The North Macedonian government declared a state of crisis on Friday, November 20, due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The measure, which will remain in place for 30 days, allows the government further powers to address the spread of the disease.
Face masks are required for all individuals to wear in indoor and outdoor public spaces and where social distancing of 2m (6ft) cannot be observed. Public transport and taxi services are permitted to operate; face masks must be worn when traveling on public transport. Most businesses and facilities are permitted to resume operations whilst following hygiene and social distancing measures. Businesses may be operating with reduced working hours and limits have been placed on capacity at shopping facilities. Many public educational facilities remain closed. Gyms and outdoor individual sport practices have been permitted to resume with social distancing and hygiene measures in place. Group sports remain prohibited.
Authorities previously reopened land borders and Skopje International Airport (SKP) and Ohrid Airport (OHD) are open with international flights resuming; individuals are required to wear face masks in airports and social distancing measures must be observed. Travelers arriving into North Macedonia are not required to self-isolate, present a PCR test, or quarantine upon entry.
As of Saturday, November 21, health authorities have confirmed 52,449 COVID-19 cases with 1462 associated deaths in the country. Further 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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell, or a rash on the skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
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.