Bussinesses closed due to COVID-19. Photo: BIRN.

New COVID-19 measures enter into force this evening

‘High risk’ municipalities will face a curfew and a ban on entry and exits between 19:00 and 05:00 under new regulations as the number of active coronavirus cases passes 10,000.

New measures to protect against the COVID-19 pandemic adopted at an electronic meeting of the Kosovo Government will enter into force at 18:00 on Friday.

According to the new measures, Kosovo’s municipalities will be divided into three categories, high, medium and low risk, with different restrictions applying to different categories. 

Municipalities with less than 75 cases per 100,000 inhabitants per week will be defined as low risk, while ‘medium risk’ is defined as between 76 and 150 cases per 100,000 inhabitants per week, and ‘high risk’ as over 150 cases per 100,000 inhabitants per week.

For high risk municipalities, a curfew will be in place between 19:00 and 05:00, with citizens only allowed to leave their homes to attend to emergency and health needs.

Entry and exit to these municipalities will also be prohibited between 19:00 and 05:00, though exceptions apply to workers in the health, security and justice sectors, as well as students and operators performing public works.

Both private and public institutions in high risk municipalities are obliged to work with only “essential staff”, while all gastronomic activity is prohibited between 19:00 and 05:00.

According to a map published by Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti, the municipalities currently falling into high risk categories are Prishtina, Fushe Kosove, Gjilan, Obilic, Ferizaj, Gjakove, Shtime, Podujevo, Peja and South Mitrovica.

However, according to Agim Bahtiri, the mayor of South Mitrovica, Minister of Health Armend Zemaj has agreed to prepare a decision that would remove the municipality as being high risk.  

In ‘low risk’ municipalities, businesses are allowed to operate between 05:00 and 20:00, while in ‘medium risk’ municipalities these hours are reduced to between 05:00 and 18:00, though gastronomic businesses are entitled to operate delivery services after 18:00.

In all municipalities, public transport is permitted to work at 50 percent capacity, while taxis are allowed to carry only one passenger, or three if they are family members. Cultural activities are permitted to continue with venues at 30 percent capacity, while gyms and indoor swimming pools can continue at 40 percent capacity.

Religious ceremonies are now also prohibited with the exception of the immediate family for funerals. Other large gatherings, including weddings, workshops, seminars and family parties all remain banned, as do gatherings of more than five persons in squares, parks and other public places.

The restrictions on freedom of movement for over 65s to between 06:00-10:00 and 16:00-19:00 also remains in force. Higher education courses will continue to be delivered online, but dormitories for students remain open with the cafeteria now only permitted to operate a take away service.

On Friday, the National Institute of Public Health, NIPH, announced that active cases of coronavirus in Kosovo had reached 10,192, the highest total of active cases since measuring began in March. Since Monday, 3,669 cases have been confirmed by the NIPH, with 963 cases recorded on Friday alone.

13/11/2020 - 15:10

13 November 2020 - 15:10

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.