State of natural disaster declared on the entire BiH territory, new cases confirmed

State of natural disaster declared on the entire BiH territory, new cases confirmed

The Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina has today in an extraordinary session decided to declare a state of natural or other disaster caused by a coronavirus pandemic in Bosnia and Herzegovina, stated the BiH Council of Ministers Chairman Zoran Tegeltija.

The decision has been taken in accordance with the Framework Law on Protection and Rescue of People and Material Property from Natural and Other Disasters in BiH, which will also activate the BiH Coordination Body for Protection and Rescue, chaired by Security Minister Fahrudin Radončić.

This decision simplifies the procedures and helps BiH cope more effectively with the current situation, regarding the coronavirus pandemic, after the entity governments declared a state of disaster (in Federation BiH) or emergency (in Republika Srpska) at their sessions yesterday.

“We are at the very beginning of the fight against coronavirus pandemic, and we urge all citizens to act in accordance with the recommendations of health care institutions”, Tegeltija said, adding that the biggest challenge will be the building of tent settlements for quarantine at the border crossings.

Up to Tuesday afternoon, 27 persons are infected with coronavirus in BiH. For the first time, the patients are from Bihać, in the Western part of the country, and Mostar, in the South.

International community High Representative to BiH Valentin Inzko fully supports the coordinated actions of all levels of government in BiH aimed at preventing the further outbreak of COVID-19 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In a statement, OHR says that the High Representative is convinced that the authorities will undertake additional measures and further strengthen their cooperation and coordination if required by the situation on the ground.

“It is reassuring to see that all levels of government – State, entity, cantonal and municipal, from the State Presidency and the Council of Ministers downwards – are taking preventative measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 and maintain public health.

The rapid reaction and coordinated approach of all levels of government are essential to protect citizens and combat the epidemic. It is reassuring to see that the country can function under extremely challenging circumstances with the politicians putting the interests of the citizens first. Now is the time to put differences aside and maintain the country fully functional”, said the High Representative.

The High Representative calls upon all citizens to act responsibly and to strictly adhere to the guidelines and instructions issued by the competent authorities, in order to protect themselves, their families, and the most vulnerable categories of the population.

The High Representative also recalled that there are many people who, even in these extraordinary circumstances, are fully engaged, such as medical staff, police officers, Armed Forces, and many others who need the full support of citizens in order to be able to do their jobs.

“In these challenging circumstances, we all have to work together in the spirit of solidarity and the best tradition of this country. I wish to express my gratitude to every single citizen who contributes to the efforts to prevent further outbreaks. Through the joint efforts of medical experts and competent institutions, this crisis can be overcome”, Inzko concludes./ibna