BiH: Leap in number of outbreaks, mandatory use of masks in open spaces in RS

BiH: Leap in number of outbreaks, mandatory use of masks in open spaces in RS

Bosnia and Herzegovina experienced a large increase in the number of coronavirus infections in the last few days. The number even reached 500-700 daily new cases.

The complicated state structure of BiH poses obstacles in this case too, as there is no single institution that would make decisions for the entire country. In Republika Srpska, it is the Headquarters for Emergency Situations which legally make decisions for this entity. The situation in Federation BiH is more complicated, as there are 10 cantons and entity levels, and all of them can decide on the opposite measures. The BiH level can limit the arrivals in BiH and regulate the borders.

Today, the Republika Srpska Headquarters decided that face masks will be mandatory outdoors as well and not just in closed spaces, except for children younger than seven, persons with special needs who cannot remove a mask on their own, and during sports activities.

Minister of Health and Social Welfare of Republika Srpska Alen Šeranić said that live music will be banned in hospitality establishments. The gatherings of more than ten people are also banned until November 16.

“This pertains primarily to private gatherings, which include weddings, baptisms and the like”, Šeranić announced at a press conference in Banjaluka.

For most people, this date would be acceptable, but it is the fact that BiH is currently prepping up for a local elections campaign scheduled for November 15. It is not clear how the ban on gatherings will affect fair and unbiased elections. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that the Republika Srpska ruling party SNSD already announced that it will not hold the election gatherings, given the situation with the coronavirus pandemic.

Cantons in Federation BiH still have not introduced sharper measures, although some local authorities are beginning to contemplate several scenarios. /ibna