Фото: Арбнора Мемети

During a joint press conference with the Health Minister Venko Filipche and the President of the Commission for Protection from Infectious Diseases, Dr. Žarko Karadžovski, the Prime Minister of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev announced the government’s decision to ban all celebrations that would be taking place in open or closed spaces in a period of one month. Also, the working hours of all catering facilities were reduced.

“We decided today to accept the Commission’s recommendations for a new package of measures for the period from the 18th of December until the 20th of January in order to prevent the spread of the virus. These measures include limiting the working hours of cafes, bars, and restaurants including a ban on all celebrations in open or closed spaces. Each of us is called to be responsible, not to cause an escalation and a new wave. We are one step before mass vaccination after which we are expecting normal living conditions to return. This time we have to choose between pleasure and profit on one side and the responsibility and health on the other,” Zaev said.

He repeated that 833 000 vaccines were secured, and additional quantities will be provided. The first who will be vaccinated are the doctors, the medical staff, and then chronically ill persons, elderly citizens, kindergarten employees.

“I will get vaccinated myself and I want to provide support through a personal example. We are monitoring each step in the vaccine’s development and I believe in its safety and the claims of scientists that the people’s immunity will be strengthened. The acquisition has already been paid in advance,”  said the  prime minister of North Macedonia.

Minister Filipche said that the hospitals are under enormous pressure but that the number of vacant hospital beds is stable, which, according to him, means the hospital capacities are well managed.

“We have around 150 vacant beds available, every day. In conversation with the Greek minister, we found out that they are expecting the vaccines to arrive there in March as well,” said the minister.

When asked whether he will ask government officials to observe the measures of responsible celebrations, Zaev said that he expects all officials to provide a good example.

“Only in that way we can expect all citizens to behave responsibly during the holidays. The sovereignty of the home is a constitutional category. Whether we shall be celebrating at home or a villa in Berovo, if it is with the family then it still is like being at home. The point is to avoid groupings of people at villas, as this will violate the measures. We aren’t banning people to celebrate, but urging them to do that responsibly. We should see our families, children, spouses. I shall be at home with my wife and two children because only that way I can expect that the people will observe the measures”, North Macedonia’s Prime Minister said

With the new measures all cafes, bars, and restaurants must close by 18h instead of 21h, and any kind of New Year’s celebrations in open or closed spaces by any physical persons or legal entities are banned. These measures will enter into force on the 18th of December and will last until the 20th of January.