COVID-19 IN SERBIA

We are sharing with you the latest information about COVID-19 outbreak in Serbia, updated regularly using all relevant sources in the country and internationally.

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

April 3, 2020

There are currently 1.171 positive cases of COVID-19 in Serbia.

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS!

As of April 2, 2020, police escorts of trucks in transit through Serbia have been cancelled, which will enable faster transport of goods to final customers. The measures have been prepared in the coordination of the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure and the Ministry of the Interior, expecting to achieve double benefits - accelerated transit of goods through Serbia and less police workload due to escorting truck convoys. An initiative has been launched to adopt the same measure in Slovenia and Croatia.

The Government of Serbia has recommended to all employers that all employees who are in self-isolation or who suffer from the COVID-19 virus, for direct exposure to the risk of doing their job, should be entitled to a one hundred percent wage compensation. Likewise, on the website of the Ministry of Health, all citizens can fill out an application form for the issuance of isolation certificate. For the details of this recommendation, please follow this link.

The Government adopted amendments to the Order on special measures during the state of emergency, which completely prohibits the operation of all facilities and activities involving close physical contact, such as hairdressing and beauty salons, fitness clubs and gyms.

Decision to restrict the organization of games of chance has prohibited the organization of special and classic games of chance, except through electronic means of communication, during the state of emergency. Decision to restrict the organization of games of chance.

The Government adopted a Decision on the conditions for exemption from the payment of customs duties on certain goods, under which until May 1, 2020, the importation of ethyl alcohol from heading 2207 10 00 00 of the Customs Tariff is exempted from the payment of customs duties. Decision on the conditions for exemption from payment of customs duties on certain goods.

Ministry of Labour, Employement, Veterans and Social Affairs responses to AmCham's questions with regards to the labor-related issues identified as significant challenges to the business community during the state of emergency.

Government has adopted Amendments to the Decision on banning the export of medicines, allowing that, exceptionally, the export and re-export of the medicines may be authorized by a separate act of the Government. Decision banning export of medicines.

A work permit issued to a foreigner in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Employment of of Foreigners, which has expired or will expire while the Declaration of the State of Emergency is in force, shall be considered valid while the said decision is in force. Decision on the validity of a work permit issued to a foreigner during a state of emergency.

Only two days after the issuance of the amended Instruction on the procedure for issuing movement permits, the Ministry of Economy issued a new amendment to it. An employer who has up to 100 employees in a shift that lasts during the period of prohibition of movement issues a certificate on a daily basis, while an employer that has more than 100 employees in a shift that lasts during the period of prohibition of movement issues a certificate on a weekly basis for each employee for whom obtained consent of the Ministry of the Interior to be exempt from the application of the said order. New Instruction on the procedure for issuing movement permits.

The Government has adopted Conclusion that decisions on granting approval for sending employees on paid leave longer than 45 working days, are issued without prior submission of the request for opinion by a industry representative trade union or activities established at national level, with a validity period until the date of termination of the state of emergency. Conclusion on granting approval for sending employees on paid leave longer than 45 working days.

The National Bank of Serbia has suspended fees and other service charges for transfers of dinars and foreign exchange into dedicated Covid-19 donation accounts set up by Serbian authorities. Decision on service charges for payment and transfer of donations intended to combat Covid-19.

For the duration of the state of emergency, the Government will allow procurement and use of medical devices not manufactured to prescribed standards on condition they meet a number of requirements. Distributors must submit technical characteristics and describe use cases for these devices, and must declare that each device is as effective for treatment as one produced to official standards. Government order on specific technical requirements, standards and application of medical devices during the state of emergency due to Covid-19.

The police have temporarily suspended the capture of biometric data from foreign nationals due to safety considerations. Foreign nationals who legally resided in Serbia at the time the state of emergency was declared may remain in Serbia legally for as long as the state of emergency is in effect and are not required to apply for their status to be regulated otherwise. Government order on the status of foreign nationals in the Republic of Serbia during the state of emergency.

The Government has waived statutory time limits for general or specific administrative procedures for the duration of the state of emergency. Government order on statutory time limits in administrative procedures during the state of emergency.

The Government amended the Decree on limiting the retail price of protective equipment during the emergency caused by the COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, by limiting the retail price of protective gloves distributed by the Serbian Health Insurance Fund to commercial entities to a maximum of RSD 40 with VAT included. A maximum of 20 protective gloves may be delivered to the final customer. The provisions on limiting the retail price of protective masks to a maximum of RSD 120 with VAT, with a maximum delivery of 10 pieces to the end customer, remain unchanged. Regulation on limiting the retail price of protective equipment during the state of emergency due to Covid-19.

Residents may submit the forms prescribed by NBS only in electronic form, in accordance with the guidelines governing electronic submission of data on foreign credit. The documentation submitted during the reporting process can also be submitted electronically, in pdf format, to the e-mail address: izvestavanje.kpi@nbs.rs. The NBS will certify or accept the above forms electronically. Residents are required to submit documentation to the NBS in paper form, within ten days after the end of the state of emergency. Decision on Amendments to the Decision on Reporting on Foreign Credit Transactions.

Serbia declares STATE OF EMERGENCY!

On March 15, the Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić announced the decision to declare a state of emergency throughout Serbia due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Closed institutions

Kindergartens, schools and universities are to remain closed until the end of the semester. Decision on suspension of teaching in higher education institutions, secondary and elementary schools and full-time early childhood education institutions.

All restaurants, cafés, and shopping malls will be shut, while home food delivery will continue. Decision to restrict retail sales of goods and the provision of services in shopping malls and outlets. Decision on special measures for the retail sector, including sale of food and beverages in catering establishments and sale of take-away food.

All sports facilities and facilities for the elderly will be closed.

Healthcare facilities will only accept emergency cases.


All service windows of public institutions in the Republic of Serbia will be closed, except for bodies where closure would jeopardise the operation of the Government in times of emergency (such as the Tax Administration, Customs Administration, and Treasury Administration). The Serbian Business Registers Agency will be closed for the public. The Tax Administration has published a list of e-mail addresses that will accept tax returns and other submissions electronically.

All identity documents of Serbian citizens (ID cards, passports, driver’s licenses, vehicle registration permits, and firearms permits) will be deemed valid during the state of emergency, even if they expire. The Ministry of the Interior will issue new vehicle registration permits only for new vehicles and in case of change of ownership. Decision on validity of personal documents of citizens of the Republic of Serbia during the state of emergency.

The Ministry of Justice has published recommendations for courts, public prosecutors and notaries public during the state of emergency. Procedural time limits have been suspended for the duration of the state of emergency. Court hearings will be adjourned, except in cases requiring urgent action. Debt collection and other enforcement actions will be suspended (with some exceptions). Certification of signatures, manuscripts, and transcripts before notaries, as well as hearings in non-contentious cases, will all be suspended, except in particularly urgent and justified cases. Recommendations of the Ministry of Justice to courts, prosecutors and notaries public. Government order on time limits in court proceedings during the state of emergency.

Public gatherings and movement of people

As of March 22, a mandatory curfew is in effect for all residents between 5 PM and 5 AM, except on weekends when the curfew is between 3 PM and 5 AM. Order on restriction and prohibition of movement of persons on the territory of the Republic of Serbia.

The following categories are exempt from the curfew: licenced healthcare workers, officers on duty, persons in urgent need of medical assistance accompanied by two other persons, and persons granted special permits by the Ministry of Interior. Instructions for businesses on obtaining curfew permits for employees.

The Ministry of Economy has published an updated set of instructions for issuing curfew permits for employees, based on AmCham’s suggestions sent to the Ministry of Economy and Ministry of Interior.

Two significant updates:
  • Companies with more than 100 employees will be able to issue weekly work orders for their staff, while other businesses will remain required to issue daily work orders.
  • The authorities will accept work orders in electronic format (scanned) presented for inspection by employees on mobile phones, tablets, laptop computers, or other devices.
The Government has imposed a total curfew on senior citizens (the age threshold is 65 in populated areas with more than 5.000 inhabitants, and 70 in populated areas with fewer than 5.000 inhabitants), except for a window on Sundays between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m.

The Government has ordered mandatory 28-day self-isolation for anyone that has entered or will be entering the country.

Decree on misdemeanor for violation of the Order of the Minister of the Interior on restriction and prohibition of movement of persons in the territory of the Republic of Serbia.

Outdoor and indoor gatherings have been restricted so that the distance between people must be at least two meters in both cases, and maximum capacity has been limited to one person per four square meters. Indoor occupancy has been limited to no more than 5 people. Order banning assembly in the Republic of Serbia in public places and indoors.

Import, export and trade in goods

Price controls have been imposed on staple foodstuffs, protective equipment, and disinfectants until April 18, limiting price increases to the annual inflation rate. Decision to limit prices and margins for basic foodstuffs and protective equipment. The Government has also restricted purchases of protective equipment (to 10 face masks/pairs protective gloves per person) and disinfectants (2 large packs or 5 small packs per person). Government Order limiting retail prices of protective equipment during the state of emergency due to Covid-19.

Exports of flour, oil, semi-processed oil, whole sunflower seeds, sugar, and sanitizers have been banned. Government order banning export of certain goods important for public consumption

An export ban on medicines has also been introduced (this applies both to medications produced in Serbia and supplies warehoused in Serbia) until April 15. Decision banning export of medicines.

During the state of emergency, medical devices that do not meet prescribed standards may be procured and put into use, but must satisfy a number requirements. Government order on specific technical requirements, standards and application of medical devices during the state of emergency caused by Covid-19.

International and domestic traffic

All airports in Serbia have been closed to international passenger traffic. Airports will however remain open for cargo and mail transport, search and rescue operations, humanitarian flights, emergency medical transport, technical landings and positioning flights of Serbian aircraft, emergency landings of aircraft, government aircraft, and special-purpose flights. Government order on special measures during the state of emergency.

All border crossings (air, land, and river) have been closed to travelers, while cargo transport and diplomatic travel remain allowed. Decision to close all border crossings for passenger entry to Serbia.

Due to emergency measures and entry restrictions, cross-border transport and transit of goods through Serbia has seen delays. The Ministry of International Affairs (MoIA) has issued a Note lifting the entry ban in some cases, including for crews of motor vehicles engaged in cross-border transport and transit of goods (for stays of up to 12 hours). The MoIA Note is available here. Amended Decision declaring Covid-19, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, an infectious disease.

Intercity bus lines were suspended on March 20.

As of 9 pm on March 21, public transport in Serbia stoped operating until further notice. Public transport may continue to run with special permission from the Ministry of Transport. Passenger cars, private transport operators, and taxis will be allowed to operate.

Quarantine information

The Clinic for Infectious and Tropical Diseases is the designated quarantine location for Covid-19 patients.

The Clinic accepts patients with Covid-19 symptoms for testing through a dedicated entrance separate from that used by other patients. If test results are negative, patients are discharged. If the results are positive, patients will be admitted to the Clinic.

The Serbian Ministry of Health has established an emergency hotline for individuals who have symptoms or believe they may have come in contact with the virus at +381 64 8945235.

The Ministry of Health has also set up new phone numbers for all information on Covid-19. The complete list of numbers is available here.

The Ministry of Health also provides information in English on the Serbian Government’s Covid-19 web site.