On Wednesday, April 8, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic announced that a full weekend curfew will be enforced across Serbia starting on Friday, April 10, to curb the spread of the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. The curfew will be in place from 17:00 (local time) on Fridays to 05:00 on Mondays. A nationwide curfew remains in effect Monday through Friday from the hours of 17:00 until 05:00 daily. In urban areas, people over the age of 65 and those over the age of 70 in rural areas are not allowed to leave their homes until further notice except to purchase groceries at designated shops from 03:00 to 08:00 on Sundays.
The Serbian government has implemented strict containment measures nationwide. As of Thursday, April 9, all borders have been closed except for freight traffic. International passenger flights are suspended indefinitely and there are no commercial means to enter or exit the country. Serbian passport holders who arrive in Serbia on special repatriation flights are subject to a mandatory COVID-19 test. Anyone who tests positive will be placed under medical quarantine; individuals who test negative must quarantine for 28 days at home.
All public transportation services, including inter-city bus and rail transport, are suspended. Schools, kindergartens, universities, cafes, and shopping malls are closed. Restaurants are also shut except for delivery. Access to sporting facilities, parks, playgrounds, and public spaces is also prohibited.
As of April 9, there have been 2867 cases of COVID-19 and 66 associated fatalities confirmed in the country. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the coming days and weeks.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) labelled the outbreak as pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.