Real Madrid's Luka Jovic faces criminal charges for breaking coronavirus quarantine

Serbian government set to press charges after player fails to adhere to mandatory 28-day isolation

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The Serbian government is set to press charges against the country's star player and Real Madrid striker Luka Jovic for breaking his mandatory 28-day coronavirus quarantine, state Tanjug news agency said.

"The prosecutor's office in Belgrade confirmed to Tanjug that it has instructed the police to press charges against soccer player Luka Jovic for breaching self-isolation measures after arriving in Serbia from Spain," the agency said.

"Jovic breached the self-isolation when he left his apartment in the Belgrade suburb of Vracar and his excuse was that he went to a pharmacy to buy medicaments.

"If he breaches the quarantine again, he faces harsher measures and possibly arrest. The law applies to everyone and the authorities will not discriminate regardless of what one does for a living."

Serbia's president Aleksandar Vucic had declared a state of emergency on Sunday to curb the coronavirus outbreak in the Balkan nation.

One of the measures is a 28-day quarantine for all Serbian citizens travelling home from European countries most affected by the virus, including Spain. Serbian media reported that Jovic had returned to Serbia from Madrid earlier this week. According to Spanish newspaper AS, the 22-year-old was "seen on the streets of the capital, celebrating the birthday of his girlfriend".

Jovic tried to explain his actions by posting a message on social media, stating he was not given complete information about the lockdown.

"Having seen the situation throughout the world and in our country is very difficult, like it has been for some time, I have to speak out and send support to everyone," he posted on Instagram.

"Firstly, I'm very sorry to be the main talking point these days and I'm sorry that I'm the one constantly being written about and not those key protagonists who are fighting the crisis, who are the doctors and all those working in health.

"In Madrid, my Covid-19 test was negative, so I decided to travel to Serbia, to help and support our people as well as be close to my family, with the club's permission. Upon arriving in Serbia, I was tested and it came out negative.

"I'm very sorry that some people haven't done their job professionally and haven't given me concrete instructions on how to behave in my isolation. In Spain, you're allowed to go out to the supermarket or the pharmacy, which doesn't happen here.

"I hope that we can get over this together. All my support, Serbia, we'll get through this together."