International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Bosnia's region restricts movement of migrants to contain COVID-19 spread

March 16, 2020

Responding to the coronavirus spread in the country, the authorities of Bosnia's westernmost region, the Una-Sana Canton (USK), passed conclusions on Monday, restricting the movement of migrants on its territory and imposing a ban on their further influx to the canton.

USK Health Ministry's crisis management group, which is closely following the developments concerning the coronavirus outbreak, has passed four conclusions that have an immediate effect.

They asked the competent authorities of the Federation (FBiH), Bosnia's semi-autonomous region that the USK is a part of, to hold an urgent session and review the situation in the USK, considering a large number of its citizens who work abroad, the fact that the USK is practically the country's gate to the European Union, a large number of migrants that are accommodated in several camps across the canton and poorly equipped health care centres and hospitals.

“We ask the FBiH Health Ministry's crisis management group to task the FBiH authorities in an urgent session to provide financial and other assistance to the USK institutions, to implement prevention measures and early discovery of potential disease cases caused by the novel coronavirus among the locals and migrants,” said the USK's crisis management group.

The body also fully restricted the movement of migrants who are staying out of the temporary camps on the canton's territory and their immediate relocation as well as further transportation of the migrants to the canton's territory.

Locals are not allowed to rent their private rooms or other facilities to migrants unless they possess valid documentation proving their identity.

A document signed by USK Health Minister Nermina Cemalovic demand from the USK Prime Minister to act urgently and task competent bodies to immediately implement the adopted conclusions.

USK is the westernmost part of Bosnia that borders Croatia and is packed with migrants from various African and Asian countries who are hoping to continue the journey to their final destinations in western Europe and elsewhere. But as Croatia keeps its borders closed for illegal migrants, thousands are stranded on the canton's territory, mostly accommodated in temporary camps run by local and international authorities.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a416645/Bosnia-s-region-restricts-movement-of-migrants-to-contain-COVID-19-spread.html

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