Ukraine enforced quarantine until April 3 due to the threat of spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. The country has closed cultural and educational institutions, shops (except pharmacies and grocery), restaurants, shopping centers and subway. Ukraine has also closed the border for foreigners and canceled all flights. The restrictions also affected the occupied territories of Donbass and Crimea, in particular the work of checkpoints.
According to OstroV, the issue of operation of checkpoints in the Donbas and in Crimea became one of the most debated during the NSDC meeting.
"Volodymyr Zelensky wanted minimum restrictions and Arsen Avakov – maximum. As a result, they decided to act according to the situation, and the restrictions were more or less compromised. As far as everyone understood, the MIA wanted to prevent anyone from coming from the occupied territories", - a source in the president's team told us.
The International Committee of the Red Cross in Ukraine has already stated that the most sensitive category in connection with the threat of the spread of coronavirus is elderly residents of the occupied territory of Donbass, because they are forced to regularly cross the demarcation line to verify and receive pensions, medical services and purchase goods.
OstroV collected the latest information on the operation of checkpoints during quarantine, how pensions and other social benefits will be paid to displaced persons, whether they need to be verified, how to protect themselves from coronavirus and where to go in case of the first symptoms.
How do checkpoints in the Donbass work?
Restrictions on crossing in both directions are introduced at the entry/exit checkpoints from the temporarily uncontrolled territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts from March 16 to April 3, 2020.
Only those who have permanent registration (that is, residence permit) in the controlled territory will be allowed into the controlled territory of Ukraine (from CADLO). Foreigners and stateless persons will also be denied entry (if they do not have permanent registration of a place of residence in the territory under the control of Ukraine).
Admission to the temporarily occupied territory is allowed only for citizens who live there and who have permanent registration in the uncontrolled territory.
The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine has already noted a significant decrease in the passenger and traffic flow through road corridors in the Donbass. As of March 17, 1296 citizens were not allowed to pass, which is 14% of the total number of the admitted people.
"Upon the arrival in to checkpoint from the uncontrolled territory, the majority of citizens independently decide to return to the temporarily occupied territories", - the State Border Guard Service states.
How do checkpoints in the Crimea work?
Entry into the territory of the occupied Crimea and exit from it through all checkpoints is limited until April 3, 2020.
Only citizens of Ukraine whose residence is registered outside the Autonomous Republic of Crimea or the city of Sevastopol, as well as their vehicles, goods and other property, will be allowed out of the ARC.
Only citizens of Ukraine and members of their families whose place of residence is registered in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea or the city of Sevastopol, as well as their vehicles, goods and other property, will be allowed into the Crimea.
Also, they will let people in to ensure protection of national interests or in connection with the fulfillment of international obligations, representatives of diplomatic institutions and humanitarian missions traveling from the temporarily occupied territory of the ARC and Sevastopol, as well as their vehicles, goods and other property.
Departure from the Crimea for other categories of foreigners and stateless persons will be carried out in agreement with the Ministry of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories.
How long will restrictive measures last?
Currently, we are talking about restrictive measures until April 3, but if necessary, the terms can be extended.
"The quarantine will last taking into account the epidemiological situation in Europe, with our neighbors, in Ukraine… Will go to the Cabinet of Ministers with a proposal on the possibility of extension closer to the end of the current quarantine period", - Deputy Minister of Health and Chief Sanitary Doctor of Ukraine Viktor Liashko stated.
In addition, he did not rule out the imposition of a state of emergency in Ukraine.
This information was confirmed to OstroV by sources in the Office of the President of Ukraine.
"The issue of imposing a state of emergency is being actively discussed by the president's entourage. The probability of its introduction is extremely high, and Volodymyr Zelensky is ready to declare it at any time. Regarding quarantine and restrictive measures, we estimate that they will last at least a month, that is, will be extended. But everything will depend on the development of the situation", - the source reported.
Is an IDP certificate a cause for crossing the line of contact?
An IDP certificate is not a reason for people to pass through checkpoint.
"People who have permanent residence registration are allowed to pass, it is put in the internal passport documents, - this is the so-called residence permit. Certificates of the temporarily displaced persons are issued regarding the temporary residence. These certificates are not grounds for admission", - head of the Kramatorsk border detachment, Colonel Anatoliy Fedorchuk stated.
At the same time, he noted that the JFO commander may make a separate decision on passing through the contact line in the event of force majeure, in the presence of supporting documents (death certificate, certificate of necessary urgent surgical treatment).
"They let you or and out in according to the residence permit in your passport!", "If there is no residence permit in Ukraine, they will not let you out", "They let you go to the place, registered in your passport. That is, home!", - people, who are forced to cross the line of demarcation, write on social networks.
What will happen to pensions and other social benefits without verification?
Compulsory verification for displaced persons is canceled for the time of quarantine.
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine abolished the need for IDPs to confirm their presence in the controlled territory of Ukraine for the time of quarantine, so that they could keep a certificate the IDP registration and freely receive the accrued pensions and social benefits after quarantine.
For the period of enforcing quarantine or restrictive measures related to the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and within 30 days from the date of its cancellation, it is prohibited:
- decision making on cancellation of the certificate of the internally displaced person registration on the basis of information about the prolonged absence (more than 60 days) of the person at the place of residence, which gives reasonable grounds to believe that the internally displaced person has returned to the previously left place of permanent residence;
- Oschadbank stopping of debit operations on the current account of the internally displaced person in the absence of physical identification;
- monitoring the implementation of social payments to internally displaced persons at their place of actual residence/stay.
"Pensioners do not need to file additional applications or explanations about the impossibility of verification. Bank cards will not be blocked, all funds will be credited in full. I urge everyone not to leave their homes unless absolutely necessary. If you go to supermarkets, think about elderly neighbors, show care and help, so that older people are not at risk, because they are the risk group", - Deputy Prime Minister Oleksiy Reznikov stated.
In addition, it is prohibited:
- accrual and recovery of damages (fines, penalties) for untimely payments for housing and utilities services;
- termination/suspension of provision of housing and communal services to citizens of Ukraine in case of non-payment or payment in full;
- forced eviction from housing and its collecting, owned by the citizens of Ukraine on the basis of private property, upon enforcement of court decisions to collect debts for housing and communal services;
- forced eviction of citizens for untimely payment of housing and communal services from residential premises in the houses of the state and public housing stock and social housing stock.
How many people in Ukraine and in the occupied territories are affected by coronavirus?
According to official information, as of March 18, 14 confirmed cases of COVID-19 coronavirus infection were registered in the territory under control of Ukraine, 2 of them were fatal.
As for the occupied territories of Donbass, Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov announced 12 cases of coronavirus in CADLO on March 13.
"Now we have preliminary information about 12 cases of coronavirus, which is spread in Horlivka. Therefore, we must control it", - the Interior Minister reported without specifying the source of the information.
Later, the NSDC secretary Oleksiy Danilov made a statement that a woman who came from China brought coronavirus to the territory of the occupied part of Donbass.
"Indeed, the Foreign Intelligence Service and our other units have information that cases of the spread of coronavirus have already been recorded in the occupied part of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Moreover, we understand where this incident came from. A woman who is sick returned through Moscow from China, drove in a minibus and that is how it all happened", - Danilov stated.
The press service of the so-called "Ministry of Health", acting on the militant-controlled part of the Donetsk oblast, denies this information. According to them, not a single case of coronavirus has been recorded in the "republic" , there are only two cases with suspicion.
"We are monitoring two patients, one of whom arrived from the People's Republic of China on March 9, the first tests were negative and her monitoring ends. The second patient arrived from Milan on March 14. She is under surveillance in home quarantine. As of today, the condition of both patients is satisfactory", - the so-called "Minister of Health" Olga Dolgoshapko said.
She also reported that CADO "already has tests to determine coronavirus and they will be used strictly for the purpose intended in specialized virological laboratories".
According to information from the so-called "Ministry of Health" of CALO, not a single case of coronavirus was recorded on the territory of the "LNR". It also announced its readiness for the epidemic and the availability of test systems for detecting the disease.
As for the woman who returned to Horlivka from China, according to the local "authorities", the first test for coronavirus showed a negative result.
Accordingly, there are no officially confirmed data on the coronavirus cases in the occupied territories of Donbass. OstroV turned to the press service of the Ministry of Health for clarification on this issue, but there is no answer yet.
Occupation "authorities" of the Crimea also declare no cases of infection, but as of March 18, 130 people there are under surveillance with suspected coronavirus.
How to protect yourself from coronavirus and other viral diseases?
First of all, experts recommend strengthening immunity and monitoring well-being, which includes good nutrition, healthy sleep, exercise and fluid status.
With the first symptoms of ARVI, you need to call your family doctor and self-isolate (or you may call the government hotline 1545 or 103).
You must often wash your hands with soap (for 20 seconds) and/or use an antiseptic, the alcohol content of which should not be less than 60-80%.
Experts also recommend avoiding contact with people having ARVI symptoms. You need to keep a distance of 1.5 meters with those who have symptoms of a cold.
In addition, you need to avoid touching your face (do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with dirty hands), heat food products (do not eat raw meat, meat by-products and eggs) and regularly air your home.
Symptoms of COVID-19 coronavirus are similar to those of ARVI and influenza and include elevated body temperature, dry cough, labored breathing, respiratory disturbance, headache and weakness. In some cases, diarrhea, conjunctivitis and muscle pain may appear. The incubation period (until the onset of initial symptoms) can be from 1 to 14 days, and throughout this period, a person can infect others.
Moreover, it should be remembered that there is no medicine that can cure coronavirus.
"As of today, there is no specific treatment, there is only symptomatic, that is, there is no pill that will cure the patient of coronavirus disease. Therefore, you do not need to respond to the information spread on the Internet on the sale of some unique pills that quickly treat coronavirus disease. This is fraud", - sanitary doctor of Ukraine Viktor Liashko informed.
The World Health Organization urges not to panic, the vast majority of people can easily go through the disease and fully recover. The most important thing is to practice proper hygiene (wash hands, use antiseptics) and stay at home in case of the first ARVI symptoms, having informed your doctor about it.
P.S .: Non-governmental organizations that are involved in protecting the rights of victims of the conflict have opposed restrictive measures at checkpoints.
"Supporting the Government's decision to take the response and preventive measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Ukraine in general, we believe that the restrictions imposed on crossing the border of temporarily occupied territories will have significant negative consequences for people living in the occupation, who actually had no information yesterday about the today's introduction of restrictions, therefore, they had no time to leave the occupied territories before the introduction of restrictions", - their statement said.
Vladislav Bulatchik, OstroV