After public outcry, the Government was forced to give up on its proposal to ban gatherings at home with more than four visitors.
The Government withdrew its proposal to ban family gatherings after the opposition VMRO-DPMNE party objected. The Parliament Healthcare Committee was reviewing the draconian proposal from Healthcare Minister Venko Filipce today, in a debate that descended into ugly partisan infighting.
VMRO representatives told Filipce that the proposal is clearly unconstitutional, especially after Interior Minister Oliver Spasovski said that he would sent police patrols into homes and urged neighbors to report if they see a larger gathering. This raised concerns about setting a precedent that would be used in the future, for violations of human rights using other excuses. The opposition made it clear that it will delay the adoption of the law, given that the ruling majority barely has the votes to convene a session of the Parliament, until the proposal is revoked. After the proposal was withdrawn, VMRO-DPMNE said it will attend the plenary session where the law is expected to be adopted in an expedited procedure.
Much of the discussion in Parlament today included Filipce descending down to the role of a partisan activist and defending the dismal record of his SDSM party, on whose watch Macedonia has the worst death and infection rates in the Balkans. Filipce lashed out at several female VMRO members of Parliament calling them “emotional” and justifying the poor state of the healthcare system with alleged misplaced investments under the VMRO term, when Filipce was adviser to Minister Nikola Todorov. Even though VMRO is not in office for three years now, SDSM continued to play the only card it has – blaming all ills on their predecessors.
Vecer writes that under VMRO over 200 million EUR were invested in modernizing the Macedonian healthcare, with new projects such as international internship for doctors and nurses in leading European and American clinics. Six hospitals were completely refurbished, as was the Kozle clinic in Skopje which is now used to treat children with the coronavirus and their parents.
When SDSM took over, after their Colored Revolution, it immediately stopped a project to build a new clinical center in downtown Skopje. It also stopped the construction of a new clinic in Stip, a city which is now facing a high number of coronavirus cases due to its large textile sector, and has serious problems to accommodate the patients. This clinic was supposed to be built by 2018 and was planned as a center for the entire eastern part of the country, now left without much needed public healthcare infrastructure.