Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in North Macedonia extend restrictions introduced to curb spread of COVID-19 through May 17. Severe disruptions likely.

This alert affects North Macedonia

This alert began 17 Apr 2020 11:09 GMT and is scheduled to expire 21 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 17
  • Impact: Severe business and transport disruptions

Summary
Authorities in North Macedonia announced a second state of emergency through at least May 17, during which all previous restrictions introduced to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will remain in force. The extended restrictions include a curfew requiring all residents to remain in their homes 1600-0500 on weekdays, and 1600 Friday-0500 Monday on weekends. Moreover, age-specific curfews allow persons over the age of 65 to leave their homes 1000-1200 only on weekdays, while persons under the age of 18 may only leave their homes 1300-1500 on weekdays. Authorities have warned that curfew violators could face up to one year in prison.

These curfews are in addition to an extended 85-hour curfew over the Orthodox Easter holiday weekend, prohibiting movement outside the home 1700 April 17-0500 April 21.

Additional restrictions extended under the new state of emergency include the closure of almost all border crossings, including airports in Skopje (SKP) and Ohrid (OHD) for passenger traffic, and a mandatory 14-21 day quarantine or self-isolation for all arrivals. Numerous public spaces and the majority of nonessential businesses are closed.

All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice in response to government reviews and may receive updates or extensions in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the government correspond with similar 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.

Resources
Ministry of Health (Twitter): https://twitter.com/zdravstvomk

North Macedonia Government Coronavirus Hub: https://koronavirus.gov.mk

World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int