May 28, 2020 / 3:48 PM / 2 months ago

Bosnia to re-open borders with neighbouring countries on June 1

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Bosnia will re-open borders closed by the coronavirus pandemic with neighbouring Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia on June 1 and lift restrictions for commercial flights, Prime Minister Zoran Tegeltija said on Thursday.

Business travel from other countries and visits for medical reasons and funerals will be also allowed.

“We shall continue to monitor the epidemiological situation and gradually start re-opening the borders for other countries as well,” Tegeltija told a news conference after the government session, adding the borders’ re-opening was without limitations.

Of the three neighbours, only Serbia has opened its borders with Bosnia so far. Croatia allows entry to Bosnians under certain conditions, while Montenegro has kept its entry ban in force.

Bosnia had recorded 2,462 cases and 153 deaths of the COVID-19 lung disease as of Thursday.

The national government in March imposed a state of disaster over the novel coronavirus, locking down the country after its two regions, the Bosniak-Croat Federation and the Serb Republic, introduced emergency situations.

Last week, the Serb Republic lifted a state of emergency, returning legislative powers to parliament from the region’s president. [L8N2D23LK]

The two regions have re-opened most businesses, shops and kindergartens in an effort to ease the impact of the disease on their fragile economies.

The International Monetary Fund has estimated that Bosnia’s economy would shrink by around 5% this year because of the pandemic.

Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Jan Harvey

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