Kosovo to declare state of emergency to counter coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: Medical workers carry a patient who is suspected of having coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in a hospital in Pristina, Kosovo, March 16, 2020. REUTERS/Laura Hasani

PRISTINA (Reuters) - Kosovo President Hashim Thaci on Tuesday asked the country’s parliament to declare a state of emergency to halt the spread of coronavirus.

Parliament must vote on the request within 48 hours.

“As a president I never thought that it would come to this moment,” Thaci said at a press conference after meeting with the country’s security council.

The new measures include putting soldiers in the streets, Thaci added.

Kosovo has registered 19 people with the virus since last Friday when the first case was reported.

It has already closed all schools, borders, flights, bars and restaurants. Only supermarkets and pharmacies remain open.

Most of the people with coronavirus came from Italy or are related to someone who returned from Italy.

Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; Editing by Lisa Shumaker