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Serbia on the brink of coronavirus disaster, president warns

On Wednesday, the country reported a record high daily number of new infections

BELGRADE, November 26./TASS/. Serbia saw the highest number of coronavirus deaths on Thursday, the country is on the brink of a disaster, President Aleksandar Vucic told journalists.

"As for coronavirus, today is the hardest day for Serbia, but probably the next few days will be even harder," the president said. "This morning we had 47 deaths [related to coronavirus], which is the highest number since the epidemic started. The situation in hospitals here is extremely difficult, since if you have to receive to examine 10,000 people, of whom 1,000 are to be hospitalized while you have no available beds whatsoever, then it is clear to you what situation we are facing," the president said.

"If we don’t show responsibility, we will be moving towards a really catastrophic scenario," Aleksandar Vucic said. He reiterated that Serbia was engaged in negotiations on the purchase of a vaccine, but the country has no vaccine for now. Earlier, Vucic said that Belgrade was discussing the purchase of a vaccine within the COVAX mechanism, as well as with China, Russia and the UK.

On Wednesday, the country reported a record high daily number of new infections. According to the Ministry of Healthcare, 7,579 coronavirus cases were recorded, and 1,315 coronavirus patients have died from coronavirus overall. Meanwhile, medics say that the real figure of coronavirus cases across the country may be ten times higher.

In view of the situation, the Serbian government restricted the activity of all entertainment venues, shopping malls and shops between 6pm to 5am for ten days since November 24. School students were moved to remote learning, and winter holidays at schools will be extended to 30 days. Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said the Cabinet was considering a curfew, but stopped short of imposing it. Earlier, authorities capped at five the number of people allowed to gather indoors and outside.

In late December 2019, Chinese officials informed 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, including Russia.

On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, about 60.4 million people have been infected worldwide and more than 1.4 million deaths have been reported.