SARAJEVO (Reuters) – Protesters in Sarajevo who staged a hunger strike over their treatment in coronavirus quarantine were on Tuesday allowed to go home by Bosnian authorities.
About 50 people who had been held in student accommodation in the capital for more than two weeks were told they could continue self-isolating in their homes, local officials and protesters said.
The protesters said many had not been tested for the virus while others had not been given their test results. Some also said they had not been receiving medicines they needed for other conditions. They also hired a lawyer to examine the legality of their confinement.
About 80 people who were quarantined at a later stage will remain in the residence. Separately, more than 80 people quarantined in a hotel in the central town of Zenica have been refusing food since April 20, demanding to be tested and released if found to be negative, officials and protesters said. Dozens quarantined in the towns of Doboj and Maglaj staged similar protests.
Under emergency measures, authorities in Bosnia’s autonomous Bosniak-Croat Federation are putting people arriving from abroad into quarantine for 28 days.
In Bosnia’s Serb Republic, the country’s other autonomous half, they can continue their quarantine at home after two weeks unless they develop symptoms of COVID-19.So far, 1,342 people in Bosnia are confirmed to have been infected and 51 of them have died.
Even before the pandemic, Bosnia’s health system was in poor shape. Large numbers of doctors and nurses have sought work in Western Europe, causing fears that the country may soon have too few medical staff to cope.
(Reporting by Maja Zuvela; Editing by Giles Elgood)