March 19, 2020 / 4:32 PM / 21 days ago

Soccer-Real striker Jovic faces criminal charges for breaking coronavirus quarantine

BELGRADE, March 19 (Reuters) - The Serbian government is set to press charges against the country’s Real Madrid striker Luka Jovic for breaking his mandatory 28-day coronavirus quarantine, the state Tanjug news agency said on Thursday.

“The prosecutor’s office in Belgrade confirmed to Tanjug that it has instructed the police to press charges against soccer player Luka Jovic for breaching self-isolation measures after arriving in Serbia from Spain,” the agency said.

“Jovic breached the self-isolation when he left his apartment in the Belgrade suburb of Vracar and his excuse was that he went to a pharmacy to buy medicaments.

“If he breaches the quarantine again, he faces harsher measures and possibly arrest. The law applies to everyone and the authorities will not discriminate regardless of what one does for a living.”

Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vucic declared a state of emergency on Sunday to curb the coronavirus outbreak in the Balkan nation.

One of the measures is a 28-day quarantine for all Serbian citizens travelling home from European countries most affected by the virus, including Spain.

Serbian media reported that the international striker had returned to Serbia from Madrid earlier this week to visit his girlfriend after soccer matches in Spain’s La Liga were suspended.

The 22-year-old denied rumours that he had broken Real Madrid’s own quarantine to travel to Serbia in a statement published by Belgrade’s B92 website http://www.b92.net.

“Last Thursday head of Real Madrid medical team gave @LukaJovic permission to travel to Serbia (on personal medical prescription) and quarantine at his own home,” Jovic said and posted a photo of himself boarding a private jet.

Real Madrid were not immediately available for comment.

The Spanish Ministry of Health put the latest coronavirus toll at more than 17,000 confirmed cases and 767 fatalities on Thursday while Serbia has so far registered 97 confirmed cases and no deaths. (Additional reporting by Joseph Cassinelli; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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