Serbia introduces COVID-19 passes for indoor cafes and restaurants

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic poses for a portrait after an interview at the Serbian Embassy in London, Britain, February 25, 2018. REUTERS / Will Russell / File Photo

BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbia to make COVID-19 ‘health pass’ mandatory to access restaurants and cafes, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said on Wednesday as the country grapples with still high numbers of infections coronavirus.

Starting October 23, people wishing to visit indoor cafes, hotels and restaurants after 10 p.m. will need to present a pass – a digital or paper certificate showing that a person has been vaccinated, tested negative or cured of the virus.

Serbia, with a population of 6.7 million, struggles with a daily average of around 6,000 cases of COVID-19. So far, it has reported over a million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 9,214 deaths.

“The epidemiological situation is still catastrophic and it is not calming down,” Brnabic said at a press conference in Belgrade.

“If anyone is planning to cheat on this (health pass)… they can only cheat their own family, kids, parents and grandparents and infect them,” she said.

To curb the spread of the coronavirus, the country has already introduced mandatory indoor masks and maintenance of physical distancing, but many, including a number of senior 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 program.

But so far, only around 50% of the Serbian population has received two injections, mostly due to strong anti-vaccine sentiment.

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