BELGRADE, May 21./TASS/. Serbian nationals and foreign citizens will be allowed into Serbia without coronavirus tests, nor will they be put into a two-week quarantine upon arrival starting from May 22, Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic said on Thursday following a ceremony to reopen flights suspended two months ago amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"Today there will be a government session where the decision will be taken at the suggestion of the anti-coronavirus crisis center, that starting tomorrow, the citizens of Serbia and other nations crossing into the country will not have to be tested or isolated. We rely only on personal responsibility," the minister told the RTS broadcaster.
She said that on Thursday, the national carrier Air Serbia reopened commercial passenger flights, being among the first European carriers to do so. "We are among the first European carriers that have launched commercial flights. If it were our choice, we would have started flights a month ago, but this also depends on other carriers and airports," the top official noted.
Focusing on the economic losses of Serbia’s airline industry, she said that the sector racked up to 80 billion euro over two months. "We hope that this figure will not be more than 200 million euro by the end of the year. We will undertake efforts to make sure Air Serbia will keep on operating, maybe this will be the placement of shares, or possibly the purchase of new aircraft," Zorana Mihajlovic specified.
Earlier, the press service of Belgrade’s airport told TASS that on May 21, the national carrier would reopen passenger flights, which means that air traffic will be restarted officially. On Thursday, it plans 12 international flights to Zurich, Frankfurt and Abu Dhabi. Later, flights will be reopened to other Balkan capitals — Podgorica, Banja Luka and Skopje. The Belgrade-New York route will be reopened on June 6.
However, the first passengers will undergo strict security measures during their travel. Face masks and gloves are compulsory, as well as the disinfection of footwear. Passengers will have to arrive at the airport three hours before the flight to avoid lines. Relatives and people seeing them off will not be allowed into the airport building.
To date, Serbia has recorded over 10,000 coronavirus cases overall with over 235 fatalities.
In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in every corner of the globe.