International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Croatia records 18 new infections, 3 coronavirus-related deaths in last 24 hours

April 18, 2020

In the last 24 hours, of 694 people tested 18 have been positive for COVID-19, and there have been three more deaths in connection with this infection, Croatia's crisis management team said on Saturday.

The total number of Croatians who have tested positive for this novel virus since the start of the epidemic is 1,832.

Since 25 February, when Croatia confirmed its first case, a total of 21,647 persons have been tested and 8.53% of them have been diagnosed with this infectious disease.

Health Minister Vili Beros said today that the latest three COVID-19-related death cases had been elderly patients with underlying health conditions.

Currently, 27 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 are on ventilators.

Also, a total of 361 patients are being treated in hospitals, 11 fewer than on Friday.

Since the outbreak of this disease, 615 patients have recovered, including 241 people who have stayed at home during their infection.

Beros said that the latest results were good, however, he called for caution and wisdom.

We must not be deluded by the current good results and cease obeying restrictive measures, the minister said.

Croatia has been in lockdown since mid-March.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a426579/Croatia-records-18-new-infections-3-coronavirus-related-deaths-in-last-24-hours.html

Most Montenegrins infected with coronavirus at funerals, family gatherings

April 18, 2020

Montenegro has registered 303 COVID-19 cases and five deaths since the first case of the novel coronavirus was confirmed in the country, the Public Health Institute said on Friday, which its head assessed as good.

Speaking for BBC in the Serbian language, Senad Begic said funerals and family gatherings were the main sources of contagion in Montenegro and that the problem the country's epidemiologists encountered at the beginning of the epidemic was the social condemnation of those infected.

Montenegro was the last in Europe to record its first coronavirus case, on March 17. The government adopted the first protection measures a week earlier, banning public gatherings, suspending school, closing bars and restaurants, and making most employees work from home.

All that has resulted in a good response by the Montenegrin system to the pandemic, Begic said.

The US government has donated $300,000 to Montenegro to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, saying it was the continuation of long term US investment in Montenegro totalling $32 million, including over $1 million to help the health sector.

As a friend, partner and ally, the US government is proud to continue its years-long support for the development of Montenegro's healthcare system and economy, US ambassador Judy Rising Reinke has said in a press release, adding that the US stands shoulder to shoulder with its NATO ally in order to cope with the many consequences of the COVID_19 crisis together.

Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic has thanked Washington, tweeting that "As always, the US stands by Montenegro, further solidifying our alliance and cooperation."

The European Union has approved €3 million in urgent aid for Montenegro and another €50 million for the recovery of Montenegro's economic, welfare and healthcare systems from the coronavirus epidemic.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a426551/Most-Montenegrins-infected-with-coronavirus-at-funerals-family-gatherings.html

Coronavirus UPDATE: Crisis Staff will not hold regular briefing over Easter

April 18, 2020

The pandemic Crisis Staff will not hold the regular daily briefing on Sunday when the Serbian Orthodox Church celebrates Easter.

On Friday, the Serbian government’s pandemic Crisis Staff said that seven people had died over of the previous 24 hours from coronavirus-related ailments and that 372 new cases had been registered.

A total of 3,765 patients who tested positive for the coronavirus or exhibited symptoms are currently in hospital.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a590562/Coronavirus-UPDATE-Crisis-Staff-will-not-hold-regular-briefing-over-Easter.html

Epidemiologist: Serbia to start mitigating measures after Easter

April 18, 2020

Serbia is doing well in the fight against coronavirus, epidemiologist Predrag Kon said on Saturday, adding that there will certainly be some mitigation of measures after Easter.

During a press conference of Serbia's pandemic Crisis Staff which is still being held without the presence of journalists, Kon recalled that nearly 3,500 people were tested in the past 24 hours, 304 of which were positive – which he said is an indication that the situation is gradually improving, and that he began thinking about mitigating some of the measures.

"It should be noted that this is a great situation. If we compare real time data per million or per 100,000 inhabitants – it should be compared with the data of the most developed countries in the world and there will be a time when we will analyze all this and have nothing to be ashamed of," Kon said.

The opinion of the expert team of doctors, he said, was that measures concerning those who had suffered the most in the previous month, the people over the age of 65 should be mitigated first.

After Easter, they will be allowed to move on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, during the curfew, for half an hour within 600 meters from their building, or within 300 meters of the house, Kon noted.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a590600/Predrag-Kon-Serbia-to-start-mitigating-measures-after-Easter.html

Plane carrying EU donation in medical equipment lands in Belgrade

April 18, 2020

A plane carrying a valuable EU donation with medical equipment has landed in Belgrade on Saturday.

Sem Fabrizi, the head of EU Delegation to Serbia, said the plane whose flight was financed by the union as well, was carrying 800,000 protective masks which the EU bought for Serbia.

“We responded to Serbia's request for help and, with all our hearts, started purchasing and delivering the necessary materials to hospitals and doctors,” Fabrizi said.

“Today’s plane is particularly significant. Not only is the 11th cargo flight for which the EU has funded the transport costs, but it also bringing 830.000 Protective Medical Face Masks and thermometers bought by the EU for Serbia. Over the upcoming days, we will see arriving additional medical equipment, such as respirators, tests, and intensive care monitors. Together with the 100 containers for triage of patients, which are being installed across Serbia, the EU is stepping further its assistance to Serbia in this difficult moment.”

Thanking the EU's representative for the donation, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said that “these are first of all protective medical masks, but also contactless thermometers. This flight also includes protective suits, medical suits – just under 200,000 suits, which we purchased on our own from the budget of the Republic of Serbia, for our health care workers, as well as people from gerontology centres.”

Brnabic said that additional triage containers are also expected to be delivered by the EU, as well as oxygen machines and ventilators.

"We stand together with the EU in the face of these challenges," she noted.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a590506/EU-donation-in-medical-equipment-lands-in-Belgrade.html

COVID-19 UPDATES: Bosnia has nearly 1,200 cases, 46 fatalities

April 17, 2020

13:30 Bosnia’s Civil Affairs Ministry has published the latest official data regarding the coronavirus in Bosnia and Herzegovina - a total of 1,199 people tested positive by now, 46 died due to COVID-19 and 320 recovered.

12:50 A total of 18 people tested positive for the coronavirus across Bosnia’s Federation (FBiH) region in the past 24 hours, an advisor in the FBiH Health Ministry, Goran Cerkez, said at his press conference.

09:10 Another 14 people tested positive for the coronavirus in Bosnia’s Serb-majority region of Republika Srpska (RS) throughout the past 24 hours, RS Health Minister Alen Seranic said at his morning press conference.

The Republika Srpska University Clinical Centre has, meanwhile, confirmed that an elderly man who was treated there for COVID-19 has passed away.

The head of the Sarajevo University Clinical Centre also told media that nine of the 231 samples tested throughout the night there turned out positive for the virus.

Health authorities in the southeastern town of Gorazde confirmed that another person there tested positive for the coronavirus.

Nearly 1200 people have tested positive for the virus across Bosnia and Herzegovina until now and 43 have passed away due to COVID-19.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a426229/COVID-19-UPDATES-Bosnia-has-nearly-1-200-cases-46-fatalities.html

Croatia reports lowest number of new coronavirus cases in three weeks

April 17, 2020

Over the past 24 hours, 23 new Covid-19 infections have been confirmed in Croatia, 71 persons have recovered and one has died, the national civil protection authority said on Friday.

The total number of cases to date now stands at 1,814, including a total of 36 deaths.

This was the lowest daily increase in three weeks, since March 26 when 14 new cases had been confirmed. 

The latest fatality is a 47-year-old woman with "considerable" underlying conditions who died in Osijek, he said, adding that the death toll was 36. The average age of patients is 50 and 52.2 percent are women.

Beros said 20,953 persons had been tested, including 796 in the past 24 hours, and that the percentage of positive cases among those tested continued to decrease and was now 8.66 percent. Thirty patients are on ventilators and 372 are hospitalised in total.

"We've had 359 recoveries, 47 more than yesterday(in hospitals), 241 have recovered at home, which is 24 more than yesterday. The total number of recoveries is 600," said Health Minister, Vili Beros.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a426383/Croatia-reports-lowest-number-of-new-coronavirus-cases-in-three-weeks.html

Newly formed 'Lipe' migrant camp will be operational soon

April 17, 2020

Hundreds of migrants from across the northwestern Una-Sana Canton, the area affected the most by the migrant crisis in Bosnia, will be sent to the newly formed ‘Lipe’ migrant camp in the coming days.

The Civil Protection Headquarters of Bosnia’s Federation (FBiH) region and the Red Cross in Bihac have already set up 50 tents containing 200 beds.

“We will soon complete the transit center for all the migrants who are currently moving freely across towns in the USK, especially Velika Kladusa and Bihac,” said USK Prime Minister, Mustafa Ruznic.

“We will, together with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Bihac city authorities, the Red Cross, and the USK ministries of interior and health begin moving the migrants,” he said.

The project cost about two million Bosnian Marks.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a426355/Newly-formed-Lipe-migrant-camp-will-be-operational-soon-PHOTO.html

Foreign Affairs Min.: Misunderstanding regarding Hungary's donation was resolved

April 17, 2020

Any donation coming to Bosnia is welcome but the recipient should be the state and it should then be distributed according to agreed-upon principles, Bosnia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Bisera Turkovic, told N1 on Friday, adding that a “misunderstanding” regarding Hungary’s donation to the country for its fight against the coronavirus has been resolved.

A donation of 10,000 protective suits and 200,000 masks which Hungary sent to Bosnia to help in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic has arrived at Bosnia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry on Thursday.

However, Turkovic explained that there was a “misunderstanding” regarding the donation which was “resolved and removed through diplomatic pressure.”

“They (Hungary) believed that all who needed help should request it,” she said, explaining that Bosnia’s Serb-majority region of Republika Srpska (RS) sent a request for help and that Hungary then expected the other semi-autonomous entity, the Federation (FBiH), to do the same.

“We don’t want to follow such a principle, every help is welcome but it should be sent to Bosnia's state level, and then it should be distributed according to the principles that were already agreed,” she said.

“We did not ask for help as one entity, or two entities. If any help is requested, then it is Bosnia and Herzegovina as a state requesting it and then it would be expected that the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina also receives it,” she said.

“We don’t want to be any different from other countries in the region,” she stressed, arguing that nobody has sent help to Serbia’s Vojvodina region either but only to Serbia as a state.

Turkovic said that the aid was distributed equally between the RS and FBiH.

Donors are free to send aid to a particular region but “the door should also be open to Bosnia” and the state government should be included in the process, she stressed.

She gave the example of Bosniak member of the tripartite Presidency, who asked Malaysia for aid but “never thought of asking for that help for FBiH only, but for Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a426283/Foreign-Affairs-Min.-Misunderstanding-regarding-Hungary-s-donation-was-resolved.html

CoE, NATO, OSCE: Crucial role of parliaments in upcoming months

April 16, 2020

International cooperation is key to addressing the current crisis caused by Covid-19 pandemic and no country alone can cope with the magnitude of the crisis or its consequences, chiefs of the parliamentary assemblies of Council of Europe, NATO and Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said in a joint statement on Thursday.

They thanked all those “on the frontline of the Covid-19 response” keeping everyone safe and all those ensuring the good functioning of societies and economies.

The note signed by Rik Deams, PACE President, Attila Mesterhazy, NATO PA President, and George Tsereteli, OSCE PA President, stressed that the international cooperation was key to addressing the crisis and they welcomed all forms of assistance and solidarity between the nations which have helped save lives.

“More efforts are however needed because no state alone can cope with the magnitude of the crisis and its consequences. Everyone is affected, but there are some persons more vulnerable than others, including those affected by conflict or living in refugee camps, who have to be given safe access to medical care,” said the officials, stressing that the rapid and safe developments of treatments and a vaccine are essential to bring the pandemic to an end, which can be done in a close cooperation of all stakeholders including scientific community and pharmaceutical industries.

“In the coming months, our parliaments will have a key role to play to ensure that emergency measures are implemented properly and in accordance with democratic standards, that restrictions on freedoms are proportionate and temporary, that economic relief funds are disbursed where they are needed, and that security and stability are upheld.

Our organizations stand ready to support national parliaments in these efforts. Through parliamentary diplomacy, we can encourage further assistance and coordination between our countries. By providing platforms for legislators to share experience and best practices, we can help parliaments learn the lessons from this crisis and enhance preparedness, resilience and response for the future. By ensuring access by parliamentarians and the wider public to accurate and trustworthy information, we can help combat misinformation,” said the joint statement.

CoE, NATO and OSCE together span 57 countries across North America, Europe and Central Asia, with a population of over one billion.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a426145/CoE-NATO-OSCE-Crucial-role-of-parliaments-in-upcoming-months.html

Slovenian medical aid arrived in Bosnia and Herzegovina

April 16, 2020

Slovenian humanitarian aid worth € 133,000 has arrived in Bosnia on Thursday afternoon, N1 learned.

Slovenian government decided to send aid to Bosnia on April 9, with the aim of preventing the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite facing the same difficulties as all other neighboring countries, Slovenia showed solidarity with those in a more difficult position than them.

The authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina have requested international assistance for the management of Covid-19 pandemic through the EU's Civil Protection Mechanism.

These are channels that set in place during the 2014 floods with the assistance of the EU.

Once again, the Slovenian government helped Bosnia and Herzegovina by offering material assistance and ordered the Ministry of Defense to send aid which includes personal protective equipment and emergency temporary accommodation equipment.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a426095/Slovenian-medical-aid-arrived-in-Bosnia-and-Herzegovina.html

Hungary promises to help Bosnia in fight against illegal migrations

April 16, 2020

Hungary will help Bosnia to tackle the issue of illegal migrations and will deploy its soldiers to assist Bosnian border police once the country signs agreement with Frontex, European Union's border management agency, Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto and Bosnia's Security Minister told a press conference in Sarajevo on Thursday.

“Brussels chose a wrong policy towards illegal migrations and unfortunately brought many countries of the Western Balkans in a very difficult situation. We believe that illegal migrations have to be stopped and not managed,” said the Hungarian senior official, stressing that his country has not and will not accept a single illegal migrant.

Szijjarto said his visit was a clear sign of Hungary's solidarity and friendship with Bosnia and Herzegovina and he expressed appreciation for everything that the country did to prevent the illegal migrations.

“I also said we are ready to provide every possible support to Bosnia and Herzegovina in the fight against illegal migrations,” he added.

Radoncic told Hungarian minister that Bosnia is treating the issue of illegal migrations as security and not as a humanitarian issue.

“We would like to be responsible and humane but our citizens are a priority. We would like to stop and not encourage the arrival of migrants,” said the minister.

Speaking about Bosnia's NATO integration, Szzijjarto noted that the Embassy of Hungary was the NATO contact point embassy in Sarajevo and that they have four officers at the NATO HQ in the Bosnian capital.

“It is in Hungary's interest that the Western Balkans is a stable region and has a perspective development. You can count on our help,” he stressed.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a426073/Hungary-promises-to-help-Bosnia-in-fight-against-illegal-migrations.html

Hungary donates 10,000 protective suits, 200,000 masks to Bosnia

April 16, 2020

A donation of 10,000 protective suits and 200,000 masks which Hungary sent to Bosnia to help in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic has arrived at Bosnia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry on Thursday.

According to Foreign Affair Minister, Bisera Turkovic, the donation was discussed at her recent meeting with her Hungarian counterpart, Peter Szijjarto.

Minister Turkovic has previously written to Szijjarto and EU High Representative, Josep Borrell, regarding the news that some countries, such as Hungary and Russia, decided to send aid only to one part of Bosnia, the Serb-majority Republika Srpska, as well as that Croatia decided to provide financial assistance to Croats in Bosnia only.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a426007/Hungary-donates-10-000-protective-suits-200-000-masks-to-Bosnia.html

Coronavirus UPDATE: Seven deaths, 372 new cases

April 17, 2020

The Serbian government’s pandemic Crisis Staff said on Friday that seven people had died over of the previous 24 hours from coronavirus-related ailments and that 372 new cases had been registered.

Speaking at the daily news briefing, the doctors said that a total of 110 people had died in the pandemic and that the mortality rate now stands at 1.93 percent. They said that 3,094 people had been tested over the previous 24 hours bringing the total number of people tested to 32,566.  

A total of 3,765 patients who tested positive for the coronavirus or exhibited symptoms are currently in hospital.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a590256/Coronavirus-UPDATE-Seven-deaths-372-new-cases.html

Serbian DefMin says pandemic killed European solidarity

April 17, 2020

Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin said on Friday that the coronavirus pandemic killed European solidarity.

 “The migrant crisis wounded the idea of European solidarity and the coronavirus killed it,” he told the Kurir tabloid.  

“The EU banned exports of medical equipment medicine ad if we depended on those imports, how many people would be dead in Serbia. Had we voted in international organizations against China and Russia and sided with the EU and imposed sanctions on Russia, how much aid could we have expected,” the Defense Minister said.  

Vulin said that Serbia can’t forget the help it got from Russia, China and other countries.  

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a590192/Serbian-DefMin-says-pandemic-killed-European-solidarity.html

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