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18 Oct 2020 | 02:17 PM UTC

Serbia: Authorities introduce new COVID-19 measures October 16 /update 17

Face masks to be mandatory in indoor and outdoor public places as part of new COVID-19 measures as of October 16; continue to follow government directives

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Event

Serbian authorities announced on Friday, October 16, that face masks are now mandatory in all indoor and outdoor public places as part of new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) measures, whereas before they were only required on public transport and in indoor places. The decision comes amid an uptick in cases across the country. Failure to wear a mask when required will incur a fine. 

Other restrictions in place in Serbia include indoor and outdoor gatherings being limited to 30 people. Businesses, with the exception of pharmacies and petrol stations, are not allowed to operate between 23:00 and 06:00 (local time). Furthermore, it is mandatory to maintain a physical distance of at least 1.5m (6 ft) from one another in all public spaces

Nationals seeking to enter the country from North Macedonia, Croatia, Bulgaria, or Romania, will need to provide a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, taken within the previous 48 hours prior to their departure to the country. The above restrictions do not apply to those with permanent residence in Serbia, crew members, and passengers transiting Serbia for less than 12 hours, children under the age of 12 who are accompanied by parents who have valid PCR test results, or properly accredited diplomats and their families.

As of Sunday, October 18, health authorities have confirmed 36,160 cases of COVID-19 in Serbia, with 776 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term. 

Context

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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.

Advice

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 COVID-19 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 disease.

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