Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: North Macedonia imposes 85-hour lockdown for Orthodox Easter holidays from 1600 April 17 through 0500 April 21.

This alert affects North Macedonia

This alert began 14 Apr 2020 19:33 GMT and is scheduled to expire 09 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-related restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Date: Indefinite
  • Impact: Severe business and transport disruptions

Summary
Authorities in North Macedonia plan to impose an 85-hour curfew over the Orthodox Easter holiday as part of the nation's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The extended lockdown will be in effect from 1600 April 17 through 0500 April 21, during which time frame no persons may be outside their homes. The measure is a temporary departure from North Macedonia's existing COVID-19-related curfew, which requires residents to remain in their homes between 1600-0500 on weekdays, without leaving their residences at all on weekends.

Moreover, under the existing curfew in place, persons above the age of 65 may only leave their homes between 1000-1200 on weekdays, while persons under the age of 18 may only leave their residences between 1300-1500 on weekdays. Authorities have warned that curfew violators could face up to one year in prison.

On April 13, orders prohibiting individuals from entering or leaving the towns of Debar and Centar Zhupa were lifted, with authorities citing an improvement in the COVID-19 situations in the two municipalities.

Other restrictions in effect in North Macedonia include the closure of all border crossings, including airports in Skopje (SKP) and Ohrid (OHD). Moreover, any person arriving from abroad must observe a 14-day self-isolation period. Numerous public spaces, as well as cafes, bars, and shopping centers, are closed. Grocery stores remain open. All schools remain closed through the end of April.

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): zdravstvo.gov.mk

North Macedonia Government: https://vlada.mk/

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