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Officials ban unvaccinated children from kindergartens amid measles epidemic

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Amid a measles epidemic in Skopje, health officials are banning unvaccinated children from attending kindergartens in the capital.

The mandatory immunization call would see anyone who has not received vaccinations banned from the grounds of educational institutions, including kindergartens, schools and universities, during an outbreak of the disease.

As of Wednesday, there had been 12 new cases of confirmed measles. Health Minister Venko Filipce said six of 12 newly-documented cases have been confirmed, while the other will be confirmed the next day. Most of the infected are children, including adults, all of them unimmunized for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR vaccine).

“Measles epidemic has been declared in Skopje and we have to proceed with interim and precautionary measure, that is to ban MMR-unvaccinated children from kindergartens,” Health Minister Filipce said on Wednesday.

Eight of infected have been hospitalized at hospital compound due to complications from bronchopneumonia. Two of them had severe clinical presentation . Among the sick there is a 8-month-old infant and children at age 3.5 and 4, as well as one adult at age 31.

“Of 15,000 unimmunized children under 14 years of age, only 310 have responded to the calls for immediate vaccination thus far, which is extremely low turnout,” Filipce said.

He added that measles epidemic is ongoing in Serbia and Romania, noting that it is a very dangerous and deadly disease. In Serbia, death toll from the epidemic rose to 30, in Romania 50.

A total of 13 outbreaks have been documented in Skopje, with expected confirmation of other six.

The last check-ups conducted by the Center for Public Health show that 15,000 kids at age up to 14 years did not receive measles immunization (MMR vaccine). Health authorities vowed to step up control of immunization record cards, and tighten kindergarten enrolment criteria.

After measles outbreak, the authorities move closer to penalizing parents who do not vaccinate their children.

With cases of measles continuing to occur as more parents opt not to follow official advice from medical professionals and health authorities to get their children vaccinated against the disease, the authorities urged the parents to ensure their children have the vaccination or face fines of 350 up to 650 euros.

Measles can be a serious in all age groups. However, children younger than 5 years of age and adults older than 20 years of age are more likely to suffer from measles complication. Some people may suffer from severe complications, such as pneumonia (infection of the lungs) and encephalitis (swelling of the brain).

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Macedonia

Arrest warrant issued for Spasov

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Former special police officer Igor Spasov, who has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for murdering Martin Neskoski, is wanted on recall to prison after going missing.

Macedonian police issued an arrest warrant on Tuesday after he failed to show up to begin his sentence. The arrest warrant has been published on the web-site of the Ministry of Interior.

The former member of special police force vanished after ignoring summons to serve time after he was sentenced in prison on murder charges.

The man had probably fled justice to avoid serving a 14-year jail sentence for a murder conviction. He was to report to Idrizovo correctional facility on 18 October.

The murder took place during a late-night celebration of VMRO-DPMNE’s victory in 2011 parliamentary elections.

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Macedonia

Matthew Palmer due in Skopje today

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The US Secretary of State’s Special Representative for the Western Balkans, Matthew Palmer, will visit North Macedonia on Tuesday.

Special Representative Palmer is scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release.

The two are expected to discuss the bilateral relations between North Macedonia and the United States, including the US support for the country’s integration into the Euro-Atlantic community. They will exchange views on the situation in the country and the region.

In late August, the U.S. State Department appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary Palmer as special envoy for the Western Balkans with a mandate to help integrate the region into Western institutions.

US Secretary of State has appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew Palmer  as his Special Representative for the Western Balkans.  In this role, Palmer will lead our efforts to strengthen U.S. diplomatic engagement in support of peace, stability, and prosperity in the region and focus on integration of the Western Balkan countries into Western institutions.

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Macedonia

Zaev: We can give argument to reassure Macron

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We can give arguments to reassure President Macron that “methodology prior to enlargement” proposal could be converted into “enlargement along with change in methodology”, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev wrote on his Facebook page, alluding to France’s Emmanuel Macron’s initiative for new enlargement methodology.

“We are not only a strategic interest, we are Europe. It means we will become a member of the European Union once we wrap up the comprehensive reform at home. The pre-accession process and closure of chapters will help us make it happen. The accession negotiations will help us wrap up domestic reform,” Zaev wrote on his Facebook page.

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