Pristina quarantine measure creates a problem for the emergency transportation of patients from Kosovo Serb communities

The decision of the Kosovo Ministry of Interior to place every person entering Kosovo via any of the 6 border crossings, except for truck drivers and diplomats, in a preventive quarantine created a new problem for the emergency transportation of patients from Kosovo Serb communities. Upon entering Kosovo, drivers of ambulance vehicles operating within the Serbian healthcare system are required to spend 15 days in quarantine in Pristina.

While ambulances with patients from health centers and hospitals in Kosovo operating within the Serbian healthcare system can travel from Kosovo to central Serbia, even though the crossings are closed and controlled by the Serbian police, they face problems when returning to Kosovo.

An ambulance heading towards Strpce was forced to spend several hours on Jarinje border crossing yesterday waiting to be escorted into quarantine in Pristina.

The news was confirmed to KoSSev by Stojan Stanojkovic from the legal department of the Strpce Health Center, who added that the problem was eventually solved by the municipality and the Serbian-sponsored municipal emergency team who gave the order for the ambulance to drive back to Strpce.

According to Stanojkovic, for the time being, there are no confirmed coronavirus cases in this municipality, as the citizens are almost completely adhering to the advice of doctors and epidemiological services.

Elek: It is the hardest for the patients

The deputy director of the North Mitrovica Hospital Center, Doctor Zlatan Elek confirmed for KoSSev that there are issues with ambulances entering Kosovo.

„The ambulance vehicles of the North Mitrovica Hospital Center experience no issues while going to central Serbia via Jarinje crossing and this is a regular procedure, but upon their return, the authorities in Pristina require staff to be quarantined in Pristina for 15 days,“ he said.

It makes work even more difficult given the already difficult conditions in which hospitals are now operating, so the patients with serious illnesses are referred for treatment in central Serbia, he also said.

Both Stanojkovic and Elek said that they addressed the Kosovo Office to resolve this issue.

An unnamed source close to the Kosovo Office confirmed for KoSSev that this office is involved in the process of solving this problem.

The liaison officer, Dejan Pavicevic is working on this issue, while also managing the arrivals of medical staff from central Serbia to Kosovo, who work at health facilities operating within the Serbian system in Kosovo.

Quarantine in Pristina

The same source close to the Kosovo Office also revealed that a number of citizens are currently quarantined in Pristina; however, the exact number has yet to be determined. Data on the number are still being collected, as Pristina does not notify the Serbian authorities on the matter.

Although a number of citizens told KoSSev that they were not informed about this measure, the same source, however, said that the citizens were aware of the measure, as the Serbian MIA has been conveying this information to passengers at the crossings from the Serb side.

The only preventive quarantine established so far is at the Pristina Student Center.

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