European Western Balkans

Western Balkan countries report record high numbers of COVID-19 cases as the situation worsens

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Across the region of the Western Balkans, the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic is deteriorating, with a significant rise in infections and deaths in almost every country. The measures have still not gotten as strict as they were during the spring, however, and the political developments in many countries overshadow what has been the issue number one just a few months ago.

Epidemiological situation in Serbia rapidly changing

In Serbia, on 7 July President Vučić described COVID-19 situation as critical in Belgrade and four other cities. In Serbia, wearing masks is now mandatory for everyone using public transportation and in all indoor spaces, without exception. The epidemiological situation across Serbia is rapidly changing and new measures can be adopted at any time.

Last week, five days a row thousands of citizens gathered in front of the National Assembly in Belgrade following the announcement of President Aleksandar Vučić that the new weekend-long curfew will be imposed this week due to rise in COVID-19 cases. Major reason for citizens’ protest has been the Government’s highly controversial record on COVID-19 prevention since March, with many believing that the need to politically capitalize on “victory over Corona” outweighed public health safety considerations.

On Friday, 18 new death cases were reported in Serbia, a new record for the country. According to the reports of investigative journalists on the number of deaths and infections, there have been worse days in April, but the true information had not been revealed to the public.

Days before the election, North Macedonia is still registering alarming number of infections

Just days before North Macedonia’s early general election scheduled for Wednesday, the country is still registering an alarming number of daily Coronavirus infections.

According to Meta.mk on Friday, the number of recovered patients is the highest in a single day (336) since the start of the epidemic, and at the same time, these numbers are significantly higher than the numbers of newly infected patients in the past 24 hours.

Epidemiologist and Interim Director of the Center for Public Health in Skopje, Dr Aleksandar Stojanov told Meta.mk that the number of newly infected patients is high because the number of conducted tests is also high. The total number of tests is 1.728.

“We even had 1.800 tests conducted in a single day, so the number of 1.728 tests isn’t the highest so far. But, it isn’t important how many tests were done, what matters is the percentage of positive cases out of the conducted tests. With these numbers today, this percentage is 12 and we had days when this percentage was 15. Still, it hasn’t happened previously to have 205 newly infected patients in a single day,” Stojanov said.

Kosovo: The possible introduction of state of emergency

The announcement of the state of emergency due to the worsening of the epidemiological situation and the increase in the number of people infected with the Coronavirus has frightened many companies that are already on the verge of bankruptcy, reported Koha ditore.

Kosovo President Avdullah Hoti stated today that the control of the application of the prescribed measures will be strengthened, primarily the wearing of protective equipment, and the possibility of declaring a state of emergency has been left, if the situation does not change for the better.

In a press release, the Islamic Community of Kosovo said that, due to the danger of Coronavirus persists, classes and summer schools in all mosques in Kosovo will be suspended.

Albania hits record high in daily coronavirus cases

Albania recorded on all-time daily high of 117 coronavirus infections on Monday, Albanian Daily News reported. The Ministry made known that the number of hospitalized climbed. The number of active cases is 1462, mainly in Tirana, Shkodra, Kruja, Durres.

Municipalities across the country are going through a difficult financial situation with a drastic drop in revenue and lack of spending as a result of the negative effects of the pandemic.

BiH records the highest number of infected on Saturday

BiH recorded on Saturday the highest number of new infections in one day, when there were as many as 316 such cases, the most since the beginning of the pandemic, Al Jazeera reported.

On Saturday at the Srebrenica Memorial Centre as the 25th anniversary of the massacres of more than 7,000 Bosniak men and boys is commemorated. The commemoration, which was initially expected to be attended by tens of thousands of mourners, has been scaled down amid a sharp rise in coronavirus infections in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

People attending the commemoration had their temperatures tested in tents at entrances to the Srebrenica Memorial Centre on arrival, and were asked to fill out a questionnaire giving information about their health and any recent travels.

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