Serbian Patriarch tests positive for COVID-19

Head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Porfirije (C) leads a mass, during the his visit to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 17 October 2021. [EPA-EFE/FEHIM DEMIR]

Serbian Patriarch Porfirije has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be treated at home, the Serbian Orthodox Church Information Office said on Tuesday.

“His Holiness has very mild symptoms, adequate therapy has been administered, and he has been obeying all epidemiological measures. He has maintained electronic communication with his associates and has been doing administrative work without any problems,” the statement said.

According to the statement, the patriarch has expressed regret that public events he should be attending have been postponed until further notice.

Although Porfirije has frequently called on the people to get vaccinated and respect all measures, most clerics of the Serbian Orthodox Church still do not require wearing masks in churches or during religious ceremonies.

According to official data released on Tuesday, 13,693 of 37,402 people who tested for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours tested positive. During this time, 2,287 people were hospitalised, while 22 people died of the disease.

The increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases has not boosted the number of vaccinated, Mirsad Đerlek, a state secretary at the Health Ministry, said on Tuesday, noting that many had relaxed during the holidays and that a possible fourth vaccine dose should be considered.

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