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Coronavirus Crisis HQ meets: Decisions made on measures for New Year and Orthodox Christmas

The medical part of the Crisis HQ was united in opposing organized celebrations

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Photo: Tanjug/Nikola Andjic

At today's session, the Crisis HQ decided that there would be no organized celebrations on New Year's Eve or in the following days, i.e., that hospitality establishments would be allowed to stay open until 6 pm on December 31 and January 1, Tanjug was told by the Serbian government.

Grocery stores will be open until 8 pm.

Until January 11, except on December 31 and January 1, valid measures remain in force - all opening hours are until 8 pm.

The session of the Crisis HQ was held today at the Palace of Serbia and there was no official address to the media afterwards. Instead, a press conference should be held tomorrow starting at 3 pm, and detailed decisions of the HQ will be presented then.

All the statements by epidemiologists during the past weekend were made in a similar tone.

Epidemiologist Predrag Kon said that they were against relaxing the measures for the holidays, even if the number of new daily cases halved. He also said that the medical part of the Crisis HQ was ready to protest.

"A protest means that we are ready to clearly show that we are against any organization of celebrations, because that can only make the situation worse. Especially now that our hospitals are full. The curve is falling a little now, but it's far from good. We in the Crisis HQ must be clear and I say that we are against any kind of celebrations," Kon said today, adding that it was certainly up to the government to decide.

There is a possibility to allow hospitality establishments to stay open until 10 pm, although the medical part of the Crisis HQ is against that as well.


Medical part against celebrations

Professor Dr. Branislav Tiodorovic said that there is no chance to be welcoming 2021 in taverns, or in any other kind of organized parties.

"Postpone the celebrations to defeat this contagion! We will certainly not celebrate the New Year as we did before. The medical part of the Crisis HQ will not agree that clubs, restaurants and cafes stay open until 1 or 2 o'clock after midnight. We must not take any risks and allow gatherings, because that would make the already serious situation even worse. The epidemiological picture is slightly better than it had been, the numbers are slowly falling, but we are far from where we would like to be. Our hospitals are still full, especially in large clinical centers in Belgrade, Nis, Novi Sad and Kragujevac," said Dr. Tiodorovic.

Mayor of Belgrade Zoran Radojicic agreed with this saying that his position is clear - that there should be no organized New Year's Eve gatherings.

He pointed out that he is strictly against any relaxation of measures for the New Year holiday, on December 31 and January 1 and 2, and that he expects the decision of the Crisis HQ to be the same.

"My position is that there is no doubt that there will be no gatherings for New Year's Eve. This is the only way we will continue the positive trend in the fight against coronavirus and I believe that the Crisis HQ will decide that as well," Radojicic said during the weekend, adding that a "more modest" welcome of the New Year lends itself to greater intimacy in the family circle, which he said is not a negligible aspect.


Vesic: The city does not object

On the other hand, Deputy Mayor of Belgrade Goran Vesic said that the City of Belgrade does not oppose an organized celebration of New Year's Eve.

Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabic said on Saturday that conditions under which we will see off this and welcome the New Year will be known on Tuesday.

She also said that communication between government representatives and experts in the Crisis HQ is excellent, although there are disagreements sometimes.

"The medical part is taking care of the protection of the healthcare system and the health of the citizens, and I, as the prime minister and the others from the economic part of the Crisis HQ have to look at some other things, how those measures affect the economy. This fight is enormously expensive, it takes away about a million euros or more from us every day. The testing alone costs 700-720,000 euros a day,when you do 20,000 tests," said Brnabic.

Video: New Year celebrations could lead to a new wave from January 15: What measures will be taken during the holidays


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