One hundred days have passed since Moldova reported the first case of infection with the new coronavirus. On March 7, a woman on the Milan-Chișinău flight felt sick. She was tested positive with the coronavirus, hospitalized, and treated.
Most probably, it was not the first case of coronavirus in Moldova, but we will never know which was the first case in Moldova because many specific, urgent and necessary actions were not taken on time.
Since March 7, many planes arrived daily from the countries with a distressing number of infected people. If the number of people entering and exiting the country was not limited, it was necessary to test all the people who entered the country, especially persons coming from risk areas, and maintain these people in isolation until the results of tests come. These very specific, urgent, and necessary actions have never been taken.
Let’s not say it was not possible. Let’s not say there were no tests. Let’s not say that there were no spaces in Chișnău to quarantine these people. The epidemic had broken out in China three months earlier and was spreading fast to new states. There was enough time to get ready to face the virus. Tests could be procured, and adequate quarantine conditions could be arranged to ensure the isolation of potentially infected people for some time.
Some will argue that it was impossible to purchase masks, equipment, and disinfectants at the time. I find it hard to believe that the state, which produces tons of alcohol, can have a shortage of disinfectants. It is hard to believe that it is not possible to sew masks, overalls, and suits in a state where the world brands have luxury dress sewing units. And although Moldova has lots of plastic we cannot organize the production of face visors.
However, many of the businesses closed and people were kept unemployed, instead of being properly equipped and involved in the fight against the pandemic. Moreover, Moldova did not accept to learn from the experience of other states, which had already gone through critical situations. Tracking the route of the infection is very important. South Korea has made enormous progress, as it mapped and analyzed the route of each infected person. They monitored family members and community members who reportedly communicated with the infected at the store, on the bus, in church, in the mall. In Moldova, family members of the people with confirmed infections were not tested, nor the community members.
The quarantine was long, tiring, and full of double standards. On the one hand, they urged people to stay at home. On the other hand, they took them out to take part in elections, to meet with President Igor Dodon, to take part in religious rituals, to go to the parade on May 9, to go to the marketplaces and to the monasteries. It was a time when people’s distrust of the hectic actions of the authorities increased dramatically.
As for communication, there were no press conferences held for two months. Sometimes they organized press conferences at the insistence of civil society, not because they wanted to inform people. Thus, Moldova was fighting a misinformation epidemic, with a lot of fake news about members of the government or medical workers.
One hundred days have passed. Our hospitals are overloaded and doctors in the intensive therapy wards work under continuous pressure.
Meanwhile, many European countries, and countries around the world, are gradually coming out of quarantine, and citizens may go to work, on vacation, or anywhere they want to. In Moldova, there seem to start another 100 days with COVID-19.