Relaxing the measures introduced to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Bosnia is “certainly a mistake” at this time, Dr. Andrej Trampuz, Head of Infectiology and Septic Surgery at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, one of Europe's largest university hospitals, told N1, arguing that even stricter measures should be introduced until the country vaccinates enough of its population.
The daily numbers of new coronavirus infections have decreased in Bosnia and Herzegovina since recently and local healthcare authorities have decided to somewhat relax the measures. This includes, among other things, allowing visits to retirement homes. Authorities are also considering allowing spectators to attend sports matches.
According to Dr. Trampuz, “this is certainly a mistake, especially in regard to the elderly.”
“Until we vaccinate this vulnerable population over the age of 70, the virus will be transmitted in those homes to the elderly. There we have mortality rates of up to 30 percent, every third person who becomes infected can die from the coronavirus. Therefore, it would be best to allow visits to these homes only when everyone has been vaccinated,” he explained.
Dr. Trampuz also commented on the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina is late in the process of vaccinating its population.
So far, only 2,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine for health workers in Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity have entered the country.
This is not good for Bosnia, but also not for the wider region, he explained, as a time difference between states in vaccinating their population can hinder the overall process.
“We will only be able to manage this pandemic when all states have vaccinated,” he said, explaining that if Bosnia if not going through the process parallel with others, new strains could emerge and show up in other countries as well.
However, Dr. Trampuz noted that even more developed countries have difficulties in procuring vaccines, noting that he himself is also not vaccinated and neither are his parents in Slovenia “because there are not enough vaccines.”
He strongly advocated for a lockdown, arguing that stricter measures should be introduced until more vaccines are available and proposing that citizens should be given FFP2 masks and instructed to minimise physical contact with others and avoid travel and work from home.
He urged politicians to “openly say what the situation is and that we are facing a third coronavirus wave.”
“Unfortunately, many politicians are now telling people not to worry, thereby putting them at risk, the virus is starting to spread. Now, it would be good to openly say what the situation is like and to explain why with good communication,” he said.
Authorities should emphasise that new measures are “not a punishment” and should properly explain the reasons behind the introduction of curfews and other orders, he argued.
He said that new mutations of the virus “will surely come, it's just a matter of time” and argued that “we better prepare for it now.”
The daily number of new infections should reach nearly none in order for it to be safe to relax measures, he argued.
“But if we start opening up now, it will be a big problem. We would again be at the beginning as we were in December or November last year,” he said.