Министерот за здравство, Венко Филипче и претседателот на Комисијата за заразни болести Жарко Караџоски | Фото: Принтскрин, Влада на РСМ (17.03.2021 г.)

We are in the middle of the third wave since the start of the pandemic. From the end of the last month, we are witnessing a continuous rise in the number of active cases. According to the Public Health Institute, we have 11.889 active cases and there is a rise of 5.000 new cases during the last month. We have 1.100 hospital beds occupied. The pressure in Skopje was tremendous and we provided a system for managing and coordinating all the health institutions, so that all Internal clinics are now turned into COVID centers and many hospital wards throughout the state were repurposed as COVID-centers.

This was stressed today during the press conference by Venko Filipche, the Health Minister of North Macedonia. He said that now is not the time to relax the restrictive measures, namely that what we might expect is even tightening of the measures if the current ones do not provide the expected results.

“Regarding the vaccines, the inoculation of the medical workers is going on successfully. Taking into account that the risk of getting infected due to the increased scope of work is now high, it is good that they are inoculated now. By the end of this month, we are expecting the COVAX system to start working as we are expecting 100.000 vaccines to arrive through it. We are negotiating intensively with the Russian and the Chinese manufacturers of these vaccines. There is an ongoing war for vaccines, the demand is enormous and there is ineptitude all around the world. We acted timely, but unfortunately not having enough quantities has contributed to this situation and this is the reason why the shipment is delayed,” said the minister and he stressed that all vaccines that will be shipped in Macedonia will be safe for use.

Filipche denied that patients with high temperatures were denied entrance in all medical facilities. He stressed that:

“It is not correct that the patients are denied access to hospitalization. It is possible that there is a waiting list and people are waiting for a bed to be vacatedin order for someone else to be let in or redirection might happen from one place to another, but it is not correct that the patients are denied access.”

When asked whether a quarantine will be requested for Deputy Prime Minister Ljupcho Nikolovski who is in Dubai, but also for Dragi Rashkovski, who is in Mexico, Filipche said that the quarantine is recommended only for people traveling to Africa.

” The reason for that is potential transmission of the South African strain of the virus which is transmittable very quickly and the effect ofthe vaccine is still unknown,” said Filipche.

The President of the Commission for Infectious Diseases Dr. Žarko Karadžovski said that it was requested from the Commission to provide a protocol of how the census can be carried out.

“The Commission has prepared a draft-protocol that was submitted to the State Statistic Office as well as to the Health Ministry. Whether the census will take place or not, is a political decision. It is true that the number of infections is on the rise, but the situation can be managed. If you are asking me whether the Commission is standing behind certain decisions whether there will be a census or not, the Commission’s job is not to decide that, but various state institutions do,” said Karadžovski.