Real Madrid striker Luka Jovic is being investigated by Serbian authorities and could face jail time if it’s found he violated self-isolation measures implemented during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, per the Associated Press.
The star was seen on the streets of Belgrade and there is photo evidence he attended his girlfriend’s birthday party, per the AP, despite recently returning from a country with a large number of coronavirus cases. Serbian officials did not mention the 22-year-old Jovic by name, but blasted “millionaire” soccer players to reporters.
“The fact that they are known sportsmen, and that they are rich, will not stop them from being punished,” Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said Thursday, via the Associated Press. “Either they will respect the law, or they’ll go to jail.”
Stefanovic said they have “written criminal reports against some of these famous athletes” and the court will determine the time for them to respond, per Goal.
Jovic came back to Serbia last week from Spain, where more than 17,000 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and nearly 800 have died as of Thursday afternoon. The Real Madrid players and staff have been self-isolating since a basketball player tested positive for the virus last week. Jovic reportedly got permission from the club to return home.
Serbia instituted a state of emergency in an effort to stop the spread of the virus for those returning from places with a large amount of cases. Those returning from nine countries identified by Serbia as high-risk, including Spain, are to self-isolate for 28 days. Others are to self-isolate for 14 days, per the U.S. Embassy in Serbia.
The country also deployed its military to the borders for the first time in a decade on Wednesday, required the elderly to stay indoors at all times and enforced a night curfew for everyone.
Those who violate instructions by health authorities or the curfew regulations face criminal charges, fines or jail time, per Reuters. Stefanovic said it could be up to 12 years for ignoring the self-isolation or quarantine rules, per the AP.
Jovic referenced the issue on his Instagram story and gave an apology.
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