Vucic: “In the coming days we expect a rapid increase in the number of infected people; borders are closing today”

“At the moment, there are 103 people infected with the coronavirus in Serbia. Of these, 55 are in hospital, 6 are in serious condition and have been put on respirators. We expect a further increase in the number of infected people in the coming days. The Clinic for Infectious Diseases in Belgrade is almost full and we have started transferring the patients to the Dr Dragisa Misovic Hospital,” said yesterday the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, and then announced that Serbia would close all border crossings to road, rail and river traffic, effective as of 20th March.

“Today, two patients were discharged because they tested negative for the coronavirus twice in a row, but many more are arriving every day. The army and the police are doing a great job and I think we will be able to help the doctors to continue treating patients this rate, even if though they are quite tired,” he added.

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“We will introduce even stricter measures; from tomorrow at 8 a.m., all border crossings will be closed for road, rail and river traffic. With the exception of trucks, no-one can enter the territory of Serbia anymore,” said Vucic, adding that 81,180 Serbian citizens, mainly from Germany, Austria, Italy and France have arrived in Serbia in recent weeks.

The intercity traffic (trains and buses) will also stop, as of 20 March.

The President of Serbia underlined that there would not be a “big tide” of infected people during the Easter holiday, because “all those who could have come to Serbia, already did so”.

352 free respirators

Aleksandar Vucic also said that the government has been trying to acquire additional 1,000 respirators so that doctors did not have to choose who had the right to fight for life.

He noted that Serbia, in proportion to its population, has quickly prepared for this situation compared to other nations.

Seven more respirators, made in Sweden, have arrived in Serbia, nine more from Leipzig that have already been paid for and another 100 will arrive on Saturday evening, thanks to a Chinese donation. In addition, another 200 respirators have been purchased which will be available for use from next Tuesday.

There are enough tests for the coronavirus

The president added that Serbia has enough tests for the coronavirus and if neighbouring countries need some, Serbia would send them.

“We are going to give the Belgrade Hotel in Bečići to the Montenegrin authorities so that they can accommodate their sick people there,” said Vucic.

Strict controls

Vucic added that the police would exercise strict control over the Serbian citizens who had returned from abroad and failed to adhere to self-isolation.

“Many people disciplined, but there are exceptions. We have found a way to keep track of those citizens who are breaking the rules,” Vucic said, underlining that they will no longer be able to hide if they leave their mobile phones at home, through which many, with Italian numbers, have been free to move in recent days.

Decisions to suppress the coronavirus outbreak

Yesterday, the Government of the Republic of Serbia started implementing new decisions to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus. According to a government decision, international air passenger traffic from Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla Airport will be suspended from 12 noon today.

All aircraft that are flying to Belgrade will land safely at Belgrade airport and all passengers will be subject to mandatory self-isolation measures and their possible violation will be strictly controlled and punished in accordance with the law.

The decision to close public service counters does not apply to the Tax Administration, the Customs Directorate and the Treasury as their closure would jeopardise the proper functioning of the country, especially in a state of emergency.

(Blic, 19.03.2020)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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