Prime Minister of Bosnia's autonomous Bosniak-Croat Federation has declared a state of disaster. The declaration was made on March 17. The decision will allow Bosnia's autonomous Bosniak-Croat Federation to introduce emergency measures that can be used to halt the rapid spread of the coronavirus in the region.
Bosnia has reported 26 cases of coronavirus, 20 of them originated in the Serb Republic which is the country’s other autonomous region. The region's largest town of Banja Luka is at the centre of the outbreak and the surrounding towns have closed all bars, restaurants and shops accept food stores. All the stores and schools closed on March 16 and will remain closed for a week.
Bosnia cannot legally declare a state of emergency but by declaring a state of disaster it can procure the equipment necessary to tackle the coronavirus outbreak. According to reports, the government has instructed employers to reduce the working hours of employees to switch to two working shifts so that fewer people will be forced to interact with each other. The government has also advised that all business-related trips be cancelled and travel only be undertaken under the direst of circumstances.
The Serb Republic also declared an emergency situation. As per reports, President Zeljka Cvijanovic said that the government will consider the situation and declare an emergency, just as was done during the floods in 2015. Last week, both regions closed schools and universities also banned all public gatherings and sports events. The authorities are also discussing future measures that would mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus.
The novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has claimed more than 7,173 lives across the world and has infected over 1,82,700 people globally since it first broke out in December 2019. China is the most affected country in the world as experts believe that the virus originated from a seafood market in Wuhan city, the epicentre of the disease, where animals were reportedly being traded illegally. Italy and Iran are the other countries that are most affected by the virus outbreak.