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Serbian scenario is underway: New rigorous measures depend on today's data; there has been a jump

* We have reached the maximum of 160 new coronavirus cases * If a 24-hour curfew is introduced prematurely, the epidemic may return later, but it would be much milder * The virus lives inside a person, in order to continue living it must switch to another person

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Photo: Tanjug/Vlada RS/Slobodan Miljevic

Whether Serbia will introduce more rigorous measures, including a 24-hour quarantine, depends a lot on the information we will get today about the number of new patients and deaths from coronavirus, says Predrag Kon, the chief of the Infectious Diseases Unit of the City Institute of Public Health and member of the Government's COVID Crisis HQ. He also said that if a 24-hour curfew was introduced too early, the epidemic could return later, but it would be much milder.

He stresses that "the Serbian scenario" is underway, of which we will not be ashamed in the end.

"The profession made its recommendations at the beginning, namely, reduced contact, first there was the introduction of emergency measures, the restriction of movement and the change in the duration of the curfew. We are before the very end of it, we powered through 4 weeks. The decision whether to introduce something more rigorous depends on the immediate situation. We reached the marked maximum, of 160 (new) patients. There has been a jump. What new measures there will be will depend on a lot of the information we get today. Certainly, imposing a 24-hour quarantine is something that is in the consideration phase," said Dr. Kon.

Why 24-hour quarantine is considered

"I tried to explain why this is being thought about. The virus, if it suddenly starts to spread and we can't control the situation, then introducing 24-hour quarantine is inevitable. The virus lives inside a person. It either causes serious illness or death of that person. In order to continue living it must switch to another person. If, during a two-week incubation period, transmission is prevented, the virus dies. After that 14-day period, only those who were initially ill are left and then the virus has nowhere to go," explained Dr Kohn, reiterating that the decision on such a measure will not be one for medical professionals:

"The professionals gave their recommendation at the beginning. Of course, if (the measure) is carried out prematurely, the virus will return again and we'll start over, and there will once again be an epidemic, although far smaller, but it will happen. This is the essence of what the profession has explained, while the decision- making depends directly on the whole society and those in power."

We are not superheroes, measures have given results

Asked if the number of infected people in our country is increasing at a slower rate than in other countries, he said that we are not protected by the border, but also that in Serbia the exact same scenario would have happened as in Italy had the measures not been taken.

"We are fortunate that we were not the first country to be hit. There was Italy. If someone thinks that the Italian scenario wouldn't have happened in Serbia, they don't understand. In Serbia, the exact same scenario would have happened had the measures not been taken. If anyone thinks that we are only protected by the border, it's clear that we are not. The severity of the situation is seen when a health system collapses. We will certainly have the Serbian scenario and it is ongoing. Why do I say this? Because when we talk about numbers we have to be clear that our numbers are smaller not because we are superheroes, instead that's a direct consequence of everything that has been done," he said.

He explained that medical professionals consider mild symptoms to be when a patient doesn't have difficulty breathing, when exchange of gases is not compromised:

"We treat it all as mild even if a person is running a 39 degree fever. High temperature is just one characteristic. Anything below 38 is considered mild. However, there are chronic patients, especially diabetics, cardiovascular, pulmonary, with whom each fever is taken much more seriously because it leads to a rapid deterioration.

Kon's message to everyone that is that we will overcome this.

"We will withstand everything that is happening. We will have the Serbian scenario that we will have no reason to be ashamed of. Cheers! All the best."

Take a look at the current table of coronavirus cases and deaths in our region:

Tabela region, korona virus

Illustration: Telegraf

Video: Remarkable address by Dr. Predrag Kon when everyone thought the press conference was over


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