Serbian government under-reported COVID-19 infections to encourage voter turnout
The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network finds that the number of Serbians newly infected by the coronavirus in the week leading up to the June 21 parliamentary election was several times higher than the officially announced figure, and suggests that the numbers were concealed so that as many people as possible would participate in the election, which was already being partially boycotted. The day after the election, Predrag Kon, one of the most recognisable experts on the Serbian government’s crisis staff, acknowledged that the country’s situation was risky, even though he had announced on June 3 that the epidemic was over in Serbia. The country’s state of emergency was lifted on May 6, and the government allowed public gatherings and sporting events, including the Adria tennis tour, organised by the world’s number one male player, Novak Đoković. After a detailed analysis of the death figures, BERN concludes that death rates also have been substantially under-reported. On June 23 the opposition People’s Party announced criminal charges against Prime Minister Ana Brnabić and Health Minister Zlatibor Lončar for covering up the number of infected and deceased.
Publication: European Western Balkans