Taking off the masks – Not yet, but soon!

Serbia has seen a drop in new cases in recent days and shopping malls were opened yesterday.

Source: B92
EPA/Georgi Licovski
EPA/Georgi Licovski

Students will soon return to schools, and it seems that Serbia is slowly easing measures.

During the week, the Crisis Staff will review the request to allow the reopening of the indoor sections of the catering facilities.

However, many bans considered as strict measures will remain imposed, such as the ban on gatherings of more than five persons. This means that sports events will be played without fans, there will be no wedding functions or parties. The relaxation of these measures is directly connected with the number of patients and exclusively approved by the medical part of the Crisis Staff.

"In order to remove the bans on gatherings, restricted to five persons at the moment, and to lift all other measures, we need to reach double-digits on a daily basis, i.e., to bring the number of infected below 100," said the epidemiologist and the member of the Crisis Staff prof. Dr. Branislav Tiodorovic.

He added that despite the days with 30-40 infected recorded on a daily basis, our next, first goal is to bring the number below 1,000.

We need to continue our work on reaching the magic double-digit number. However, the way things will go depends solely on our own behavior and the immunization process. But when see students partying, dancing on squares and around monuments, crowded city, I can't be optimistic and I don't know what to say when that will happen ", says Dr. Tiodorovic.

The professor and member of the Crisis Staff pointed out that "citizens must understand that this cannot be achieved by an individual, we all must collectively commit ourselves to this fight."

"The best way to fight this is to respect the measures. This is not somebody’s impulse, this is a need and the only way we can hopefully reduce the numbers to the desired figure," said Professor Tiodorovic.

"Very soon"

Epidemiologist and member of the Crisis Staff, Predrag Kon, stated that gatherings in the open without masks on may be allowed within a month or so.

Very soon, in a month or so, provided the activity of the virus drops, we will allow gatherings in the open space without masks, Kon told N1.

He said that all those violating epidemiological measures "must know that they will be punished someday", but also announced that we will soon see better times.

His impression is that the citizens do not obey the recommended measures and we know for sure that they will never do that.

"In our country, duty is seen as a recommendation,” he said, adding that this can be seen in the example of flu vaccination, which is compulsory but not implemented.

He pointed out that people have the choice to either get vaccinated or get infected, and anyone who chooses to get infected "should know that the death rate from the disease is one percent - meaning one in a hundred dies from the disease, out of seven million people it is 70,000”.

"I wish all the best to everyone who has made that decision, to have a mild form of the disease, even if he has none, and to gain immunity, but that is not a wise decision," he said.

He pointed out that for collective immunity, it is necessary for at least half of the adult population to get vaccinated, and in order to be "completely safe", 80 percent of people should receive the shot.

Dr. Kon said that monitoring is being carried out "continuously" and fines are being imposed for violating epidemiological measures.

In the case of public gatherings, such as protests, parties around the monument to Stefan Nemanja and like, the only possible way is the use of force, "and I am against the use of force," he said.

Kon said that it is not considered that vaccination should be compulsory for all, except for health workers.

If they have a greater fear of the vaccine than of the infection, that decision cannot be left up to them, because that way they can infect the environment and patients, said the epidemiologist.

The medical part of the Crisis Staff is very cautious

No one can specify when we will reach those magic numbers, so it does not come as a surprise that ideas are spread to ease the measures for those vaccinated.

Despite the confirmations that this could be considered, no concrete move has been made so far. That way, the measures remain the same for all.

Epidemiologist Dr. Predrag Kon stated today that the medical part of the Crisis Staff has been a "persistent brake" from the beginning in giving in to measures by insisting that it be done as slowly as possible.

"There will be more concessions, but in time," said Dr. Kon, stating that the virus is "very much present" and that the number of newly infected can easily increase.

Speaking about the opening of shopping malls, he said that covid-guards will be around taking care of how many citizens enter premises. Speaking about cafes and masks, Dr. Kon said: "We have already seen that measures are not respected."

Schools open until further notice

Almost certainly, the decision to return to schools will be in force until the end of this school year. High school students will continue with a system “one week in school – one week online”, senior elementary school students will take turns for two or three days, and the youngest ones will attend classes regularly in their classroom.

"Schools will remain open," said the Ministry of Education.


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