BELGRADE, Serbia

Serbia on Friday tightened COVID-19 measures to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The move came after the 7-million population country registered 3,339 new coronavirus cases and 16 deaths over the past day.

There are 159 patients on respirators while a total of 3,876 people were hospitalized.

Labor, Employment, and Social Policy Minister Darija Kisic Tepavcevic said all catering facilities will work from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time, regardless of whether they have outdoor space or not, while only deliveries are allowed after 2 p.m.

“The ski resort will be able to work for the weekend only if they have an outdoor service. Shopping malls, non-food stores, bookmakers, casinos, children’s playrooms, gyms, fitness centers, and football and other sports facilities will also be open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends,” said Tepavcevic.

Meanwhile, trade facilities, pharmacies, gas stations, surgeries, dental surgeries, laboratories, theaters, veterinary clinics, beauty and hairdressing salons, and facilities of businesses providing craft services can work on weekends from six to 20 hours.

Serbia is ahead of the European Union and Western Balkan countries in vaccination against the novel coronavirus.

The number of people who received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine surpassed 1.2 million, while more than 428,000 of them also got the second dose.

However, easing the measures brought a rapid rise in new coronavirus cases.

The country recorded a maximum of 1,600-1,700 new cases daily at the beginning of February.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 453,240 coronavirus infections have been officially confirmed in Serbia, and the mortality rate stands at 0.97%.

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