A number of countries in the Western Balkans have taken new precautions following a wave of COVID-19 infections.
On Tuesday, Kosovo postponed the start of the school year for students by two weeks following a rapid increase in cases due to the Delta variant. Albania and Serbia have also imposed similar restrictions.
Perparim Kryeziu, spokesman for the Kosovo government, told The Associated Press that classes will be postponed to September 13 under “new restrictive measures”.
Kosovo will also impose a nighttime curfew, while restaurants and bars will only be able to offer outdoor service and masks will be mandatory.
The measures have been welcomed by teachers and parents who fear that the Delta variant has created a more dangerous situation for students and families.
Kosovo recorded more than 2,000 new infections a day in August, ten times more than less than a month ago. This represents a growing danger, as less than 20% of its 1.8 million citizens are vaccinated.
In neighboring Albania, where around a third of the population has been vaccinated, school has also been postponed to September 27.
Tirana’s government is urging people to get vaccinated, otherwise vaccines could be mandatory for health workers, teachers, professors and students.
Meanwhile, in Serbia, teachers protested outside the parliament building in Belgrade on Tuesday, demanding fewer students in classrooms and better salaries.
Schools in Serbia will resume normally on Wednesday, except in the southwest of the country where some classes will be held online due to the increase in new coronavirus infections.
About 50% of the population has been vaccinated in Serbia and authorities have started giving a third booster dose to people who received vaccines at least six months ago.