Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Excellencies,
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a major risk to the humanity. Families have lost dear members and communities have been profoundly shattered. This health crisis has transposed into other sectors of our societies, with our economies suffering an especially heavy setback.
With its health, economic, social, humanitarian and security dimension, the pandemic has tested our countries in unprecedented ways and has reminded us how interconnected we are. With the suffering it causes, the pandemic exposes the systemic weaknesses and inequalities in our world.
In North Macedonia, the coronavirus has taken its toll in human lives, pressurised health sector and weakened economy. In order to alleviate the heavy burden from our health workers, our Government recently declared a state of crisis on the entire territory of the Republic of North Macedonia for a period of 30 days. This will help us use the capacities of the Army and the resources of the private health sector in order to control more effectively the spread of the virus and save as many human lives as possible.
This great danger has also provided an opportunity for our countries and peoples to demonstrate unity, solidarity, and multilateral cooperation. On behalf of the Macedonian citizens, I would like to thank the United Nations and the World Health Organisation for their leadership in coordinating the global response to control and contain the spread of COVID-19. In the same time, we are grateful to all countries and organisations that have supported us with medical equipment, materials, and shared knowledge and experience.
The pandemic also poses a moral challenge. The economy may suffer, but, human lifes are infinitely precious, so, saving human lives should take precedence over everything else. In the same time, our efforts to control the spread of the virus must not be at the expense of the fundamental rights and freedoms. This includes healthcare and economic stimulus to be provided to everybody in need. While fighting the coronavirus we must make sure we do not tolerate the spread of the viruses of racism, extremism, discrimination and xenophobia.
A systemic threat like the pandemic requires a systemic response, that would include both immediate and long-term actions. We need to continue working together in building resilient, well-governed, responsive, accountable, people-centered health systems. Health products with certified quality should be available and affordable for all. The big step in the right direction, certainly was the establishment of the global COVAX programme for procurement of vaccines which has to make easy and balanced access to the vaccines to all the people in the world.
Allow me, at the end to emphasize that many challenges will remain even in the post – COVID period. The road to socio-economic and even mental recovery for many of us will be long and complicated. The humankind should come together again in order to rebuild the world in which no human being is left behind.