International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

North Macedonia coronavirus: Six dead second day in a row

June 19, 2020

North Macedonia’s Health Care Minister Venko Filipce said on Friday that six more people had died of coronavirus-related ailments, bringing the total to 222.

Filipce reported six deaths on Thursday as well, the highest number since the pandemic began.  

The minister said that 1,227 people had been tested over the previous 24 hours, including 156 who tested positive bringing the total number of diagnosed to 4,820 and the total number of people tested to 49,020.  

The total number of active cases stands at 2,735, 346 of who are in hospital including seven on ventilators. A total of 1,863 patients recovered, the minister said.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a611719/North-Macedonia-coronavirus-Six-dead-second-day-in-a-row.html

Coronavirus UPDATE: One death, 93 new cases

June 19, 2020

The Serbian Health Care Ministry said in its daily 3:00 pm bulletin that one person died of coronavirus-related ailments over the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths to 259.

 It said that 6,0729 people had been tested over the previous 24 hours, including 34 who tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

The total number of people tested to date stands at 332,342 with 12,709 confirmed cases.

The bulletin said that there are 628 active cases, including 18 patients on ventilators.  

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a611613/Coronavirus-UPDATE-One-death-93-new-cases.html

NATO defence ministers adopt plan for possible second wave of pandemic

June 19, 2020

NATO defence ministers met at a video conference on Thursday to prepare for a possible second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the Croatian Defence Ministry said in a press release.

They decided on a plan to provide support to Allies and partners, agreed to establish a stockpile of medical equipment and supplies, as well as a new fund to enable Allies to quickly acquire medical supplies and services.

Defence ministers from Finland, Sweden and Australia also joined the discussions, as well as EU High Representative Josep Borrell.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg presented a comprehensive report on the pandemic which served as the foundation for the discussion.

NATO defence ministers also decided to update NATO's guidelines for national resilience to take greater account of cyber threats, the security of supply chains, and consequences of foreign ownership and control.

Croatian State Secretary Zdravko Jakop spoke about the role of the Croatian Army in figting the pandemic, the press release said.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a441823/NATO-defence-ministers-adopt-plan-for-possible-second-wave-of-pandemic.html

Slovenia introduces quarantine for people from Bosnia, Serbia, and Kosovo

June 19, 2020

Slovenian government on Thursday tightened entry conditions for passengers from third countries outside the EU and people coming from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Kosovo will have to go into mandatory 14-day quarantine after entering the country or provide a negative test to Covid-19.

The three countries have recorded a daily increase in the number of people infected by the coronavirus and have been put on the "red-alert list" of epidemiologically unsafe countries along with North Macedonia, which was previously put on the list.

Bulgaria has until now been on the "green list" but has dropped to the "yellow list," which includes several other EU member states with a poor epidemiological situation, the government has decided.

Anyone wishing to enter Slovenia from countries on the red list, be they Slovenian citizens or foreigners, will have to go into quarantine or have a negative test result no older than three days, issued in another EU member country.

The measure enters into force as of midnight and there will be no exceptions, not even for people who own property or vessels in Slovenia while transit through Slovenia from those countries has been reduced from 24 hours to 12 hours.

Restrictions within the country will not be tightened for the time being, however, if the number of daily cases identified does not decrease, there is the possibility that the number of people allowed in public spaces may once again be reduced from the current 500 to 200, officials said.

The regime on the border with Croatia will not change, including daily commuting for workers.

According to data by Slovenian epidemiological experts, of the 34 new cases registered in the country in the past 10 days, the majority were "imported" from abroad, while there were 14 secondary infections.

Two people entering from Russia were infected, as were 9 from Bosnia and Herzegovina, 3 from Serbia, and 1 each from Sweden and the USA.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a441821/Slovenia-introduces-quarantine-for-people-from-Bosnia-Serbia-and-Kosovo.html

Croatia confirms 11 new coronavirus cases in last 24 hours

June 19, 2020

Eleven new cases of infection with the Covid-19 coronavirus have been registered in Croatia in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases confirmed so far to 2,280, the national coronavirus crisis management team said on Friday.

The new cases were confirmed in the City of Zagreb (5), Zagreb County (1) and Split-Dalmatia County (5).

A total of 71,814 samples have been tested since the first case was confirmed in late February, including 820 in the last 24 hours.

Eight infected persons are being treated in hospitals, while 303 are in self-isolation. One person has recovered in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of recoveries to 2,142. A total of 107 people have died to date.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a441971/Croatia-confirms-11-new-coronavirus-cases-in-last-24-hours.html

Bozinovic: No indication borders should be closed

June 19, 2020

Interior Minister and head of the National Civil Protection Authority, Davor Bozinovic, said on Friday that adhering to epidemiological measures was important in preventing the spread of coronavirus, adding that there was no indication that the borders should be closed.

"It is very important that we all adhere to the measures," Bozinovic underlined while electioneering in the 6th electoral constituency, adding that the measures were being adhered to during election rallies.

"We are monitoring the situation on the borders and there is no indication for the time being that the borders should be closed. We will adopt the necessary measures depending on the situation that will enable economic and other activities to continue while protecting public health," he said.

With reference to people coming from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, Bozinovic said that Croatia had not opened its borders entirely except for about ten EU member states.

"Citizens from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia have to fulfil certain conditions to enter Croatia. They have to have a special reason for their travel. At the moment there isn't any full liberalisation towards those countries and whether there will be any more stringent measures depends on the situation," he added.

Bozinovic recommended that people do not travel to countries that have a poor epidemiological situation, without any specific need.

With regard to tourists who may be potentially infected, Bozinovic said that the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ), in cooperation with the Tourism Ministry, had already issued some instructions while specific instructions were almost completed and would be released shortly.

Grabar-Kitarovic not only one, it's a movement

Bozinovic did not wish to comment on a post by former president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic with her middle finger raised in reaction to a statement by leader of the Homeland Movement Miroslav Skoro and some other politicians regarding abortion and which Skoro later said was vulgar.

"It would be good in this campaign for people to responsibly approach grave issues facing society, for us to discuss everything because that is a pledge for a better future," said Bozinovic.

He added that Grabar-Kitarovic was not the only one to have reacted in that way. "A larger group of women reacted that way on social networks. She chose that way to send a message and that's her choice," said Bozinovic, adding that he did not consider her gesture vulgar.

Arrested police officers cast shadow on honourable work

With regard to the police officers who were arrested in Karlovac because they injured a migrant, Bozinovic said that he was glad that that had happened.

"Those police officers did not behave well or legally and in one way they cast a shadow on an honorable job. The thing that is good and that we are communicating when it comes to treatment of illegal migrants - every time a police officer identifies any illegal conduct, particularly when it involves the police, they react promptly in accordance with the law and evidence gathered," he said.

That is the best example, he noted, of how the police react to any possible or real incidents in which the victims may be migrants, if there is evidence of that. The police have already charged some police officers because of their treatment of migrants.

Asked whether that meant that accusations by some NGOs about police treatment of migrants is right, Bozinovic said that that in fact says they are not right.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a611625/Bozinovic-No-indication-borders-should-be-closed.html

YIHR: Law in Serbia doesn't ban war criminals from taking part in election

June 19, 2020

The regional NGO's network of the Youth Initiatives for Human Rights (YIHR) warned on Friday that the participation of convicted war criminals in Serbia's public life, including the forthcoming election campaign, was "an insult to victims, a threat to peace in the region and the handbrake to the democratisation and Europeanisation," the Beta news agency reported.

 It added Serbia's law did not ban them, since "the article 88 paragraph 1 of the Law on Election of Deputies says that "an MP's mandate stops before its end if he or she is convicted of a crime without parole to six years at least." However, there is no ban for them to run in the next elections, YIHR says.

The same law, YIHR says, "doesn't require the candidates to provide data about prior punishments, or about current proceedings against them regarding any crime. Such data are necessary for obtaining any public duty or getting a job in public service."

"The convicted war criminals and people linked to war activities, some wanted by courts, are on three out of 21 electoral lists. Military top brass convicted of war crimes in the 1990s support some political candidates even when not on their lists," the network statement said.

It added that "the participation of war criminals and people linked to crimes in the election campaign shows they follow the same political agenda regardless of which party they support."

"They share the same values: denying crimes, delegitimizing The Hague Tribunal, resisting Serbia's European Union membership and stirring bigotry and hatred towards nations in the region," YIHR said.

It added that "the ruling parties have glorified the convicted war criminals in Serbia through the institutions and the media," while some of them had a significant role in the election process.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a611590/YIHR-Law-in-Serbia-doesn-t-ban-war-criminals-from-taking-part-in-election.html

Voting in Serbia's elections to take place in Kosovo as well

June 19, 2020

Serbia's Republic Electoral Commission (RIK) adopted rules on conducting the ballot in Sunday's general elections in Kosovo, the Beta news agency reported on Friday.

RIK hasn't specified where people in Kosovo will have a chance to cast a ballot, but it is assumed it will be possible in the northern municipalities where the Serbs create a majority.

A majority of RIK members voted for the decision, while some warned that it violated the Constitution and laws since, as they said, the voting was planned to be like abroad and not like in "the rest of Serbia."

Belgrade still officially sees Kosovo as a part of its territory, according to the UN Resolution 1244 which is neutral regarding Serbia's former province final status.

At the same session, RIK rejected 103 voters' complaints about the resumption of the electoral process in Serbia after the relaxation of measures introduced due to the coronavirus epidemic.  

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a611497/Voting-in-Serbia-s-general-election-to-take-place-in-Kosovo-as-well.html

Grenell says land swap not Trump’s policy on Kosovo

June 19, 2020

The American president’s special envoy for Kosovo Richard Grenell told Fox News that an exchange of territories is not President Trump’s policy.

"When it comes to Kosovo and Serbia, we're having both of those two together at the White House next Saturday to talk about a historic movement and agreement. And yet I'm fighting constantly about this rumor about land swaps between the two,” the ambassador said.  

"And that's not Trump's policy but when you dig deep, both sides say: Well, that's what John Bolton said,” he added. "And so I'm fighting all of the rumors that that persisted because Bolton was pursuing his own policy rather than President Trump's policy," Grennell said.

Grenell invited officials from Belgrade and Pristina to a June 27 meeting at the White House which is expected to focus on economy not politics.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a611739/Grenell-says-land-swap-not-Trump-s-policy-on-Kosovo.html

US: Belgrade - Pristina talks in two phases: first economy, then politics

June 19, 2020

The US is focused on the economy, while politics is the European issue and will be the next phase of the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue on the normalisation of relations, Richard Grenell, the US President Donald Trump's special envoy for the talks says, the KoSSev website has reported on Friday.

 "The US policy has been to suspend our support as long as Kosovo conducted damaging politics. No one should expect us always to write blank checks. I have been clear, and I don't know how many times I have to say to all those included in this (the dialogue) that the US firmly believes that this 20-year-long conflict between Kosovo and Serbia will be solved through economic normalisation, jobs for youths, and development," Grenell told the Pristina Gazeta Express website in an interview.

He referred to the forthcoming meeting between Belgrade and Pristina delegations at White House on June 27, adding Trump would not attend.

Grenell said he had discussed "the vision of the two-phase talks" with the French and German advisors.

"The first step is economic normalization. The US is focused on the economy. All political issues are the European topics in the second phase. The vision we share with the French and Germans is that we won't succeed in political talks without creating jobs for young people and the economic normalization first," Grenell said.

According to him, the second step can be successful after the first one is made.

Washington "has made crystal clear to Paris and Berlin that as soon as the economic recovery starts, as soon as we reach agreements on air, railroad and road traffic, as soon as we see the economies are raising, it will be easier for the Europeans (to deal) with the political issues."  

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a611487/US-Belgrade-Pristina-talks-in-two-phase-first-economy-then-politics.html

Entry to Montenegro via Bosnia allowed only with negative coronavirus test

June 18, 2020

The Montenegrin nationals and all foreigners arriving from Bosnia and Herzegovina can now enter Montenegro only if they deliver the proof of a negative coronavirus test that is not older than 48 hours and is provided by an accredited institution, Montenegro's National Coordination Body for Infectious Diseases decided on Thursday.

The statement issued by this institution said the measure will remain in effect until the two countries agree on a more precise procedure to exchange the information on the control of persons travelling to Montenegro via Bosnian territory.

Also, as long as the measure is in the effect, the passengers from Bosnia and Herzegovina will be able to enter Montenegro only at the border crossings Scepan Polje-Hum and Meteljka-Metaljka. 

“After the analysis of epidemiological situation during the session, it was established that most of the active coronavirus cases was imported to Montenegro from Serbia, in the way that some irresponsible individuals travelled entered via Bosnia and Herzegovina. National Coordination Body (NKT) decided that the Public Healthcare Institute exempts Bosnia and Herzegovina from the list of the countries whose citizens enter Montenegro without the measure of institutional isolation,” said national body chairman, Milutin Simovic.

Simovic said the new coronavirus cases that Montenegro has recorded over the past few days were imported via Bosnia from the countries that were not on the list of those that were allowed entry in Montenegro.

The nationals of Montenegro currently staying in Bosnia will be ordered a home quarantine upon their return until they make a coronavirus test.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a441745/Entry-to-Montenegro-via-Bosnia-allowed-only-with-negative-coronavirus-test.html

Bosnia's coronavirus tally increasing, death toll unchanged

June 18, 2020

The number of new coronavirus infections in Bosnia has continued increasing with another 58 patients recorded over the last 24 hours, 33 in the Federation (FBiH) and 25 in Republika Srpska (RS), the healthcare authorities of two semi-autonomous regions confirmed on Thursday. For the second straight day, the country recorded no deaths caused by the virus.

According to official statistics, the country's coronavirus tally stands at 3,199, while the death toll remains unchanged with 168 confirmed fatalities. The total of 2,219 patients has recovered.

The FBiH healthcare authorities have performed 778 lab tests in the last 24 hours, 46,235 since the epidemic outbreak.

To date, the region has confirmed 1,430 Covid-19 patients; 991 patients have recovered to date and 45 died.

There are 394 active cases in the region at the moment.

The RS healthcare authorities have so far tested 32,997 persons, and confirmed 1,749 Covid-19 patients; 1,212 of them have recovered to date and 119 died.

Among 25 new patients reported in the last 24 hours, 12 are men and 13 women.

Brcko District, a separate administrative unit in the north, has seen 20 confirmed Covid-19 patients, of which 16 recovered and four died.

Competent authorities have once again urged the citizens to obey the measures to prevent the virus spread.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a611253/Miroslav-Lajc%C3%A1k-the-European-Union-special-envoy-for-Belgrade-Pristina-dialogue-on-the-normalisat.html

Number of coronavirus cases in Montenegro growing again

June 18, 2020

The number of coronavirus infections in Montenegro increased to nine on Wednesday after the country's Public Health Institute confirmed seven new cases.

Earlier this week, after no cases had been reported for 42 weeks in a row, the health authorities detected the infection in two persons who had briefly visited Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"By 2100 hours on Wednesday, the Institute's laboratories had analysed 200 samples, of which 193 were negative and seven positive for the new coronavirus. Four of the newly-infected persons are contacts of a case confirmed earlier, while the source of the infection in the three other cases is yet to be established," the Institute said.

On June 1 Montenegro opened its borders to 130 countries where the number of active cases is below 25 per 100,000 inhabitants, including Croatia, and lifted most of the restrictions imposed to the contain the virus.

At the start of June, Montenegro declared the end of the coronavirus epidemic on its soil after no new cases were identified for 28 days in a row. On May 24 it became the first coronavirus-free country in Europe.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a441693/Number-of-coronavirus-cases-in-Montenegro-growing-again.html


11 new coronavirus cases identified in Croatia

June 18, 2020

Eleven new cases of infection with the novel Covid-19 coronavirus have been detected in Croatia in the last 24 hours, the government said on Thursday.

Most of the new cases are imports, but there are also cases of local transmission, Tomislav Dulibic, state secretary at the Ministry of Health, said at the government session, adding that all the cases had been promptly processed, their close contacts identified and that the situation was under control.

Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said that the latest report was "a warning that the virus is still here and that the recommendations by the Public Health Institution need to be observed."

"It is important that our citizens do not travel abroad, especially not to countries in our neighbourhood, unless necessary, and that on returning they behave responsibly. Such behaviour is a precondition for the favourable epidemiological situation in Croatia to be kept under control, which in turn is a precondition for the normal functioning of the economy," Bozinovic added.

He announced that two ships were expected from China on June 19 and 26 bringing 407.3 tonnes of purchased and donated medical and protective equipment.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a441679/11-new-coronavirus-cases-identified-in-Croatia.html

Eight new coronavirus cases confirmed in Slovenia

June 18, 2020

Eight new cases of coronavirus infection have been confirmed in Slovenia in the last 24 hours, the government said on Thursday, announcing measures to prevent the virus from spreading.

This is the largest daily rise in the number of cases in the last month and a half, and the government is expected to decide at its emergency session today on how to contain the virus, Health Minister Tomaz Gantar told reporters before the meeting.

The new cases were detected in Ljubljana, Krsko and Koper and they include three foreign nationals. The total number of cases now is 1,511, of which 15 were confirmed in the first three days of this week. The government considers this to be the consequence of relaxation of restrictions and opening of the borders to people from countries where the epidemic is not yet under control.

Currently, there are 30 active cases in Slovenia, six of whom are receiving hospital treatment.

On Wednesday, infectious disease specialist Bojana Beovic called for tighter control of people entering from non-EU countries where the epidemiological situation is still not under control.

Local media said that the government would tighten requirements for Slovenian and foreign nationals entering from third countries, adding that quarantine would be mandatory for people arriving from Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia and EU member Bulgaria.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a611237/Eight-new-coronavirus-cases-confirmed-in-Slovenia.html

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