BiH entity enters lockdown amid rising COVID-19 cases

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 22, 2021
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SARAJEVO, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Republika Srpska (RS), one of the two entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), enters the lockdown amid a surge in new COVID-19 cases, its government said on Sunday.

The government of RS has ordered elementary and high schools to switch online and bars, restaurants, shopping malls, theaters, cinemas, museums, galleries and ski centers to be closed.

The order is effective immediately and will be in force until March 29. Hotels are only allowed to serve food and drinks to their overnight guests or for delivery service.

Some previously introduced protective measures have also been extended, such as prohibiting all public gatherings of more than 30 people, and private gatherings of more than 10 people, the operation of fitness clubs, beauty salons and swimming pools.

"We need to take preventive measures seriously as this is the only way we can stop the spread of the pandemic. These orders have been brought to protect the citizens and relieve the pressure on medical workers," said Milorad Dodik, chairman of the Presidency of BiH, at a press conference in Banjaluka, some 190 km northwest of the capital Sarajevo.

Five of the ten cantons in the Federation of BiH, the other BiH entity, have stepped up the preventive measures over the past few days, as the country is facing a third wave of the pandemic.

Over the past 24 hours, the country reported 1,050 new cases of COVID-19 and 47 deaths, of which RS accounted for 187 and 11 respectively.

Mass vaccination has not yet started in BiH as the country is still waiting for the delivery of more than 1.2 million vaccine doses acquired through the COVAX Facility -- an international initiative co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners to ensure equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines -- and the European Union.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in an increasing number of countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.

Meanwhile, 264 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide -- 82 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain, and the United States, according to information released by WHO on March 16.

To date, BiH has recorded a total of 153,710 cases of COVID-19 and 5,864 related deaths. Enditem

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