Authorities in Bosnia have started transferring migrants from the streets of Sarajevo to a reception center as a part of measures to control the spread of the coronavirus. A similar operation will also take place this week in Bihac.
On Friday last week, police in Sarajevo started removing migrants en masse from the city's streets. The measure was taken in light of the health emergency and the danger of infection from coronavirus, said Interior Minister Aljosa Campara of the Federation Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of the two entities composing Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This week a similar prevention operation will take place in the Una-Sana Canton (Bihac), in the country's northwest at the border with Croatia.
Migrants being brought to reception centers
Bosnian authorities said migrants will be taken to the Blazuj reception centre near Sarajevo.
In the Federation Bosnia and Herzegovina, a majority Muslim Croatian entity, and the Republika Srpska, the other entity in the country which is a majority Serbian, there is a curfew that starts in the late afternoon and lasts until 5 in the morning.
Residents over age 65 are not allowed to leave their homes. The rest of the country is also being asked to stay at home, and to go out only for grocery shopping or the pharmacy.
State of emergency in Serbian entity
In a closed-door session, the parliament of the Republika Srpska (Rs) declared a state of emergency for the coronavirus pandemic. This measure grants additional powers to the president of the entity.
"In this way we will decide more quickly the measures against the epidemic, including those tied to laws," said Serbian-Bosnian leader Milorad Dodik, who is a Serbian member of the tripartite Bosnian presidency.
Dodik said in his view the state of emergency "is not an attack on personal freedom".