President Stevo Pendarovski declared a new 30-day state of emergency for the whole territory of North Macedonia on Thursday, April 16.
Macedonian authorities initially declared a state of emergency on March 18. Curfews and border and travel restrictions are in effect. 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.
Further, individuals are prohibited from leaving their homes between 16:00 and 05:00 (local time) on weekdays. A complete ban on movement is in effect on weekends from 16:00 on Friday until 05:00 on Monday. The government has also announced that a nationwide curfew will be imposed over Easter weekend from 16:00 on Friday, April 17, until 05:00 on Tuesday, April 21. Exemptions will be made for police, army, health workers, pharmacies, markets, and restaurants that offer delivery services.
To date, there have been than 1081 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, with 46 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected over 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.