Serbia blocks flights from Montenegro over coronavirus row

FILE PHOTO: Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, China November 5, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbia has banned inbound flights by Montenegro’s flag carrier Montenegro Airlines after Podgorica refused to open its borders to people from Serbia, where coronavirus persists.

Serbia’s Directorate for Civilian Aviation said it decided to act as Montenegro’s move affect reciprocity in air transportation.

Montenegro’s prime minister Dusko Markovic on Monday declared his country free of coronavirus.

Markovic also said Montenegro would open borders to travelers from countries reporting no more than 25 cases of infection per 100,000 people. Serbia, where the infection rate is higher, was not on the list.

As the coronavirus infection rate dropped, Serbia earlier this month opened borders with most of its neighbors, including Montenegro, Croatia and Hungary.

Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Brnabic told Serbians, who visit Montenegro in large numbers, “they should not go where they are undesirable”.

So far, Serbia, with a population of 7.2 million, has reported 11,227 cases of coronavirus infection and 239 deaths. Montenegro has reported 324 cases and nine deaths. 

Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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