20 minutes – “The conditions in the hospitals are desolate”


Reports from Switzerland Serbs

The coronavirus is spreading rapidly in the Serbian city of Novi Pazar. The reporter reports that the hospital is overwhelmed. According to the Serbian ambassador, the situation is tense but under control.

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Photos and videos of patients who are said to be in the hallways or even on the floor of the Novi Pazar hospital are circulating on social media.


Photos of bulletin boards full of corona patient obituaries are also circulating.

Photos of bulletin boards full of corona patient obituaries are also circulating.

«There is chaos. The infection numbers are increasing daily and the conditions in the hospitals are desperate, »says Solothurn's reader reporter B. B. *, who has relatives in Novi Pazar.

«There is chaos. The infection numbers are increasing daily and the conditions in the hospitals are desolate, »says Solothurn’s reader reporter B. B. *, who has relatives in Novi Pazar.


  • The number of corona cases in Serbia is increasing sharply. In the city of Novi Pazar, the situation is expected to get out of hand.
  • Reader reporters report overwhelmed hospital staff.
  • According to the Serbian ambassador to Switzerland, Goran Bradić, the situation is “tense but under control”.

The corona virus is on the rise again in Serbia. The number of infections has been in the three-digit range for several days. The government reported 276 new cases on Tuesday. However, the news website “Balkan Insight” accuses the authorities of missing figures. Between June 17 and 20, at least 300 people in Serbia are said to have been infected with Covid-19 every day. The website is based on an analysis of data from the state Covid-19 information system. In addition, “Balkan Insight” assumes that the government killed 632 people between March 19 and June 1 – more than twice as many as officially stated.

The Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) recently attributed various new infections in Switzerland to travelers from Serbia. As several reader reporters report, the situation on the ground should get out of hand. Above all, they mention the city of Novi Pazar, which is located in southwestern Serbia, as a new corona hotspot. Photos and videos of patients who apparently have to be in the corridors of the hospital or even on the floor are circulating on social media. Photos of bulletin boards full of corona patient obituaries are also circulating. The authenticity of these pictures has not been confirmed.

«Doctors no longer remembered death»

«There is chaos. Infection numbers are increasing every day and the conditions in the hospitals are desperate, »says Solothurn’s reader reporter B. B. *, who has relatives in Novi Pazar. His great aunt and uncle fell ill with Corona and died last week, according to B. B. (24). “The doctors only reported their death to us hours later on the grounds that they couldn’t do anything more because they had so many patients and deaths.” The case of a friend also shows that the hospitals are on the attack. “At first, he couldn’t see his dead father anymore because the doctors no longer remembered his death. They said: ‘Your father didn’t die at all?’ »

Reader reporter M.V. * (33) from Meilen ZH also suffers with the people of Novi Pazar. «The situation in Novi Pazar is bad. About 12 people die from Corona every day, as I learned from my sister and acquaintances, »she says. The city is now considered a virus focus in Serbia. “The hospital in Belgrade sent a friend’s mother away because they don’t want to treat patients from Novi Pazar there.”

Ill staff

However, according to M.V., the hospital in Novi Pazar is overwhelmed. “20 doctors and 40 nurses are sick with Corona and drop out.” The director of the General Hospital in Novi Pazar confirmed to the magazine Kosmo.at that 20 doctors and almost 40 nurses were infected.

Her father-in-law is currently recovering from the corona virus in the hospital, says M.V. «Because there are not enough staff, his wife takes care of him.» M. V. originally wanted to spend the summer holidays with her sister in the city with her family. «Of course we don’t fly there now. Our flight to Belgrade was canceled on Monday anyway. »

A.C. * (22) from Bochum, Germany, also receives disturbing news from her cousins, who work as nurses in Novi Pazar. “They have only a few means to protect themselves against the corona virus,” she says. There is a lack of masks and disinfectants. “Some nurses therefore sometimes no longer enter patients’ rooms.” A friend of her family died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. «The son kept calling the paramedics and hearing from them that it was all good that he was sleeping. He was already dead – they hadn’t refilled his oxygen bottle. » A.C. and the other reader-reporters appeal to people not to travel to Serbia if possible.

The situation is tense, but under control

According to Goran Bradić, Serbian ambassador to Switzerland, the situation in Novi Pazar, Kragujevac, Užice and Vranje is “tense but under control”. On Tuesday, he pointed out that Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić and Health Minister Zlatibor Lončar were getting a picture of the situation in the city. Brnabić has just confirmed that additional protective material for hospital staff has arrived on Tuesday, says Bradić. The General Hospital in Novi Pazar is certainly one of the best equipped hospitals in this region of Serbia in terms of population, he quotes the Prime Minister.

According to the ambassador, the Prime Minister made it clear during her visit that many Corona patients went to the doctor too late. “Since this resulted in more complications for patients, hospital capacities were also limited more quickly,” says Bradić. In order to cope with the flood of patients, the authorities had sent additional staff to Novi Pazar in the past few days. It is not true that patients are rejected due to their origin, for example in hospitals in Belgrade. «In some hospitals, only Covid patients are treated. It is therefore possible that other patients will be transferred to another hospital. But that doesn’t mean you have to send them away. »

Serbia has a good grip on the crisis

According to Bradić, Serbia has a good grip on the corona crisis. «There were four deaths in Serbia on Monday. The fact that several people die from Corona every day is fake news. » In fact, the number of infections in Serbia would increase. He justifies this with the easing. For example, people came from abroad to spend their vacation in Serbia. “There were also gatherings of people because sporting events and weddings can take place again and prayer houses and cafés are open again.” Serbia will take further measures, if necessary, if the numbers continue to rise. “For example, we will impose more local curfews.” He also refers to the already introduced obligation to wear a mask in public transport and in closed rooms in Belgrade.

He does not accept the accusation of Serbia’s hot numbers. “I am a civil servant and I have full confidence in the government and I think the numbers are fine.” To the best of his knowledge, the criteria of the experts in Serbia regarding the reason for infection or death were never questioned by the other experts or colleagues abroad.

* Name of the editor known.

The Serbian parliamentary elections were postponed from April 26 to June 21 due to the Corona crisis. The country had loosened numerous restrictions shortly before. It has been criticized that the government has decided on rash easing so that the elections can take place.

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