The Situation with COVID-19 in the Balkans
The epidemiological situation continues to deteriorate in most Balkan countries, forcing some of them to introduce stricter local restrictive measures. At the same time, efforts by the authorities to stimulate vaccination continue, with a third dose of the vaccine already being offered in some countries.
More than 106.89 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in TURKEY since the start of the immunization campaign in January. More than 55.18 million people received the first dose and more than 43 million were fully vaccinated.
Data from the health ministry on September 23 show that 85.69 percent of the country's adult population has received at least one dose of the two-phase vaccines. Turkey has delivered a third booster dose to more than 10.03 million people.
The highest percentage of Turkish citizens fully vaccinated against KOVID-19 is in the Kirklareli district bordering Bulgaria, where 77 percent of the population has completed a vaccination course. In second place in terms of the number of vaccinated is the western district of Mugla, and the worst situation is in the southeastern district of Sanliurfa, where 41 percent of the population is fully immunized.
Nearly 84 percent of the population in Istanbul has already been vaccinated against COVID-19 with at least one dose, and 67.5 percent have been fully vaccinated.
According to the latest data, 68 percent of Turks over the age of 18 have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, and 85 percent have received the first dose of vaccine.
The country registered 27,844 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours with 356,132 tests performed, and 217 people died.
The GREECE government has decided to offer a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine to vulnerable groups who need to boost their immunity. The vaccination campaign is aimed at groups at high risk of infection. It will cover nursing homes, people over the age of 60 and medical staff.
The application of the third dose will not be mandatory, but recommended, said the Secretary General of the Ministry of Health Marios Themistocleus. Vaccines with mRNA technology will be used as a booster dose.
In the last 24 hours, Greece has registered 2,125 new cases of coronavirus infection in 151,279 tests. Positive tests are 1.4 percent. In the same interval, 31 patients with COVID-19 died, bringing the total number of victims since the beginning of the pandemic to 14,606 people. 331 patients with KOVID-19 are on respirators.
ROMANIA reports an increase in new cases of COVID-19, which has exceeded 7,000 in recent days, and the increase in the number of severe cases has raised concerns about a possible shortage of places in intensive care units.
Against the background of the deteriorating epidemiological situation, a number of settlements have introduced new restrictive measures. The city of Timisoara, where the incidence has reached 4.49 per 1,000 inhabitants, has returned to night quarantine on weekends between 8pm and 5am, and shops are due to close on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 6pm.
Three counties and the capital, Bucharest, are in a red scenario with an incidence of more than 3 per 1,000 inhabitants, which means that access to restaurants, cafes, bars, gyms, cultural events and private events such as weddings and baptisms requires a green vaccination certificate. illness or a negative AKP result or a rapid test.
The situation has led to increased interest in vaccination, with the daily number of vaccinated in recent days exceeding 18,000 compared to 8000-9000 in previous weeks. In Romania, 10,006,305 doses of vaccine have been given to 5,426,518 people so far, of which 5,298,707 are completed.
Authorities said a third dose of the vaccine would begin on September 28. It will be available to people who have been vaccinated more than six months ago, with priority given to vulnerable categories such as people over 65, people with chronic illnesses or immune deficiencies, and health and education staff.
The health authorities in the REPUBLIC OF NORTH MACEDONIA have recommended that a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine be given to healthcare workers, citizens over the age of 60 and citizens with compromised immunity.
According to the recommendations, the third dose should be from the manufacturer Pfizer and should be administered six months after the second dose. Citizens will receive an invitation by SMS from the specialized system, as was done at the beginning of vaccination.
The Minister of Health Venko Filipche pointed out that all citizens, regardless of which vaccine they were initially immunized with, can be vaccinated with a third dose. He assured that there are enough vaccines and specified that the process will start on Monday.
According to him, the number of new cases of COVID-19 in North Macedonia has reached a plateau in recent days, equaling to about 500 per day, which does not impose additional pressure on the health system.
Despite declining interest in vaccination, he said 37 percent of the population or 700,000 people were fully vaccinated. According to him, there is a constant interest of 1,500 to 2,000 people a day who come to receive the vaccine. Filipche added that 74 percent of the population over the age of 70, 65 percent of the population over the age of 60 and 60 percent of the population over the age of 50 have been vaccinated with at least one dose so far.
The health ministry said it would begin an analysis of the country's high mortality rate. In view of the fact that most of the deaths from COVID-19 had two chronic diseases, the ministry will screen the population, examine the type of chronic diseases, control examinations, treatment and the approach to health care.
The situation in SERBIA remains serious. In the last 24 hours, 6,480 new cases of coronavirus infection have been confirmed in the country, and 41 people have died. There are 5,197 patients with COVID-19 in hospitals in the country, and 191 people are on respirators.
The head of the World Health Organization's office in Serbia, Marian Ivanusha, said the coronavirus situation was very serious and could continue for a long time. "Every day in Serbia, as many people die as there are passengers on a bus, if that is not worrying, I do not know what it is," he stressed.
In half a year, from a record number of vaccinated, Serbia became the first in Europe and the second in the world in the number of newly infected, local media commented.
More than 41 per cent of MONTENEGRO citizens have been vaccinated so far, Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic said. He specified that currently 41.7 percent of adult citizens in Montenegro have been vaccinated.
The laboratory of the Institute of Public Health of Montenegro, which summarizes the test results of all private and state centers in the country, has registered 568 new cases of coronavirus infection in the past 24 hours with a total of 3817 samples processed.
According to the current rules, all immunized people entering Montenegro must prove that at least 14 days have passed since their vaccination. For others, a negative AKP test not older than 72 hours is required; a positive AKP issued at least 14 days ago and at most 180 days ago, or a negative rapid antigen test valid for up to 48 hours.
Montenegro remains on the red list of countries with a high level of COVID-19.
ALBANIA's expert committee decided on September 22nd to extend the current measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 for another two weeks.
A curfew is currently in force in Albania between 11 pm and 6 am. Only people who travel for urgent reasons or who have permission to do so are allowed to leave their homes during this interval.
Groups of up to 50 people are allowed, and sporting or cultural events are allowed when up to 30 percent of the capacity is full. The same rule applies to the organization of conferences and other similar events. Wearing masks is mandatory in public places indoors.
Upon entry into Albania, regardless of nationality or purpose of travel, the presentation of a valid vaccination certificate, a negative SGP test or a serological test is required.
The head of the National Emergency Service, Skender Bratai, said there was a reduction in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country at the moment and the situation was under control. Vaccination levels remain low, although vaccines are free and available to anyone over the age of 18, he noted.
During the past 24 hours, 820 new infections were registered in the country, 5544 tests were performed, and eight people died. 18 patients are in serious condition.
On September 20th, the Albanian government launched a mandatory vaccination against students and university professors against KOVID-19. Prime Minister Edi Rama called on students to be vaccinated before the start of the academic year next month. The vaccination of all students and university professors is planned to be completed within this month.
University medical staff must also be vaccinated. Yesterday, the parliament decided on mandatory vaccination of all MPs against coronavirus.
The Ministry of Labor of SLOVENIA stated that workers from home will also have to have a vaccination certificate having passed COVID or a negative coronavirus test.
Slovenia has introduced COVID certificates for work, entry into shopping malls, healthcare facilities, travel by public transport in addition to students, for various services and public institutions.
The ministry has now announced that workers from home have not been released from the obligation to present a vaccination certificate, COVID or a negative test.
If workers from home do not have a certificate, they must be tested with a rapid antigen test for self-testing at least once a week, and then send the employer a document with the date of testing, test result and signature. The costs of testing are borne by the employer.
If the employee does not do so, he is considered to have violated the obligations arising from the employment relationship and the employer may sanction him in accordance with the employment law, the ministry explained.
CROATIA reported that over 80 per cent of new cases of coronavirus infection and of patients with COVID-19 on respirators in the last seven days were not vaccinated against the disease.
In the same seven-day period, Croatia registered 8,210 new cases and 547 new hospitalizations, and 77 people needed a respirator. A total of 72 percent of those hospitalized were unvaccinated.
COVID-19 claimed the lives of 82 people in Croatia last week, 78 per cent of whom were unvaccinated.
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