Healthcare Minister Venko Filipce would not announce new restrictive measures today, but said that it could be announced on Wednesday or Thursday. Filipce was asked what is the Government preparing in light of the dramatic escalation of the coronavirus epidemic, that left Macedonia as the only country in the Balkans with a sharply growing number of new cases and record number of deaths.
Officials have raised the prospect of closing down parts of the capital Skopje, where the virus is spreading the most. This largely means the majority Muslim parts of the city, where restrictions were apparently ignored during the month of Ramadan and the mass iftar dinners organized each evening. Filipce confirmed that the issue behind the crisis is family gatherings held during Ramadan.
We have a huge number of cases in Studenicani and Cair, all within 10 families. We are testing, we are talking through with the people involved and mapping out their contacts, Filipce said, confirming that this is now considered a second wave of Covid-19.
The Ramadan spike came days after the Government actually began relaxing the restrictions imposed on the public, in an attempt to create a sense of normalcy for the early elections which the ruling SDSM party desperately wants to hold as soon as possible.