COVID-19: The Situation in Serbia is Catastrophic at Times
In Serbia, certificates for restaurants become mandatory after 8 pm on Monday. However, most Serbs believe the measures are not enough. More than 56 per cent of Serbs have been vaccinated, but the number of new infections is high and hospitals are full.
They estimated that Belgrade's fairgrounds would be spacious enough to accommodate those wishing to be immunized. It rains at the beginning of the weekday, and there are enough people to fill all the booths.
But doctors are not impressed. They are used to long queues. More than 56 per cent of Serbs have a vaccine, and for some it is time for a third dose. However, the last covid wave for them is very heavy.
"Currently, the situation is critical and at times catastrophic. Which means that sometimes there are no places to accommodate patients. For a month and a half now we have over 6,000 new infections on a weekly basis," said Dr. Predrag Kon, chief epidemiologist, Crisis headquarters of the Republic of Serbia.
The fifth wave is once again filling the capacity of the new hospital, built only for covid patients 11 months ago.
"This hospital was built in just 4 months, it is the largest in Europe, it has 930 beds in intensive and semi-intensive wards," added Dr. Snezana Adzic, director of the Covid Hospital in Batajnica.
The hospital is located on the outskirts of Belgrade, and two more covid hospitals have been built in the country. But now all three are on the brink, it is already being considered which of the other hospitals will also switch to covid mode. And the oxygen plant in the yard of the one in Bataynitsa is working at full speed.
"Our worst victims are precisely this delta variant of the coronavirus. And they all need oxygen. We waste between 15 and 20 tons of oxygen a day," added Dr. Snezana Adzic.
Serbia was one of the first in Europe to start vaccinating in February, receiving quantities from Pfizer. A little later, the vaccination was intensified with the Russian Sputnik, the Chinese Sinopharm, and Astra Zeneca. But despite good vaccination coverage, the virus regains its strength.
"As the protection of the first vaccinated began to weaken and now they need to be revaccinated, the infection began to recur in 10 percent of those who survived, measures and wearing masks are not followed," said Dr. Predrag Kon.
So now is the time for the young, doctors say. The establishments started demanding a green certificate after 10 pm, their interest in vaccines increased slightly. But not enough, said the health center in Nis. Of those vaccinated here today, only 20 percent have a first needle.
"As of November 1, we have a slight decline in examinations - 2,800 examinations, 300 positive ones. But so far we have not returned anyone, and all three outpatient covid centers in Nis are busy, but so far they are enough. The peak is now mainly due to this that 70 percent of young people have not yet been vaccinated," explained Dr. Daniela Cvetkovic, head of the general medicine medical service in Nis.
"We have a lot of initiatives to stimulate vaccination, but the anti-vaccination lobby is really strong. I am personally surprised that there are some famous doctors among them who probably get a lot of money but also have 2 doses of the vaccine," said Dragana Sotirovic, mayor of Nis.
Experts in Serbia are pushing for green certificates to become mandatory anywhere, anytime. But for now, politicians have decided that it is enough for restaurants to require certificates from their customers from 8 pm instead of 10 pm. A small step towards achieving the desired 75 percent collective immunity.
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