Ukraine has increasingly begun to set abysmal records for the incidence of coronavirus—the number of people infected per day, the level of hospitalizations and the number of deaths are increasing every day. The only exceptions are weekends, but this is due to the fact that on Saturday and Sunday fewer people consult the doctors. In response to such an unstable situation, Ukrainians are discussing a possible tightening of restrictions: the introduction of a full Easter lockdown, a curfew and even a state of emergency. Should we be afraid of this and what the officials say—in the article of .
Lockdown in Ukraine
As of April 12, 2021, the "red" level of epidemic danger operates in 11 regions and the city of Kyiv. In another 10 regions the "orange" level remains, and only in Kherson, Zakarpattia, and Ivano-Frankivsk the "yellow" level remains. As we can see, the situation is disappointing, because if more than 50—70% of regions get into the "red" zone, the authorities plan to introduce a lockdown in the country. This was previously stated by the Minister of Health Maksym Stepanov.
However, according to Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, there is no need to introduce a total lockdown in the whole country at the moment. He stated this at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on April 7.
"In some regions, after the introduction of the" red «level of epidemic danger and the responsible work of local authorities, a stabilization of the situation with the coronavirus spread is observed. If this dynamic persists in the future, they may return to the "orange" zone. This once again demonstrates that adaptive quarantine works and there is no need to introduce a total lockdown across the country at the moment.»
The Prime Minister of Ukraine
The Prime Minister did not change his position even after a few days. In response to the proposal of the mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, to introduce an all-Ukrainian strict quarantine, Shmyhal repeated that this was not necessary and called Klitschko's statement a "political PR".
At the same time, according to the source of the Telegram channel LegalHub in the Ministry of Economy, there will be no all-Ukrainian lockdown, since the situation in the economy is catastrophic. "It was decided to abandon the idea of lockdown wherever possible. The regions will be closed here and there, but there will be no lockdown in the whole of Ukraine categorically. In order to save jobs and tax collection at least somewhere," the source said.
Easter lockdown in Ukraine
An Easter lockdown is more likely in the current situation. So, the celebration of Easter in 2021 can be transferred into online, Chief Sanitary Doctor Viktor Lyashko assumed. However, according to him, the clergy may ask to relax the quarantine conditions (there are now certain restrictions in the "red" zone for holding religious events). The department is also considering the possibility of holding the celebration in such a way that some of the believers can attend the service in the church, and the others should remain outside. But the final decision on the celebration format will be developed by the Ministry within a week.
Curfew in Ukraine: what is it
In addition to the overall lockdown, Ukrainians are also discussing the introduction of a curfew in the country. It is about prohibiting those who do not have the appropriate permission and identity document from being outside and in public places at certain times of the day, in order to reduce the spread of the disease. However, the curfew can only be imposed in the event of a state of emergency in the country, and at the moment there is no legal basis for this.
According to Stepanov, the introduction of a curfew in Ukraine is not considered so far. At the same time, infectious disease specialists have a different opinion. Thus, the Senior Lecturer of the School of Public Health of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Candidate of Medical Sciences, infectious disease specialist, former Head of the Public Health Center Volodymyr Kurpita told the media outlet Glavred that a curfew should be introduced in Kyiv, and this should be done now, since the situation with morbidity in the capital is critical, and hospitals are sorely lacking beds with oxygen.
"To see the effect of quarantine restrictions, two incubation periods should pass. In the normal course of the disease, it is 14 days, so the introduction of stringent measures should last at least four weeks. If we take into account that the British and other new strains identified in Ukraine have a shorter incubation period (3-7 days), then the effect of the restrictions can be seen in two weeks," he said.
At the same time, the Head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Public Health, Medical Assistance and Health Insurance, Mykhailo Radutsky, expressed the hope that a curfew in Ukraine would not be introduced, since "President Volodymyr Zelensky will be accused of all mortal sins." In an interview with RBC-Ukraine, he said that the authorities should definitely strengthen the patrols of the National Police and the National Guard in cities, villages, and transport.
State of emergency in Ukraine: what it is and how it is introduced
According to the current legislation, a state of emergency is a legal regime that restricts certain constitutional people rights and provides additional powers to state authorities. It can be declared if there is a threat to the security of citizens or the constitutional order that cannot be eliminated by other means.
The government's decision to introduce a state of emergency comes into force if it is approved by the Verkhovna Rada. Such a regime can also take effect immediately after the signing of the corresponding decree by the President, but if the Parliament does not approve it, it loses force.
A few days ago, the mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, frightened the citizens of Kyiv, saying that if the medical system collapsed in the capital, a state of emergency could be introduced in the city. But further steps on quarantine restrictions in the capital will be considered only on April 14.
"We have come very close to a situation where we may have a collapse of the medical system. If the figures go off scale now and the medical system collapses, we will have no choice but to turn to a state of emergency."
Mayor of Kyiv
The Head of Parliament Dmytro Razumkov did not rule out the unfolding of such a scenario. According to him, the introduction of a state of emergency is possible with an even greater deterioration in the situation with COVID-19.
But according to the Minister of Health, the introduction in Ukraine of a curfew, as well as a state of emergency is not being discussed.
"We can register any regulations. But it is very important that they are followed. Only in this way can we stop the spread of the COVID-19 third wave," he summed up.