Kosovo doctors protest colleague’s arrest, suspension

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovar doctors on Friday threatened to take action in support of a colleague who was arrested for refusing to treat a patient after working hours.

Police reported that pulmonologist Ibrahim Hoti was detained a day earlier and local health authorities suspended him from work. It was not clear whether the patient who was not treated had COVID-19.

Kosovo’s doctors association and that of pulmonologists called for his immediate release, insisting it was important not to “deprive patients from their treatment at this moment.”

Hoti is the only pulmonologist serving some 80,000 residents in the Podujeve area, 35 kilometers (22 miles) north of the capital, Pristina.

The doctors called his arrest “unfair” and threatened “to take steps in line with the legislation,” without specifying whether they were threatening a strike.

Hoti’s colleagues in the city held a protest and temporarily stopped treating patients Friday. A trade union leader was fined for organizing an illegal gathering, according to the media.

Following a new surge in virus cases over the past month, last week the government set more restrictive rules, including no gatherings of more than 50 people, mandatory mask wearing and an overnight curfew.

Kosovo authorities have reported 2,039 deaths and 100,135 cases. It is slowly proceeding with vaccinations but has received only 24,000 doses from the Covax system so far.

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