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13.03.2020. - 18:21

Address of the President of the Republic of Serbia

President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić addressed the nation tonight regarding the extremely complex situation in which Serbia finds itself today. For the first time in decades, we face the impact of a severe and major disease and infection that has hit the world and our country, while at the same time we are facing a critical migrant crisis, as well as the crisis with oil prices.

President Vučić said that the challenge posed by the coronavirus should be managed in an organised and solidary manner. He stressed that tomorrow, two crisis centres would be formed - one that will address the health situation and the other that will be responsible for eliminating the consequences for the economy.
 
"The whole world is in a complex situation. This is a global disaster. It is all about the crisis we are facing, and we will have to address it in the months to come. We have been preparing in the course of the past years through renovation of clinics, hospitals, health care facilities... We have invested much money, and we are more prepared to meet these challenges than most countries. Unlike in some small countries, we run tests. We have 1,008 respirators today, and in 20 days we will have 500 more. We are well supplied with all that we need, and your support is critical for us," said President Vuč and stated that there would be more cases of infection and disease. He said that as a society, we need to have a lot more discipline and that citizens should trust the state authorities much more in this situation.
 
President Vučić emphasised that there are two types of battles over coronavirus that we must win, with the view that the most important thing is to listen to the experts, and not politicians and the media.
 
"One battle is to preserve the health of our people and above all the senior citizens who are the most vulnerable ones. But they are also the most disciplined and responsible among us. They are the most susceptible to coronavirus and, unfortunately, it is the most effective among the senior population," said President Vučić, stressing that it is essential that we undertake all the possible measures following what the experts say. He added that the second battle is the elimination of the outcomes of such a crisis for our economy and businesses and that we should not wait for a new recession.
 
President Vučić emphasised that we must adopt the best practices of other countries in the fight against the virus, adding that some were asking for the closure of schools, but that experts said that we should not do that as neither Slovenia nor Croatia nor the United Kingdom did it.
 
"The easiest response is to shut everything down, but the question must be posed as to how we will live and who will be working. We will brief you in a timely manner and we will not hide from you any grave consequences. We will have to go through them together," explained President Vučić and asked the citizens for discipline, responsibility, respect for and trust in the state. He stressed that we must, above all, rely on ourselves and added that we had shown so far that we are capable of doing this and that we know how to achieve better results than those that have more successful economies than ours.
 
President Vučić announced that as of April 1, all health care workers will get a 10 per cent pay increase to preserve the motivation of people who keep struggling heroically in these circumstances, and are experiencing terrible pressures, some of them - even threats. He announced that the public will be informed daily about all the new measures being taken and will be able to recognise how mature we are as a country.
 
"Thank you for understanding what the state is doing. This is a global process and strain for the entire world. We will fight most strongly and fiercely to preserve every human being, every life in Serbia. I am asking you for your trust and rational behaviour. And the coronavirus is going to pass, and Serbia will live and survive it. We can only survive by being united. Please, do have trust in your country," said President Vučić, urging all to show solidarity, seriousness and love for Serbia.
 
Belgrade, March 12 2020
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