Proclaiming corona free destination on June 2 and opening the borders for particular countries in the region and Europe incited the new attacks on Montenegro
Even though Kosovo and the upcoming elections in Serbia were the occasion and topic of the President Vucic’s appearance on the TV show FoKus on a B92 television (on June 14), it is evident that the position of the Serbian Orthodox Church and Serbian population in Montenegro, as well as the corona free status of Montenegro, were not less interesting.
When a TV show host asked Vucic why Serbia is testing so much since no one in the region is doing it, Vucic commented that Serbia does not want to hide anything, adding that the funniest thing is when someone from the region is teaching us what to do regarding coronavirus. These people, they do not have a laboratory, nor the PCR tests… You have two territories in the region where there are no laboratories for the PCR tests. You just laugh, let it go and say – ok, you are great, you are “corona free” while we don’t know anything, alluding to Montenegro which proclaimed the end of pandemics on June 2 and therefore became corona free destination.
Brnabic – the decision of Montenegro is political
During her visit to Ivanjica on June 8, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic responded negatively to the journalists’ question whether a decision of Serbia to abolish the second negative test for the coronavirus infected was political and tactical. However, she added that a decision of Montenegro (author’s comment: to close its borders for Serbia) is political…we are following the advice of experts and are not making any political decisions in a fight against COVID-19. The easiest political decision would be to reduce the testing. If you look at the countries which live from tourism, you will see that today, they do not have anything. They have 10 cases, no newly infected. Do you think that’s possible? Everyone who thinks this way is either stupid or crazy, Brnabic concluded.
However, this is not the only occasion when the Prime Minister of Serbia spoke this way. In a TV show Cirilica on Happy TV (June 15), Brnabic commented on the decisions of Greece and Montenegro to open (or close) the borders with Serbia and said that there are countries that depend on tourism but are not testing people. They are not corona free but they are not testing… You don’t know the epidemiological situation there, you don’t know what to expect nor where is the hotspot… As mafia would say „no man, no problem“, when there are no tests, there are no positive cases either. Interpreting the words of Stalin death solves all problems – no man, no problem, the Prime Minister of Serbia pointed out, when speaking of Montenegro, that if there are no tests, there are no infected.
The Institute for Public Health announced on Sunday, June 14, that one positive case was registered. It is the imported case who was in Bosnia and Herzegovina a week before. The next day, another COVID-19 positive case who also was in Bosnia and Herzegovina was registered. These two cases are the first cases registered from May 5.
Minister of Health of Serbia, Zlatibor Loncar, commented on the Montenegro’s request to Serbia – to explain 4000 recovered cases in one day. He said that Montenegro must qualify with knowledge and results so that it would receive an answer to this question, adding that Montenegro has tested from the beginning of the epidemic as much as Serbia has tested for three days. You need to test people, to have laboratories, to be expert in that field, Loncar concluded.
Serbian pulmonologist Branimir Nestorovic (famous for his controversial statements regarding COVID-19), was wondering at the beginning of June: What is the laboratory where Montenegrins have done the PCR test, since they do not have a laboratory for testing? He added that the rough testing on coronavirus is the only one performed in Montenegro. His statement was also supported by the news portal Kurir. A journalist from that tabloid commented that it is clear that Montenegro is presenting itself as a corona free country since the tourist season is beginning soon. They have been telling lies from the beginning of the pandemic. The only thing that was not a lie is that they did not have any REGISTERED cases in the beginning, only because they did not have COVID-19 tests, therefore, they could not register the infected which doesn’t mean that there were no infected cases.
Response of the NKT to Serbia
The National Coordinate Body of Montenegro (NKT) gave a statement regarding these claims, announcing that the so-far quality and efficient engagement of a whole health system and operational headquarters is the best démenti of the poorly argued and false claims presented from the highest instances in the region, inter alia, the claim that only „rough“ tests are performed in Montenegro, therefore, Montenegro does not have the adequate laboratories and testing resources. They emphasized that Montenegro has the most modern laboratory, excellent experts, and organization.
The same day, the Government of Montenegro posted a video on Facebook from the Molecular Microbiology Department, showing how and where the testing for coronavirus is performed.
Recognition for Montenegro
However, not all Serbian officials have given negative statements and criticized the Montenegrin health system during coronavirus pandemic. Epidemiologist Zoran Radovanovic said in his interview for Pobjeda (June 14) that Montenegro dealt better with coronavirus than all the countries in the region. Even the superficial look at the situation indicates that Montenegro has done the best. The epidemic started on March 17 and passed about a month and a half later with a relatively small number of victims. It is certain that the number of the infected was higher than the number of the officially registered case which accounts for 324, since COVID-19 also appears with the absent, or more frequently, very mild symptoms. However, Montenegrin epidemiologists are keeping the situation under control. If it wasn’t the case, the epidemic would burst from May 5, when this disease was diagnosed for the last time, as this recognized scientist concluded.