News Society, 15/03/2020

Kharkiv Announces Quarantine to Prevent Possible Spread of Coronavirus

On March 13, under the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine Decree “On Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus in Ukraine” dated March 11, 2020, all educational institutions and kindergarten in Kharkiv were quarantined until April 3. Since that time, students have been learned distantly.

Kharkiv mayor Hennadiy Kernes stated on his Facebook page and Telegram channel that since March 12 theaters, cinemas, a circus, entertainment venues and gaming areas in shopping malls have been closed for three weeks. Sports events won’t be held during this period. Mass events with the number of participants exceeding 60 have been also banned.

To prevent the spread of coronavirus, Kharkiv Airport press-service announced that the airport team additionally holds the following anti-epidemic measures such as regular cleaning with the use of specialized disinfectants of all airport premises, as well as passenger buses and gangways; installing of antiseptic containers for hands’ disinfection in all airport premises; providing airport staff with personal protective equipment. Also, representatives of the sanitary and quarantine point and the Kharkiv-Avia border service measure the temperature of arriving passengers using a non-contact thermometer.

Kharkiv Metro public utility enterprise also provides following anti-epidemic measures: regular wet cleaning of premises, rolling stock, stations, escalators using detergents and disinfectants; monitoring of the health status of subway workers; the staff use personal protective equipment and are provided with alcohol-based antibacterial wipes.

On March 12, the Provisional Commission for the Control of Anti-Epidemic Activities in Kharkiv checked the readiness to work under quarantine of several large retail facilities, in particular, Klass supermarket on Saltivske Highway and the market in 602 micro-district.

The supermarket’s managers informed that the trading floor is mopped more often and the staffs’ body temperature is checked before and after their shift. Posters with information about signs of coronavirus and how to avoid infection were hung around the supermarket.

At the market near the supermarket, only a few traders were wearing masks. Some of them said that they started washing their hands and the floor more often, others urgently closed when they saw the inspection.

The Europa League match between Shakhtar and Wolfsburg, Germany, which was supposed to be held at the Metalist stadium in Kharkiv, has been postponed indefinitely. The corresponding decision was made by UEFA.

Kharkiv residents have responded to introducing quarantine differently.  Facebook user Andrew Azarov has a problem who should he leave his child with. Dn Alya made her comment on the cleaning of the metro stations, “Are you serious they wash the metro twice a day? Yesterday I saw how a female staff smeared dirty water at the station! Complete disinfection with dirt. And you can plant potatoes with such a layer of dirt.”

In some supermarkets, empty shelves were observed as Kharkiv residents started buying essential goods like grits, toilet paper and flour. Kharkivites mostly don’t wear masks in public places. Only international students could be seen in masks. It’s very hard to buy masks in Kharkiv as they almost completely disappeared from pharmacies or are sold for inflated prices.

Facebook user Yuri Bauman shared a picture of the price for masks in Novus supermarket in Kyiv which amounts to 24 UAH (about 1$) per unit. Compared to the last year, its price increased by a factor of 10.

On March 13, The National Security and Defense Council has discussed measures to counteract the spread of COVID-19 in Ukraine. NSDC Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said that the National Security and Defense Council decided to close the Ukrainian border for foreign citizens for two weeks within 48 hours.

After two weeks, the government will convene another meeting to adopt an algorithm for further action. The Secretary of the NSDC asked to limit travel abroad unless it’s an emergency. “All Ukrainians who are abroad will be able to return to the country. But if they come from countries affected by the coronavirus outbreak, then some surveillance procedures will be waiting for them,” the NSDC Secretary noted. Within a week, all operating checkpoints will receive rapid tests to detect COVID-2019 coronavirus.

According to Oleksiy Danilov, the authorities worked out all scenarios and possible risks associated with coronavirus in time. Up to now, seven cases of coronavirus disease have been reported in Ukraine: one case in the Zhytomyr region, four cases in Chernivtsi and two cases in Kyiv. Unfortunately, one resident of the Zhytomyr and one resident of the Chernivtsi regions died due to complications.

Reference: The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic is an ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The outbreak first emerged in Wuhan, Hubei, China in December 2019 and was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11 March 2020. As of 14 March, over 155,000 cases have been reported in around 130 countries and territories; more than 5,800 people have died; and over 74,000 have recovered. Regions affected by major outbreaks include mainland China, South Korea, Iran, Italy and Spain. On 13 March 2020, the WHO declared Europe as the epicenter of the pandemic.

Text: Natalia Ivanova