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As covid cases surge, some Balkan countries resort to more restrictions

As the numbers of new covid-19 infections and deaths continued to rise quickly in some Balkan countries, a number of them resorted to more and more restrictive measures.

Sofia, 8 October 2021 (BTA/MIA) — As the numbers of new covid-19 infections and deaths continued to rise quickly in some Balkan countries, a number of them resorted to more and more restrictive measures.

Romania: The epidemic situation deteriorated, with the number of new daily infections exceeding 15,000. An absolute record of patients in severe condition was also registered with 1,500 currently in ICUs.

Masks, both indoors and in busy outdoor places, have been mandatory in Bucharest for a week now.

Outdoor and indoor sports events may be organized only at 50 percent of the maximum capacity of the respective facility; cinemas, theaters, and concert halls also operate up to 50 percent of their capacity and in keeping with anti-epidemic measures.

Romanian Education Minister Sorin Cimpeanu said at this point in-person classes will continue, regardless of the morbidity levels in the respective settlements.

Turkey: In spite of the fast vaccination rollout, the number of infections with the new delta variant continues to rise, recently reaching some 30,000 a day.

This week Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Hoca said 50 percent of the infected were under 30. The highest mortality from the virus was recorded in people over 70, he added.

Meanwhile, Turkey is preparing to put in motion a winter plan to fight the pandemic. One important step in this plan is to promote vaccination with the Turkish vaccine Turkovac, which is expected to receive emergency use approval in November or December.

Greece: Introduced local restrictions against the spread of covid-19 in many regions of Northern and Central Greece as of Oct. 1. The red zone on the country’s epidemiological map now includes the regions of Larissa, Chalkidiki, Kilkis and Thessaloniki, where the share of vaccinated is relatively low. A curfew has been imposed in these places from 1 am to 6 am, except on urgent business or for medical reasons. Music in catering establishments is forbidden.

Local restrictions were extended in the regions units of Pieria, Imathia, Pella, Kavala, Kastoria, Xanthi, and Drama. The authorities have alerted that the growing number of cases among children is concerning.

Meanwhile, the gradual opening of universities began this week without any considerable concern as a large portion of the teaching staff and the students are vaccinated.

On Wednesday, Greek Health Minister Athanassios Plevris said vaccinated people would be able to move about without any restrictions, even in the coronavirus “red” zones.

North Macedonia: This week North Macedonia’s Health Minister Venko Filipche said a Pfizer booster dose would be recommended to all citizens, regardless of age or the presence of chronic conditions.

At this point North Macedonia does not plan to introduce any new anti-covid measures, as the number of hospitalized has dropped. Filipche said the situation with the infection was stable as the number of new infections had remained almost identical for some time, ranging between 450 and 500 a day.

Serbia: The country has registered some 950,000 cases since the beginning of the pandemic and nearly 8,500 deaths.

On Thursday, Minister of Innovation and Technological Development Nenad Popovic said Serbia had produced 1.4 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine through Russian technology. Four million doses would be produced by the end of the year, he added.

Croatia: The number of new infections continues to rise. So far, nearly 414,000 cases have been registered as well as 8,730 deaths. A total of 3.46 million doses of vaccine have been administered and 42.5 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

Montenegro: Montenegro is one of the few Balkan countries where the number of infections have been declining in the past weeks. According to data published by Reuters, the average number of daily infections stands at 392.

About 35 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

Albania: The situation is relatively normal, with an average 513 new infections a day registered in the past few weeks. So far, a total of 173,723 infections have been recorded, as well as 2,746 deaths. Some 1.8 million vaccines have been administered.

Cyprus: The spread of the coronavirus has been diminishing over the past week. A single death of a covid-19 patient was reported on Oct. 6 and the positive tests on the same day numbered one hundred.

So far, 1.17 million vaccine doses have been administered in the country.

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