May 14, 2020 - No new cases of Covid-19 have been registered in the past nine days. The total number of recoveries has now risen to 307. The total number of registered cases stands at 324. There are currently 8 active cases in the country. Active cases by city are as follows: Ulcinj (3), Gusinje (3), Podgorica (1), Bijelo Polje (1). A total of 1,133 persons are still under health surveillance.
Arrests, conflicts, tensions
The religious procession held in Niksic on Tuesday evening, attended by several thousand believers, despite the ban on mass public gatherings still in effect, continues in the focus of the media. Archbishop Joanikije and seven Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) priests were questioned in the Basic Prosecutor’s Office and then placed in 72-hour detention. The executive directors of the NGOs Civic Alliance and Centre for Civic Freedoms, Boris Raonic and Boris Maric, said that the emerging social crisis along with the election campaign, combined with tensions, could produce a very risky environment in which the actions of just one agitator could spark a disaster. Citizens gathered to protest the arrest of Joanikije and other priests, throwing stones and bottles at the police. In return, the police dispersed them using tear gas. The SPC’s Episcopal Council asked that Joakinje and the priests be released, and called on all political leaders to refrain from using the Church for political purposes. The president of the Council for the Civic Control of Police, Aleksandar Zekovic, visited Joanikije and the priests on Wednesday and said that they had no complaints about how they were being treated by police.
Citizens worried less but divided more in terms of COVID-19
There have been many unknowns during the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. This has resulted in the spread of numerous misinformation, fake news and conspiracy theories, which put the question of the most effective way to fight misinformation in the public spotlight. As a long-term response to this phenomenon, 7 out of 10 Montenegrin citizens recognize media literacy. They believe that media literacy of citizens would enable them to check the accuracy of information themselves, which would reduce the spread of misinformation. This is shown, among other things, in the latest research that Ipsos, with the support of UNICEF, conducted on a nationally representative sample of citizens over the age of 18. The data from this survey shows that, compared to the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the number of concerned citizens has decreased, but it’s still significant.
Second wave of coronavirus during summer or autumn
A virologist from the Institute of Microbiology and Immunology of the Faculty of Medicine in Belgrade, Dr Ana Banko believes that there will be another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic during the summer or autumn. She points out that the scenario cannot be precisely predicted, adding that the biggest mystery is the relationship of our immunity to the virus.
Valuable donation arrived in Montenegro
A contingent of seven tons of medical protective equipment, a donation from the United Arab Emirates, arrived in Montenegro. “A valuable confirmation of our closeness. Another in a row. Thanks to my friend Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, his family, the Government and the people of the UAE. We will remember! We are stronger together ", wrote president Milo Djukanovic via Twitter account.
Charter lines for greater visits of Czech tourists
President of the Chamber of Economy of Montenegro, Vlastimir Golubovic, and ambassador of the Czech Republic, Karel Urban, have discussed possibilities for intensifying economic cooperation between the two countries after the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Golubovic pointed out that Montenegro’s response to the outbreak was effective and that it was now focused on the activities which would contribute to the economic recovery. "We need to intensify business activities as much as possible and use the forthcoming season. The good thing is that we had a small degree of disease and we are on the way to become corona-free destination", said Golubovic. He expressed expectation that results in the tourism sector would contribute to domestic and regional arrivals. He called guests from the Czech Republic to spend their summer vacation in Montenegro.
Standard’s analysis: What air transport will look like after pandemic, EASA sending instructions today
According to the information obtained by the portal Standard, Montenegro Airlines has not yet developed a plan on how it will work, because there are a lot of unknowns. First of all, it is not yet known when Montenegro will open its borders, and it is speculated that it could be on 1 June. Also, instructions from European agencies are expected so that a plan could be made. The Civil Aviation Agency told Standard that they were actively following the instructions and guidelines issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Commission.
Seeking changes to VAT law and fee exemptions
The Montenegrin Employers Federation (UPCG), in cooperation with the National Coordinating Body’s headquarters for economic support will be sending requests to the government shortly seeking changes to the VAT law and exemptions from certain fees, announced the president of the UCPG, Predrag Mitrovic. Mitrovic applauded the efforts of the government thus far, but stressed that the first and second rescue measures had not met certain expectations of the business sector. He also emphasised that it was especially important that banks showed understanding, support and flexibility during this crisis period. Asked if employers were announcing layoffs, Mitrovic said the entire Montenegrin business community expected urgent intervention in terms of reducing business costs, which was a model of direct support to companies in their struggle to preserve jobs in this extremely difficult time. He said forecasting new layoffs was difficult as this depended mainly on the epidemiological situation in the country as well as timely and adequate state support.
Farmers to be granted loans of up to €20,000 with 1.5% interest rate
As of yesterday, registered agricultural producers, processors and fishermen have been provided with more favourable loans available to improve the existing and establish new production. This is part of a special set of government measures to support agriculture and fisheries due to the COVID-19 epidemic. A total of €10m has been provided for this purpose. The loans will be approved by the Investment Development Fund in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. It’s stated that the government will pay interest during the grace period. The loans will be approved in the amount of up to €20,000, with an interest rate of 1.5% and with a repayment period of up to two years and a grace period of up to one year.
This brief is kindly prepared for you by Arhimed & Represent Communications.