Health Experts Worried About the Authorities’ Decisions

Health Experts Worried About the Authorities’ Decisions
01 June 2020 | 15:14

Moldova has hundreds of coronavirus cases daily, reaching 8,251 cases of coronavirus infection and 296 deaths. According to the Ministry of Health, Moldova had 965 cases of coronavirus in the last seven days. However, the authorities in Chișinău have decided to relax the measures previously imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus epidemic. These include the resumption of railway and road transport of people in international traffic, the reopening of the market places in Chișinău and Bălți, and of the gyms and restaurants from June 15. 

However, several health experts criticize the decisions taken by the authorities. They believe that it is still too early for some of the measures to be relaxed now, especially because there is no stability in Moldova regarding the control of the epidemic. Health experts also say that a well-established plan to get out of the pandemic should have been developed. Currently, such a plan is missing.

The Government Learned Nothing.”

The former Minister of Health, Ala Nemerenco, claims that the government “did not learn any lessons after entering the pandemic period.”

“At the moment, there are no encouraging data in Moldova regarding the new type of coronavirus. No stability was recorded. We see that both the number of new cases and the number of deaths are increasing. The authorities have always had an excuse when there was an increase in the number of new cases. They said that Moldova entered the stage of local transmission of the coronavirus much later than other European states. Then my question is: Why does Moldova relax the restrictive measures together with the European states? Most countries, such as Ireland or France, are even declining sharply. Since Moldova does not register a decrease in the number of new cases, most restrictions should be left in force.

The government learned nothing. There is no plan following the end of epidemic. There is also no plan and no list with recommendations for each field of economic activity while weakening the restrictive measures. 

Most countries have a well-established plan in this regard. However, if the decision was made to reopen the premises in Chișinău – then I think that only the terraces should be reopened, because sitting inside is still a great danger. Many decisions taken now on relaxing measures are practically illogical. One of them would be the reopening of gyms and no access to the bathroom or locker room. 

At the same time, the decisions issued by the authorities are not clear. The general sentences do not lead to anything good and nothing is clear. Moldova lacked strategies, but instead we enjoyed daily statistics and not well-determined actions. And we paid for it. Both with people’s health and even their lives, as well as with a down-to-earth economy,” said the World Health Organization (WHO) expert and former Minister of Health, Ala Nemerenco.

There Is a Lack of Education About Health.”

Luminița Suveică, the former head of the Health Department within the Chișinău City Hall, claimed that a large number of new cases of infection is explained by the fact that among the citizens there is a lack of education about health.

“At the moment we are in a situation that leaves many questions.  Currently, the infections has not come under control. The numbers look different every day. One of the explanations would be that two months of quarantine didn’t change Moldovans. Many rules are neglected (wearing masks, gloves and washing hands). Citizens lack a culture of health.

Restrictions have been lifted in other countries, but there has been recorded better data.  I consider that it is too early to lift the restrictions in Moldova. However, we cannot compare ourselves with the citizens of other states, as they have a much better health discipline and education. The authorities must have an organized plan of action. It was decided to reopen the markets. But it is a problem, because there is a large flow of people. Vendors should wear visors and people should have the opportunity for hygiene. I am very afraid that the number of new cases will increase again in the coming days,” said Luminița Suveică, former head of the Health Department within the Chișinău City Hall.

 “The Restrictions Were Good, but They Were Only on Paper.”

Boris Gîlcă, deputy head of the Health Department within the Chișinău City Hall, informed us that any person must assume maximum responsibility since it was decided to relax the measures.

“We follow the international practice and understand that the economic sector is down, which will have repercussions for the well-being of the population. In this context, many countries in the region and around the world have promoted a faster return to normality. However, the return to this normality by opening marketplaces, coffee shops, restaurants, must be done by assuming first personal responsibility and secondly by the responsibility of these companies, which carry out these commercial activities. In the decision of the Extraordinary Public Health Commission of the Chișinău City Hall, it is established that there should be no relaxation. People will have to measure their temperature, wear masks and gloves while visiting these marketplaces or other spaces that will reopen. Everyone must take maximum responsibility. This depends a lot on our future.

(…) Everyone should be aware that the risk of infection is very high in such places. During these two months, very good restrictions were established, but they were good only on paper. When they tried to be put into practice, this failed,” Boris Gîlcă, deputy head of the Health department within Chișinău City Hall.

What Does the Head of the National Agency in Public Health, Nicolae Furtună Say?

According to Nicolae Furtună, the head of the National Agency in Public Health (ANSP), at the moment we can’t tell that the infection is under control and the citizens need to respect the restrictions. 

“After these two months of quarantine, I came to the conclusion that people did not understand what social distancing and protection measures mean. I thought people would understand what this meant since we allowed walks in the parks. But everything was upside down. People didn’t understand at all. Mothers went out with their friends and children through the parks. But we did not talk about this. Moldovans didn’t draw any conclusion. We talked about relaxation of some rules, but we’ll see what the numbers show today and this week.

The number of new cases, the number of seriously ill and those placed on assisted breathing is very high. At the same time, the number of deaths is high. In other European countries, people have an education in this regard. They know what shift work means and they know what sanitary hygiene means. Our people still don’t know anything about this. I still argue that the Radonitsa (a commemoration of the departed celebrated on the second Monday after Easter, in the Russian Orthodox Church. Moldova postponed the celebration from April 25-27 to June 6-8) should be canceled. I have been and am against the reopening of market places. I am reserved for what awaits us in the coming days, ” Nicolae Furtună, head of ANSP , declared for Ziarul de Gardă.

On May 25, the Extraordinary National Commission of Public Health issued a decision providing for the relaxation of the restrictions imposed for the spread of the new type of coronavirus. According to them, the activities of railway and road transport of people in international traffic have been resumed starting with May 26, the marketplaces in Chișinău and Bălți will be able to resume their activity from June, and the gyms will reopen starting with June 15, in strict compliance with rules announced by the authorities.

Epidemiological Situation Regarding COVID-19 Infection in the Country

Moldova registered 8,098 cases of infection with the new coronavirus, of which 999 in the breakaway Transnistrian region. According to the data presented by the Ministry of Health, there are 259 people in serious condition (26 patients are connected to assisted respiration), 638 – medium severity, other patients in satisfactory condition. At the same time, there are 4,622 people who were treated.

On June 1, there were confirmed 1,630 cases of infection among the health system employees, including doctors-383, pharmacists-21, nurses-637, janitors-88, other medical staff-501.  

On May 31, Moldova registered 296 deaths. 

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