Addressing the nation in live broadcast, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has declared the state of emergency in the country.
After meeting top country’s government and health officials in Belgrade, Vucic said he was acted in line with legal provisions that allow him to declare a state of emergency in the absence of a sitting parliament, which was disbanded ahead of April 26 general elections.
“From this very moment we have a state of emergency,” Vucic said in a televised address, adding the government will formulate “harshest measures” soon.
He said that the “fight against an invisible adversary” will be aimed at the protection of the elderly, who are most at risk from the coronavirus outbreak.
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Health authorities in Serbia have so far reported 48 cases of infection and tested 283 people. There have been no fatalities, but one patient remains in a serious condition.
“When that larger number of infected people come to us, and the present state of affairs is, conditionally speaking, nothing, given the crisis that is going to affect us, we have to be prepared for something much more difficult. This is the most difficult challenge for us in the last few decades because we cannot count on anyone’s assistance, and that is why we need to take care of ourselves. Everyone in the world is in a panic and in a worse condition than we are”, Vucic said yesterday.
Vucic said at a press conference that the decision to introduce a state of emergency is effective immediately.
As he said, there is no school tomorrow. Also, nurseries and colleges will close, as will sports clubs, gyms and similar facilities. The opening hours of restaurants and cafes will be shortened.
When it comes to the school curriculum, he said that a number of TV stations will air school programmes, such as RTS 3 and RTS Planeta.
“Schools probably will not be opened until the end of the school year. We tried to put this decision off as long as possible because children are not so much at danger (from contracting the coronavirus),” he added.
The borders of the Republic of Serbia will be closed tonight, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said at the same press conference. Borders remain open to Serbian nationals returning from abroad, diplomats and foreign nationals with a residence permit.
The Prime Minister said that Serbian Armed Forces will be stationed at the borders, who will assist the sanitary inspection and the border police.
(Danas, N1, B92, 15.03.2020)
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