President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with representatives of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations and called for help in counteracting the spread of COVID-19.
During a meeting, the President noted that, according to the Ministry of Health, there are 5-6 thousand new cases of coronavirus infection every day in recent weeks in Ukraine and there is a tendency for increase in the incidence. The disease is most difficult for the elderly - this category of citizens accounts for 80-85% of all deaths due to COVID-19.
According to the President, today in a number of regions of the country the occupancy of beds in hospitals is 70%, and in some settlements - 100%.
"We can reduce the number of infected and dead people if we reduce the number of people, especially the elderly, in crowded places. It's not only about the church, but also about any premises and events," Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed.
The President noted that the state cannot increase the number of beds every week and transfer medical facilities only for the treatment of patients with COVID-19.
"The situation will be critical for the medical system of Ukraine when there is 9.5 thousand daily infections with coronavirus. If we have more than 9.5 thousand infected people every day, we will be forced to impose strict quarantine. But then the economy of our country will stop and it will be very difficult for everyone," the Head of State stressed.
The President called on representatives of churches and religious organizations to organize religious events in such a way as to minimize crowds and increase social distance, including the online worship service.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy also thanked the representatives of religious organizations for participating in the meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) and spoke in favor of their involvement in the TCG's work on humanitarian issues, including mutual release of detainees, access of the International Committee of the Red Cross to the detention facilities in the temporarily occupied territories, etc.
Representatives of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations assured that they take and will take maximum measures to comply with quarantine recommendations, including social distancing to reduce the risk of coronavirus disease.
In addition, some churches and religious organizations have introduced social initiatives to purchase and transfer food and supplies to the elderly and low-income people in order to reduce their social contacts with potentially sick people, as well as "medical chaplaincy" to assist the health workers and the sick.