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International Information Centre for Balkan Studies



Slovenian PM: English coronavirus strain present in Slovenia

January 24, 2021

Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa said on Sunday that due to the possibility that the English coronavirus strain was present in Slovenia in larger numbers, the government would reconsider next week its decisions to relax anti-coronavirus restrictions.

Speaking at an extraordinary press conference in Ljubljana, Jansa said a new case of infection with the English strain was confirmed in a Kosovo citizen with residence in Slovenia who returned from Belgium.

Slovenian authorities notified their Belgian colleagues. The man used a negative test to enter the country, although he had a positive one as well. He is now in isolation and his possible contacts are being checked.

Jansa said hundreds of samples of Slovenians across the country who tested positive for coronavirus were being examined again to see if the English strain was in question.

Some results have been positive, he said, but denied media reports that a dozen cases had been confirmed.

Jansa said that if the English variant was confirmed to be more widespread in Slovenia, it would mean the situation was “extremely serious” and that the government would reconsider the relaxation of restrictions.

If the presence of the strain is relatively low across the country, the government will stand by its assessment that the epidemic “can be controlled,” he said.

The epidemic in Slovenia is still at a very high level in comparison with other European countries, so it is necessary to be extremely cautious, Jansa added.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/slovenian-pm-english-coronavirus-strain-present-in-slovenia/

Croatia registers 352 new coronavirus cases, 28 deaths

January 24, 2021

Over the past 24 hours, Croatia has registered 352 cases of the infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and there have been 28 related deaths, the national COVID-19 crisis management team said on Sunday.

The number of active cases in Croatia currently stands at 2,996, including 1,474 COVID-19 patients in hospitals, 138 of whom are on ventilators.

Since 25 February 2020, when Croatia registered its first case of the infection, 228,920 people have contracted the novel coronavirus, and 221,097 have recovered, including 560 in the last 24 hours. The COVID-19 death toll is 4,827.

There are currently 15,729 people in self-isolation.

To date 1,154,033 people have been tested, 4,342 of whom in the last 24 hours.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/croatia-registers-352-new-coronavirus-cases-28-deaths/

Serbia’s coronavirus update: Another 1,318 infections, 18 fatalities

January 24, 2021

According to the Health Ministry, another 18 COVID-19 patients passed away in Serbia in the past 24 hours, bringing the overall death toll to 3,886.

A total of 7,549 people were tested for the virus in the country since Saturday and 1,318 of them were positive.

Of the 4,693 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Serbia currently, 178 are on ventilators.

A total of 383,603 infections were confirmed in the country since the beginning of the pandemic.

The COVID-19 death rate stands at 1.01 percent.

Serbia tested a total of 2,544,497 people for the virus so far.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbias-coronavirus-update-another-1318-infections-18-fatalities/

Bosnia logs 203 new coronavirus infections, five COVID-19 fatalities

January 24, 2021

A drop in newly confirmed coronavirus infections was registered in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a total of 203 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, according to reports by healthcare authorities on Sunday.

Of the 948 samples tested in Bosnia’s Federation (FBiH) entity, 123 came back positive for the virus and two COVID-19 patients passed away on Saturday.

In the other semi-autonomous entity, Republika Srpska (RS), 72 of the 661 people tested were positive and three passed away due to the disease.

Eight new infections were also reported in Bosnia’s Brcko District.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/bosnia-logs-203-new-coronavirus-infections-five-covid-19-fatalities/

Montenegro logs another 387 coronavirus cases, two COVID-19 fatalities

January 24, 2021

Of the 1,331 samples of people tested for the coronavirus in Montenegro in the past 24 hours, 387 were positive and two more persons passed away due to COVID-19 in the country, Montenegro’s Public Health Institute said on Sunday.

Montenegro’s COVID-19 death toll is now 768 and the country currently has 7,986 active coronavirus cases.

A total of 58,316 people have been infected with the virus in the country since the beginning of the pandemic.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/montenegro-logs-another-387-coronavirus-cases-two-covid-19-fatalities/

Another 392 coronavirus infections, six COVID-19 deaths in Kosovo

January 24, 2021

Six more COVID-19 patients passed away in Kosovo in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,456, healthcare authorities reported on Sunday.

Of the 1,618 people tested in Kosovo since Saturday, 392 were positive for the novel virus.

A total of 58,088 people tested positive in Kosovo since the beginning of the pandemic.

Kosovo also registered 222 recoveries in the past 24 hours and currently has 5,679 active coronavirus cases.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/another-392-coronavirus-infections-six-covid-19-deaths-in-kosovo/

North Macedonia reports another 183 coronavirus cases, six COVID-19 fatalities

January 24, 2021

Another 183 coronavirus infections were confirmed in North Macedonia and another six COVID-19 patients passed away in the country in the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Sunday.

A total of 1,466 people were tested since Saturday and 1248 percent of them were positive.

North Macedonia’s COVID-19 death toll is 2,785 and a total of 90,654 people tested positive since the beginning of the pandemic in the country.

So far, 78,154 people have recovered from the virus in North Macedonia.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/north-macedonia-reports-another-183-coronavirus-cases-six-covid-19-fatalities/

Labor Minister: More than 172,000 people vaccinated in Serbia so far

January 24, 2021

More than 172,000 people have been vaccinated in Serbia so far, the country’s Minister of Labor, Employment, Veteran, and Social Policy, Darija Kisic Tepavcevic, said on Sunday.

Kisic Tepavcevic, who visited the Belgrade fair where citizens gathered for vaccination on Sunday, said that there is a huge interest in getting vaccinated in the country as people realized the importance of it.

She said that about 6,000 users of and employees in social protection institutions and homes for the elderly and adults have been vaccinated so far.

“I once again appeal to all our citizens to get vaccinated. We see that a large number of citizens have realized how important that is, and we hope that in the coming period we will acquire collective immunity that will protect us from the spread of this disease,” she said.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/labour-minister-more-than-172000-people-vaccinated-in-serbia-so-far/

Highly transmissible UK coronavirus variant arrives in Serbia

January 24, 2021

The new coronavirus strain from the United Kingdom has made it to Serbia, President Aleksandar Vucic said on Sunday.

„I am very afraid, but it’s important that we found out in time. We hope that we can stop it,“ he said, adding that the new strain was brought to the country by a girl from London who is experiencing milder symptoms, Nova.rs reported.

The President said that he expects 50,000 people to be vaccinated throughout the day, but that he is worried and does not want to hide because it is very difficult to procure new vaccines.

„It is true that I am worried and I don’t hide it, because today it is more difficult to get vaccines than nuclear weapons. Unbelievable things are happening in the world, which we partially predicted,” he told TV Prva.

There are no vaccines available in Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia or Kosovo, he said.

Vucic argued that Serbia is „convincingly“ the first in the region in terms of the number of vaccinated per 100,000 inhabitants and said that he expects Serbia to overtake Denmark tomorrow and be „third in Europe in the number of citizens who received the vaccine“.

“We are in ninth place in the world, and in the next two or three days, we can be sixth or seventh. That shows that we had a wise policy in place, and not only in the health care system,” he said.

He reiterated that the Chinese vaccine was „convincingly the most expensive“ and that Serbia procured it at a cheaper price thanks to his correspondence with Chinese President Xi Jinping in October, but did not reveal how much Serbia paid for the vaccines.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/highly-transmissible-uk-coronavirus-variant-arrives-in-serbia/

Serbian President: Secret recordings of my conversations are useless

January 24, 2021

Serbia's President, Aleksandar Vucic, said that the recent wiretapping scandal was “personally very painful” for him and his family but he is “proud” that the recordings were useless for those who did it.

The President said he does not want to talk about the affair but called on those who may have planned to blackmail him with the content of the recordings to go ahead and publish them.

He then switched to the forthcoming extraordinary election in Kosovo and said that “without a doubt” forces advocating for Greater Albania will win which, he said, will be used by foreigners for putting pressure on Serbia to recognize Kosovo’s independence.

He denied claims that a special ministry for elections will be formed.

Commenting on the request made by a part of the opposition for elections not to be held for all levels on the same day, Vucic said that over the past 30 years of a multi-party system in Serbia, “since we are holding democratic elections with all of our anomalies,” only once were the parliamentary and the local and parliamentary and presidential elections separately held.

Source: https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbian-president-secret-recordings-of-my-conversations-are-useless/  

Bosnia's RS entity President: Election authority is politically motivated

January 24, 2021

The decision of Bosnia’s election authority to annul the election results in the towns of Doboj and Srebrenica was illegal and was “concocted in the common kitchen of foreigners and people from within Bosniak politics,” the President of Bosnia’s semi-autonomous Republika Srpska (RS) entity said on Sunday.

The Central Election Commission (CEC) decided to annul the results of the November 2020 local election for 26 out of 28 polling stations in Srebrenica as well as 89 out of a total of 108 polling stations in Doboj due to irregularities in the voting process.

The institution discussed allegations of numerous irregularities regarding the voting process and determined that people without valid BiH documents were allowed to vote. Dozens of such cases were reported at several polling stations.

Graphologists also found numerous irregularities when it comes to voter signatures.

RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic called the CEC BiH “politically motivated.”

“This game with the CEC is a preparation for new activities, and the CEC members have led to the discrediting of the election process,” the RS President said following a meeting of the leadership of her party, the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD).

“Therefore, forces within the SNSD and coalition partners must be mobilized,” she said.

The SNSD is the ruling party in the RS and its leadership met on Sunday. Bosnia’s Presidency Chairman and party leader Milorad Dodik, Bosnia’s Council of Ministers Chairman, Zoran Tegeltija, Foreign Trade Minister, Stasa Kosarac, Deputy House of Representatives Speaker, Neboja Radmanovic, and RS Prime Minister, Radovan Viskovic, participated in the Sunday meeting, among others.

Cvijanovic stated that the CEC decision was concocted in a “common kitchen of foreigners and people from within Bosniak politics who are definitely not ready for great coexistence.”

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/bosnias-rs-entity-president-election-authority-is-politically-motivated/

Dodik repeats controversial comments targeting election authority official

January 24, 2021

Bosnia’s Presidency Chairman, Milorad Dodik, repeated his criticism of a member of the Central Election Commission (CEC), Vanja Bjelica-Prutina, arguing that the way she voted on annulling the local election results in Srebrenica and Doboj could be a consequence of her previous marriage to a Muslim Bosniak.

The CEC decided to annul the results of the November 2020 local election for 26 out of 28 polling stations in Srebrenica as well as 89 out of a total of 108 polling stations in Doboj due to irregularities in the voting process.

The institution discussed allegations of numerous irregularities regarding the voting process and determined that people without valid BiH documents were allowed to vote. Dozens of such cases were reported at several polling stations.

Graphologists also found numerous irregularities when it comes to voter signatures.

Among those who voted for annulling the elections was Vanja Bjelica-Prutina, from Bosnia’s Serb-majority Republika Srpska (RS) entity.

As he spoke to media following a meeting of the leadership of his Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) on Sunday, Dodik hinted that Bjelica-Prutina’s loyalty to the Bosniak cause is visible by the fact that she never changed her last name after she divorced her husband.

Dodik rejected accusations that his comments were “chauvinistic” and reiterated that the Serbs have to be more careful when they choose their people for public office, adding that even some judges who had mixed marriages were appointed and passed unjust rulings.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/dodik-repeats-controversial-comments-targeting-election-authority-official/

Dodik urges Izetbegovic to apologize to Serbs for his controversial statement

January 24, 2021

Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency Chairman and its Serb member, Milorad Dodik, urged the leader of the main Bosniak party in the country, Bakir Izetbegovic, to apologize to the Serb people for his recent controversial statement with which he “humiliated not only Serbs but all the peoples that live in the Balkans.”

“In the situation when we are fighting the pandemic and other issues, Izetbegovic stated for the Serbs that they are bad people. It is not unexpected, it would be unexpected for any Izetbegovic to think differently,” Dodik said, following a meeting with the leadership of his political party.

“We’ve known this about him before, but it’s good that we’ve all heard it. The statements were disappointing and dangerous, I think there are no bad peoples, there are bad individuals among peoples,” he said.

Dodik is the leader of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), the ruling party in Bosnia’s Serb-majority Republika Srpska (RS) entity.

The Sunday SNSD session had two major points on the agenda – the decision by Bosnia’s election authority to annul the election results in the towns of Doboj and Srebrenica and “negative political statements on the Serb people and Republika Srpska.”

Izetbegovic made the controversial statement on Thursday. It caused an uproar in Bosnia, especially among officials in the RS.

Speaking about what he thinks is behind Dodik’s policy and whether the Bosnian Serb political leader is serious when he keeps announcing the secession of the RS from Bosnia, Izetbegovic said that he believes Dodik wants to be remembered as a politician who kept the idea of secession open for some possible future times when such a thing would be possible.

“He knows he can’t do it. And when they say ‘there are no bad people, there are only bad leaders’ – I’m not so sure about that. He is appealing to a large number of people who support a raw Balkan policy,” Izetbegovic stated.

When asked whether he was talking about the Serb people as a whole, he said that he was talking about “voters who are supporting him because they want his rude behavior.”

“What did he say or did he want to say with that statement – that the entire Serb people stand behind their leader united and support positions that protect them? If I am that leader, then I can be proud about that statement,” he said, reiterating that he believes protecting the interests of the Serb people is his “most important task.”

“With this statement, Izetbegovic did not only humiliate Serbs but argued that he despises the Balkan mentality which people live here. As far as I know, Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs are from the Balkans and we all have that mentality. I know that he would like to keep foreigners here forever so that in that way he can avoid us taking over the management of BiH,” he said.

The SNSD leader noted that Izetbegovic stated that ‘it will not be good if foreigners would leave’, which he argued “confirms that he has an agreement with them on a common goal.”

want stability in this area and peace, and I stand firmly behind the words of the Dayton Peace Agreement,” he said.

Dodik said that Izetbegovic’s statement “could be treated as a factor of instability,” as it “causes unrest among all of us,” arguing that his SNSD wants stability and peace in the region and that he “firmly stands behind the words of the Dayton Peace Agreement,” which ended the Bosnian war.

“I sincerely hope that Bakir regrets the racist statement that poisons the relations between our peoples. I hope his advisers told him that was not a good statement. But, I think that he is not alone in that statement and that many people around him think that way,” Dodik said.

“I urge him to clearly say that he did not mean it that way and that the Serb people are just as good as all other peoples. If you apologize, maybe the Serbs will forgive you because, in the end, we have shown that we are such a people,” he said.

“Izetbegovic will not receive any insults from us, especially not regarding the Bosniak people, we will not qualify any of the Bosniaks that way. What he said does not speak about us Serbs, but about Bakir Izetbegovic. Our most significant historical victory is the formation of Republika Srpska, and it is unacceptable for us to have its existence seen as a problem for BiH,” the SNSD leader concluded.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/dodik-urges-izetbegovic-to-apologise-to-serbs-for-his-controversial-statement/

Vucic: Izetbegovic’s statement speaks more about him than about Serbs

January 24, 2021

Statements like the recent one by Bakir Izetbegovic, the leader of the main Bosniak ethnic party in Bosnia, are not good for anybody and it speaks more about him than about Serbs, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Sunday.

Speaking about what he thinks is behind Dodik’s policy and whether the Bosnian Serb political leader is serious when he keeps announcing the secession of the Bosnia’s Serb-majority Republika Srpska (RS) entity, Izetbegovic said that he believes Dodik wants to be remembered as a politician who kept the idea of secession open for some possible future times when such a thing would be possible.

“He knows he can’t do it. And when they say ‘there are no bad people, there are only bad leaders’ – I’m not so sure about that. He is appealing to a large number of people who support a raw Balkan policy,” Izetbegovic stated.

When asked whether he was talking about the Serb people as a whole, he said that he was talking about “voters who are supporting him because they want his rude behavior.”

The statement was widely condemned, mostly by party officials from the Republika Srpska entity who said it represented an expression of hate against Serbs. According to his critics, Izetbegovic said that Serbs are bad.

“Unfortunately, that statement speaks more about him than about the Serb people. Serbs are people are great and good people and Bosniaks are great and good people,” Vucic told TV Pink in Serbia.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/vucic-izetbegovics-statement-speaks-more-about-him-than-about-serbs/

Croatia’s coronavirus update: 599 new cases, 29 deaths, 659 recoveries

January 2021

In the last 24 hours, 4,872 coronavirus tests have been performed in Croatia, and 599, that is 12.3%, have returned positive, while there have been 29 COVID-related deaths, the country's coronavirus crisis management team reported on Saturday morning.

There are currently 3,232 active cases of whom 1,468 are receiving hospital treatment, including 142 patients placed on ventilators.

Since the outbreak of the infection in Croatia on 25 February, 1,149,691 tests have been conducted for this novel virus, and 228.568 people have tested positive.

Of them, 220,537 have recovered to date, including 659 recoveries in the last 24 hours. The death toll stands at 4,799.

Currently, 16,114 persons are self-isolating.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/croatias-coronavirus-update-599-new-cases-29-deaths-659-recoveries/

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