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Belgrade blocks flights from ‘coronavirus-free’ Montenegro as Podgorica doesn’t welcome Serbians

Belgrade blocks flights from ‘coronavirus-free’ Montenegro as Podgorica doesn’t welcome Serbians

The Serbian government has banned inbound flights by Montenegro’s flag carrier Montenegro Airlines after Podgorica refused to open its borders to people from Serbia, where coronavirus persists. Serbia’s Directorate for Civilian Aviation said it decided to act as Montenegro’s move affects reciprocity in air transportation.

Montenegro’s Prime Minister Dusko Markovic declared his country free of coronavirus on Monday. The PM said Montenegro would open its borders to travelers from countries reporting no more than 25 cases of infection per 100,000 people. Serbia, where the infection rate is higher, was not on the list.

So far, Serbia, with a population of 7.2 million, has reported 11,227 cases of coronavirus infection and 239 deaths. Montenegro, another Balkan republic of 620,000 people, has reported 324 cases and nine deaths.

As the coronavirus infection rate dropped, Serbia earlier this month opened borders with most of its neighbors, including Montenegro, Croatia and Hungary. Serbia’s PM Ana Brnabic told Serbians, who visit Montenegro in large numbers, that “they should not go where they are undesirable,” Reuters reported.