In the past 10 days, the COVID-19 crisis escalated again throughout the Balkans. In the past seven days in Serbia, there were 300 cases daily, in Bulgaria 150, Bosnia and Hercegovina 170, Montenegro 57, Albania 70, and in Kosovo 100 cases per day. WHO has said that 60% of the cases out of the 10 million patients were registered in June. Everywhere there is a new wave of the pandemic, but in North Macedonia it started sooner. This is a direct consequence of the relaxation of the restrictive measures and the disobeying of recommended personal protection measures. The scenarios that predicted the virus will disappear during the summer were wrong, said Health Minister Venko Filipche during today’s press conference.

“In the past two days, the transfer factor has been above 1, while in the remaining period it was 0.9. There are infected patients of all ages, while the age group mostly hit are patients above 60. The citizens will have to be extremely careful as the death rate for this age group is the highest,” said the minister.

So far, 68.059 tests were conducted. According to Filipche, the strategy of wider intensive testing is showing results.

“During autumn, the virus will be spreading even stronger and people will not be able to go out as they will be staying in closed rooms. I had meetings with several hospital managers these days and we discussed the possibility of using additional hospital capacities. We were also discussing the option of using student dormitories in Bitola and Ohrid as hospitals,” said Filipche.

He said if there is a risk from foreign nationals who are entering from neighboring countries to jeopardize North Macedonia’s health system, we might introduce new measures in the forthcoming period.

When asked by a journalist about opening kindergartens and schools in September, he said that would be a risky step.