As of Wednesday, April 8, Deputy Prime Minister Bujar Osmani announced that it will extend curfew hours in the municipality of Kumanovo and the surrounding villages to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the region. As such, from Monday to Friday, individuals are prohibited from leaving their homes between 16:00 and 05:00 (local time). Over the weekend, a complete ban on movement will be implemented from 21:00 on Friday through 05:00 on Monday. The decision comes after 23 new cases were recorded in Kumanovo on Tuesday, April 7, bringing the total number in the region to 85. Authorities also stated that agricultural activities are exempted from the restrictions.
Authorities previously announced curfew restrictions on Tuesday, March 24. All citizens have been prohibited from going outside from 21:00 to 05:00. Individuals under 18-years-old will only be allowed to go outside from 12:00 to 21:00, and elderly over 67-years-old between 05:00 to 11:00. On Wednesday, March 18, the President Stevo Pendarovski declared a nationwide state of emergency for 30 days due to the COVID-19 outbreak. A ban on all public gatherings and on the entry of foreign nationals remains in place. Additionally, all border crossings in North Macedonia are closed to foreign nationals, except for freight vehicles, diplomatic personnel, and foreigners with long-term stay permits. Meanwhile, Skopje International Airport (SKP) and Ohrid St. Paul the Apostle Airport (OHD) remain closed for all passenger flights.
As of Wednesday, April 8, authorities have confirmed 599 COVID-19 cases nationwide including 26 fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.