SKOPJE, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Health system in North Macedonia is preparing for worse COVID-19 scenarios, Health Minister Venko Filipce told local media on Sunday.
According to him, a worse scenario means a large number of seasonal flu patients who will need hospitalization in the same health care units that are now used for COVID-19 patients.
Filipce declared that the ministry has a plan for additional restrictions in regions with a big number of patients or with a potential risk that will be unveiled soon.
One of the options, Filipce noted, is reinstatement of the curfew, closure of schools, bars and restaurants or a ban on gatherings.
North Macedonia's authorities are preparing 16 COVID-19 centers and modular hospitals which should be operational in autumn.
"No one can give an exact prediction, no country has had an autumn with the pandemic so far," he added.
Filipce declared that health authorities have applied at the World Health Organization COVAX Facility, a global initiative that aims to enable all countries to access a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.
"I believe the optimistic scenario would be a vaccine available at the onset of 2021," he said.
On Sunday, the Health Ministry reported 87 new coronavirus cases and five COVID-19 related deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total infections in the country to 12,739, with 9,174 recoveries and 544 fatalities.