BELGRADE, March 16. /TASS/. Serbia has asked Russia for assistance in its efforts to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, the press service of the Serbian foreign ministry said on Monday after a telephone conversation between the two countries’ foreign ministers, Ivica Dadic of Serbia and Sergey Lavrov of Russia.
"Minister Dadic informed his counterpart about the efforts taken in Serbia to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and protect its population. He asked Minister Lavrov for assistance in acquiring additional medical equipment that might be needed if the number of infection cases grown sharply," it said. "Minister Lavrov promised that Russia will help Serbia, as it has always done, and wished the brotherly Serbian people and its leaders to cope with the disease the soonest possible."
The two top diplomats agreed on mutual assistance in this situation.
By today, fifty-five coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Serbia. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic declared a state of emergency in the country. Schools and other educational establishments have been closed until the end of the academic year.
Coronavirus cases have been reported in all Serbia’s neighboring countries, except Montenegro, which is the only European Union nation with no officially confirmed coronavirus cases.
A pneumonia outbreak caused by the COVID-19 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV) was reported in China’s city of Wuhan, a large trade and industrial center with a population of 12 million, in late December 2019. Cases of the new coronavirus have also been reported from about 130 countries and territories, including Russia, which has 93 coronavirus cases. The World Health Organization says that the novel coronavirus cases across the globe have exceeded 170,000, with more than 6,000 deaths. The WHO has officially described the situation with the novel coronavirus as a pandemic.