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17 Mar 2020 | 12:07 PM UTC

North Macedonia: Government implements new entry restrictions due to COVID-19 March 13 /update 2

North Macedonia implements new entry restrictions due to COVID-19 March 13; April 12 parliamentary elections postponed

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Event

On Friday, March 13, North Macedonia's government announced that it will deny entry to foreign nationals traveling from "high-risk countries" that are heavily impacted by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The government also announced that it will close several border crossings in an effort to curb the spread of the disease. As of Friday, public gatherings have been banned and working hours for restaurants, cafes, and clubs have been limited.

On Tuesday, March 17, former Prime Minister Zoran Zaev announced that North Macedonia's parliamentary election, originally planned for April 12, will be postponed due to the ongoing outbreak.

To date, there have been more than 25 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.

Context

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 labored 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.

Advice

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 COVID-19 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.