governments are accountable to their electorates, and the voters are nationalists, not European, though there is a European Parliament and European Commission, which have however proven to be absolutely second-rate in this situation. I think the EU will survive, but that there will be considerable negative
consequences,” Milanovic said.
In comment to Lajcak’s appointment, Jeremic said Lajcak’s biggest problem would be to jump-start an actual negotiating process. Jeremic told the BBC in Serbian that Lajcak also faced the daunting task of harmonizing positions among Europeans, “then adjusting them to the stances of the US and other international stakeholders.”
In Serbia 2,200 infected, 58 deaths (RTS)
A total of 2,200 confirmed cases have been registered in Serbia up until 3 pm on 6 April. Since the last report, the samples of 1,192 people have been tested until 3pm, 292 of whom are positive. There are 1,197 people in hospitals. Total of 1010 patients are on respirators.
Unfortunately, we have new seven deaths since the last report, a total of 58 deaths.
All migrants in Serbia quarantined (FoNet)
All migrants, who were on Serbian territory at the moment when the authorities declared the state of emergency over the coronavirus pandemic, have been put into the centers secured by the Army of Serbia, the Commissariat for Refugees and Migrations said on Saturday. Some 8,700 migrants are currently accommodated in the migrant camps across Serbia, according to the Commissariat, and they were practically placed into a full quarantine due to the coronavirus outbreak. The entry is not allowed either. The Commissariat said it was necessary to clarify this information after the allegations that migrants are being brought to Serbia overnight and that they are settling down in the country. The videos that appeared on social networks, showing the migrants being accommodated in the centers, are old recordings, said the Commissariat.
FB&H introduces new measures regarding the coronavirus pandemic (Hayat)
According to the decision of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FB&H) Civil Protection Crisis HQ, free movement in period between 8 A.M. and 12 A.M. from Monday till Friday will be allowed for all citizens over age of 65 in order to enable them to take their pensions. Director of the FB&H Pension-Disability Insurance Fund (PDIF) Zijad Krnjic said that due to Coronavirus pandemic, first day of payment of pensions will be especially risky and that this is why those taking pensions from bank should do it in period after 9:30 in the morning. Reporter reminded that the FB&H Crisis HQ passed decision banning outdoors movement for citizens over age of 65 and below age of 18 on March 20. This decision was changed on Friday. Also, citizens from other categories were called on to limit their movement during next week in period 8-12 am.
Measure preventing citizens to leave their place of residence during weekends enters into force in RS (BHT1)
In order to prevent spreading of Coronavirus infection, the Republika Srpska (RS) new preventive measure adopted by the RS Emergency Situation Headquarters entered into force on Saturday. These measures prevent movement of citizens outside of their places of residence and will be applied during weekends until 13 April. Spokesperson for the RS Ministry of Interior (MoI) Mirna Miljanovic said that the RS MoI received many reports from citizens that people have been leaving their places of residence to gather at different locations. Reporter noted that the abovementioned ban does not refer to persons working outside of their place of residence. RS Minister of Healthcare Alen Seranic called on citizens to respect introduced measures, underlining that discipline of people is best response to the epidemic.
FB&H government annuls decision on distribution of budget funds intended for cantons, cities and municipalities (BHT1/Dnveni avaz)
The FB&H government decision on the allocation of BAM 21 million to lower authority levels for the fight against coronavirus was annulled on Sunday. The decision of the FB&H government was annulled following a number of negative reactions of representatives of local communities and officials. BHT1 stressed that BAM 21 million were not allocated in accordance with real needs in the field, but in accordance with an established practice in B&H and on the basis of political and ethnic affiliation. FB&H Minister of Interior Aljosa Campara admitted on Sunday that a mistake was made and that criticism is justified. However, Campara stressed that he asked for part of the funds to be allocated for two particularly affected cantons. “(I asked for) BAM 2.9 million for Gorazde and BAM 1.5 million for Posavina,” Campara underlined.
BHT1 stressed that while one can somewhat understand the amounts planned for the municipalities of Konjic and Citluk for the fight against coronavirus, i.e. BAM 300,000, it is difficult to comprehend the decision to give BAM 700,000 to Kupres, which has a population of 5,000 people, while not a single BAM was planned either for Zenica or for Tuzla. Tuzla Mayor Jasmin Imamovic stressed that these were purely political decisions. “Cities and municipalities in which mayors and heads of municipalities are not from SDA were given nothing. This was the case in 90 percent of the cases,” Imamovic underlined. Zenica Mayor Fuad Kasumovic stated that FB&H Prime Minister Fadil Novalic needs to resign. “In times of crisis, one needs decisive and fair people and not for SDA and HDZ B&H to distribute the money of both the citizens of Zenica and all citizens of the FB&H without any criteria,” Kasumovic said. Representatives of lower authority levels believe that the decision made by the FB&H government on Sunday to redirect BAM 21 million for purchase of medical equipment is also a political one. In statement to Dnevni avaz daily, FB&H Prime Minister Fadil Novalic said that FB&H government’s decision on distribution of BAM 21 million to lower authority levels, which was annulled on Sunday, has nothing to do with the ‘corona law’ i.e. Proposal Law on Mitigating Negative Economic Consequences. He noted that the final version of the law was prepared during the weekend and he will sign the law on Monday and submit it to the FB&H House of Representatives.
Representatives of municipalities with Serb majority in FB&H express dissatisfaction with both annulled decision and new decision of FB&H government on distribution of funds (RTRS)
The FB&H government convened on Sunday and annulled the decision on the allocation of funds to municipalities and cantons for the fight against the coronavirus. Representatives of municipalities in the FB&H with a Serb majority expressed dissatisfaction with the old decision, as well as the new one that orders the allocation of BAM 21 million to the FB&H Ministry of Health to purchase medical equipment. The municipality of Glamoc was not supposed to receive any sort of funding from the FB&H for the fight against the coronavirus. The Municipal Board of SNSD in Glamoc sent an open letter to FB&H Prime Minister Fadil Novalic and assessed the decision as shameful. Head of Municipality Glamoc Nebojsa Radivojsa said that the municipality did not receive anything from the FB&H or the cantonal authorities. He said that the RS sent a package of medical equipment, protective equipment and ten tons of flour for the population. Head of Municipality Drvar Dusica Runic said that the second decision of the FB&H government will not help Drvar more. She reminded that, according to the first decision, Drvar was supposed to receive BAM 40,000 from the authorities. She added that they expect to receive nothing now, especially after the municipality received help from the RS and Serbia. The FB&H government planned to allocate BAM 40,000 to Bosansko Grahovo as well. Head of Municipality Bosansko Grahovo Milorad Gligic said that the other decision of the government is even worse than the first one, because the municipality does not have an outpatient clinic and they will not receive any help. The municipality of Bosansko Grahovo was supposed to receive BAM 90,000. After the decision of the FB&H government was changed, they received BAM 20,000 from the Una-Sana Canton (USC). Head of Municipality Bosansko Grahovo Dejan Prosic said that they do not know how the FB&H plans to allocate their funds after they annulled their previous decision.
Sattler says EU will give B&H 80 million Euros of assistance during coronavirus situation (FTV)
The EU member states will help B&H in the fight against coronavirus and the first shipment of respirators is expected to arrive by mid-April. The EU will also support the renewal of B&H’s economy, said Head of the EU Delegation to B&H, Ambassador Johann Sattler on Sunday. He pointed out that in this kind of situation the most important thing is to work united and announced the EU prepared an assistance package for B&H which amounts to 80.5 million Euros. During past week, a total of 7,500 coronavirus tests were provided by the EU for cantonal hospitals in Mostar, Sarajevo and Tuzla, as well as for the RS Public Health Institute, located in Banja Luka. Sattler commented the state budget for 2020, saying it should be adjusted to the current coronavirus crisis. He called upon all citizens and officials on all levels of authority in B&H to be united in this fight, and to show solidarity in this time of need. He assessed that the B&H Coordination Body, which was led by Minister of Security Fahrudin Radoncic, made decisive steps, while authorities at all levels made an effort to leave disagreements aside for the greater good.
Inzko publishes video message to citizens and authorities in B&H, says politicians must work together (Dnevni list)
In a video-message to citizens of B&H, High Representative (HR) in B&H Valentin Inzko stated that politicians in B&H have no other option but to set aside their differences and work together because it is impossible to fight the virus and preserve economy while advocating incompatible ideologies and stances and while working without coordination. “Now is not the time for populism, it is time for expertise and facts. This crisis should remind us that we are all mutually connected. We are all going through the same experience and we will go through this together. Yes, we will go through this together and at the end, everything will be well,” Inzko added. Inzko noted that extraordinary situations justify extraordinary measures, but they should not go further from what the situation demands and should not last longer than the crisis. Inzko reminded that the authorities have the obligation to lead but also to take in account the public opinion. “Also, the authorities have the duty to adopt without any fear less popular but right decisions that are based on information and professionalism. Now, more than ever before, we must have functional authorities. The political opposition must supervise policy of the authorities, criticize it if needed, suggest alternative solutions but also support everything that is constructive. One must not oppose good decisions in time of crisis, there must be unity”, Inzko said. Inzko noted that the priority must be given to human lives but one must also try to preserve economy. Finally, Inzko said that quarantine is the oldest and proven way to find a cure and emphasized the importance of “neighborhood and help of neighbors”.
Number of persons infected with Coronavirus in B&H increases (O kanal)
According to the latest data, B&H has registered 664 cases of infection with the new coronavirus (COVID-19) so far. The biggest number of infected persons has been registered in the area of Banja Luka, followed by the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton (HNC). Death toll in B&H has risen to 26. Prominent epidemiologist Sefik Pasagic died of consequences of COVID-19 infection. He died in isolation unit in Sarajevo’s Clinic for Pulmonary Disease ‘Podhrastovi’. Pasagic was member of World Health Organization and member of US and B&H’s Chamber of Epidemiologists.
In RS 10 people has died so far and 304 people have been infected (N1)
An elderly man from Bijeljina who tested positive for COVID-19, who was hospitalized for seven days at Sveti Vracevi Hospital has died today. The deceased had cardiovascular problems but was also diabetic. In recent days, he was attached to mechanical breathing through a respirator. This is the third death in the RS, confirmed during the day. Earlier, it was reported that two women had died, one from Banja Luka and 0ne from Ribnik. In RS 10 people has died so far and 304 people have been infected. There are 37 people at the University Clinical Centre of RS with severe clinical conditions, while there are seven on the respirator, there are 35 people who have fully recovered.
Two people died in FB&H (N1)
According to N1, another person has passed away in Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the “Covid Clinic” in Mostar. According to the officials, it is an elderly person who was also a first infected person in Capljina. The patient was brought in extremely bad condition two days ago. A death of a person infected with a corona virus was also reported in Bihac, officials confirmed at a press conference. This is a female person from Cazin.
Eighty-three B&H citizens arrive to Sarajevo by plane from Stockholm (RTRS)
B&H organized the return of B&H citizens from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. The airplane with B&H citizens landed at the Sarajevo International Airport on Sunday evening. 83 citizens of B&H returned from these four countries. The same airplane transported 144 citizens of Scandinavian countries to Stockholm on Sunday at noon. After the airplane landed in Stockholm, it was uncertain whether it will return immediately. B&H Minister of Security Fahrudin Radoncic approved the return of the flight with B&H citizens after the B&H Council of Ministers (CoM) consulted and analyzed the situation. Out of the 83 people, 61 will be accommodated at the Bjelave Student Center, 20 of them are from the RS and will be accommodated in a facility in Lukavica and two are from the Brcko District area. Quarantine for B&H nationals who arrived from Sweden will last 28 days.
In Croatia, 40 more infected, one more died (HRT)
Speaking at today’s news conference of the National Civil Defense Headquarters, Minister of Health Vili Beros told the press that in the last 24 hours Croatia has 40 new cases of coronavirus infection which makes for a total of 1,222. One more patient has died. The deceased man is the 16th victim of a coronavirus in Croatia. There are 36 people on the respirator machines, Minister Beros said.
Data shows significant number of children infected with coronavirus in Montenegro (CDM)
Out of total of 223 infected persons in Montenegro, 37 are children. According to the data of the Institute for Public Health, 14 children are up to nine years old, and 23 are between 10 and 19 years old. The majority of infected persons, 40 of them to be precise, are between 40 and 49 years old. There are 36 persons who are between 50 and 59 years old. There are 53 persons who are over 60. The majority of the infected persons are men (119). Thirty-seven persons have been admitted to hospital for treatment. One person recovered. Two persons died. A total of 6.644 persons are under sanitary watch.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Montenegro rises to 223 (CDM)
Another 85 samples were analyzed and nine tested positive for coronavirus. All nine persons are from Podgorica. That means there are currently 223 infected persons, Institute for Public Health announced. “Six persons are contacts of the previously known cases. We are still looking for the source of infection in three cases” they said.
Number of coronavirus cases by municipalities:
- Podgorica: 113
- Tuzi: 34
- Niksic: 20
- Bar: 19
- Ulcinj: 9
- Andrijevica: 7
- Bijelo Polje: 6
- Herceg Novi: 6
- Budva: 4
- Tivat: 2
- Danilovgrad: 3
Leave the vanities, politics must now have only two goals, saving lives and economic chance of surviving the crisis (Republika)
The leader of VMRO-DPMNE Hristijan Mickoski held Sunday a press conference at which he stressed that the state of emergency and the epidemic is not politics, it is not a political contest, it is not polls, it is not an election and it is not a party interest. This epidemic is a threat to the health and lives of citizens, their safety and their economic and social existence, he said. According to Mickoski, politics is not the goal now, politics must now have only the following two goals: saving lives and an economic chance to survive the crisis. The leader of VMRO-DPMNE expressed regret for the narrow-mindedness of the government towards the indications of the expert public and their appeals. “As regards healthcare, we all see what is happening, I will not analyze numbers, but I ask test many, many more people. Experts say that will save more lives. Regarding the economy, where we rightly feel more experienced, with expertise from previous successful economic policies and handling of economic crises, but also with the human capacity we have in our party, I want to tell the government: enough with politics and stubbornness. We have already said that the current measures of the government are overdue, incomplete, unfair to all companies and citizens, to some extent confusing and will not give the desired and possible effect. A few days ago, I offered to go to the government and give our expert analysis and our proposals. And I will tell you why I offered this because I see that the government needs help and I see that not only is there a lack of sincere will, but they do not understand the things they need to do to save the economy. I am really sorry that no one has found enough responsibility to suppress unnecessary political arrogance and listen to what we are proposing. And we know more, we have more people in this area, and we have far more successful experience than anyone else. And this is not a time for vanities,” Mickoski emphasized. He stressed that his party had announced that it would submit a decree having the force of law that would allow companies to receive state aid up to 50 percent of the gross salaries of employees, or up to 27,000 per employee, or the latest average net monthly salary for December 2019.
Szijjarto: I’m here on invitation from Mickoski, who asked for our assistance (Republika)
I’m here on invitation of VMRO-DPMNE President Hristijan Mickoski, who asked for our assistance, said Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, who delivered a significant package of medical assistance to Macedonia today. Szijjarto held a joint press conference with Mickoski, after delivering the 100.000 masks and 5.000 medical protective gears that will be used by the Macedonian doctors and nurses. „I have to express my gratitude to the invitation from Hristijan, to come to the headquarters of our sister party VMRO. The reason why I came here today was a phone call from Hristijan last week when he expressed that there is need for humanitarian assistance from Hungary, in order to make your protection and defense efforts against the pandemic more successful. We have decided to help the friendly people of “North” Macedonia, and today I brought 100.000 masks and 5.000 overalls. We could afford that since the air bridge between Hungary and the Peoples’ Republic of China is going very well and we have both a complete production line from the Chinese and we can start producing our masks on our own. On the other hand, as I handed over this assistance to your Minister of Interior I understand it will help your police officers do their job in more safe circumstances, and this is very important for us because your policemen are protecting your southern border in order to tackle the migration crisis,” Szijjarto said. The Hungarian Minister added that Hungary has rotated more than 1.300 police officers to protect the border between Macedonia and Greece from illegal migrants. „A friend in need is a friend in deed and Macedonia has friends. My gratitude to the Hungarian people who in these difficult times provided us with their most welcome assistance, for our medical professionals at the front lines. My gratitude goes to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and the Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto. This is the first bilateral visit after the borders were closed due to the escalation of the coronavirus pandemic. We are grateful for the speedy response of the Hungarian Government after I contacted them last week and told them we need assistance,” Mickoski responded. He urged that political considerations are placed aside, and that all parties focus on providing assistance that will save lives during the pandemic. “I will continue to lobby and contact other sides, within our abilities,” Mickoski said. The opposition leader announced that VMRO will submit a proposal for financial reward for the doctors and nurses who are involved in the crisis. Szijjarto said that Hungary will continue to work toward the opening of EU accession talks. “We Hungarians are happy to have some contribution to the success of your EU accession efforts given the fact that now there is a Hungarian Commissioner who is responsible for enlargement. I can say, finally a Commissioner for enlargement who is in favor of enlargement,” Szijjarto added.
Szijjarto: North Macedonia to start EU accession negotiations by June (MIA)
Let me congratulate North Macedonia for the decision to start EU accession negotiations and the NATO membership. We will make efforts to close the negotiating framework by May followed by the start of negotiations by June at the latest. We are well aware of the importance of peace and mutual cooperation in the Western Balkans, said Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, who is paying a visit to Skopje on Monday. Szijjarto told a joint press conference with host Nikola Dimitrov that he has delivered a Hungarian donation for North Macedonia’s health services, for the purpose of better management of the coronavirus crisis, but also referred to the issue of migrants. “We must not forget about this enormous challenge even in these difficult times. The migration pressure on the Turkish-Greek border continues to be complex. Hungarian police officers working alongside Macedonian counterparts on the border have prevented at least 5,600 attempts for illegal crossings. We are very proud of our police officers, because over 1,300 of them have been deployed at the Macedonian-Greek border. I told my colleague Dimitrov that the country can continue to count on the support of the Hungarian police officers,” said Szijjarto. He added that Hungary has already provided assistance to Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and now North Macedonia, because if the capacities of these countries weaken, then Hungarian capacities to cope with the migrant pressure would weaken as well.
According to him, the healthcare assistance they have provided results from the efficient cooperation between Hungary and China, with medical equipment continually arriving from Beijing to Budapest. “Over the past week we practically bought a Chinese plant for production of protective masks. Manufacturing is set to begin shortly, so further support can be provided to North Macedonia,” noted Szijjarto. With regards to the solidarity among EU member-states in coping with the coronavirus crisis, he said lessons would be learned. “You are just starting the EU accession negotiations and therefore I would not want to take away your will for Union membership, but when it comes to the coronavirus fight it has been proven that individual responses by countries are the best option. Unfortunately, coordination among EU members has been very slow and that is why countries have been left to fight by themselves. Of course, we support all EU efforts to help the Western Balkans as efficiently as possible, including the support provided to North Macedonia. But it is a fact that every European country, almost every country across the globe, has different ways to fight, because they all have different health systems and use different means in this struggle,” assessed Szijjarto. He said the economic policy would have to be adapted as a result of the coronavirus crisis. “According to me, EU has the most important task in this regard and should adapt its legislation in the economic field, so that it supports exports and foreign investments in the best possible way,” underlined Szijjarto. Dimitrov said that in a time of the global COVID-19 pandemic, meetings with his counterparts are realized in extraordinary conditions. “Even in such conditions, my dear colleague Peter and I would like to reaffirm our serious commitment to the solidarity and cooperation between North Macedonia and Hungary, so that we jointly overcome this common challenge. Let me extend my gratitude for today’s visit and the assistance that arrived from Hungary,” said Dimitrov. He added that close coordination and cooperation within the region and the EU are important factors in the coronavirus efforts. “I would also like to thank Peter for his country’s support to our decades-long aspiration to join NATO and the decision to start EU accession negotiations. Thank you for personally being here during this period filled with challenges and extraordinary circumstances. This visit speaks volumes of your friendship and commitment,” said Dimitrov.
Filipche: Out of 555 confirmed coronavirus cases, 52 are healthcare workers (MIA)
Out of 555 confirmed coronavirus cases in the country, 52 or 9.5 percent are healthcare workers. Unfortunately, there are many health workers that have been infected by coronavirus worldwide, as they have direct contact with patients. 34 of them are infected in hospitals and in outpatient clinics, Health Minister Venko Filipche said on Sunday’s press conference. “Taking into consideration that there are infected doctors, the hospitals face shortage of staff as is the case in the infectious disease department in Kumanovo hospital, where doctors, one from Skopje and one from Shtip, have been engaged to organize the work of the department” Filipche said. He urged healthcare workers to respect the protocols that have been in place since the beginning of the pandemic, to protect themselves in and out of the workplace, because their role, their health, is paramount during this crisis. Filipche also said that a 63-year-old man from the village of Labunishta near Struga was hospitalized in very critical condition and passed away few hours after being admitted to the Skopje-based Clinic for Infectious Diseases. Another patient from Kumanovo who was tested positive for the coronavirus on April 1, also died in September 8 hospital. Total number of coronavirus related deaths in North Macedonia is now 18. Of the 72 new cases over the past 24 hours, 14 cases were registered in Skopje, 21 in Kumanovo, one in Shtip, nine in Prilep, 12 in Tetovo, one in Struga, one in Veles, two in Bitola, one in Gostivar, one in Radovis, two in Krusevo and seven in Kochani, bringing the total tally to 555. Thus far, COVID-19 cases have been registered in Skopje (235), Kumanovo (114), Debar (49), Shtip (19), Prilep (33), Tetovo (29), Struga (24), Veles (10), Bitola (6), Ohrid (3), Kavadarci (2), Gostivar (4), Gevgelija (4), Strumica (2), Kriva Palanka (2), Radovis (3), Krusevo (2) and Kochani (14), Filipche said. “At present, 74 patients are hospitalized at the Clinic for Infectious Diseases, 15 show severe symptoms, the other patients are stable,” Filipche said.
Three patients died from the coronavirus in North Macedonia overnight (Atlas TV)
Three patients died from Covid-19 in North Macedonia overnight, reports Alsat TV.
Two of them are reportedly from Tetovo, and the third from Kocani. The Kocani case was already confirmed by the local Mayor. This would bring the total death toll of the epidemic in Macedonia to 21. Meanwhile, the Government of the Republic of Northern Macedonia, on the proposal of the Commission for Infectious Diseases within the Ministry of Health and the General Crisis Headquarters, adopted an amendment to the Decision banning the movement of citizens throughout the country, i.e. extending the curfew on the entire territory. The movement of all citizens on the level of the entire territory is prohibited, every working day, from Monday to Friday, from 16:00 till 05:00 the next day, Prime Minister Oliver Spasovski announced.
For persons over 67 years of age, the movement is prohibited during all working days, from Monday to Friday, except in the period from 10:00 till 12:00. For young people up to 18 years of age, the movement is prohibited during all working days, from Monday to Friday, except in the period from 13:00 till 15:00. During the weekend, the movement of all citizens from Friday at 16:00 till 05:00 on Monday is prohibited. According to the decision, the movement of citizens in public places and public areas in groups larger than two people is prohibited, which does not include persons under 14 years of age, if they are children of a parent who is part of the group of two. For agricultural activities, movement within the territory (area) of the villages is allowed, exclusively for work needs. Pharmacies will work smoothly, and the Ministry of Health will develop a plan for smooth operation of health facilities. Exceptions to the ban on movement apply to the police, army, health workers and markets and restaurants that deliver products, where they will implement their engagements smoothly, said Spasovski. The new restrictions take effect on Wednesday, 8 April at 4 p.m.
Health Minister: We enter new phase in COVID-19 pandemic management process (MIA)
We are at a critical point as we expect the number of COVID-19 cases to increase and since we are several weeks away from a peak, we are entering a new phase of managing the whole process. If the situation worsens, we will propose other measures that will increase the restriction, Health Minister Venko Filipche said Sunday. He said that the current measures against the spread of the coronavirus are adequate with adding some additional measures as mobile app could help health authorities to trace people who had come into contact with those infected with coronavirus. Filipche announced that the Skopje-based September 8 hospital is ready to diagnose and treat COVID-19 patients which has 400 new available beds. He said that hospital in Bitola will become a new regional center for treating COVID-19 patients, where, as he said, there are currently 35 beds available that can increase to 100. He said that all public health institutions in the country have sufficient protective equipment, adding that next week they will increase the reserves. Chairman of the Commission for Infectious Diseases Zarko Karadzovski in regard to the management of testing, said that North Macedonia is second only behind Slovenia in the number of coronavirus tests that have been conducted. We have entered the phase of large number of infected people and the peak is expected in the next two to three weeks.
Measures to be loosened after Monday (Radio Tirana)
After Monday, Prime Minister Edi Rama announced that curfew will be relaxed, more private cars will circulate with company authorization, the list of businesses to be opened will increase, but the penalties up to imprisonment will be toughened and violators’ goods will be confiscated. This is the third Sunday that everyone will be locked in total quarantine. These confinement measures help bring down the infection curve. Mitigation measures to be implemented after Monday:
1. Time will be expanded for pedestrians to move
2. The movement schedule will be expanded for private cars of businesses that remain open
3. The list of businesses that can stay open, outside the shopping centers, will be expanded.
The number of people infected with coronavirus in Albania has increased to 377 (ADN)
The Albanian Ministry of Health announced 16 new cases in the last 24 hours. So far, 2571 suspected cases have been tested and of these 377 cases have been confirmed positive for COVID-19. “Twenty-one citizens have lost the battle with this disease so far, despite the extraordinary efforts of the health personnel. Over the past 24 hours, another 12 patients have been added to the list of those who have recovered, bringing the number of those cured from COVID-19 to 116. So about 30% of those affected so far are recovering. We would like to inform you that there are currently 66 patients in the infectious diseases service. Five of them are in intensive care. At COVID 2 Hospital “Shefqet Ndroqi”, there are 7 patients hospitalized. 6 patients are in intensive care. The number of those affected by COVID-19 is increasing in Tirana, Durres, Fier, Has, Berat and Shkodra,” said deputy Minister of Health and Social Protection, Mira Rakacolli.
The geographical distribution of positive cases is as follows:
- Tirana 177 cases
- Durres 38 cases
- Lushnje 5 cases
- Elbasan 10 cases
- Fier 26 cases
- Kavaja 8 cases
- Rrogozhine 4 cases
- Korca 16 cases
- Vlora 5 cases
- Shkoder 44 cases
- Lezha 14 cases
- Berat 2 cases
- Has 12 cases
- Kruja 5 cases
- Tropoje 4 cases
- Puka 4 cases
- Mirdite 3 cases
However, the Ministry of Health also announced that 104 patients who previously tested positive for the coronavirus in Albania have now recovered. However, they will have to be quarantined at home for 14 days. The Albanian government has restricted movement of automobiles and pedestrians throughout the territory by imposing strict curfews from 5 am to 1 pm, with only one person per household being authorized to move starting from Monday. On Sunday, citizens are prohibited from going out at all. All international air, sea and land travel is banned and schools, kindergartens, bars, restaurants, hotels, stadiums, concert halls and parks are also closed.
INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES
Sassoli responds to speakers of WB parliaments (EWB, 3 April 2020)
STRASBOURG – European Parliament President David Sassoli sent a letter to the speakers of the region’s parliaments, regarding their Appeal for assistance to the Western Balkans region in combating the coronavirus pandemic. Stressing that a global problem cannot have a national solution, Sassoli said that the Western Balkan is a “part of our European family and their European commitment is beyond doubt”. EP President agrees that all measures taken at European level should include the Western Balkan countries in their efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, stated the Parliament of Montenegro on its website. “The European institutions have done a good thing by presenting a united front in proposing solutions for Europe – solutions that are based on solidarity, that are not putting aside the most vulnerable countries. Rest assured that the European Union is looking for ways to integrate your region into its response mechanisms. The coronavirus epidemic in many ways represents a test of our European solidarity. This is a moment for solidarity and your region needs to be involved. If we remain united, we can emerge stronger from this crisis,” it is stated in a letter from the EP President David Sassoli. We recall that the speakers of the parliaments of Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia, sent an Appeal to the presidents of the European Parliament David Sasoli and the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen last week, proposing a series of measures regarding the procurement of medical equipment, as well as diversion of unspent funds from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA II) to combat the coronavirus pandemic.