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SOCIETY Tourism sector demands urgent start of free PCR testing for foreign tourists

The Economic Chamber of Macedonia’s Hospitality and Tourism Association has called on Monday for urgent implementation of the measure entailing free PCR tests for foreign citizens visiting North Macedonia on holiday or business.

This measure, association representatives said, is part of the fifth set of anti-crisis measures adopted by the government and included in the package at the request of the business community.

“The government has recognized the importance of this type of support. But, we want to stress the need for urgent implementation of this measure, in order for it to produce positive effects,” association vice-president Aleksandar Kuzmanovski told a press conference.

Moreover, the association has offered suggestions on how to enforce support.

“Groups of tourists travelling together should be tested at the accommodation site and  receive results in English within 24 hours. Tests should also be provided for nationals of countries that require proof in order to return home. At the moment, the only valid tests according to the WHO are PCR. They are mandatory upon entry into EU member states, including Greece and Bulgaria, as well as non-EU members that are important for our economy and tourism, such as Turkey and Israel,” Kuzmanovski stressed.

According to the association, there’s need for protocols in case of positive test results.

“Hotels should make sure that 5% of their rooms (2-10) are set aside for isolation of people who test positive for COVID-19, with the nearest hospital monitoring passengers’ condition until their recovery. In case of need for hospitalization, patients should be admitted at the nearest COVID center at the expense of the Health Insurance Fund of North Macedonia. Testing costs, not exceeding Mden 1,200, should be shared between domestic and foreign partners to ensure increased business activity and number of passengers,” noted the association vice-president.

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