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Belgrade Media Report 7 April 2020

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United Nations Office in Belgrade

Daily Media Highlights

Tuesday 7 April 2020

LOCAL PRESS

Erdogan sends letter of support to Vucic (RTV)
Stefanovic: Forty-two police officers infected (TV Pink/Tanjug)
Ljajic: Pop-up hospital to open in Novi Pazar (TV Prva/Tanjug)
Joksimovic: Serbia buys 75 medical ventilators from EU funds (Tanjug)
Another 247 cases, in total 2,447 infected in Serbia (RTS)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina

B&H Presidency returns draft of B&H budget for 2020 to B&H CoM (BHT1)
Dzaferovic: B&H CoM was tasked with drafting another B&H Budget proposal (FTV)
Dodik: Measure of 14-day quarantine for people who arrive from abroad key in preventing spreading of epidemic (BHT1)
Covic: Some, especially in Sarajevo, tried to abuse pandemic and make political profit on it (Srna)
Cvijanovic: Conditions met to adopt decree-laws on court proceeding deadlines and misdemeanors causing panic and riots during state of emergency in RS (RTRS)
EU Ambassadors to B&H, COMEUFOR, Head of EU Delegation issue joint statement regarding Coronavirus fight (Vecernji list)
Coronavirus to cut short deadlines from Election Law of B&H? (Nezavisne)
FB&H government adopts law on support for businesses affected by pandemic (N1)
Quarantine areas will be formed on all border crossings that are controlled by FB&H Civil Protection Administration (FTV)
In B&H 762 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (N1)
Croatia

EU defense ministers hold videoconference on COVID-19 (HRT)
In Croatia, 60 new patients, 1282 in total; Measures to be loosened (N1)
Montenegro

As of last night, six more people in Montenegro positive on coronavirus – 239 in total (CDM)
Republic of North Macedonia

US provides assistance to North Macedonia to respond to COVID-19 (MIA)
Twenty-nine new cases of coronavirus and 5 deceased (MIA)
Albania

Coronavirus measures, daily movement permit to be extended (Tirana Times)
Only 6 persons in Albania tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours (Radio Tirana)
Kim: Rama, Basha and Meta to unite! War is not won without discipline (ADN)

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES

Heads of EU and Member State missions in Belgrade and Pristina welcome the appointment of Lajčák (EWB)
Russian Foreign Ministry calls on Kosovo to drop anti-Serbian measures (TASS)

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LOCAL PRESS

 

Erdogan sends letter of support to Vucic (RTV)

 

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic received on Monday a letter from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which reads as follows:

“Dear Mr President, dear friend,

I want to express my sincerest condolences on the loss of life of your citizens – including the State Secretary of the Ministry of the Environment, Mr Branislav Blazic – caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that poses a great danger to the whole world. I hope that we will overcome this difficult situation as soon as possible. I am convinced that the active measures you have taken since day one of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic will help to master this crisis with the least possible losses. I wish you success in your efforts. I hope that the medical equipment we will send to your country this week, in addition to the test kits we had previously provided, will confer our support for the friends from Serbia in their fight against the pandemic. I now want to express my wish to host Your Excellency in Turkey soon, when the crisis is subdued. Also, I convey to you my warmest wishes for your health and happiness, as well as the welfare and well-being of the friendly people of your country,” reads the letter of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

 

Stefanovic: Forty-two police officers infected (TV Pink/Tanjug)

 

Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said on Monday that, according to the latest information, 42 members of the Interior Ministry are infected with coronavirus, while just over 900 are in self-isolation. He told TV Pink, Stefanovic stated that it was expected that a certain number of police officers would become infected due to daily contact with citizens, but that for the time being there are enough police officers covering daily tasks. Police are actively working on the control of persons in self-isolation and movement during curfew, he said, and recalled that between 600 and 700 people violated the curfew that lasted from Saturday at 13.00 to Monday at 05.00. According to him, most violations were in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Sremska Mitrovica, while the fewest violations were recorded in Prijepolje, Jagodina, Vranje and Sombor.

 

Ljajic: Pop-up hospital to open in Novi Pazar (TV Prva/Tanjug)

 

Serbian Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Rasim Ljajic confirmed that a pop-up hospital will open at the site of the High School of Medicine or the “Pendik” sports hall in Novi Pazar for taking patients with mild coronavirus symptoms. Ljajic said in an interview for TV Prva from Novi Pazar, where he delivered medical equipment to the local health centre together with the President of Serbia, that Russian military experts visited these two locations today and said that they preliminarily meet the requirements and can be refurbished in a short period of time, but that they will give their final opinion tomorrow. He added that the Serbian Army will deliver beds and the space will be refurbished so as to meet technical, health and medical standards and so that the infected people from Novi Pazar would not have to be sent to other cities. If citizens stick to the measures and recommendations of experts and stay at home, we can avoid the worst-case scenario, Ljajic reiterated, expressing confidence that the residents of Novi Pazar will pass the test of responsibility, regardless of the indiscipline initially shown.

 

Joksimovic: Serbia buys 75 medical ventilators from EU funds (Tanjug)

 

Serbian Minister of EU Integration Jadranka Joksimovic stated today that Serbia has so far purchased 75 medical ventilators from the funds approved by the EU, which have still not been delivered, but are bought and paid. Joksimovic recalled that European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Policy Oliver Varhelyi immediately approved €93.4 million from IPA funds to Serbia, of which €15 million is for medical equipment and the rest is for the economic recovery of the country after the crisis. She specified that out of €15 million several flights have been paid, noting that the costs for flights are big and that these are not only the flights for humanitarian aid, but also for medical supplies that Serbia bought from its own budget. As for the remaining €78 million intended for economic recovery of Serbia after the crisis, Joksimovic said that Serbia has taken certain measures, but that without the recovery of the EU and its market, our recovery will also be difficult. That is because the EU is our largest trade partner and we all have to work together, she underlined.

 

Another 247 cases, in total 2,447 infected in Serbia (RTS)

 

According to the latest information, up until 3pm on 7 April, three more people died, a total of 61 deaths, another 247 cases, so the total number of infected in Serbia is 2,447. The samples of 1,074 people were tested, 247 of whom are positive. There are 1,394 patients in hospitals, and 109 patients on respirators.

 

REGIONAL PRESS

 

B&H Presidency returns draft of B&H budget for 2020 to B&H CoM (BHT1)

 

The Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency convened on Monday and decided to return the proposal for the budget for B&H institutions in 2020 to the B&H Council of Ministers (CoM) in order to be adjusted to the situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The new draft by the CoM is expected to be finished by the end of May. The coronavirus pandemic was discussed as well and new measures were announced. The B&H Presidency ordered the establishment of quarantine facilities on all border crossings in B&H which will accommodate citizens of B&H that return from abroad.

 

Dzaferovic: B&H CoM was tasked with drafting another B&H Budget proposal (FTV)

 

Commenting the proposed B&H Budget for the current year, the Chairman of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic said the three members had a unified stance in the matter. They agreed that this proposed budget does not reflect the real situation in B&H at this moment. “We asked the B&H CoM to submit a new Draft of the Law on Budget by end of May, which will take into consideration the real state which B&H finds itself in,” Dzeferovic confirmed. He explained the new draft will keep the fiscal framework that was established in December last year and would also contain all possible ways to save up funds which would be diverted to a fund that would be used for renewal of B&H’s economy. Dzaferovic is optimistic that the new Draft State Budget will be adopted as soon as the B&H CoM submits it. Dzaferovic recently spoke with many foreign diplomats, representatives of the international financial institutions and the EU officials about the current coronavirus pandemic and potential help that will arrive in B&H. The EU promised assistance in amount of 80.5 million Euros. “Some of the state officials promised us help; some of that aid already arrived in B&H and I believe we will receive help from all sides,” he concluded. He emphasized that Presidency members showed unity during the coronavirus pandemic and seem to be in tune with the severity of the situation. All their decisions are made, Dzaferovic noted, for protection of people’s lives and strengthening of the economy.

 

Dodik: Measure of 14-day quarantine for people who arrive from abroad key in preventing spreading of epidemic (BHT1)

 

The B&H Presidency convened on Monday and decided to return the proposal for the budget for B&H institutions in 2020 to the B&H Council of Ministers (CoM) in order to be adjusted to the situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The B&H Presidency also ordered establishment of quarantine facilities on all border crossings in B&H which will accommodate citizens of B&H that return from abroad. Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik told BHT1 that the B&H institutions undertook important measures when it comes to the prevention of the spreading of the coronavirus. He added that B&H is not seeing an exponential growth of cases, but a linear one. “We see that only measures adopted by the state can bring results. In terms of that it is necessary, and the B&H Presidency agreed with this, to establish quarantine facilities on all border crossings for B&H citizens that are coming from abroad. They will spend 24 hours in quarantine, undergo basic medical examinations and after that they need to be placed into municipal quarantine facilities,” said Dodik. He added that it cannot be allowed for people to be sent into home isolation only because many individuals did not respect this order. Dodik said that the B&H Presidency discussed the economic situation as well and they believe that arrangements agreed between international financial institutions and the CoM can be useful and they need to continue. “One thing we asked from the B&H CoM is to discuss the possibility of a moratorium on the payment of loans B&H has taken out with the creditors of B&H for a certain timeframe,” said Dodik. Dodik also said that the B&H CoM was requested to adjust the budget to the current situation. “We think the arrangements that the B&H CoM has discussed with the international financial institutions could be useful. We also requested from the B&H CoM to talk to creditors about the possibility of a moratorium on loan repayment to those creditors for a given period of time, as well as the possibility of reducing those loan arrangements, given the fact that our economy and solvency have been affected in the context of repayment of those loans,” Dodik explained. Commenting on the medical system, Dodik said that it is not stable and that an increase in pressure or expansion of the epidemic can cause a catastrophe. He stressed that in this case, the quarantine measure for people coming from abroad is very important for the protection of the health system.

 

Covic: Some, especially in Sarajevo, tried to abuse pandemic and make political profit on it (Srna)

 

Speaker of B&H House of Peoples Dragan Covic gave an interview to Srna and said that doctors and epidemiologists are doing a good job, but that system of coordination mechanism between different authority levels is weak, it is often a matter of improvisation and sometimes depends on personal relations. He said that he is in daily contact with leaders of SNSD, SBB B&H and SDA, Milorad Dodik, Fahrudin Radoncic and Bakir Izetbegovic respectively, and he is holding daily videoconference meetings with other holders of authority posts. Covic added that there were attempts to abuse the epidemic of the COVID-19 and some tried to abuse the pandemic and make political profit on it and this especially refers to Sarajevo. He noted that these are dishonorable things, where parties used epidemic for settling of political accounts and “reorganizations” within B&H. “We have a case with appointment and removals in the B&H CEC, when SDA tried, and partly fulfilled its desire to solve the issue of B&H CEC through outvoting in B&H House of Representatives without agreement with anyone of authority stakeholders,” said Covic. As for economic consequences, Covic said that it will be difficult to resist them without joint activities and added that it is necessary to assist small and sensitive companies.

 

Cvijanovic: Conditions met to adopt decree-laws on court proceeding deadlines and misdemeanors causing panic and riots during state of emergency in RS (RTRS)

 

The Republika Srpska (RS) President Zeljka Cvijanovic organized a meeting at the RS Palace in Banja Luka on Monday, which resulted in the conclusion that conditions have been met to adopt the first two decree-laws during the state of emergency in the RS. The decree-laws refer to court proceeding deadlines and misdemeanors causing panic and riots during the state of emergency. Cvijanovic explained that conditions were met after the initiative of the B&H High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) for the B&H Ministry of Justice to resolve the issue of court proceeding deadlines, as well as after suggestions of the RS Ministry of Interior that their orders need to be legally founded. Cvijanovic said that she is aware of the fact that the decree-law on misdemeanors causing panic and riots is especially delicate, because not all the news are aimed at causing panic, but she explained that it had to be adopted in order to protect the work of institutions and the health of citizens. “Now, more than ever, it is necessary for all of us – institutions and media outlets – to work together on a common task to provide our citizens with targeted, accurate and verified information” Cvijanovic explained. The decree-laws will enter into force a day after being published in the RS Official Gazette. They will be enforced throughout the period of the state of emergency. Cvijanovic also reminded that the RS government announced to prepare a set of decree-laws regulating economic issues as well.

“We have to postpone certain deadlines for payment of liabilities in the economy. Many things require prompt adoption and enforcement of such decree-laws,” Cvijanovic explained. She stressed that there is a clear and transparent procedure in order to avoid speculations as to why a decree-law was adopted in the first place. At the proposal of competent ministers, the RS Government prepares a draft and sends it to the RS President, who decides whether to adopt it after obtaining an opinion of the RS parliament speaker, Cvijanovic explained. RS Prime Minister Radovan Viskovic, RS Minister of Interior Dragan Lukac and RS Minister of Justice Anton Kasipovic explained content and the need to adopt abovementioned decree-laws to Cvijanovic at the meeting held on Monday. Minister Lukac said that the goal of the decree-law on misdemeanor of causing panic and disorder is to prevent intentional and unintentional spreading of panic and fear during the state of emergency. He explained that those violating this decree-law will pay fines amounting up to BAM 1,000 for physical persons and up to BAM 10,000 for legal entities. Minister Kasipovic stated earlier that the decree-law on deadlines and acting in court processes will create conditions aimed to avoid the situation where judicial system and citizens will suffer due to the state of emergency.

 

EU Ambassadors to B&H, COMEUFOR, Head of EU Delegation issue joint statement regarding Coronavirus fight (Vecernji list)

 

Vecernji list carries a point by point statement issued by Ambassadors of EU Member Countries to B&H, the EUFOR Commander and the Head of EU Delegation to B&H/EU Special Representative related to the Coronavirus situation.

1 – Fight against invisible enemy through solidarity. The statement reads that although the EU is B&H’s biggest trade partner, the relation is based on the principle of solidarity that gathered the Europeans after the World War 2. According to the statement, ‘we’ will never give up on the principle “because without solidarity, we cannot succeed in our efforts to beat the virus”. It further reads that the export of medical equipment from the EU has not halted, instead it has continued with prior approval of EU Member Countries. In addition, the statement reads that ‘we’ are working on facilitating transport of goods across the borders, within the region and with the EU.

2 – Health comes first. The statement reads there was a race against time in procuring essential medical equipment for B&H, reminding that Head of the EUD to B&H Ambassador Johann Sattler signed, on behalf of the EU, the first financial package of help with the UNDP, whose value is EUR seven million. In this context, the statement reads that the shipments are ongoing, namely 7,500 test kits got delivered, whilst 15,000 protective visors for the medical staff will be handed over by end of the week. In addition, 40 respirators are arriving in April, and the rest in May.

3 – It is also important to save jobs. The statement reads that the EU is aware how the situation is affecting the economy, which is why the EU is mobilizing more than 410 million Euros for the Western Balkans. It went on to say that the financial aid for B&H amounts to 80.5 million Euros.

4 – Personal responsibility: #stayathome – reads that the EU family in B&H has joined the campaign calling on citizens of Bi& to stay at home in order to help vulnerable categories of people and slow down spreading of the virus.

5 – Respecting human and democratic rights – the statement reads that whilst ‘we’ support necessary activities of authorities in B&H in resolving the crisis, it is of utmost importance to maintain the necessary balance between preventive measures and respecting human and democratic rights of all citizens.

6 – we are in this together – the statement reads that the virus has hit hard the whole of Europe, stressing that “we will win by relying on the European values – values of cooperation, transparency and solidarity”. “This country is our home too, and B&H’s home is in Europe” concludes the statement.

 

Coronavirus to cut short deadlines from Election Law of B&H? (Nezavisne)

 

The B&H Central Election Commission (CEC) has adopted initiative to launch the process of adoption of changes to the Election Law, and daily learned that changes – if adopted – are almost certain to include reduction of election deadlines. In a short statement for the daily, spokesperson for the CEC B&H Maksida Piric confirmed that the initiative was adopted at the most recent session of the Central Election Commission, but underlined that it is too early to talk about the issue, as experts within the CEC B&H are yet to prepare proposals and the CEC B&H still needs to harmonize its stance. The daily unofficially learns that changes to the Election Law would include reduction of deadlines, but they will also include the possibility for the local elections in B&H to be postponed because of the coronavirus epidemic in the country. An unnamed source close to CEC B&H said that according to current Election Law, local elections should be announced no later than on May 4, which is when many activities should commence, including collection of signatures, registration of candidates, parties and coalitions, vetting procedures… and, according to source, one cannot expect political parties to collect signatures during the coronavirus epidemic in the country. The same source said that changes to the Election Law might include possibility to announce elections in June or July, as that would leave enough time to do whatever is necessary before the elections in October. Furthermore, source told daily that changes to the Election Law are likely to be minimal, in order to avoid some complications in the process of adoption of those changes. He concluded, however, that in the end everything will depend on the parliament of B&H. MPs themselves believe that deadlines in the Election Law need to be changed, but they also claim that it is still too early to talk about postponement of local elections in October. In a short statement for the daily, PDP representative in the House of Representatives (HoR) of the parliament of B&H and party’s leader Branislav Borenovic said that the election process in B&H takes way too long, more than in other countries, and concluded that this is an opportunity to do something concrete about it. Borenovic concluded that no one is thinking about elections right now, and underlined that the Election Law should include the possibility to postpone elections if necessary. Chairman of the Serb Caucus in the B&H HoR Nenad Stevandic said that postponement of local elections might come into focus in some ten days’ time, when the situation with coronavirus becomes clearer. “Changes to the Election Law, even when it comes to reduction of deadlines, are political issue,” said Stevandic, adding that there is not much CEC B&H can do about it. The daily reminded that the local elections in B&H are scheduled for the first Sunday in October, and the CEC B&H has to pass decision on holding of elections no less than 150 days before the actual election date. Political parties and coalitions need to register for the elections no later than 135 and 110 days before the elections, respectively.

 

FB&H government adopts law on support for businesses affected by pandemic (N1)

 

The Federation of B&H (FB&H) government adopted on Monday a law on mitigating the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. The law was sent into the parliamentary procedure together with the budget rebalance, which is expected to be adopted on Tuesday. FB&H Prime Minister Fadil Novalic stated: “As soon as the parliament also adopts this law that was adopted by the Government, it will send a message that employers do not need to dismiss workers. As far as the (employment) bureaus are concerned, they are able to register an increased number of people during this crisis. If necessary, the FB&H government will allocate the money from the stabilization fund to the bureaus, in order to take care of the increased number of people.” Novalic stressed that those who lose their jobs will not have to pay off their loans in this situation. He announced investments in the healthcare sector in the upcoming period, just like BAM 21 million was allocated to the healthcare sector recently. He added that the FB&H government will do its best to make sure that all healthcare workers get the protective equipment, especially those who work with persons suffering from COVID-19.

 

Quarantine areas will be formed on all border crossings that are controlled by FB&H Civil Protection Administration (FTV)

 

The FB&H Crisis Headquarters held a session on Monday and its members agreed that quarantine areas will be formed on all border crossings that are controlled by the FB&H Civil Protection Administration. Members believe the quarantine areas will be ready for first residents in two days. According to most recent data, the FB&H registered 370 cases of coronavirus infections. 20 new cases have been confirmed in the past 24 hours. Citizens have been warned to continue respecting restrictive measures and it was stated that these measures have been giving certain results.

 

In B&H 762 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (N1)

 

Today by 10:30 B&H has register a total of 762 cases where the COVID-19 have been confirmed. In the last 24 hours, 645 suspect cases have been tested, of which 77 new cases with COVID-19 have been confirmed as positive and 568 negatives. So far, 6,774 suspected cases have been tested. The number of those who have recovered is 64. The number of active cases is 666 and the number represents the difference between the total number of infected people and the number of the deceased and cured ones. FB&H Health Minister Vjekoslav Mandic said that in the past 24 hours, 451 tests for the new coronavirus had been conducted in the FB&H and that 45 new cases had been confirmed. He also said that 21 deaths have been confirmed in the FB&H so far. Eleven patients have died so far in the RS confirmed the Infectious Diseases Clinic of the University Clinical Center of the RS.

 

EU defense ministers hold videoconference on COVID-19 (HRT)

 

A videoconference of EU defense ministers was held on Monday regarding the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The meeting was chaired by the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell. The conference focused on the contribution of the defense sector in coping with the global pandemic. Also, national experiences in providing military support to civilian institutions were exchanged, emphasizing the need for further cooperation and solidarity between EU Member States. Ahead of the session, Croatian Defense Minister Damir Krsticevic said that Croatia had responded in a timely manner to the onset of the virus and that the Croatian Army had provided considerable assistance in preventing the spread of COVID-19 throughout the health system. Meanwhile, EU justice ministers also held a videoconference today, during which they exchanged experiences on measures taken by individual governments to reduce the impact of the crisis on their respective judicial systems. They agreed that all measures must be in line with the fundamental values of the Union. Croatian Justice Minister Drazen Bosnjakovic said that it was important for Member States to reduce the burden on citizens as much as possible throughout the crisis so that they can focus their time and resources on surviving the pandemic.

 

In Croatia, 60 new patients, 1282 in total; Measures to be loosened (N1)

 

In Croatia, 1282 are infected with coronavirus. As a result, 18 people have died from the disease, Health Minister Vili Beros said at a news conference at the National Civil Protection Headquarters. In Croatia, in the past 24 hours, we have 60 new COVID-19 patients, 1282 in total. Two more have deceased, one was a chronic patient from Sibenik and the other one died at the Infectious Diseases Clinic in Zagreb, he was born in 1974 and did not have any chronic problems, said Minister Beros. A 2.5-month-old baby was also infected while 130 people were cured. Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic on Monday announced the opening of markets, saying that the decision is expected to be made today. Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has announced a gradual loosening of measures in the weeks ahead.

 

As of last night, six more people in Montenegro positive on coronavirus – 239 in total (CDM)

 

As of yesterday, till to this morning until 08:30, 104 samples were analyzed, six of which were positive. Montenegro has recorded 239 cases of Covid-19 so far. There are over 6.300 people under medical surveillance. The majority of cases are concentrated in the capital, Podgorica. The first patient to beat coronavirus is a resident of Bar, Mihailo Vukic.

The number of patients affected by municipalities is:

  • Podgorica: 118
  • Sad: 34
  • Niksic: 30
  • Bar: 20
  • Ulcinj: 9
  • Andrijevica: 7
  • Bijelo Polje: 6
  • Herceg Novi: 6
  • Budva: 4
  • Tivat: 2
  • Danilovgrad: 3

US provides assistance to North Macedonia to respond to COVID-19 (MIA)

The US government has committed $1.1 million to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in North Macedonia. Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the United States is providing these funds to the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund – UNICEF to implement activities to support the country’s efforts to respond to the COVID-19. USAID is closely coordinating with the government of North Macedonia, international humanitarian partners, and other stakeholders to identify priority areas for investment. “During this time of uncertainty and anxiety, working together is more important than ever” said U.S. Ambassador to North Macedonia Kate Marie Byrnes. “I am confident that the support provided in this assistance package will make a substantial contribution in North Macedonia’s fight against COVID-19.” Through this assistance, the U.S. government will support: laboratory strengthening to prepare laboratory systems for large-scale testing of COVID-19; surveillance and rapid response to enhance with case-finding and event-based surveillance for COVID-19. USAID also helps countries train and equip rapid-response teams to investigate cases and conduct contact tracing; communications to help educate people on steps they can take to prevent and respond to the spread of the virus through country-specific media campaigns; case management to strengthen clinical care while minimizing the risk of onwards transmission to others; infection prevention and control to prevent and control infections in health-care facilities. Over the past 20 years, the United States has invested nearly $11.5 million in health alone and more than $738 million in total assistance for North Macedonia making a positive difference for the citizens in a range of areas, including security, agriculture, civil society, economic development, job creation, women’s entrepreneurship, and education. For decades, the United States has been the world’s largest provider of bilateral assistance in public health. Since 2009, American taxpayers have generously made available more than $100 billion dollars in health assistance and nearly $70 million in humanitarian assistance globally. This generosity is underscored by our contributions to several crucial multilateral partners, which includes U.S. contributions to WHO in 2019 exceeded $400 million, almost double the 2nd largest member state contribution. U.S. support to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is unmatched with nearly $1.7 billion contributed in 2019, because refugee populations are uniquely vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. Support for the lifesaving activities of UNICEF has been an American priority for nearly 75 years, and U.S. contributions in 2019 totaled more than $700 million. Because an infectious-disease threat anywhere can be a threat everywhere, the United States calls on other donors to contribute to the global effort to combat COVID-19.

Twenty-nine new cases of coronavirus and 5 deceased (MIA)


Five patients with coronavirus died at the Infectious Diseases Clinic: a 52 and 53-year-old patients from Kumanovo, a 65-year-old patient from Labunista-Struga, a 62-year-old patient from Chelopek-Tetovo, and an 81-year-old patient from Stip, the Ministry of Health said.

In the past 24 hours, 29 new cases of coronavirus have been reported. By cities: in Skopje 15, 7 in Kumanovo, 1 in Prilep and 3 each in Struga and Kocani. Total number of infected people in North Macedonia is 599. According to the place of residence, so far cases of Covid-19 have been registered in: Skopje – 254; Kumanovo – 128; Debar – 49; Stip – 20; Prilep – 34; Tetovo – 29; Struga – 28; Veles – 10; Bitola – 6; Ohrid – 3; Kavadarci – 2; Gostivar – 4; Gevgelija – 4; Strumica – 2; Kriva Palanka – 3; Radovish – 4; Krushevo – 2 and Kocani – 17. In the past 24 hours, 386 tests were performed. Of them through the Institute of Public Health – 229, through the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine – 8, Avicenna – 22, Biotek – 22 and “Filip Vtori (Jean Mitrev)” – 105. So far, 5,879 tests of the Covid-19 have been performed in the country, the Ministry of Health said.

 

Coronavirus measures, daily movement permit to be extended (Tirana Times)

Prime Minister Edi Rama announced that the daily time period for going out to buy food or run errands will be extended to 90 minutes throughout the week and citizens will be allowed to use their personal car to do so. At the same time, the government will also begin to impose sever penalties as far as imprisonment for those who do not obey the measures. According to Rama, full implementation depends on two factors; the awareness of citizens and how the curve of infected people will turn out throughout the week. Authorization for the car will not be necessary if the citizen has received the permit for shopping and will not use it for other purposes. If one breaks the curfew or takes other family members with them, their license will be revoked and their car will be seized. The methods for obtain the permit will remain the same. On Monday, the police and the army set up ‘cordon sanitaires’ around several marketplaces and monitored lines of people. PM Rama also hinted about a possible extension of the 5 a.m. – 1 p.m. curfew, but did not reveal any details.

Only 6 persons in Albania tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours (Radio Tirana)

 

In the last 24 hours, 182 suspect cases have been tested, of which 6 new cases with COVID-19 have been confirmed. So far, 2753 suspected cases have been tested and of these, COVID-19 and 383 cases have been confirmed positive. 22 citizens have lost the battle with this disease so far, despite the extraordinary efforts of the health personnel. In the last 24 hours, 15 other patients have been added to the list of recovering, bringing the number of recovering from COVID-19 to 131. The news was updated by the Head of the Infectious Diseases Department at the Institution of Public Health, Silvana Bino, during the daily communication.

Kim: Rama, Basha and Meta to unite! War is not won without discipline (ADN)

US Ambassador to Albania Yuri Kim made an appeal to the Albanian leading political leaders, President Meta, Prime Minister Rama and opposition leader Basha, to show unity against Covid-19. Kim says that political leaders should be united against the coronavirus, while he estimates that people should also be alert to the situation from Shkodra to Saranda. “President Ilir Meta, Prime Minister Edi Rama, opposition leader Lulzim Basha must be united at this time against Covid-19. Now, it is not the time for politics as usual. We cannot win the war without unity and discipline from all leaders and all people, from Shkodra to Saranda. Strict measures are being taken in considerable numbers, and it is normal to feel tired, but you need to stay alert. All of us, including the US Embassy in Tirana, must continue to do our job to be healthy”.

 

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES

 

Heads of EU and Member State missions in Belgrade and Pristina welcome the appointment of Lajčák (EWB, 6 April 2020)

 

BELGRADE / PRISTINA – Heads of EU and EU Member State missions in Belgrade and Pristina welcomed the appointment of Miroslav Lajčák as EU Special Representative and call on the parties to resume the Dialogue. “We welcome the appointment of Miroslav Lajčák as the High Representative / Vice President Borrell’s Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue and other Western Balkans regional issues. His appointment signals the EU’s strong engagement in the Dialogue. We call on the two parties to engage with the newly appointed EU Special Representative and to resume the process without delay”, the statement reads. Lajčák was officially confirmed as the EU Special Representative on 3 April. Upon the appointment, he wrote on Twitter that he is honored to be entrusted with this task. “I am looking forward to working together with representatives of Serbia and Kosovo, heads of EU delegations and in close cooperation with the US”, wrote Lajčák on Twitter and added that he has worked in the region for a long time. “The Western Balkans have always been close to my heart”, says he said.

 

Russian Foreign Ministry calls on Kosovo to drop anti-Serbian measures (TASS, 6 April 2020)

 

MOSCOW. Russia’s Foreign Ministry has called on the Kosovo authorities to abandon discriminatory duties on Serbian-made commodities. “We insist that the anti-Serbian measures of the Kosovo authorities be lifted totally and unconditionally,” the ministry said on Monday. According to the ministry, Pristina keeps on manipulating the topic of the abandonment of 100-percent discriminative duties on goods from central Serbia that were imposed in November 2018 and that “have provoked a paralysis in the Kosovo settlement process.” “Yet another demagogical gesture,” the ministry noted, was the lifting of the protective tariffs from April 1, which was announced by Kosovo’s Acting Prime Minister Albin Kurti who set a lot of conditions for this “as a matter of fact temporary” solution. Thus, the Kosovo administration insists on the reciprocity principle demanding Belgrade mark its products under the Pristina standards. “In other words, it insists Belgrade mention in its documents the very name of the self-proclaimed ‘Republic of Kosovo,’ which would mean implicit recognition of this quasi-state,” the ministry explained. “It means that the Kosovars have actually toughened their demands rather than mitigating their position as their Western patrons insisted. Notably, even Washington, which has been unconditionally supporting Kosovo’s ‘independence,’ was negative about Pristina’s new tricks geared to protract resumption of dialogue with Belgrade,” the ministry stressed. “This said, the European Union’s bravura reaction looks strange as it is supposed to be realistic about the situation and not to play into the hands of one of the parties.” Pristina imposed 10-percent customs duties on Serbian goods in November 2018, which sparked a backlash from Belgrade. Several days later, Kosovo raised customs duties on commodities from Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina to 100% triggering a freeze in dialogue with Belgrade. Serbia’s losses from this move exceed one million euro a day.

 

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