Minster of Health Arben Vitia. Photo: BIRN.

Confirmed cases of coronavirus rises to nine

Kosovo’s health minister Arben Vitia has confirmed four new cases of coronavirus, with a total of nine residents in the municipalities of Klina, Viti, Malisheva and Podujevo now having tested positive.

In a Facebook post on Sunday evening, Minister of Health Arben Vitia announced four new confirmed cases of coronavirus in Kosovo, bringing the number of recorded cases to nine. The Health Minister said that he has requested that the government declare a public health emergency, “with the aim of protecting the health of the population.”

Three of the newly confirmed cases involve residents of the municipality of Malisheva, who were tested after coming into contact with a 37-year-old Kosovo citizen that resides in Italy and tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday.

The other case confirmed on Sunday is a resident of the municipality of Podujevo, adding a fourth location in the country with a verified outbreak, following positive tests for coronavirus in the municipalities of Klina, Viti and Malisheva. Early mayoral elections were scheduled to take place in Podujevo on Sunday but were postponed on Saturday evening.

In a press release, the Ministry of Health stated that the patient was a 62-year-old, who entered Kosovo from Italy on March 5 via Prishtina International Airport. The Ministry added that the National Institute of Public health has tested a total of 241 suspected samples between February 2 and March 15, with nine positive results. 

The health of the five patients previously confirmed as testing positive for coronavirus was described as “relatively good” by Salih Ahmeti, a doctor at the Infectious Disease Clinic at University Clinical Center of Kosovo, who spoke to BIRN on Sunday. 

Ahmeti added that the 77-year-old patient who tested positive for coronavirus on Friday is in a more difficult situation due to pre-existing health issues, but his condition remains stable.

At a press conference held earlier on Sunday, First Deputy Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti outlined proposals drawn up alongside the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce to help protect Kosovo’s economy during the epidemic.

Among other measures, Hoti stated that the Ministry of Economy should oversee the work of the Kosovo Energy Corporation to ensure a stable power supply. Internet and mobile phone providers are also to be instructed not to disconnect customers due to non-payment until April 30, so that citizens can remain informed. 

A proposal to establish a public services management committee was also outlined, with the committee tasked with drafting a plan to ensure that heating, water and waste collection services remain operational. The measures are expected to be approved by the government in the next week.

15/03/2020 - 20:29

15 March 2020 - 20:29

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