"Is it back?"/ The situation with COVID-19 in Kosovo

2023-09-19 18:39:00, Kosova & Bota CNA

"Is it back?"/ The situation with COVID-19 in Kosovo

Shefkije Berisha has no information about the possible risk of the spread of the COVID-19 disease in Kosovo.

"He's back again? I don't know" , says the 70-year-old while walking in a park in the city of Pristina.

"Even one day I asked if this disease has disappeared... When there was that big wave of infected people, I received two vaccines. Now I don't know how to act, we have to take care... ", she says.

Her fellow citizen, Salihu, says that he has heard that there are people infected with the coronavirus that causes the infectious disease, COVID-19, but that he is not afraid.

He says that he received three doses of the vaccine and that he was already affected by the disease.

On September 18, after a period of several months, the citizens of Kosovo were notified of a person who died from COVID-19.

According to the announcement of the Ministry of Health, the victim was registered in the last two weeks, but no more details are given. During this period, a total of 67 people infected with coronavirus have been confirmed.

Without panic and without concern,
the Director of Infectious Diseases at the University Clinical Center of Kosovo, Arben Vishaj, tells Radio Free Europe that at this clinic, currently, there is only one patient affected by COVID-19, but that, according to him, he also has a malignant disease.

Vishaj says that, for now, there is no question of increasing the need for hospitalization, but he appeals to citizens to be constantly careful in terms of preventive measures, such as cleaning hands and keeping distance.

"The symptoms of the disease remain the same: fever, fatigue, lethargy, difficulty in breathing, labor and in some cases vomiting", says Vishaj, adding that the clinic has the necessary capacities for "diagnosing the disease in time".

"Is it back?"/ The situation with COVID-19 in Kosovo

The retired infectious disease specialist, Salih Ahmeti, says that there is no reason for panic or concern. According to him, the situation is currently not a threat to public health.

He says that protective measures, such as maintaining hygiene and wearing masks in closed spaces, should be practiced.

"We are already close to the cold winter months, where the possibilities of the spread of infections are greater ," Ahmeti told Radio Free Europe.

In the announcement of the Ministry of Health, it is stated that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus is currently circulating in Kosovo, along with several sub-variants.

REL asked both the Ministry of Health and the National Institute of Public Health of Kosovo if the vaccination of citizens against the coronavirus is continuing, but neither of these two institutions responded.

Health experts say that, despite the fact that the variants in circulation are lighter, citizens should be vaccinated, especially the elderly.

"Vaccination has played a very big role in preserving the lives of citizens in general ", says Vishaj.

Two vaccines against coronavirus have been approved in Kosovo: Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

According to data from the World Health Organization, in Kosovo, until January 15 of this year, more than 1.8 million doses of vaccines were administered.

The first cases of coronavirus in Kosovo were confirmed in mid-March 2020. From this period until September 17, 2023, the coronavirus has affected 274,105 people, of whom 3,220 have died, according to official data.

The World Health Organization has declared the disease COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern in January 2020.

After more than three years, namely on May 5 of this year, the WHO has declared that COVID-19 no longer represents a "global health emergency".

According to this organization, at least 7 million people have died in the pandemic, while more than 765 million infections have been confirmed worldwide.

Vaccines have been one of the major turning points. According to the WHO, more than 13 billion doses have been given - saving many people from serious illness and death.

Last month, the WHO said it was closely monitoring a new variant of the coronavirus because of the large number of mutations it carries - more than 30.

The new BA.2.86 variant, at the time, has been identified in Israel, Denmark and the United States.

In Kosovo's neighboring countries, the situation is more or less similar.

According to official data in Montenegro, in the period 6-12 September, 199 positive cases of coronavirus were registered.

In North Macedonia, in the first eight months of this year, a total of 2,662 positive cases have been confirmed.

Bosnia and Herzegovina no longer registers those infected with the coronavirus./ REL

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