With COVID-19 outbreak in Ukraine, the authorities have taken tough and effective measures and managed to save the lives of thousands of Ukrainians and gain valuable time, as stated by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy during the annual address to the Verkhovna Rada on the internal and external situation of Ukraine.
“We chose between two scenarios - bad and even worse. A blow to the economy due to quarantine or a huge number of sick and dead? Of course, we chose the first option. We managed to save the lives of thousands of Ukrainians and gain valuable time. Because even the medical systems of the most successful countries were unprepared for coronavirus, and our medicine - even more so,” he said.
The Head of State said that at the beginning of the pandemic in Ukraine, the State Reserve had medical masks, which were last purchased in 2007, and their shelf life had long expired. The system of laboratories was also destroyed - there were only five of them at that time, and now - dozens of times more. The country quickly restored the vertical of state public health physicians.
Ukraine quickly covered the deficit of medical products in medical institutions and on the market. Initially, deliveries of masks, tests, disinfectants, suits, ventilators from China and South Korea were organized. And then Ukraine deployed and established large-scale Ukrainian production. Among other things, the number of daily tests in Ukraine has doubled, and clinical trials of domestic drugs have been launched, which significantly minimize the risks of complications and death.
“We have increased the salaries of doctors who fight COVID-19 to 300%. Yes, due to the imperfection of the bureaucratic system there were difficulties with payments in the regions, but they are in the past,” the President noted.
Separately, the Ukrainian government quickly changed the legislation to help citizens and support business in various areas. These include the adoption of laws needed to continue cooperation with the IMF and financial stability.
“We withstood the first stage and passed it with minimal losses. Yes, there is a predicted reduction in the economy and GDP. But it affected all countries of the world. But compared to many European countries, our decline is smaller,” the Head of State emphasized.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy added that effective actions by the country's leadership helped minimize the mortality rate from coronavirus. In Ukraine it is 1.9%. At the same time, in other European countries this figure is several times higher.
“We do not rejoice. We sympathize with others. Moreover, we have no right to relax. Counteraction of COVID-19 continues. Records in the number of patients are reported worldwide every day, unfortunately, Ukraine is no exception. Adaptive quarantine and less stringent safety measures were needed to restore Ukraine's economy. But this does not abolish the basic rules,” he said.
The Head of State stressed that the political struggle before the local elections also makes adjustments to countering the pandemic. After all, local authorities want to please the voters, do not properly monitor the implementation of quarantine safety measures and in some cases sabotage government decisions and conduct concerts for thousands of people on City Day.
“This is a game of "bad cop" in the capital and "good cop" on the ground. Be aware that there may be more votes for you in your region. But the number of sick and dead will be your fault,” the President noted.
Despite everything, as Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed, our state will overcome the pandemic. In negotiations with European partners, Ukraine agreed on the supply of the vaccine immediately after its appearance.
“We have incredible health workers. And everyone else who fights coronavirus. The main thing is to be united,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted and urged to applaud their work.
Separately, the President urged Ukrainians to adhere to basic safety measures, including wearing masks in public places.