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Skiers, parties and nightlife blamed for Serbia’s soaring Covid rate as health expert calls for immediate lockdown — RT World News

Serbia’s health system is at a tipping point amid an overwhelming spike in Covid-19 infections, the country’s medical experts warned on Tuesday, urging the government to impose an immediate lockdown and a state of emergency.

Serbia’s chief epidemiologist Predrag Kon said on RTS television that the crisis team’s advisory body has called for an immediate lockdown to avert a collapse of the health system. Only pharmacies, grocery stores and gas stations should remain open, he said, adding that there was “no alternative” than to declare a state of emergency.

“The suggestion is that unprotected contacts must be banned, otherwise we will break like a rattle and only then will it be clear what that means when the health system breaks down,” said Kon.

Daily cases have risen sharply in the nation from 8.7 million, and health officials blame a recent surge on Serbs who mingle at parties and nightclubs, as well as in the ski resorts that have been open all winter. Authorities have reported more than 3,000 new cases a day for the past week, and there are currently more than 4,000 hospitalized with the virus.

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There was no immediate government response to the lockdown call.

The recent surge in cases is due to the latest figures from the Serbian mass vaccination program showing that 1 million people have been vaccinated to date, mostly with China’s Sinopharm shocks, as well as Pfizer-BioNTech, Sputnik V and more recently Oxford / AstraZeneca.

On Tuesday, President Aleksandar Vucic flew to Sarajevo to deliver 10,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to the Bosnian authorities. This was an act of solidarity when he called for cooperation between the Balkan countries in combating the pandemic.

Serbia recorded over 460,000 Covid infections and more than 4,400 deaths last year.

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