COVID-19 pandemic in Serbia

COVID-19 pandemic in Serbia
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
(excluding Kosovo[a])
First outbreakWuhan, Hubei, China
Index caseSubotica
6 March 2020[1](363 days ago)
Arrival date6 March 2020 (disputed)[1] (363 days ago)
Confirmed cases470,941[2]
Active cases4,072[2]
Fatality rate0.95%
Government website

The COVID-19 pandemic in Serbia is a current outbreak of the disease COVID-19 in Serbia caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. Its first case in Serbia was reported on 6 March 2020,[3] and confirmed by Minister of Health Zlatibor Lončar,[4] the case was a 43-year-old man from Bačka Topola who had travelled to Budapest.[5]

As of 3 March 2021, a total of 470,941 confirmed cases, 4,491 deaths, and 4,072 hospitalized cases have been reported in the country. Also, a total of 2,986,711 individuals had been tested.[2]

In late June 2020, the Balkan Insight published a report based on the allegedly leaked data from the internal Government COVID-19 information system. This report stated that in reality, Serbia had recorded 632 deaths due to COVID-19 in the period from 19 March to 1 June 2020, which corresponds to 388 additional deaths caused by the virus that were not publicly reported. Additionally, according to the leaked data, the number of people who became infected in Serbia from 17 June to 20 June was at least 300 per day, while public reports never accounted for more than 96 cases per day in the same period.[6] Recovery figures were also disputed, with the Public Health Institute of Montenegro formally requesting an explanation from Serbian authorities in early June following a reported recovery of 4,000 patients in one day.[7] Earlier, the index case was also disputed after the Public Health Institute publicly revealed that the first case was registered a week before the officially reported index case.[1]

In September 2020, NIN weekly released research results that show a significant discrepancy between the data on the number of infected persons and the number of tests that were released by the Government during July and the data that was obtained from individual public health institutions through the freedom of information requests. The discrepancy shows that the Government released data inflated the number of tests that were conducted and that the number of infected persons was decreased by at least 59% during July.[8]

Thousands of medical doctors have signed a petition requesting the release of true data and accountability for forging the data.[9][10] Several senior department chiefs at Military Medical Academy have been dismissed after supporting the open letter.[11] In August 2020 Professor Goran Belojević of the University of Belgrade Faculty of Medicine publicly stated that Serbia has registered 5,000 deaths.[12]

On 29 September 2020, Predrag Kon, chief epidemiologist and a member of the state anti-COVID-19 Crisis Team, publicly admitted that there is a delay in data processing and that the number of deaths until the end of June was three times higher than officially reported (277).[13] Health Minister refuted those claims the next day saying that they are "unfounded" and warned Kon against making such comments again.[14]
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  1. ^ a b c "When did coronavirus actually come to Serbia? March 1, or 6?". 23 March 2020. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Latest Information about COVID-19 in the Republic of Serbia". Ministry of Health (Serbia). Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  3. ^ "Serbia Reports First Case of Coronavirus-Health Minister". The New York Times. Reuters. 6 March 2020. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 12 March 2020. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Serbia reports first case of coronavirus - health minister". Reuters. 6 March 2020. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Serbia reports first case of coronavirus – health minister". National Post. 6 March 2020. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  6. ^ "Serbia Under-Reported COVID-19 Deaths and Infections, Data Shows". Balkan Insight. 22 June 2020. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  7. ^ "Montenegro wants explanation of Serbian coronavirus recovery figures". 8 June 2020. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  8. ^ "Spinovana statistika i lažne brojke". 25 September 2020. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  9. ^ "More than a thousand doctors in Serbia signed a petition to form a new Crisis Staff and determine the exact number of infected". European Western Baclkans. 23 July 2020. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  10. ^ "Ujedinjeni protiv kovida". Ujedinjeni protiv kovida. 26 September 2020. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  11. ^ "Top doctors from VMA fired for supporting United against COVID initiative". Serbian Monitor. 18 September 2020. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  12. ^ "Prof. of Medicine Estimates: Covid-19 Death Toll in Serbia Is 5,000". 4 August 2020. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  13. ^ "Kon o podacima Gradskog zavoda: Do juna bilo tri puta više umrlih od zvaničnog broja". Radio Slobodna Evropa. 29 September 2020. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  14. ^ "Lončar: Kon laže!". Direktno. 1 October 2020. Retrieved 14 October 2020.

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