Head of Serbian Orthodox Church tests positive for virus

The Serbian Orthodox Church says the Patriarch, Porfirije, has tested positive for COVID-19

Via AP news wire
Tuesday 11 January 2022 09:52
Serbia Orthodox Christmas
Serbia Orthodox Christmas

The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Porfirije has tested positive for COVID-19, the church said on Tuesday, amid a surge in infections in the country and elsewhere in the Balkan region.

Porfirije has developed “very mild symptoms of the virus infection” and remains in home isolation, said the statement. It added that Porfirije is carrying out administrative duties entirely without problems.

The 60-year-old patriarch became the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church after the previous patriarch, Irinej, died in November 2020 after contracting the coronavirus.

Porfirije on Sunday attended a mass ceremony in Republika Srpska, the Serb-run part of neighboring Bosnia where few people wore face masks.

Serbia reported nearly 9,000 new infections on Monday in the country of 7 million people. The number of daily new cases has risen sharply after the New Year celebrations that included open-air concerts and relaxed anti-virus rules.

Experts say the current rise in cases is driven by the fast-spreading omicron variant of the coronavirus and is likely to worsen further. Epidemiologist Predrag Kon on Monday criticized the virus policies by the authorities.

“Everything that was organized should not have happened,” said Kon. “Belgrade exploded after New Year and now it's spreading to the rest of Serbia.”

Serbia has recorded over 1.3 million cases of infection since the start of the pandemic while nearly 13,000 people have died of COVID-19.

Infections have been on the rise in neighboring Croatia where authorities further limited gatherings from Tuesday, widened the mandatory use of face masks and urged companies to organize home work when possible.

Croatia's neighbor, Slovenia, has tightened entry rules while virus infections have been on the rise also in Bosnia and in Montenegro.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in