May 7, 2020 - No new cases of COVID-19 have been registered since yesterday’s final count. The total number of registered cases remains 324, while the number of recoveries is now 261. Eight patients lost their battle with the coronavirus. There are currently 51 active cases in the country. Active COVID-19 patients by the city are as follows: Podgorica (28), Ulcinj (10), Bar (5), Gusinje (3), Plav (2), Niksic (1), Herceg Novi (1), Bijelo Polje (1).
The employee of the Bijelo Polje nursing home who initially tested positive for COVID-19 two days ago, tested negative on a second test carried out Wednesday. The employee will remain in quarantine under health surveillance, the Institute of Public Health has stated.
To date, 7,811 businesses and business owners have applied for state wage subsidies. 89% of these applications involving the salaries of 27,051 workers in Montenegro have so far been approved, tweets the Ministry of Economy.
Urgent procurement with no deadlines
While preparing for a significantly worse scenario of COVID-19 than what took place, Montenegrin authorities engaged in an urgent procurement of ventilators that cost almost €1.5m. The Health Insurance Fund and hospitals went ahead with the hasty purchase of the vital medical equipment without even clearly defining delivery dates.
Some procurement contracts had “as soon as possible” written in the space for specific dates, while other agreements left the space blank. Some suppliers still haven’t delivered the ordered equipment, and some contracts have since been canceled or changed. No one will be held accountable due to the vagueness of the deals.
COVID-19 pandemic strengthens ties between EU and Western Balkans
The European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Commissioner, Oliver Varhelyi, wrote an opinion piece on the occasion of the EU-Western Balkans Summit, addressing economic and investment plans for the region. Western Balkan leaders are to adopt this plan during the summit. As Varhelyi explained, the project is one of the three components of the European Commission’s new approach to the region, and it complements the first two components: involving the EU Enlargement Methodology and the decision on starting accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia. According to Varhelyi, the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t disturbed this carefully prepared plan, changed the EU’s goals, or soften its resolve. He said the COVID-19 epidemic had brought the EU and the region closer together. Varhelyi said the plan would focus on establishing connections, especially in the areas of transport and energy production.
Some 150 Montenegrin citizens from the USA expected
After a short break, Dr. Simo Milosevic Institute in Igalo is functioning again as a quarantine facility. On Tuesday evening, 14 Montenegrin citizens arrived at the facility from Serbia. The facility’s manager, Borivoje Vukovic, said that a larger group of Montenegrin citizens, some 150 of them, should arrive on Sunday from the USA.
EC: Economy to drop 5.9%
The coronavirus pandemic will push Montenegro into a deeper recession than the global crisis, according to the European Commission’s (EC) spring forecast, released Wednesday. The EC says the main reason for this is the collapse of tourism, which makes up a fourth of Montenegro’s GDP. The shock to tourism will create further shock effects on domestic consumption and investments, says the EC, which predicts that the tourism shock will last until the second quarter of 2020, followed by a very modest recovery in Q3.
The EC states that it will take some time for air traffic to be reestablished. According to this European institution, cruisers could suffer long-term damage, and adds that a rapid recovery in 2021, while possible, is not likely. The main risk is a resurgence of the virus and a lack of a vaccine before the next tourist season.
"Doctors, apart from lives, save the economy as well"
Due to the favorable epidemiological situation, Montenegro has a good starting point to get the most out of this tourist season in the given circumstances, says Ranko Jovovic, the chairman of the tourism committee at the Chamber of Commerce in an interview for Vijesti daily.
Activities should be aimed at promoting Montenegro as a safe tourist destination in every sense. How much damage will be done to Montenegrin tourism will depend on the duration of this pandemic and its trends during and after the summer tourist season, which cannot be estimated now, Jovović says.
Thanks to the doctors who, in addition to saving lives, are also protecting our economy. The government is preparing a set of specific measures to support the tourism sector, Jovovic pointed out.
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