North Macedonia reports spike in new coronavirus cases

By bne IntelliNews June 1, 2020

The number of new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in North Macedonia increased drastically in the last few days, with 89 new cases confirmed on June 1 alone and several government officials placed in self-isolation.

Seven people died of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, which is the biggest daily number, bringing the total number to 133.

On May 31, the number of new cases was 62 and the day before it was 52. President Stevo Pendarovski decided on May 30 to extend the state of emergency for two weeks in light of the new situation.

An MP from the ruling SDSM Muhamed Zekiri, who is also the party’s vice president, announced on June 1 that he and his family were infected with coronavirus.

Due to their contact with him, Deputy Prime Ministers Damjan Mancevski and Mila Carovska as well as director of the Tax Administration Sanja Lukarevska were asked to self-isolate.

Health Minister Venko Filipce said that the most of the newly infected are asymptomatic cases or showed mild symptoms.

The most of the new cases are from Skopje (35) and the eastern town of Stip (27).

Filipce said that about 70% of all new cases came from already known clusters, especially from the Skopje municipalities of Cair and Saraj. Numbers increased in the two municipalities after the Muslim holiday Ramadan on May 24, which is celebrated with mass family gatherings.

Five textile factories in Stip will be closed until June 8 and all workers will be tested.

Government officials have already discussed the possible introduction of additional restrictive measures, but will wait and see how the situation develops in the next two to three days, and afterwards the decision will be made.

The government decided to put an end to the curfew as of May 27 and allowed terraces of cafe bars and restaurants to open on May 28 after more than two months of lockdown.

Regarding the opening of borders, Filipce said that considering the current situation in the country the issue will be discussed later despite the fact that neighboring Serbia and Bulgaria decided to open their borders.

Meanwhile the Montenegrin authorities decided to exclude North Macedonia from a list of countries whose citizens are allowed to enter Montenegro due to the high number of newly infected.

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