Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in North Macedonia to ease certain COVID-19-related restrictions from May 13. Most other restrictions remain in place.

This alert affects North Macedonia

This alert began 12 May 2020 23:04 GMT and is scheduled to expire 02 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Severe business and transport disruptions

Summary
Authorities in North Macedonia plan to ease certain coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related restrictions starting May 13. The move will enable several types of businesses to reopen, including shopping malls, gambling establishments, and driving schools, as well as other private establishments that provide training and education. Personal sports and fitness businesses may also resume operations, provided sessions are conducted outdoors.

Regardless, numerous other COVID-19-related measures will remain in place. Curfew hours in North Macedonia remain 1900-0500 on weekdays and 1500-0500 on weekends. Under the provisions of the standard curfew in place due to COVID-19 activity, persons over the age of 67 may be outside their homes between the hours of 0500-1200 on weekdays and 0500-1100 on Saturdays; persons below the age of 18 are allowed to leave their homes between the hours of 1300-1900 on weekdays and 1200-1500 on Saturdays.

North Macedonia's existing state of emergency is slated to remain in effect through at least May 17. Additional restrictions in force under the state of emergency include the closure of almost all border crossings to passenger traffic, including airports in Skopje (SKP) and Ohrid (OHD), and a mandatory 14-day quarantine in state-provided facilities for arriving travelers. Numerous public spaces and the majority of nonessential businesses are closed. All persons must wear protective face coverings while inside stores, banks, and other essential businesses.

Authorities could extend, ease or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by North Macedonia are similar to actions taken by other Eastern European governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Reconfirm all public transportation and business appointments. Follow all official directives. Abide by national health and safety measures. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Prepare for freight delivery disruptions. Consider delaying or detouring goods.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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