Loncar: We are ready for coronavirus if it reaches Serbia; WHO: Serbia well prepared

There is absolutely no room for panic, which is beginning to spread due to the new coronavirus, Health Minister Zlatibor Loncar said today

Source: Beta, Tanjug

Loncar emphasized that the situation in Serbia is far from alarming.

Loncar explained to RTS that at the moment, according to the most recent data, there are 26 million people with seasonal influenza in the United States, including 14.000 deaths, while 98% of those infected with the new coronavirus are cured without any consequences.

"The problem is acute only when it comes to older men who are affected with some additional illnesses. In young people, middle-aged people and children, the virus passes and they don't know they had a coronavirus," Loncar said.

That, he stressed, does not mean that those in charge will relax.

"All the measures we take to prepare ourselves to do what the profession requires are efficient. For this reason, our daily meetings and consultations are with the profession, the World Health Organization and people with experience," Loncar said.

He warns that the state cannot wash its hands instead of citizens or avoid going indoors where there are many people. "We are moving on to global politics, to conspiracy theories, but we are not going to go out and say what we need to do specifically in this case. The state is doing its part, but I ask the citizens to do what is for their own sake and for the sake of their children, ”Loncar points out.

The minister stressed that people coming from China, as well as citizens returning from Italy, are being controlled.

"There are different algorithms that you have to follow. You know exactly when those things intersect, who is interesting and who is not. Don't expect anyone to rush to look at him. It's a matter of seeing what we can do," says Loncar.

He urged citizens not to go without urgent need to areas affected with flu.

"If you have already been, at least be so responsible, so follow the measures we recommend. Contact your nearest Public Health Institute, say where you were and if you have any symptoms. Avoid contact with people. Don't go with a bunch of people if you don't know if you contracted the virus or not. It may not be a problem to you, but it might endanger an older person", Loncar explains. He also appeals to the media not to spread misinformation and fake news.

"No one can guarantee that the virus will not come to Serbia or that it will come today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow ... But everything else depends on us. We are absolutely ready, but a lot depends on the reaction", Loncar concluded.

WHO Director for Europe: Serbia well prepared for Covid-19

WHO Regional Director for Europe, Dr Hans Kluge, who arrived on a visit to Serbia, said that our country had a very good understanding of the coronavirus readiness.

"This month, the WHO Emergency Team in Serbia has been working very closely with national experts to assess the willingness of international airports and health facilities to deal with the virus. It is my great pleasure to say that the feedback we have received from our team is very positive", Kluge told "Politico".

In 2018, he explains, an international independent evaluation team evaluated Serbia's capacity to prevent, detect and respond to health emergencies and crises in accordance with the International Health Regulations.

"That assessment showed that your country is well prepared to deal with all types of health hazards and emergencies, including the outbreak of epidemics that pose a worldwide health threat," he said.

Kluge emphasizes that infectious diseases do not respect borders and that no country is immune to the entry of corona virus.

According to him, research for the development of a vaccine for the corona virus is underway, so clinical trials can begin in three to four months.

During his stay in Serbia, Kluge will meet with Minister of Health Zlatibor Loncar, and it is planned to sign a cooperation agreement.

"This is a roadmap for our work together over the next two years that will take our collaboration to the next level," he said.

He will discuss with Prime Minister Ana Brnabic the progress Serbia is making and the challenges it faces in the health sector, while meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic would be the highlight of his visit.


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