Serbia To Reimpose Weekend Lockdown After Virus Surge


Serbia to reimpose weekend lockdown after virus surge

Belgrade, July 7 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 8th Jul, 2020 ) :Serbia will reintroduce a round-the-clock weekend curfew as the Balkan state battles an "alarming" surge of coronavirus cases, President Aleksandar Vucic announced Tuesday.

The decision came after 13 deaths were reported in 24 hours, a record for Serbia, which has so far registered roughly 16,700 infections among its population of some seven million.

"Starting Friday, we are going to have a long curfew ending Monday," the president said in a televised press conference.

A government crisis team managing the pandemic will decide whether the measure applies nationwide or only to the capital Belgrade, he said.

The news sent around 1,000 protesters into the street to demonstrate in front of the parliament building in Belgrade, local media reported.

Critics accuse Vucic of rapidly lifting Serbia's initial restrictions so he could hold an election on June 21, which his party won resoundingly.

Officials also allowed thousands of fans to gather for football matches and other sporting events last month.

Over the past two weeks, daily infections have shot up, recently hitting more than 300 daily.

The medical system is overwhelmed with nearly 4,000 coronavirus patients, said the 50-year-old president.

"Nobody can endure these numbers. We don't want to kill our doctors," he said.

Last week, the government imposed some new restrictions in several hotspot cities and towns, including Belgrade, where wearing masks in indoor spaces was made obligatory.

Several hospitals in the capital were also redesignated virus treatment hubs, and a field hospital has been reopened in a sports arena.

According to local media, the situation was particularly serious in the southwestern city of Novi Pazar, where hospitals have reported an overflow of patients and a lack of equipment.

A total of 330 deaths have been reported since the virus was first detected in Serbia on March 6.

The local Balkan Investigative Reporting Network has accused authorities of suppressing the true toll -- claims denied by the government.

Countries across the Balkans are now seeing an uptick in cases after initial success in reining in their COVID-19 outbreaks.

On Monday neighbouring Kosovo reinstated nightly curfews in the capital Pristina and three other towns.