International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Kosovo Police detain KoSSev website editor, release her after an hour

April 11, 2020

The Kosovo Police Special Intervention Unit detained the editor of the Kossev news site, Tanja Lazarevic, on Saturday and released her after an hour.

Lazarevic was detained even though she presented the officers with her Press ID.

She explained that she was on an assignment and was reporting on the atmosphere regarding the coronavirus throughout the past week.

She told media that she believes she was targeted by authorities.

The Independent Association of Serbia's Journalists (NUNS) condemned on Friday attacks on the KoSSev website coming from authorities of the divided town of Mitrovica in northern Kosovo, mostly populated by local Serbs.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a588091/Kosovo-Police-detains-Kossev-editor-releases-her-after-an-hour.html

Croatia confirms 39 new COVID-19 infections, has 1,534 in total

April 11, 2020

Over the past 24 hours, 39 new COVID-19 infections were registered in Croatia, bringing the total to 1,534, the national civil protection authority said on Saturday.

The number of persons tested for the virus totals 15,691, including 1,079 since yesterday, so 9.78% are positive, Health Minister Vili Beros said at the daily press conference.

He said he was glad that no patient had died since yesterday.

The death toll stands at 21. Thirty-two patients are on ventilators, two less than on Friday, and 82 persons recovered at home, bringing the total of those recovered to 323.

Minister Beros thanked everyone who supported the measures against the pandemic, saying that only together could people defeat the disease.

He told citizens to see Easter as a short time in the fight against COVID-19 and to show their solidarity, notably with the elderly, by sending greeting cards on this holiday instead of visiting.      

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a588069/Croatia-confirms-39-new-COVID-19-infections-has-1-534-in-total.html

COVID-19 UPDATES: More than 900 infected in Bosnia, including seven army members

April 11, 2020

0:50 Among the more than 900 people who tested positive for the coronavirus in Bosnia and Herzegovina are seven members of the Armed Forces, the Defence Ministry said.

Another 102 soldiers members are in self-isolation, it said.

New cases were also confirmed across the country on Saturday morning.

Another 11 coronavirus cases were confirmed in Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) region throughout the past 24 hours, RS Health Minister Alen Seranic said.

The Sarajevo University Clinical Centre said that four people tested positive for the virus overnight - two from Bihac, one from Sarajevo and one from Bihac.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a588067/COVID-19-UPDATES-More-than-900-infected-in-Bosnia-including-seven-army-members.html

Two more coronavirus-related deaths in North Macedonia, 34 in total

April 11, 2020

Two more people passed away due to the coronavirus in Nort Macedonia and the death toll in the country now stands at 34, Health Minister, Venko FIlipce, said on Saturday.

One of them, a 73-year-old, died at the hospital for infectious diseases in Skopje while the other one, a 76-year-old, died at the haematology clinic in Kumanovo.

The Minister posted information on Facebook saying that 49 new coronavirus cases were confirmed across the country and that the total in North Macedonia now stands at 760.

A total of 41 have recovered from COVID-19 in the country while 685 are being actively treated.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a588063/Two-more-coronavirus-related-deaths-in-North-Macedonia-34-in-total.html

IMF approves € 176.53 million in emergency assistance to North Macedonia

April 10, 2020

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has, under its Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI), approved € 176.53 million in emergency assistance to North Macedonia to combat the coronavirus pandemic, media in Skopje reported.

According to a statement by Tao Zhang, IMF Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, the coronavirus crisis caused major blows to the economy of North Macedonia and the country is expecting its GDP to decline by four percent due to a fall in domestic and external demand.

“This, together with negative shocks to confidence and spillovers from global financial channels, has created an urgent balance of payments need,” his statement said.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a588009/IMF-approves-176.53-million-in-emergency-assistance-to-North-Macedonia.html

Staff at Serbian national virus-testing laboratory infected

April 10, 2020

A leading Serbian epidemiologist said on Friday that 12 staff members at the country’s main virus laboratory had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Dr Darija Kisic Tepavcevic, a member of the government’s pandemic Crisis Staff and deputy chief of the national Public Health Institute Batut, said that 12 people had been infected with SARS-CoV-2 at the Torlak Institute which has the only laboratory testing for the coronavirus since the pandemic began.  

“There are 223 staff members at the Institute and 12 of them have been confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus. The procedures are the same as in every other institution. Medical staff were re-assigned as in other institutions. Colleagues are helping keep up as much testing as possible,” Kisic Tepavcevic told the daily news briefing.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a587889/Staff-at-Serbian-national-virus-testing-laboratory-infected.html

Serbian FinMin says economic aid package defined

April 10, 2020

Serbian Finance Minister Sinisa Mali said on Friday that the government had adopted decrees defining how companies and entrepreneurs can get aid from a 5.1 billion Euro package of economic measures introduced to help the economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Private employers can get aid if they did not fire more than 10 percent of their staff, not including staff on short contracts, after March 15 when the state of emergency was imposed. The aid is also available for entrepreneurs who temporarily closed their businesses after March 15, as well as non-profit organizations if they aren’t recipients of public funds.  

Companies and entrepreneurs can postpone payment of taxes which banks and other financial institutions can’t. Owners of SMEs and farmers can also count on getting minimum wages of about 30,000 Dinars (1 Euro – 118 Dinars) starting in May. All recipients of the minimum wage payments will have to open separate bank accounts for the payments.  

According to Ministar Mali, loans will be approved and paid back in Dinars with a minimum of one million Dinars and a maximum of 120 million depending on the size of the company.   Finance Minister Sinisa Mali said the government decided that VAT will no longer have to be paid on free donations for medical equipment.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a587817/Serbian-FinMin-says-economic-aid-package-defined.html

NBS: Hard currency reserves at 13 billion

April 10, 2020

The National Bank of Serbia (NBS) said on Friday that it’s new hard currency reserves stood at 13.11 billion Euro at the end of March.

The NBS said that the net hard currency reserves stood at 10.9 billion Euro at the end of March and added that this means that coverage of the M1 money mass by the reserves is 165 and about six months worth of imports of goods and services.

The gross hard currency reserves at the end of March were 344 million Euro lower compared to a month earlier, mainly because the state paid off a total of 263.7 million Euro of debt for hard currency bonds and loans, helping lower the public debt.

The Dinar exchange rate remains almost unchanged, the NBS said adding that it sold 135 million Euro on the inter-banking foreign exchange in March which brings the total sold this year to 185 million Euro.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a587811/NBS-Hard-currency-reserves-at-13-billion.html

North Macedonia coronavirus UPDATE: 2 dead, 48 new cases

April 10, 2020

North Macedonia’s Health Care Minister Venko Filipce said on Friday that two more people had died of coronavirus-related ailments and that another 48 new cases had been confirmed.

The minister said that the total number of people who died in the country now stands at 32 while the number of confirmed coronavirus cases is 711.

Filipce said that 496 people had been tested over the previous 24 hours. He added that three people had been released from hospital and that one patient who was in self-isolation at home had tested negative.

The total number of people cured after being tested for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in North Macedonia stands at 41.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a587735/North-Macedonia-coronavirus-UPDATE-2-dead-48-new-cases.html

Coronavirus UPDATE: 5 deaths, 238 new cases

April 10, 2020

The Serbian Health Care Ministry reported five more coronavirus-related deaths over the previous 24 hours and 238 new cases.

The daily bulletin on the COVID19.rs web site said that 1,893 people were tested over the previous 24 hours and the 238 people had been confirmed to be infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The total number of deaths is 71.  

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases now stands at 3,105 with 2,107 of them hospitalized, including 136 on respirators. A total of 14,240 people have been tested since the pandemic began.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a587713/Coronavirus-UPDATE-5-deaths-238-new-cases.html

State of emergency in Serbia may last till end of April, Vucic hopes

April 10, 2020

Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic told people in the south of the country on Friday that Belgrade cared about, them, asking them to be disciplined, adding he believed that some relief could be expected from April 20 and that the state of emergency might be lifted by the end of the month, the FoNet news agency reported.

Speaking o reporters in the southern city of Nis, Vucic said he hoped Serbia could lift the state of emergency, introduced on March 15, by the end of April. 

"I can't wait. However, that doesn't mean we won't have aditional duties and that we won't have to be disciplined. That isn't my estimate, that's my hope, he said.

Vucic added that the protective equipment was sent every seven days and that till yesterday, nine new standard clinical iron lungs and 20 non-invasive clinical respirators arrived into the country. That brought a total number of new ventilators to 29 in the last month alone.

He told reporters that several Nis' premises were being prepared to accept milder cases of coronavirus since the Cair Sports Hall, turned into a provisional hospital, was already packed with patients.

Vucic added that the transport vehicles would be ready to take patients from makeshift medical facilities to the Nis Clinical Center.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a587609/Vucic-It-could-be-easier-in-Serbia-after-April-20-end-of-state-of-emergency-possible-in-20-days.html

COVID-19 UPDATES: 16 new cases and one fatality in Bosnia's RS entity

April 10, 2020

9:00 Bosnia's Serb-dominated entity of Republika Srpska (RS) recorded 16 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, over the past 24 hours and one more fatality caused by the virus, RS Health Minister Alen Seranic said.

“After testing 425 samples, 16 were positive for the Vuris. Of this number, nine were men and seven women,” Seranic said.

There was also a fatality at the Banja Luka University Hospital. The patient was a 62-year-old woman with multiple chronic diseases.

Bosnia now has 873 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 36 fatalities caused by the virus.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a587565/Total-number-of-confirmed-coronavirus-in-Bosnia-stands-at-873-with-36-deaths.html

Russia sends medical aid to Bosnia’s Serb-majority region

April 9, 2020

A cargo plane carrying medical equipment and a team of medical experts from Russia landed on Thursday at the Banja Luka airport as part of Moscow’s effort to help Bosnia's Serb-majority entity fight the coronavirus.

The Russian team will work with the University Clinic in Banja Luka.

Russian Ambassador to Bosnia, Petr Ivantsov, told reporters that this is just the first group of experts who have arrived following a request for help sent by the government of the Serb-majority entity.

Such help was not sent to the other semi-autonomous entity in the country, the Federation (FBiH), because it never requested assistance from Russia, he said.

“Special equipment for disinfecting spaces and buildings is coming as well as everything else necessary for fighting the coronavirus,” Ivantsov said.

RS President, Zeljka Cvijanovic, said that Russia sent help shortly after the entity requested it.

“They responded to all those who asked for help,” she said.

The Serb member of the tripartite Presidency and leader of the ruling party in the RS, Milorad Dodik, suggested that “the Federation should also ask Russia’s authorities for help.”

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a424053/Russia-sends-medical-aid-to-Bosnia-s-Serb-majority-region.html

IMF has €330 million for Bosnia but entities must first agree on allocation

April 9, 2020

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is prepared to provide 330 million euros in emergency assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina but authorities in the country must first agree on how the money would be allocated between the two semi-autonomous entities, IMF Representative Andrew Jewell said on Thursday.

Jewell explained that the IMF Executive Board decided this week to increase its emergency assistance to Bosnia under its Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) to help the country respond to the coronavirus crisis.

“Before the RFI can be approved, authorities must first reach an agreement on how the funds from the RFI will be allocated between the two entities. Failure to reach an agreement will result in the postponement of the assistance,” Jewell said.

Jewel urged political leaders to work together and reach an agreement as soon as possible.

The Executive Board has received more than 90 requests for urgent assistance and it will be difficult to set another date for it to discuss Bosnia’s request in the near future, he said.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a424029/IMF-has-330-million-for-Bosnia-but-entities-must-first-agree-on-allocation.html

Croatia confirms 64 new COVID-19 cases, 40 new recoveries, one more fatality

April 9, 2020

Sixty-four new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Croatia in the last 24 hours, another 40 people have recovered, and one person has died, the national civil protection team said on Thursday.

"In the last 24 hours there have been 64 new COVID-19 cases, which puts the total number at 1,407," Health Minister Vili Beros said.

A total of 555 new tests have been conducted, which puts their total number at 13,680.

"Since yesterday, a patient has died in Zagreb's KB Dubrava hospital. It was an elderly man with numerous comorbidities," Beros said.

So far a total of 20 people have died from the novel COVID-19 virus.

"Thirty-four patients are on ventilators, 326 have been hospitalised while 842 infected persons are at home," Beros said.

Forty more people have recovered from the disease, which puts their total number at 219.

Four workers at Psychiatric Hospital for Children test positive for coronavirus

Two cooks, a psychiatrist and a nurse at the hospital have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, the head of the city's health department, Vjekoslav Jelec, said, adding that 42 people had been ordered to self-isolate.

Jelec said that testing had been done on 20 people and another 20 would be tested today, including children. He said that ten children were currently in the hospital, all were well and none were showing any symptoms of the disease.

"The situation is under control. Three doctors and nine nurses are looking after the children. All the necessary steps have been taken, and we have alternative solutions as well. The virus entered the hospital via technical support staff," Jelec said.

Interior Minister: Easter holidays are not the time to travel

"I would like to ask everyone planning a short trip to Croatia for the Easter holidays not to do it, for their own safety and that of the people they would like to visit, but also because it is uncertain whether they will be able to return and under what conditions to countries they would like to come from. This is not a time to travel and relax," he said.

Bozinovic said that the measures concerning farmers' markets had been introduced to enable consumers to buy fresh Croatian products and to enable the Croatian agricultural sector to sell those products, adding that the measures should not be compromised.

"We are entering a few critical weeks. Let's stay home," he said.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a424023/Croatia-confirms-64-new-COVID-19-cases-40-new-recoveries-one-more-fatality.html

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