Vigilance remains critical to help contain COVID-19, as BiH prepares for local elections

Joint Statement by the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dr. Ingrid Macdonald, and the World Health Organization’s Representative for BiH, Dr. Victor Olsavszky

The United Nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina remains concerned with the high levels of COVID19 infections across the country. As seen across Europe, incidences of new cases are accelerating, together with the numbers of deaths caused by COVID19 complications.

As the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina prepare to exercise their important voting rights this Sunday, the United Nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina urges personal vigilance by voters to ensure the safety of all citizens, including those working to support the elections.

Every citizen can help with four simple actions: • avoid large gatherings; • keep physical distance, including when waiting in lines at the polling stations; • wear your masks properly, at all times; and • sanitize your hands before and after entering the polling stations.

Transparent and inclusive elections are the backbone of democratic societies, and can still be conducted in a safe manner even during this devastating COVID19 crisis. We urge relevant authorities and institutions to ensure that all epidemiological measures are respected at polling stations; that all observer and electoral teams have personal protective equipment; and that schools used as polling stations are properly cleaned and disinfected before students return to school.

Doctors, nurses, clinicians, other front-line health workers and support staff, have led the fight against COVID19 for over eight months in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is imperative that they are not left alone when we know that every citizen can play an important part in flattening the curve. Whilst many of us are tired of this crisis, especially as Winter approaches, the COVID19 virus is not tired of us, and is no less virulent.

Despite escalating infections, rising mortality, and stress on the health systems, the United Nations believes that Bosnia and Herzegovina can still achieve a balance between protecting public health and maintaining social, political and development life through personal vigilance, solidarity and following guidelines and protective measures.

The United Nations remains committed to continuing to support these efforts.

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