June 7, 2020 - Serbia announced that the rate of COVID-19 in that country is six per 100,000 inhabitants. Some media stated that country now meets the epidemiological criterion of Montenegro for the establishment of free passenger transport between the two countries, which has so far been provided only by Serbia. Commenting on the new circumstances, the Prime Minister of Serbia, Ana Brnabić, reiterated her position that the decision of Montenegro not to open traffic with Serbia was of political and not public-health interest. The Institute of Public Health today asked its colleagues from Serbia to explain how the number of patients in that country dropped from 67 to six in just 24 hours.
Brnabić: Travel ban for people coming from Serbia was political
The Prime Minister of Serbia, Ana Brnabić, welcomed the imminent opening of the Montenegrin borders for the citizens of Serbia, adding that the travel ban for people coming from Serbia was political. As Radio Free Europe reports, Brnabić said in Arilje that she expected that decision, due to the importance of tourism for the Montenegrin economy.
"I knew that the conditions for opening the border would be met, because it is important for their tourism, and also because the reason that was set not to open the borders for the citizens of Serbia was political and had nothing to do with health," she said. Brnabic at a press conference in Arilje.
Radio Television of Montenegro announced yesterday that by reducing the number of actively ill people below 25 per 100,000 inhabitants, the conditions were created for that country to open the border for Serbia's citizens.
Government official: The border with Serbia cannot be opened before next Monday
Montenegro will not play with the health of its citizens, a Montenegrin government official told Montenegrin Television, adding that, according to the rules, the Montenegrin border cannot be opened until next Monday.
"Today's statement by the Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabić 'that she is glad that the conditions for opening the Montenegrin border with Serbia have been met' is too hypocritical. It comes from a person who has called on Serbian citizens not to travel to Montenegro," a Montenegrin government official who did not want to be named told Montenegrin Television.
He considers Brnabić's statement that the Montenegrin authorities were guided by political, not health reasons, when they applied the modern epidemiological standard of 25 patients per 100,000 citizens to open their borders, especially irresponsible.
"On the contrary, the Government of Montenegro guided the recommendations and rules of the profession and medical science, and not daily politics as Ana Brnabić does. This confirms the result that Montenegro has achieved in the fight against COVID-19 and the unique status of Corona free country," said a Montenegrin government official.
He points out that, according to the rules we apply, the Montenegrin border for Serbia citizens cannot be opened until next Monday.
"We hope that by then, the epidemic in Serbia will be significantly suppressed, and in the meantime, we leave it to the Serbian authorities to explain to us how 4,500 infected people were cured in one day," he added.
He says that in any case, Montenegro will not play with the health of its citizens.
"We are opening our borders gradually, dictated by the epidemiological situation in the countries to which the borders are being opened, which is why political statements, such as these by Prime Minister Brnabic, are a pure excess," concluded the TVCG interlocutor.
IJZ will send a request for clarification to colleagues from Serbia
The Institute of Public Health of Montenegro (IJZ) will send a request for clarification to colleagues from Serbia, after that country published the information that over 4,000 patients with coronavirus were cured in one day, writes Antena M.
Respecting the general principle and EU recommendations that the relaxation of measures and opening of borders must be done gradually and based on scientifically based evidence and facts, the Institute of Public Health proposed the opening of Montenegrin borders in the second phase of the fight against COVID-19 to citizens of those countries that have a low epidemiological level of risk set at 25 active cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
In this way, the focus is on the number of currently infected people in countries whose list is updated once a week on Fridays.
Given that several countries in the world do not report the number of recovered COVID-19 cases, it was not possible to calculate the number of active patients for them. So, the Institute asked for clarification from colleagues in those countries through the usual professional channels, to ensure that all passengers internationally traffic have an equal opportunity to travel to Montenegro, respecting the epidemiological condition defined above.
"A request for the same clarification will be sent to the Institute of Public Health of Serbia," the Institute of Public Health told Antena M.
The Institute also says that a change in methodology is possible in the coming period.
"Also, waiting for the European Union's unified position on defining quantified criteria for opening external borders, it is possible that in the coming period, there will be a change in the methodology setting the list of countries to take into account the dynamics of the epidemiological situation on the ground. Official data that countries report to the WHO and the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention, but also respected the consensus of European countries, which will hopefully be reached soon, "they say from the Institute.
According to the latest data published on the website covid19.rs, 82 new cases of coronavirus infection have been confirmed in Serbia in the last 24 hours, and one person has died.
Source: Vijesti Online, RTCG, Antena M