Covid-19: Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Irinej dies

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image captionSerbian patriarch Irinej (centre) attended the funeral service of Metropolitan Amfilohije Radovic at the start of November

Serbia's leading religious figure has died after contracting coronavirus, the country's president has confirmed.

Patriarch Irinej, the 90-year-old head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, tested positive earlier this month after attending a large public funeral for a bishop who also died of Covid-19.

"I was honored to know you. People like you never depart," President Aleksandar Vucic said on Instagram.

Patriarch Irinej was a conservative who also wielded major political influence.

He was intubated after his condition deteriorated on Thursday, two weeks after he was first admitted to hospital. His death was announced on Friday.

Thousands of mourners gathered at the event, without masks or social distancing. Many kissed the bishop's body as it lay in an open coffin.

This was despite a major spike in coronavirus cases in both Serbia and Montenegro, and a warning from the authorities that the event posed a risk to public health.

More than 104,000 people have tested positive and 1,110 have died in Serbia since the pandemic began.

media captionA cold, flu or coronavirus - which one do I have?
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