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Health Minister shows concern over failure to comply with preventive measures, says movement restrictions can be restored

Movement restrictions will be restored in certain areas if epidemiological data shows that's necessary. Authorities are familiar with all clusters, but will continue to monitor the situation, Health Minister Venko Filipche told a press conference Friday. 

Skopje, 29 May 2020 (MIA) – Movement restrictions will be restored in certain areas if epidemiological data shows that’s necessary. Authorities are familiar with all clusters, but will continue to monitor the situation, Health Minister Venko Filipche told a press conference Friday.

Although new cases are reported in existing clusters, people are also testing positive to COVID-19 in areas surrounding these municipalities.

Five municipalities in Skopje could be placed under quarantine if the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to rise in the coming days, including Saraj, Chair, Butel, Aerodrom and Gazi Baba.

26 of the 52 patients who tested positive for coronavirus in the past 24 hours are from Skopje.

The Minister showed concern over the fact that citizens fail to abide by coronavirus preventive measures, such as wearing face masks and social distancing. They’re also disregarding isolation orders, gather in large groups, refuse to cooperate with epidemiologists, etc.

Police controls, he underlined, will increase, and asked the Interior Ministry to impose sanctions.

“A lot of people aren’t aware of the danger the virus poses. Movement restrictions will be restored in certain areas if epidemiological data shows that’s necessary. However, there’s still no need to make this move due to the stable situation in the healthcare system and the fact that we are familiar with all clusters, but we’ll monitor the situation and base decisions whether to reinstate movement restrictions on available data,” Filipche said.

He underlined that although some measures have been relaxed and the nation-wide curfew has been lifted, preventive measures remain in force and are easy to follow.

Monitoring conducted in Tetovo has shown that people don’t comply with self-isolation orders and other coronavirus preventive measures in areas where there are new registered cases.

Meanwhile, monitoring in Shtip has shown irregularities in the transport of textile workers to a plant which is now a coronavirus hotspots. The busses staffers were taking were filled to maximum capacity and passengers were not wearing face masks. 17 textile workers from the plant have tested positive for COVID-19, while 70 of their contacts have been put in isolation.

“Business in North Macedonia, as well a in the region and globally, have slowly started to reopen. Just this morning, we received word that Bulgaria is planning to reopen borders for citizens coming from the EU, as well as Serbia and North Macedonia, but we all have be aware of the responsibility we bear in order to slowly return to normal life,” Filipche said.

He added that in the past 14 days the percentage of new coronavirus cases is 5.5 and includes results from the screening process of kindergartens.

Hospitals occupancy rate, the Minister said, is 11% and the percentage of recovered healthcare workers is very high and stands at 92%.

The incidence of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks is 10.3%, that is, three times lower than during the infection’s peak in April. In 15 cities where coronavirus patients had been registered, there are no longer any active cases.

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