The amendments to the Law on Protection of the Population from Infectious Diseases

On November 13th, 2020, the amendments to the Law on Protection of the Population from Infectious Diseases came into force as per the urgent procedure to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus and harmful consequences for human life and health, the safety of the country and the work of state bodies and organizations.

The amendments to the Law define, among other things, under what conditions vaccination against Covid-19 virus in the Republic of Serbia could be mandatory, what are the new powers of communal inspectors and communal police officers in terms of protecting the population from infectious diseases, as well as measures that citizens will have to adhere in quarantine or isolation.

Countries with an unfavorable epidemiological situation are also defined as the states that are affected by the epidemic of infectious diseases, and which are determined by an act of the Minister of Health for the sake of protection against the introduction of the infection into the territory of the Republic of Serbia.

However, one of the most important innovations that attracted the most public attention was certainly the one related to the possibility of introducing extraordinary immunization/ vaccination.

On the day the amendments to the Law enter into force, vaccination may be recommended or mandatory. It shall be ordered by an act of the Minister of Health, in accordance with the recommendations of the World Health Organization, at the proposal of the Institute of Public Health of the Republic of Serbia and with the consent of the Republic Expert Commission for Infectious Diseases.

In addition to the sanitary inspection, the communal inspection and communal police shall now be responsible for supervising the implementation of the Law and the penal policy for both natural persons and legal entities.

The amount of fines for not wearing masks or personal protective equipment indoors and disrespecting physical distance will remain unchanged (5,000 dinars for individuals and from 50,000 to 300,000 for legal entities and responsible persons in them), but their application will be faster and more efficient.

Amendments to the Law also introduced a measure of home isolation ordering treatment at home and restricting the freedom of movement of persons with infectious diseases, in whom the presence of no symptoms or signs of infectious disease was determined, as well as persons with infectious diseases in whom the severity of the disease does not require treatment in a hospital, during the period of contagion.

In the future, this measure shall be prescribed by a specialist in infectious diseases or another doctor in accordance with the order of the Minister, about which he will have to inform the epidemiologist of the territorially competent institute, i.e. institute for public health or other competent health institution.

Persons who are marked as contacts by a medical doctor of epidemiology during an epidemiological examination are obliged to adhere to the prescribed measures and instructions determined by the competent epidemiologist.

In addition to the measure of home isolation, the amendments to the Law also introduce a home quarantine measure which restricts freedom of movement and requires monitoring of the health status of healthy persons who were or are suspected of being in contact with infected persons, whereby the decision of the sanitary inspector on determining the quarantine measure shall also represent a certificate of incapacity for work for the employees while the measure lasts.

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