Twenty healthcare workers from central Serbia were prevented from entering the territory of Kosovo yesterday, the Kosovo Office announced. The Kosovo Ministry of Health, however, confirmed for KoSSev today that the healthcare workers were not allowed to enter due to „ambiguities regarding the purpose of their arrival“.
The Kosovo Office announced yesterday that twenty healthcare workers were prevented from entering Kosovo via the Merdare border crossing “under the pretense that they do not have Kosovo work permits,” even though they were „born in Kosovo and spent most of their lives there“.
On the other hand, the Kosovo Ministry of Health told KoSSev today that the healthcare workers were not allowed to enter due to „ambiguities regarding the purpose of their arrival“.
„The reason why this team of doctors from Serbia was not allowed to enter the Republic of Kosovo was due to the ambiguity/ misunderstanding regarding the purpose of their arrival in Kosovo. They did not explain whether they are coming to work as foreign healthcare workers or to monitor the health situation,“ the Kosovo Health Ministry underlined.
If these healthcare workers wanted to work in Kosovo, they are obliged to „adhere to the rules for licensing foreign healthcare workers.“
„One of those rules says that each of them must be a member of the Medical Chamber of Kosovo,“ the ministry added.
However, if the reason behind their visit to Kosovo is periodic monitoring of the health situation in Serb-majority municipalities, the ministry said that it is necessary to check the documentation, and that, in that case, they would not be placed in quarantine.
„They are allowed to enter Kosovo after their documentation is checked, which applies to all citizens. However, as healthcare workers, they will not be quarantined – according to the provisions that apply to quarantine. There are five such provisions, one of them exempts doctors from mandatory quarantine.“
In the meantime, the KoSSev portal tried to get in touch with the Kosovo Office for additional information on where these healthcare workers are at the moment and which group of healthcare workers were prevented from entering Kosovo, as well as whether they are employed within the healthcare institutions on the territory of Kosovo or whether they are healthcare workers who work in central Serbia. Prior to this news been published, we did not receive a response.
The ban on healthcare workers entering Kosovo arrived after last month’s conversation between the Serbian and Kosovo Ministers of Health, Zlatibor Loncar, and Arben Vitia, as well as several statements by Belgrade officials, who welcomed and underlined the importance of cooperation to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
Recently, the Belgrade and Pristina liaison officer, Dejan Pavicevic announced that a doctor and a nurse were detained at the Jarinje border crossing for several hours, and then in Pec/Peja later on, that an ambulance had been detained at the same crossing. Pavicevic also revealed that many similar situations occurred in the past.
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