Serbia will ban people older than 70 from leaving their homes at any time and impose a night curfew on almost everyone else in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus, President Aleksandar Vucic said, adding the measures take effect on Wednesday.
Health authorities in Serbia have so far reported 72 cases of infection and tested 374 people. There have been no fatalities.
In a live TV address to the nation, Vucic said on Tuesday that the “poor discipline” of pensioners, many of whom scrambled to collect pensions and run errands after a state of emergency was declared on Sunday, prompted authorities to impose tough restrictions.
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“From 10 AM tomorrow (Wednesday) in all urban areas, it is absolutely forbidden to go out on the street to all persons over 65 and over 70 in rural areas … due to sowing season,” he said. “An all-out curfew is in place for everyone, except those working night shifts from 8 PM until 5 AM.”
Vucic said local authorities and younger people will bring food and supplies to pensioners and that the government will allocate special shops where elderly will be allowed to purchase in the early morning hours.
Serbia has already imposed an array of restrictions, including the closure of kindergartens, schools and universities until the end of the semester, and a ban on entry to foreigners. It also plans to shut down all bus and train passenger traffic in two to three days, Vucic said.
Under the new set of restrictions, the Serbian military will take over all border crossings and maintain guard at over a dozen state-operated camps for illegal migrants from Asia and the Middle East.
On Tuesday, the Serbian government introduced a new set of measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic, including a ban on the export of medication and stricter limits on public gatherings.
The government also earmarked several facilities to serve as quarantines if needed.
Under the new measures, public gatherings both out in the open and indoors can be organized only if the space between two people is at least two metres and not more than one person is allowed on a space of four square metres. Facility owners are obliged to put up signs with the total number of people allowed inside. The measure does not include people who cannot implement it because of the nature of their job.
The government expanded an earlier ban on medication exports, completely forbidding exports of any kind of medicine. It also expanded the ban on exports of sunflower oil to include unprocessed sunflower seed and semi-processed oil.
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