March 18, 2020 / 1:21 PM / 20 days ago

Kosovo PM sacks interior minister over coronavirus

PRISTINA, March 18 (Reuters) - Kosovo’s prime minister sacked his interior minister amid disagreements over whether the country should declare a state of emergency to halt the spread of coronavirus, a move that may bring down the government less than two months after it was formed.

Late on Tuesday, President Hashim Thaci proposed that parliament declare a state of emergency. Prime Minister Albin Kurti said such a drastic measure wasn’t necessary. Interior Minister Agim Veliu publicly opposed the prime minister and said that his party would support the president.

“In these circumstances I am obliged to act and I have decided to dismiss the interior minister Veliu,” Kurti said in a press statement.

Kosovo has registered 19 people infected by the coronavirus since last Friday, when the first case was reported. Most were linked to Italy, the European country hit hardest by the epidemic.

Kosovo has already closed its borders and shut all schools, flights, bars and restaurants. Only supermarkets and pharmacies remain open.

Reporting by Fatos Bytyci, editing by Larry King

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