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29 charged with failing to comply with coronavirus health regulations: minister

The Ministry of the Interior on Thursday will hold a working meeting with top army officials to set up an operations headquarters and to define where the army can assist the Ministry (MoI) in ongoing activities and powers to handle the COVID-19 outbreak after President Stevo Pendarovski declared 30-day state of emergency.

Skopje, 19 March 2020 (MIA) – The Ministry of the Interior on Thursday will hold a working meeting with top army officials to set up an operations headquarters and to define where the army can assist the Ministry (MoI) in ongoing activities and powers to handle the COVID-19 outbreak after President Stevo Pendarovski declared 30-day state of emergency.

Under the government’s conclusions, the MoI starting Thursday will be issuing statements in Macedonian and Albanian to people leaving the country. Everyone leaving the country will have to sign a statement that they won’t come back in the next three months.

Those exempted from the measure include drivers of cargo vehicles, who travel in different countries every day, and the citizens who have to leave the country due to health reasons, Interior Minister Nakje Chulev said Thursday.

“The Police Special Operations Unit is conducting operations in the coronavirus-hit municipalities of Debar and Centar Zhupa, but its members also also engaged all across the country. The Special Operations Unit also is tasked with regulating the transportation of people and vehicles from and toward the crisis-hit area and with implementing the government decisions and controlling the entire territory of the country,” Chulev told a news conference.

So far, 29 people have been charged, mostly with failing to comply with health regulations during an epidemic, he said.

One of those is also the director of a Skopje clinic, who returned from Italy on February 29 and was tested positive for the coronavirus on March 8. In the meantime, she continued to go to work at the clinic, thus breaching the self-isolation measure.

They will be ordered to pay fines up to EUR 2,500.

“Yesterday evening, the Special Operations Unit assisted police officers in Skopje after receiving tips about illegal gatherings of groups of people. Similar activities will be conducted in the coming period in other towns in the country,” Chulev said.

According to him, in the past 24 hours, 2,824 citizens entered the country, including 807 foreigners. Also, 2,278 people left the country, including 951 Macedonian nationals and 1,327 foreigners. Most of them are professional truck drivers.

“MoI in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry is also organizing transit of humanitarian convoys across the country,” the Minister stated amongst other things.

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