Shekerinska: The army engaged in support of the state institutions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus

will be directly involved in the support of all state institutions dealing with the consequences of the coronavirus and will be on the front line in the defence of the health of the citizens wherever needed”, said the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Radmila Shekerinska, at the press conference.

Shekerinska said that, under the Regulation, adopted by the government, which assigns the obligation to the Army during states of emergency to be fully operational in support of the various state authorities, first and foremost to the police, we have set up an operational headquarters between the police and the Army to precisely define the ways in which the Army will assist our police.

“The main focus in the coming period will be on the following three tasks:

The first task is completely taking control of the border line by our police forces, i.e. by the border police. That does not mean that the soldiers will control our border crossing points, the police will continue to be engaged there, but the entire so called green line of our borders will be controlled and supervised by members of the Army in order to prevent illegal entries and exits on our border. With this we will practically enable the police forces, its members, to be able to withdraw from the borders without any danger to our country and to concentrate on the tasks at home, in the country.

The second task of the members of the Army will be joint participation in mobile teams of police and army members that will be able to carry out verification of entries and exists of settlements, especially in the crisis areas, and mobile stations and checkpoints in the areas of engagement. According to the additional regulations that we adopted, joint police – military teams will be able to implement and control the observance of the curfew, respect for self-isolation, and if self-isolation is not observed to immediately impose measures, but also to instruct these people in a state quarantine and state isolation.

And the third task that the Army received in this period is to ensure the physical security of vital facilities which have so far been secured by the Ministry of Interior. The first step means that the army will take over the security of facilities such as the Assembly, the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, but also the important locations such as for example our prisons. It is important to ensure that in a state of emergency, nobody should worry whether these institutions, i.e. the penitentiary and correctional institutions are under control or not. That does not mean that the Army will assume the role of prison guards, but it means that external control, external security previously provided by the police will now be done by the Army”, said Minister Shekerinska.

She explained that the Army will operate exclusively in mixed teams with the police, since the police trained to deal with this kind of civilian threats, but we will give strong support in numbers, with people, with equipment so that the police may conduct these enhanced activities and tasks.

Shekerinska informed that the Role 2 field hospital that the Army has will now be fully placed into operation and service to the public health and will be located at the entrance or near the Infectious Diseases Hospital, to support not only our armed forces, but the public health in general.

The minister also said that the presence of army personnel will be dimensioned according to the situation with the virus and government decisions, and urged all members of the Army, soldiers and officers, to show maximum commitment at a time when the country needs to rely on them.

“The decision to engage the army in such moments was not easy. But, it was justified. It was justified because the whole world, not only us, is facing an epidemic, a threat that nobody could even imagine. An epidemic and danger that requires everyone to be mobilized and focused and therefore Athe rmy rightly made everything available and did everything possible to help the police, state authorities but also the entire country”, said Shekerinska and on behalf of the Fovernment, the Ministry and the Army thanked the people from the health department who are fully engaged in dealing with the coronavirus.