Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in North Macedonia extend COVID-19-related state of emergency until June 13; many restrictions remain in place.

This alert affects North Macedonia

This alert began 01 Jun 2020 18:04 GMT and is scheduled to expire 14 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

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

Summary
Authorities in North Macedonia have extended the nationwide state of emergency until June 13, which was initially introduced in mid-March to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Measures remaining in force in North Macedonia include:

  • Almost all border crossings are closed to passenger traffic, including airports in Skopje (SKP) and Ohrid (OHD).
  • Arriving travelers must self-isolate.
  • All persons must wear protective face coverings while inside stores, banks, and other essential businesses.
  • Educational institutions and childcare facilities remain closed.
  • Chronically ill, pregnant women, single mothers, parents of a child up to 10 years of age, people in wheelchairs, and people with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities are relieved from work or allowed to work from home indefinitely.


Authorities previously eased some restrictions; a nationwide 1900-0600 curfew, in place since mid-March, was lifted May 27. Moreover, authorities allowed bars, restaurants, and cafes to open their outdoor spaces from May 28; the government is due to decide whether to allow such establishments to reopen their indoor spaces in early June. Several types of businesses were allowed to reopen from May 13, including shopping malls, gambling establishments, and driving schools, as well as other private establishments that provide training and education. Personal sports and fitness businesses were also allowed to resume operations, provided participants conduct sessions outdoors.

Authorities could extend, ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice, depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.

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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