Severity: Warning Alert
Exit/Entry: Negative COVID-19 test required for citizens of four regional countries for entry in North Macedonia from July 9.
- Alert Begins: 10 Jul 2020 06:12 PM UTC
- Alert Expires: 31 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Business and transport disruptions ongoing
From July 9, all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, and Montenegro need a negative coronavirus disease (COVID-19) PCR test from within the previous 72 hours for entry into North Macedonia. Those who have both dual citizenship of North Macedonia and one of the four countries and who have residency in North Macedonia, and travelers who are simply transiting through the country, are exempt.
Authorities previously eased additional restrictions related to COVID-19. As of June 26, the government lifted the requirement that citizens entering the country either produce proof of having tested negative for COVID-19 or undergo a 14-day quarantine. Most foreign nationals remain barred from entering North Macedonia, with the exception of travelers from the region, permanent residents, diplomats, freight transporters, aircraft cabin crews, and persons in transit. Intercity public transport was allowed to resume operation from June 26. Additionally, two of the nation's airports, Skopje (SKP) and Ohrid (OHD), reopened on July 1. Most nonessential businesses have reopened.
Measures remaining in force in North Macedonia include:
- All persons must wear protective face coverings while inside stores, banks, and other essential businesses.
- Educational institutions and childcare facilities remain closed.
- Certain classes of persons at high risk for COVID-19 are relieved from work or allowed to work from home indefinitely.
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
As countries relax blanket restrictions across Europe, authorities could begin to reintroduce sporadic, highly targeted measures in response to local COVID-19 outbreaks. Such measures could apply to neighborhoods or specific facilities, including schools, factories, or accommodation and office blocks. Mandatory social distancing procedures in public places and on public transport, as well as widespread voluntary “self-policing” by residents, will assist in reducing the potential for contagion, negating the necessity for a large-scale, blanket reintroduction of significant restrictions.
North Macedonia's actions are in line with those taken by other governments in the region in an attempt to restart their economies after several months of lockdown due to 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.
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.