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Minister Filipche: Avigan provided to treat 100 COVID-19 patients

The anti-flu drug Avigan, also known as favipiravir as of today is available for COVID-19 patients in the country. The Commission for Infectious Diseases has recommended that casinos, fixed betting terminals should reopen, public transportation in Tetovo should be reactivated and gyms should reopen by the end of the week under the defined protocols.

Skopje, 22 June 2020 (MIA) – The anti-flu drug Avigan, also known as favipiravir as of today is available for COVID-19 patients in the country. The Commission for Infectious Diseases has recommended that casinos, fixed betting terminals should reopen, public transportation in Tetovo should be reactivated and gyms should reopen by the end of the week under the defined protocols.

“The reopening of borders will be discussed further by the end of the day and tomorrow as well,” Health Minister Venko Filipche said Monday.

Japan has provided Avigan to COVID-19-affected countries in partnership with UNOPS, he said.

“We have Avigan to treat 100 patients. It is an antiviral drug used in Japan to treat influenza in 2014 and it is yet to be approved as an anti-coronavirus drug, but many clinical tests are under way. Some very promising results have been reported in many countries,” Filipche told a news conference thanking the Embassy of Japan to North Macedonia.

According to him, almost all countries in the region are experiencing a resurgence in new COVID-19 cases.

“This leads us to the conclusion that the virus is still here, we will have to learn to live with it and to get used to the personal protection rules, which are likely to be applied for a very long time, until the end of this year and next year probably. We’ve been fighting the coronavirus for four months now, we’ve done a lot to address the global health challenge and we will keep doing it,” Minister Filipche said.

He called on the political parties to adhere to the health safety measures and to serve as an example of how public health should be protected.

Citing figures published earlier by the Health Ministry, Filipche said that 90 new cases were registered in the past 24 hours, nine patients died and 48 patients recovered.

“The total number of COVID-19 patients in our country since the onset of the epidemic is 5,196, the number of recovered patients is 1,974. Death toll stands at 247. At the moment, there are 2,975 active cases across the country. A total of 51,885 COVID-19 tests have been made so far,” he told the news conference.

Of the total number of people who tested positive from June 12 to June 20, a majority of those, 58.3%, are in Skopje and 14.2% in Tetovo, according to him.

“These figures prove that the two cities and their surrounding are in fact the biggest hotspots in the country. The rest of the country registers a considerably smaller number of cases,” Minister Filipche noted.

Since June 12, people from all age groups have been affected, he said adding that 24.2% were patients over 60. “However, people aged 30-39 also have contracted the new virus, some 19.4%, which points to the fact that no one is immune,” he warned.

Commenting on the statistics involving fatalities, the Minister said that 65 cases from 10 cities were registered in the same period. Most of them were patients older than 60, 83.1% and 58 cases involved patients with many pre-existing conditions.

“Until this morning, a total of 379 patients have been hospitalized. Of all confirmed cases, 87 per cent are treated at home or are asymptomatic cases. Even though a lot of patients are being treated in hospitals, they still have enough capacity to admit new cases, Filipche stated.

Even though the hospitals have free beds, he stressed, their staff is really exhausted.

“We are reorganizing and planning rotations of hospital staff on daily basis in order the patients to get the care they deserve. We can keep the system afloat, but we cannot succeed without any help from the citizens, who should abide by the measures,” Minister Filipche concluded.

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