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UPDATE CORONAVIRUS

UPDATE CORONAVIRUS

Current COVID-19 Situation in North Macedonia

As per 21 July 2020 

The Ministry of Health of North Macedonia monitors and holds daily press conferences on the COVID-19 outbreak. The detailed and updated number of cases – including statistics on patients in remission, number of new cases, deaths and the total of positive tests for COVID-19 – is published daily.

The Republic of North Macedonia has reported over 8.600 confirmed cases of COVID-19 within its borders and over 400 deaths (17.07.2020).

The Ministry of Health informed that according to the weekly report published on 21.07.2020, which refers to the period from 13 to 19 July 2020, there is a decrease in the number of newly infected and healed persons, and an increase in the number of deaths compared to the previous week.

15.07.2020 – Parliamentary Elections in North Macedonia. The polls were taking place amid strict health safety rules and voting lasted two hours longer than usual, until 9pm, to avoid congestion at polling stations. People with COVID-19 and those in isolation had an opportunity to vote on the previous day.

In view of the improved situation as of mid-May and the relative stabilisation of the curve of diagnosed COVID-19 cases in North Macedonia, the Government considered an exit from the containment measures and a progressive opening of the economy. On 12 May 2020, the Prime Minister announced a three-step plan towards that end. However, the resurgence of the virus in some cities at the beginning of June prompted the authorities to repeat containment measures. Consequently, at the beginning of June, the government alternated between opening the economy under the three-stage plan and temporary, localised containment measures ranging from 24 to 80 hours, the last being the 80h lockdown of the capital city Skopje on 4 June. Currently, North Macedonia is progressively releasing its containment measures.

The permitted period of residence for foreigners whose permission to stay in North Macedonia has expired during the previous states of emergency was extended until August 31, 2020.  Foreigners staying short-term in North Macedonia, with or without a visa, may remain until August 31, 2020.  The validity of temporary and permanent residency permits is extended until August 31, 2020.

Persons outside of North Macedonia with expired residence permits will be allowed to apply for extensions in North Macedonia

Wearing protective masks is mandatory for any outing in the public space.

Individuals must practice two-meter social distancing in public and wear a protective face covering in closed public spaces, including markets, shops, banks, post offices, health facilities, and public transport, as well as in open spaces where it is not possible to maintain a two-meter distance.

In the markets and other retails facilities, a maximum of one person can shop on an area of every 20 square meters, and in the facilities with an area under 20 square meters, only one person can shop. The owner is obliged to provide protective equipment (masks and gloves) for the employees, and the employees are obliged to wear the protective equipment constantly during working hours.

Banks and savings houses are obliged to provide security service at the entrance and exit of the premises, in order to maintain the minimum necessary distance between the people in front of and inside the premises, to ensure mandatory hand disinfection at the entrance and not to allow entry of persons who do not wear a protective mask, scarf or shawl that will cover their mouth and nose.

Gathering in public places is permitted while practicing social distancing and wearing protective masks.  

New restrictions on movement or social distancing regulations may be implemented with little notice.

As of June 26, 2020, the indoor areas of bars and restaurants, along with gyms, are permitted to operate while implementing specific protocols.

Private companies, including hotels, stores, restaurants, and other commercial businesses, may limit hours, restrict access, or close with little or no notice.

On 1 July, museums, galleries and exhibition spaces were opened and the Government decided to end the ban on sports competitions in team sports, although these will take place without a public presence. On 8 July, swimming pool and beaches were reopened with strict sanitary rules such as a maximum number of 15 per 100 m2 of net area.

Economic Impact

The MBI10 index lost around 9% of its value from 10 January to 14 April. The Government bond spread has increased by around 6% between 1 January and 31 March, signalling weakened investor confidence. The local currency “MKD” has depreciated around 3% since the beginning of the year, signalling a potential capital outflow and rendering international trade and investment decisions more difficult.

Border Measures

Starting on 1 July 2020, both Airports (in Skopje and Ohrid) resumed their transport operations. Nevertheless, a series of sanitary measures have been implemented. Passengers are advised to arrive at least 3 hours in advance of their flight and are subject to shoe disinfection, temperature measurement and are obliged to wear their masks until they reach the aircraft where the measures introduced by the various airlines apply. Only persons holding a travel document can enter the two airports via restricted entrances.

Available flights to and from each airport may be limited and schedules are subject to change and cancellation with little to no warning.  Travelers are strongly encouraged to contact their airlines or travel agents for the most accurate up to date information on flight schedules.

On 16 June 2020, all border crossings were opened to foreigners for transit. Foreigners willing to stay in North Macedonia had to submit a valid negative PCR test no older than 72 hours. According to the foreigners’ situation, a 14-day state quarantine or self-isolation measures were introduced. These measures were initially lifted with the reopening of all borders on 29 June 2020. However, on 8 July, the Government reintroduced the requirement of a negative PCR test of less than 72 hours for travellers from Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The measure is only valid for citizens of these countries, and if transiting, these travellers may cross the border without presenting a PCR test.