Overview of the Situation with COVID-19 in the BalkansHealth | December 17, 2021, Friday // 14:54| views
In most Balkan countries, the situation with the spread of the coronavirus remains worrying. In some countries, the incidence is declining, but in others, the prevalence of coronavirus remains high. The new variant of COVID-19 Omicron, which has already been detected in seven countries - Turkey, Romania, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Cyprus - is of great concern.
More than 300 new cases of COVID-19 have been registered in Albania in recent days. There are not many deaths in the country (several people a day).
Since the beginning of the pandemic in Albania, nearly 205,000 cases of coronavirus infection have been registered and more than 3,150 people have died.
To date, 2.22 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the country. 998 thousand people or 35 percent of the country's population have been fully vaccinated.
The vaccines of Pizer / Biontech, AstraZeneca, the Russian Sputnik V and the Chinese CoronaVac of the Sinovac company are allowed to be administered in Albania.
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
This week, health authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina took steps to make vaccines more accessible amid public distrust and misinformation. Vaccines against COVID-19 are being placed in municipal centers and large stores in Sarajevo.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been about 12,900 COVID-19-related deaths in the country.
The vaccination rate in Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the lowest in Europe. Less than a quarter of Bosnia and Herzegovina's 3.3 million people have been vaccinated.
Greek authorities announced yesterday that they would introduce a PCR test on December 19 for all those arriving in the country. The measure will be applied at all border crossings in the country and covers both vaccinated and unvaccinated citizens. 19 cases of Omicron coronavirus have already been detected in the country.
The vaccination campaign for children between the ages of 5 and 11 was launched in Greece on December 15th. Immunizations of children are made in vaccination centers in 75 regions of the country. More than 30,000 applications for vaccination of children in this age group have already been made.
According to experts, half of the unvaccinated citizens over the age of 60 will be vaccinated by January 16. The government has announced that it will impose fines on unvaccinated people and impose strict restrictions on elderly people who have not been vaccinated with a third dose.
The death toll from COVID-19 in Greece remains high. On December 14, 130 deaths were registered in the country, the second largest in the country since the pandemic began.
Late last week, Greek authorities announced they would not impose special measures against COVID-19 in their winter resorts, nor did they plan to restrict travel between districts. The government wants to avoid a lockdown during the Christmas holidays at all costs.
At the same time, it was announced this week that the Counter-Terrorism Department in Greece will participate in the investigation of the activities of groups that oppose the health protocols and vaccination imposed due to KOVID-19.
The Greek Civil Aviation Authority has announced a change in the validity of the COVID-19 certificates, which are accepted for entry into the country. The term is reduced from 180 to 90 days.
At the end of last week, the first three cases of Omicron coronavirus were registered in Cyprus, and more cases with the new variant were reported in the following days.
Meanwhile, new measures against the spread of COVID-19 came into force in the country on December 15th. The measures are aimed at unvaccinated and vaccinated persons. Citizens who come in contact with a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 should undergo an antigenic test within 72 hours and a free PCR test on the seventh day of contact. An exception is made only for those with three doses.
Mandatory quarantine in places specified by the Ministry of Health is provided for persons who have tested positive for Omicron. Self-isolation is required for citizens who have been in contact with an infected person, regardless of their vaccination coverage.
The Cypriot government has decided to revoke the health certificate for all those who have not been vaccinated with the third dose within seven months of the second dose.
Until January 31, events such as weddings, baptisms and restaurants in hotel complexes will be open only to vaccinated persons.
A mandatory test for COVID-19 has been introduced for the citizens arriving on the island.
Vaccination of children between the ages of 5 and 11 has also started in Cyprus this week.
In recent weeks, the number of those infected in Kosovo has been declining. On December 14, only 10 cases of newly infected with KOVID-19 were reported.
So far, 1.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Kosovo, and nearly 772,000 people have received two doses of the vaccine. The third dose of vaccination began late last week.
With a population of 1.87 million, Kosovo is ahead of many of its neighbors in terms of vaccination.
REPUBLIC OF NORTH MACEDONIA
48 percent of the adult citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia have been fully vaccinated
During the last 24 hours, 298 new infections and ten deaths from COVID-19 were reported.
Authorities in the country have ordered 10,000 doses of Pfizer pediatric vaccine, which will arrive along with another 40,000 doses of this vaccine for the elderly. At its meeting on Wednesday, the government adopted a decision to supply 500,000 doses of Pfizer's product for 2022, including pediatric doses.
More than 10 cases of Omicron have been confirmed in Romania last week.
Despite the presence of this variant of the coronavirus, the country has reported an improvement in the epidemiological situation in recent weeks. The incidence in Bucharest fell below one in 1,000. On December 13th, Romania registered the lowest level of COVID-19 infection since August (only 494 new cases).
Testing of students in Romania continues twice a week - on Mondays and Thursdays - with non-invasive saliva-based tests.
As of December 20, 2021, Romania introduces a requirement for those arriving in the country to fill in an electronic form (Passenger Location Form-PLF), the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced yesterday.
The measure is valid for all citizens (Romanians and foreigners) who enter the territory of Romania or pass through the country. The form can be filled in electronically through the platform https://plf.gov.ro and does not need to be printed. This must be done up to 24 hours before entering the country or, exceptionally, a maximum of 24 hours after entering. Failure to comply with the measure will be punished by a fine of 2,000 to 3,000 Romanian lei (400-600 euros).
The first case of Omicron coronavirus infection was confirmed in Slovenia on 14 December.
The average seven-day incidence is 1,352 cases per day. More than 800 people are in hospital with COVID-19, of which more than 200 are in intensive care units.
56 percent of the country's population has already been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The first case of seasonal flu was diagnosed in Serbia on Wednesday, and a new variant of the coronavirus Omicron is expected to be discovered at any moment, which will circulate both viruses in the country, Serbian epidemiologists warn. It is not ruled out that Omicron will already be present in Serbia. Epidemiologists expect an increase in infected people in the second half of January.
At this stage, however, the number of newly infected is declining.
Health authorities are urging people to get vaccinated with a third dose, because with a third dose, protection against Omicron is 75 to 80 percent.
The first shipment of 11,500 boxes of molnupiravir arrived in Serbia on Wednesday, the new anti-COVID-19 drug from the US company MSD, which has agreed to deliver 50,000 packages.
In recent days, about 20,000 newly infected with COVID-19 and about 180 deaths a day have been reported in Turkey. Six cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus have been detected in the country.
Turkish health authorities announced this week that they are reducing the period between the second and third dose of the coronavirus vaccine from six months to three months.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said the decision was made in order to avoid the country's increase in the daily incidence of coronavirus in Europe and, above all, to counter the spread of Omicron.
82.3 percent of the population is already fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, on December 15th, five major Turkish medical unions staged a one-day strike to protest low wages and harsh working conditions amid a currency crash.
The average number of newly infected people in Croatia remains high, at around 4,500 a day, and the number of deaths is high.
On December 13th, 48,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Croatia to vaccinate children between the ages of 5 and 11. Health officials said "children between the ages of 5 and 11 will receive two doses of the same vaccine as adults, but the children's vaccine contains one-third of the adult dose." About 6,400 children between the ages of 12 and 14 (over 5 percent) and about 55,000 young people between the ages of 15 and 19 have been vaccinated against COVID-19 so far.
The Montenegrin Institute of Public Health has confirmed five cases of Omicron coronavirus infection. The infected are in good general health, with mild symptoms.
The average number of people infected with the coronavirus last week was 177 people per day.
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