March 13, 2020 / 12:10 PM / 21 days ago

North Macedonia bars foreigners arriving from 'high-risk countries' over coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: Women walk with protective masks, to guard against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the state hospital in Skopje, North Macedonia March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski/File Photo

SKOPJE (Reuters) - North Macedonia’s outgoing government barred public gatherings on Friday and said it would deny entry to foreign nationals arriving from “high-risk countries” affected by the coronavirus.

The government said in a statement that it had also ordered the closure of several border crossings to try curb the spread of the disease.

“Entry to the territory of ... North Macedonia will be denied to all foreign nationals from high-risk countries,” the statement said, adding that North Macedonian citizens arriving from such areas would immediately be isolated.

It did not name the countries deemed to be at high risk but said it would follow recommendations by the World Health Organization.

Those who violate the government’s decree will be prosecuted, it said.

Nine people in the landlocked Balkan country, which is due to hold a parliamentary election on April 12, have been tested positive for the coronavirus infection.

The government also barred all public gatherings and limited the hours restaurants, cafes and clubs can work, saying tables and customers must be separated by at least 1.5 metres (4.92 feet). All but urgent medical procedures and surgery have also been postponed.

Reporting by Kole Casule, Writing by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Timothy Heritage

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