Concern Grows In Balkans At Rising Coronavirus Cases
Umer Jamshaid 22 days ago Mon 13th July 2020 | 04:30 PM
Belgrade, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 13th Jul, 2020 ) :The numbers may still be modest, but the Balkans, one of the poorest regions in Europe with the most fragile medical infrastructure, is bracing against a surge in coronavirus infections.
Kon, part of the national team tackling the coronavirus pandemic, announced a record 18 deaths on Friday.
Protesters are demonstrating on the streets every night against what they say is the administration's mishandling of the crisis.
In neighbouring Kosovo, there is also growing concern.
And if that happened, he said, Kosovo's health system, already under tremendous pressure, would collapse. Many people in Kosovo choose to seek treatment in neighbouring countries.
In EU member Croatia, microbiologist Goran Lauc, part of a scientific team advising the government, says the situation is "not bad", but notes that cases are rising as the tourist season gets underway.
- Fragile health services - So far, the Balkans has escaped the coronavirus pandemic relatively unscathed with nearly 3,500 deaths.
The eight deaths recorded Friday in Kosovo and hundreds of new cases in Bosnia and Romania in recent days are not yet enough to set alarm bells ringing in the international community.
The health services in these countries are not equipped to deal with a surge like that one that overwhelmed parts of western Europe in spring.
While Italy has 4.
In Bosnia, the figure stands at 2.0, and in Romania 2.2. Union leader Blerim Syla says that Kosovo lacks 5,500 health professionals.
In Albania, which has so far recorded nearly 100 deaths, the authorities insist the situation is still under control.
But the director of the infectious diseases hospital in Tirana, Najada Como, told citizens they had to understand that "the solution isn't through hospital treatment, where we are doing the impossible to care for the seriously ill".
- Pushing against lockdowns - But anger at the ruling classes and the region's chronic political instability are not helping matters.
North Macedonians go to the polls on Wednesday to elect a new government. Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic is meanwhile paying the price for having declared they had beaten the coronavirus days before the June 21 parliamentary elections his party won.
Having announced a return to lockdown at the beginning of last week, he was forced to back down in the face of angry and sometimes violent street protests.
For many observers, the Balkans came out of lockdown too swiftly.
In Serbia, bars and nightclubs reopened for a while as if the danger had passed. Some people even continued to shake hands.
In mainly Orthodox Macedonia meanwhile, the faithful went back to the Easter tradition of sharing a communion spoon.
"The lack of respect for social distancing rules has to a great extent enabled the transmission of the virus, which is manifesting itself more aggressively," said epidemiologist Eugena Tomini of Albania's Institute for Public Health.