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"Whether or not I understand protest, it's up to me to bring measures. We won't punish these cities"

As we are learning, there is a possibility of new Covid hospitals in Cacak, Gornji Milanovac, or Loznica

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Aleksadnar Vucic

Photo: Tanjug/Dragan Kujundzic

After today's meeting with directors of Covid hospitals, Minister of Health Zlatibor Loncar said that he may or may not understand last night's protest, but that it is up to him as the responsible minister to implement measures to save human health and lives, whether someone likes it or not.

Loncar said that regarding the introduction of a curfew, epidemiologists are still waiting to consider the number of those infected, tested, and all the other factors, and that everything will be known after the Crisis HQ meets. He pointed out that those cities and towns that respect anti-coronavirus measures and do not have a problem will not be punished.

He also pointed out that no one benefits from a ban on movement because the economy stops, VAT is not collected...

"I may or may not have understanding, but I think that at this moment it doesn't matter, it is up to me to bring all those measures that will save human lives and health. Whether somebody will like it or not - I don't want anyone on my conscience. Some will like it and some will not. When we had those measures, we had a result and we kept the situation under control. Therefore, we must take action. And why would someone, and who would benefit from restricting someone's movement, why would someone do that - with the economy stopping, no VAT collection - except for the reason of preventing the growth in the number of patients, preventing them getting on ventilators," said Loncar.

He stated that the decision on the curfew will be known after the Crisis HQ meeting, which will be held after epidemiologists look at the situation.

"The decision will be known at the Crisis HQ. We are waiting for our epidemiologists, as you can see, each of them has their own position. They have to look at the number of those infected, the number of tested, the situation in clinics, how they react, which measures can be applied in which places. We will try not to punish anyone where measures are respected, like in Sremska Mitrovica, but look at Belgrade... We have two more days to bring the best possible measures, which will result in not having this number of patients who have to go to the hospital and this number of infected people," said Loncar.

He reiterated that there is no health system in the world that can withstand a population acting as if there is no coronavirus and then being able to treat all of them.

"The only thing everyone needs to do is change their habits. We've gotten used to wearing masks, if we all respected that we would have less problems. There are patients other than Covid ones. While we are talking, traffic accidents are happening, people fall from buildings, people have cardiovascular, orthopedic problems. So I would plea with everyone, if they wish the best on themselves and their loved ones to keep all that in mind. The system can withstand up to a point, but no system can withstand receiving all citizens (at once) due to irresponsible behavior. Now we need unity the most because we don't know enough about coronavirus," he said and added that there are enough beds in hospitals for the next two days and that outside of Belgrade two complete Covid hospital with 400 beds are being prepared.

As we learned, Cigota on Mt. Zlatibor is also included in the Covid system, while hospitals in Cacak, Gornji Milanovac or Loznica will also possibly enter this system.

Stevanovic: Patients stay in hospitals for a long time

The director of the Clinic for Infectious and Tropical Diseases of the Clinical Center of Serbia, Doctor Goran Stevanovic, said that coronavirus patients experiencing minimal changes are placed in the Belgrade Arena, while those who have more difficult symptoms are in hospitals. He said that patients stay in the hospital for an average of two to three weeks, while those who are put in intensive care units stay up to 5 to 6 weeks.

"Hospital capacities are filling up at a great pace. Patients are extremely demanding treatment-wise, they very often need oxygen replenishment, and what is a big problem is the average length of stay in hospitals from two to three weeks, and that's not in intensive care, where the stay is 5 to 6 weeks," said Stevanovic.

Video: With a new video clip, the Government of Serbia is urging respect of protection measures and prevention of the spread of coronavirus


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