Also by Neil Bowdler
December 16, 2021
The Good Virus: Family And Friends Rally To Treat Serbian Playwright With New Cancer Therapy
Luka Kurjacki, a 32-year-old writer and playwright from Serbia, has an aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma. Before being diagnosed with the condition, he previously had surgery for brain tumors that damaged his ability to speak.
December 14, 2021
'A Broken Phone And A Broken Heart': Afghan Refugees Recount Robberies On Their Journey To Serbia
Thousands of migrants from war-torn countries including Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq are being temporarily housed in centers in Serbia. Most left home with little more than money, documents, a phone, and some prized personal possessions.
November 27, 2021
'Most Of The Dead Are Women In Their 50s': Ukrainian Doctors Still Fighting To Save Lives
Doctors in the city of Kakhovka in southern Ukraine say the situation is stabilizing a little after a deadly COVID-19 surge but that they're still inundated with new cases. RFE/RL visited Kakhovka's Central City Hospital, where over 100 patients were hospitalized with the disease.
November 25, 2021
Afghan Kids Put To Work Sorting Garbage In Tehran Despite Child Labor Ban
Iranian officials say around 4,600 children collect recyclable garbage on the streets of Tehran to sell and that the numbers are growing. It's estimated that 95 percent are foreigners and most of them are young Afghans. Many other children work at markets or cleaning cars in the Iranian capital.
November 18, 2021
Life By QR Codes: Russia Considers Tough New COVID Restrictions
Russia's parliament is considering the introduction of a federal QR code system to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The QR codes could only be used by those who have been vaccinated or who recently recovered from COVID-19 or by people who can't be vaccinated on medical grounds.
November 17, 2021
Some COVID Patients Shunning Romanian Hospitals And Self-Treating At Home
A family doctor in the town of Miercurea Ciuc in Romania's historic Transylvania region says many COVID patients are self-treating at home because they don't want to go to local hospitals. Marton Bokor, a former hospital director and ethnic Hungarian, says patients are renting oxygen equipment.
November 10, 2021
'I Didn't Believe This Disease Existed': Unvaccinated Patients' Regrets In Ukrainian COVID Ward
A COVID hospital in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, is close to running out of beds with oxygen. Doctors say nearly all the patients need oxygen and 90 percent of them are not vaccinated. RFE/RL spoke to some of the patients, with many regretting their decision not to be inoculated.
October 20, 2021
Ukrainian COVID Hospital Called A 'Horror Show' Amid Payment Controversy
The son of a COVID-19 patient in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv claims he had to pay the equivalent of more than $1,000 for medicines and other services after his father was hospitalized with the virus for 13 days.
October 19, 2021
A Transylvanian Shoemaker Returns To His Craft After COVID-19 Shuts Business
The COVID-19 pandemic forced Lehel Ruzsa to close down his shop in Romania's Transylvania region for an extended period. But after taking a big economic hit, the ethnic Hungarian cobbler is back at work now, making his unique, handmade leather shoes.
October 17, 2021
Fancy Fuel: Cooking Oil From Kosovo's Gourmet Restaurants Converted To Biodiesel
To cut down on contamination from used cooking oil, a company in Kosovo is buying it from gourmet restaurants. The relatively cleaner oil from fryers in fancy kitchens is exported abroad, where it is recycled and converted into biodiesel.
October 13, 2021
'We'll Keep Treating People No Matter How Tough It Gets': Russian COVID-19 Deaths Hit New High
Russia's COVID-19 deaths hit a new daily high of 984 on October 13 as the country continues to struggle with a rapid surge of infections and lagging vaccination rates. In the western Russian region of Ulyanovsk, 17 hospitals have set up 2,600 additional beds to face the crisis, but 2,500 are already full.
October 12, 2021
Amid Spike In Cases, Sarajevo Surgeon Calls COVID-19 'A Disease With A Thousand Faces'
Bosnia-Herzegovina has recorded more COVID-19 deaths per capita than any other country in Europe. The highly infectious Delta variant has led to a new spike in cases, with most of the patients in serious condition unvaccinated. RFE/RL visited the Dr. Abdulah Nakas General Hospital in Sarajevo.
October 10, 2021
'The Land Has Dried Up': Animals Die And Farms Abandoned In Iran's Khuzestan Province
Communities on the Hour al-Azim marshes in Iran's Khuzestan Province say they're facing catastrophe. Marshes are drying up and piped-in drinking water is severely rationed by the authorities. Local residents say livestock are dying and farms are being abandoned.
October 01, 2021
Ukraine's Booming Black Market In Fake COVID Vaccination Certificates
More than 30 criminal cases have been opened in Ukraine involving fake COVID-19 vaccination certificates. Police recently detained one family doctor accused of selling counterfeit vaccine documents for about $200 each.
September 29, 2021
Russia's Daily COVID-19 Death Toll Hits Fourth New High In A Month
Russia has recorded a new high for daily deaths from COVID-19 as another wave sweeps across the country and vaccination rates stall. The latest daily death toll, published on September 28, showed 852 new fatalities -- the fourth record high in a month.
September 26, 2021
With Only One-Third Of Adults Vaccinated, Romania Fears COVID-19 Surge
With the second-lowest vaccination rate in the European Union -- 34 percent of adults are fully inoculated -- Romania is bracing for a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials say only 32 intensive-care-unit beds are currently available and staff shortages mean they're struggling to add more.
July 14, 2021
Iran At Risk Of COVID-19 Fifth Wave As Homegrown Vaccine Campaign Stalls
Iran, one of the countries hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, is at risk of a fifth wave of infections, according to outgoing President Hassan Rohani, after the Delta variant led to a new spike in cases. Restrictions have been reimposed in cities, with parks, restaurants, and businesses closed.
June 23, 2021
Surprise Order: New COVID Restrictions For Moscow Restaurants, Bars, And Cafes
From June 28, Moscow restaurants, cafes, and bars have been ordered to only serve guests who have been vaccinated, had COVID-19 within the last six months, or have had a negative PCR test within the previous three days.
June 09, 2021
Warning Shot: Some Experts Oppose Use Of Kazakh-Produced COVID-19 Vaccine
Some 100,000 doses of a locally produced COVID-19 vaccine called QazVac have already been distributed in Kazakhstan -- before the publication of late-stage clinical trial data. Independent health experts say more data should have been released.