Skopje, 26 February 2020 (MIA) – Health Minister Venko Filipche confirmed North Macedonia’s first case of coronavirus Wednesday. The patient is a 50-year-old woman who recently returned from a visit to relatives in Italy.
According to Health Minister Filipche, she entered the country at the Tabanovce border crossing in a van. In it were several other people.
The woman is completely aware and oriented in space, and breathing normally, he added.
Speaking at a news conference held together with Zharko Karadzovski of the Public Health Institute and Prime Minister Oliver Spasovski, Minister Filipche asked the public to keep calm.
“There is no room for panic,” Filipche said.
He also reminded the public how the coronavirus is transmitted: by sneezing and coughing—the droplets and droplet nuclei produced by sneezing and coughing—or by close contact (such as shaking hands with an infectious person and then touching your eyes, nose, or lips).
“The patient is isolated in the Clinic for Infectious Diseases and given the right treatment,” Filipche explained.
“The epidemiological analysis indicated that she’d been in Italy for a month visiting relatives.
“She has been ill for two weeks and was initially tested at a health facility in Italy.
“The incubation period finished, and she went straight to the clinic as soon as she entered the country,” Filipche added, noting that the patient posed no risk of transmitting the disease during her travel back home.
The minister said everyone on the van would be tested as soon as possible. Her family members will also be tested and placed under a 14-day isolation period.
Both PM Spasovski and Karadzhovski confirmed there was no room for panic.
“One confirmed case doesn’t pose a health threat to the general population,” Karadzhovski said.
“Medical teams are ready to act 24/7. Citizens can rest easy,” the doctor continued, “because nothing can surprise us.”
According to Spasovski, the situation is under control, and the patient with coronavirus is receiving the care and treatment she requires.
“Institutions are ready to react immediately,” the Prime Minister said. “I urge citizens to comply with the Health Ministry’s recommendations fully.
“At this point, it’s very important that everyone’s awareness is at a high level,” he added, “in terms of following these recommendations but also taking care to display responsible behavior.”
Spasovski highlighted that it’s highly important that people communicate, especially on social networking sites, responsibly.
Health officials will give more details at the next press conference at 8 pm. mr/