Serbia eases weekend lockdown to avoid mass protests

Facing growing public discontent, the Serbian government has decided to ease coronavirus lockdown measures this weekend despite warnings by doctors, news wires reported.

Serbia has so far confirmed 8,724 coronavirus cases and 173 deaths. The number of people unhappy with strict preventative measures introduced by the government of President Aleksandar Vucic is increasing, and many have joined opposition protests from their balconies.

On Thursday the government reversed its decision to lock the entire country down during the coming May Day weekend and instead introduced a curfew from 6 p.m. on Thursday until 5 p.m. on Saturday despite calls by doctors not to relax restrictions. Serbia's chief epidemiologist Predrag Kon, a member of the government's crisis team, said the decision was a compromise. "I do not feel good about it," he told state-run RTS TV. He said a three-day lockdown would have been a better and safer decision to prevent the disease spreading.

Public spaces will be reopened in Serbia next week and flights will resume in mid-May, officials promised on Wednesday. Kindergardens and daycare for children up to 12 years old will reopen on 11 May.



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