May 21, 2020 / 3:55 PM / 13 days ago

Bosnia's Serb Republic lifts coronavirus state of emergency

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Bosnia’s autonomous Serb Republic on Thursday lifted a state of emergency introduced in March over the coronavirus epidemic, returning legislative powers to the parliament from the region’s president.

“As we record the linear rise of the number of infected persons, we consider that ... the gradual return to normality has been justified,” Serb Republic Prime Minister Radovan Viskovic told the lawmakers.

The parliament also abolished a night-time curfew and a two-week self-isolation requirement for those entering its territory.

Bosnia has recorded 2,350 cases of the novel coronavirus, with 140 deaths, 99 of those in the Serb Republic.

The region will maintain preventive measures such as physical distancing, the wearing of protective masks and the disinfection of public spaces, as well as measures aimed at helping the economy.

Wholesale trade businesses and retail shops, hair-dressing and cosmetic salons, open air bars and restaurants, kindergartens, and dental clinics have already reopened.

The Bosniak-Croat Federation, the country’s other autonomous region, has also lifted most of the restrictions imposed to combat the coronavirus but kept in place the situation of disaster, which is also in force at the national level.

The national government is expected to open borders with neighbouring countries on June 1.

Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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