Europe’s Southeast Grapples With COVID-19 Resurgence

A nurse takes blood from a journalist for COVID-19 testing in the "Mother Thereza" hospital in Skopje, North Macedonia on July 22. Photo EPA-EFE: Georgi Licovski

Montenegro, Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina are particularly hard-hit and their health systems are challenged.

Only Luxembourg, with its large immigrant population, is above five countries from the region in terms of cases, according to the latest comparison of the 14-day average of new infections in 27 EU member states and six Western Balkan states compiled last week.

Montenegro, which in April claimed to be the first COVID-19-free country in Europe, has had around 240 cases per 100,000 inhabitants lately, followed by Kosovo, with 145, Bosnia and Herzegovina, with 96, North Macedonia, 94 and Serbia, 79. Albania is behind EU members Romania and Spain at 47.

The regional average of 97 new cases per 10,000 over two weeks is almost five times that of the EU 27, where the average is 20. The EU is unlikely to soon remove any of the countries in the region from the "red list" of countries for whose citizens it recommends a ban on entry until the situation improves.

Kosovo

Kosovo reported 469 coronavirus cases over the weekend and 8,799 since the beginning of the pandemic, while 249 patients have died. Nurses protested in Pristina on Monday, demanding their salaries be doubled to 36 euros per day, as health officials warned the system risks collapse.

Prime Minister Avdulah Hoti, who also tested positive to COVID-19 over the weekend, visited Pristina's University Clinical Centre,, UCCK, last week, and expressed solidarity with health workers, and said the fight against the pandemic was a "national mission".

"I know they [medics] are tired because they have been facing this...

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