2020 coronavirus pandemic in North Macedonia
This article documents a current pandemic. Information may change rapidly as the event progresses, and initial news reports may be unreliable. The latest updates to this article may not reflect the most current information. (March 2020) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Map of regions with confirmed (red) coronavirus cases (as of 29 March)
|First outbreak||Wuhan, China via Italy|
|Arrival date||26 February 2020 |
(1 month and 4 days)
|Confirmed cases||259 |
The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic was confirmed to have reached North Macedonia in February 2020. The initial contagion in the country was mainly connected with the 2020 coronavirus pandemic in Italy as there are circa 70,000 residents of Italy from North Macedonia and due to a mass hysteria about the virus itself there was a mass returning to North Macedonia.
On 26 February, North Macedonia confirmed its first case of SARS-CoV-2, a 50-year-old woman that got tested at the Clinic for Infectious Diseases in Skopje. She had been in Italy for a month and was sick for two weeks. Upon returning to North Macedonia, she immediately reported herself to the clinic.
On 6 March, two more cases were confirmed: a married couple from Balanci, Centar Župa, who were residents of Brescia, Italy, and presumably returned to the country out of fear of the virus. They entered North Macedonia on 27 February and went to the clinic in Debar on 2 March. They were not initially tested for SARS-CoV-2, but when their symptoms were getting worse they were tested on 6 March. After getting positive results, the couple was transferred to the Clinic in Skopje to be taken care of.
On 9 March the number of infected people in the country increased to 7 - three family members of the cases registered on 6 of March and Nina Caca Biljanovska, the director of the Clinic for Skin Diseases in Skopje. Biljanovska's case caused controversy, as she did not self-isolate after returning from a vacation in Italy. Moreover, she had continued going to work and was a speaker at a conference attended by 100 people before getting tested. The Minister of health subsequently fired her.
On 10 March, after a formal request from the mayor of Debar (the city where 5 of the 7 cases were found) and the controversies regarding Biljanovska the Ministry of Health of North Macedonia implemented stronger measures to prevent further spreading of the virus, including a temporary two week closure of all education institutes (from kindergartens to universities), prohibition of traveling to the most infected countries (China, Korea, Italy, France, Germany, etc.), prohibition of all public events and closure of sport events to the public. Later that day the first case was confirmed to tested negatively on the repeated coronavirus test. The patient, however, is still recovering in the hospital.
On 11 March two more cases were confirmed, both from Debar They are related to the first cases registered in the town.
On 13 March four more cases were confirmed. As all 4 were from Debar, the Government declared a state of emergency in the municipalities of Debar and Centar Župa. All movement inside and outside the two quarantined municipalities was banned; only people living there were allowed to return to their homes. Later on, President Pendarovski made a decision on the engagement of the Army in affected areas in Debar and Centar Župa. Also it was announced that entries of foreign nationals to the country arriving from 'high-risk countries' would start getting denied.
On 14 March, 8 people were tested for coronavirus, 6 of which returned positive (5 from Debar and one from Skopje returning from a trip to Barcelona, Spain). A total of 14 of the patients were hospitalized at the Clinic for Infectious Diseases in Skopje, while the 5 new cases from Debar remained in the local hospital.
On 16 March, 7 persons (5 officially) were positive (4 from Debar, 1 from Skopje and two tested in a private clinic). The patient in Skopje had just returned from a trip to the Netherlands via Vienna, the two additional cases tested positive in the private Žan Mitrev Clinic. They got retested by the public laboratory the following day and their positive results got confirmed. Because of the increased number of cases, both domestically and globally, the Government of North Macedonia decided to close the two international airports (Skopje and Ohrid) and ban foreigners from entering the country. The ban does not affect diplomats and medical personnel (which are required to obtain permission from the Ministry of Interior) and truck drivers.
17 March saw 5 new cases - 4 in Debar (two nurses and two doctors, one of whom was Arben Agolli, former mayoral candidate and political activist) and one in Skopje, raising the number to 32. Political leaders decided to postpone the early parliamentary elections scheduled for 12 April.
On 18 March 4 new cases were confirmed, all of them Macedonian citizens from Skopje coming from Belgium Prime Minister Oliver Spasovski announced that the Government is considering declaring a State of Emergency in the country, something that had never happened before. The State of Emergency was officially declared by the President later the same day and following this event, since the Parliament was dismissed, the Government gained legislative and executive power. Later that day 7 more people were tested positive on the virus (4 in Skopje and 3 in Debar).
On 19 March 6 new cases were confirmed (3 in Debar, 1 in Skopje, 1 in Gostivar and 1 in Štip. The case from Gostivar is a Macedonian citizen coming from Switzerland, the case from Štip is a 4-year-old that got infected at a kindergarten in England and the rest are domestic citizens related to previously confirmed cases.
On 20 March 19 new cases, all of them in Skopje, were confirmed. 17 of them were tested at the private clinic "Zan Mitrev". With this outbreak Skopje surpassed Debar in number of confirmed cases. Later the same day 3 people tested positive (2 in Skopje and 1 in Štip). One of the people from Skopje said that she had travelled to Serbia before she was confirmed positive. Again, later the same day 6 new cases tested positive (4 in Skopje and a married couple in Kavadarci).
On 21 March 9 new cases were confirmed (7 in Skopje and 2 in Štip). Later the same day the Government imposed a curfew as a protection measure against the virus outbreak. The curfew will be in the place everyday starting 22 March from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
On 22 March 29 new cases were confirmed (22 in Skopje, 3 in Štip, 2 in Debar, 1 in Ohrid and 1 in Kumanovo). On 22 March, North Macedonia recorded the first fatality, а 57-year-old woman from Kumanovo that was confirmed positive to the virus postmortem.
On 23 March 22 new cases were confirmed (15 in Skopje, 4 in Debar, 2 Kumanovo and 1 in Ohrid). The same day the second death was confirmed, a 63-year-old man from Debar that was hospitalized in Skopje on 17 March, reportedly his situation was stable and he suddenly got in a bad state in the night when he was attached to a respiratory machine but that wasn't enough.
On 24 March, 12 new cases were confirmed - 7 in Skopje and 5 in Kumanovo.
On 25 March, 29 new cases were confirmed - 20 in Skopje and 3 in Kumanovo, 3 in Veles, 2 in Prilep and 1 in Debar. The same day the "Patient zero" of the outbreak in Debar, the wife of the couple from Balanci that tested positive on 6 March was confirmed as the third death case. She was 66 years old. 
On 26 March 24 new cases were registered. 15 from Skopje, 4 from Kumanovo, 2 from Debar and 1 from Ohrid and Stip each, as well as the first case from Tetovo. 2 patients recovered.
On 27 March 18 new cases were registered. 11 from Skopje, 4 from Prilep, 2 from Kumanovo and 1 from Tetovo.
On 28 March 22 new cases were confirmed (9 in Skopje, 3 in Kumanovo and Struga each, 2 in Tetovo, Prilep and Debar each and 1 in Bitola). Also it was confirmed the fourth death case, a 66 years old woman from Struga.
On 29 March 18 new cases were confirmed (6 in Stip, 3 in Skopje, 3 in Veles, 2 in Struga, 1 in Strumica, 1 in Debar, 1 in Tetovo and 1 in Gevgelija). Also two new death cases, a 31 years old and 91 years old men were confirmed today.
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