June 9, 2020 - New Zealand science reporter, Jamie Morton, reported yesterday for that media about eight more countries, beside his own, that beat COVID-19. Montenegro is the first listed in the company of Eritrea, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles, Holy See, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Fiji, and East Timor.
New Zealand joins an exclusive club of nations that have successfully stamped out Covid-19.
According to Johns Hopkins University, just eight other states which registered infections today report zero active cases – most of them small island nations with tiny populations and vastly smaller tallies than New Zealand's 1504 confirmed or probable cases.
Montenegro was the last European country to report a case of Covid-19 – and the first to declare itself free of the virus. Its first case was reported on March 17, and its total numbers reached 324. Sixty-eight days later, on May 24, Montenegro reported no active cases. The country – population 622,359 - implemented a mix of measures to stop the virus, including the closure of many businesses, mandatory masks, limits on public gatherings and travel bans. As at this week, the country's land borders with Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania were open. Although no testing was required at the border, a 14-day quarantine was in place for anyone coming from a country with more than 25 cases per 100,000 population.
The state in East Africa – population 6 million and area 117,600 sq km – reported on May 15 that its 39th and final case had fully recovered. Its first case – a resident returning from Norway - was reported on March 21 and in April, the country went into lockdown.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Covid-19 came to the remote Pacific state on March 20 – and that initial case was followed by seven more over the next four weeks. By May 4, all those cases were reported to have recovered, with 2,400 tests having been carried out, mostly in Port Moresby. The country – population 8.9 million - responded to the crisis swiftly, banning travellers from Asia and closing its border with Indonesia. The Government also introduced tough restrictions over the country's National Capital District, including a night-time curfew and bans on public gatherings and public transport.
The archipelagic state in the Indian Ocean recorded just 11 cases of Covid-19, and all have since recovered. The country - population 97,096 – reported its first two cases on March 14, which grew to four within days. By that stage, Seychelles had already announced a temporary ban on cruise ships, along with any travel to China, South Korea, Italy and Iran. It later clamped down restrictions tighter with a travel ban that came into effect on April 8.
The Holy See reported just 12 cases, including 10 employees and one resident of the Vatican City. As at June 6, all had tested negative. The tiny jurisdiction within Rome acted swiftly, closing its tourist attractions, along with regular public appearances of its most famous resident, Pope Francis, who opted for live-streams over the internet instead. Residents of Casa Santa Marta were reportedly working from their rooms and meals were now served in two shifts to allow for social distancing.
SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS
The West Indies nation became free of Covid-19 on May 19, when all of its 15 confirmed cases had recovered. With a population of just 52,441, the federation recorded its first cases on March 24, when a 21-year-old man and a 57-year-old woman arrived from New York. The state took a raft of measures, including closing airports, schools and non-essential businesses, and ordering a curfew and the wearing of masks.
The Pacific state reported its first case on March 19 – and by April 20, all of the 18 cases it since confirmed on the islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu had recovered. Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama oversaw a response that included a staged ban on flights from certain countries, a 15-day mandatory quarantine for people arriving and closures of schools and non-essential businesses. The pandemic has hit the tourist destination hard – and its reserve bank has forecast the domestic economy will tip into a recession after a decade of economic growth.
East Timor also acted quickly against Covid-19, putting in place travel restrictions for non-nationals who had visited China as early as February 10, banning anyone who had visited the outbreak's ground zero of Hubei, and closing the border with Indonesia. The island country in south-east Asia nonetheless reported its first case on March 21, which prompted school closures, public gatherings limited to five and all international arrivals to be quarantined for 14 days. On May 15, the country reported the recovery of its 24th and final confirmed case.
• The countries listed were those that had registered infections but had no active cases at the time of reporting. It didn't include those that have reported lengthy periods with no community transmission - such as Vietnam - or those that had kept Covid-19 out completely, such as Vanuatu.
By: Jamie Morton
June 9, 2020 - The opening of borders has only just begun and it is very difficult currently, at the outset, to predict how things will pan out. We will focus on individual tourist demand and only in a later phase will we be able to think about organized tourist traffic this year, believes Dr. Ivo Zupanovic, a professor at the Budva Faculty of Business and Tourism in the field of crisis and risk management.
He pointed out that prices will be adjusted for certain market segments, especially those with larger accommodation capacity.
"I can see that those working in the tourism sector are doing their utmost to prepare. At the state level, there are detailed protocols for hotels and similar accommodation facilities." Zupanović stated.
When the epidemiological situation "settles down" in the countries of the region, which are our traditional markets, the number of tourists will increase, he believes.
“At the moment, the most important thing is digital marketing. We began with some national campaigns, which, among other things, are aimed at the local, domestic guest, who, in my opinion, will be all the more important as time goes on, and not only for this year, " believes Zupanović.
Boka Kotorska - photo Boka News
He mentions that local tourist organizations, in line with the inbound markets’ structure, have started some promotional work.
"One innovation I would like to highlight is an idea from the Tourist Organization of Herceg Novi, which offered award-winning accommodation in June, and this can be the trigger for further interest from tourist consumers. Company MMGY’s research shows that tourists make a decision 45 to 90 days after the peak of the pandemic in that country, which means that in this period we should advocate promotion through digital marketing as much as possible," explains Zupanovic.
He believes that travel agencies, as entities dealing with organized tourist traffic, will face serious problems.
"In such controlled conditions, we cannot count on classic methods of organizing tourist traffic, or on their classic services, such as the sale of airline tickets. This will reflect on their liquidity and especially on the profitability of the business. The question is whether smaller agencies, which do not have working capital for a longer period, will survive,” believes Zupanovic.
Speaking to Pobjeda, he stated that the Law on Amendments to the Legislation on Tourism and Catering will play a very important role, whereby trips arranged after 1st March can be used until the end of the coming year, as an incentive for both the service provider and the consumer.
Source: Boka News
June 9, 2020 - The profession will decide whether we will open the borders towards Serbia based on the answer we will receive from the Institute for Public Health of Serbia "Milan Jovanović Batut" - said Assistant to the Minister of Health Vesna Miranović in "Boja Jutra" on Vijesti Television.
After Serbia announced that more than 4,000 coronavirus patients had been cured in a day, the Institute of Public Health asked for clarification from Serbian colleagues.
- What methodology they applied, what changed during the night, what are the explanations - we will see. We are not involved in politics. We are interested in our state - Miranović emphasized.
According to her, what is unusual in this story is that they previously tested twice in Serbia, and now are doing so only once.
- The Institute of Public Health of Montenegro has adopted specific protocols that we are following. The patient was tested twice from the moment he had no symptoms, and the test should have been negative. That turned out very well. We were completely safe. We will see what principle Serbia has undertaken. We are exclusively interested in our state - said Miranović.
She added that she would not consider political statements.
- We are considering the risk that the population of Montenegro can endure; we are not looking at the country in particular. The risk must be at the lowest level. There is no need to argue with each other - Miranovic pointed out.
Speaking about the opening of the borders of other countries for the citizens of Montenegro, she said that it was a matter of diplomacy.
- We should not think about who is expanding the lists and in what way. Whether they want to include us in the list is a matter of diplomacy - said Miranović.
Source: Vijesti Online
June 9, 2020 - "Based on Article 150 of the Constitution of Montenegro, which authorizes the Constitutional Court to initiate proceedings on its own initiative to assess constitutionality and/or legality, as well as to issue orders for the suspension of the execution of individual acts or action if their execution could have irreparable harmful consequences, we propose that the Court, in accordance with the appended act, exercise their right to discretion and thereby contribute to the reduction of existing tensions."
Radić Legal Office from Belgrade has proposed to the Constitutional Court of Montenegro to initiate proceedings on its own initiative in order to assess constitutionality and legality and to suspend the execution of decisions related to the ban on Serbian citizens entering Montenegro, on priests from the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) performing religious rites, and the ban on all other citizens expressing disagreement with the Law on Freedom of Religion.
"Based on Article 150 of the Constitution of Montenegro, which authorizes the Constitutional Court to initiate proceedings on its own initiative to assess constitutionality and/or legality, as well as to issue orders for the suspension of the execution of individual acts or actions if their execution could have irreparable harmful consequences, we propose the Court should, in accordance with the appended act, exercise their right to discretion and thus contribute to the reduction of the existing tensions, " Radić Legal Office stated in a letter.
They consider it unconstitutional and illegal to ban Serbian citizens from entering Montenegro, to prohibit SOC priests from performing religious rites, to ban SOC believers spontaneously celebrating holidays once a year, as well as banning other citizens from expressing disagreement with the Law "which unconstitutionally and illegally confiscates immovable property, ".
They propose to the Constitutional Court that they conclude that the decision establishing the National Coordination Body for Infectious Diseases runs contrary to the provisions of the Law on Protection of the Population from Infectious Diseases, and particularly the aspect whereby the Minister, contrary to his authority, appoints the Deputy Prime Minister as Head of the NCB.
They also believe that the Order on temporary measures to prevent the new coronavirus entering the country, and to suppress and prevent the transmission of the new coronavirus, is unconstitutional and illegal because the Ministry of Health "is usurping the powers of the Assembly and determining prison sentences".
"The Constitutional Court is expected to issue a decision on its own initiative suspending all misdemeanor and criminal proceedings initiated against SOC clergy and Montenegrin citizens for alleged non-compliance with health regulations combatting dangerous contagious diseases," the lawyers stated.
The legal firm has previously been hired on several occasions on behalf of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Source: Biljana Matijašević, Vijesti Online