BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbia will make a COVID-19 “health pass” mandatory for access to restaurants, cafes and bars in the evenings, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said on Wednesday, as the country struggles with persistently high numbers of coronavirus infections.
As of Oct. 23, people who want to visit indoor cafes, hotels and restaurants after 10 p.m., will need to show a pass – a digital or paper certificate showing someone has been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from the virus.
Serbia, which has a population of 6.7 million, is struggling with a daily average of around 6,000 cases of COVID-19. So far, it has reported over 1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 9,214 deaths.
“Epidemiological situation is still catastrophic and it is not calming down,” Brnabic told a news conference in Belgrade.
“If someone is thinking about cheating this (health pass) …, they can only cheat their own families, children, parents and grandparents and infect them,” she said.
To curb spreading of coronavirus the country has already introduced mandatory wearing of masks indoors and maintaining physical distance, but many, including a number of high-ranking state officials are refusing to do so.
Last year, Serbia approved vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNtech,, China’s Sinopharm, AstraZeneca/Oxford University and Russia’s Sputnik V for its inoculation programme.
But so far only around 50% of Serbia’s population have received two shots, mainly due to strong anti-vaccine sentiment.
(Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Alison Williams)