The COVID-19 immunization program that got towed at the start has picked up momentum and seems now to be bringing the country closer to epidemiological situation stabilization, as international partners fuel supplies.
The World Health Organization notes a COVID-19 pandemic intensification. The current dynamics repeat the situation observed in the first pandemic months. The number of new cases and deaths has been steadily increasing for several monthsnow. According to Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Head of WHO, despite the fact thatin some regions the epidemic situation improves, many countries still do record significant rates of disease spread, whilst the situation in India remains extremely alarming. About 900 thousand people all over the world fall ill every day, out of them more than a third gets sick in India. To date, the total number of cases has exceeded 151 million and 3.18 million people have died.
Experts’ forecasts are disappointing. Carissa Etienne, Director of the WHO Pan American Branch speaks of an apparent pandemic acceleration. She emphasizes that in some South American countries, the increase in incidence within current year’s four months has been higher than “the one we faced in 2020”. Effective preventive measures and equal access to vaccines must turn the tide.
However, as to the latter one, everything remains complicated so far. Tedros Ghebreyesus voiced disappointing statistics: out of a billion injections made worldwide, only 0.3% went to poor countries, while 82% went to the rich ones. The American-British consulting company IHS Markit’s experts concluded that vaccine nationalism has become the main obstacle to defeating the pandemic and could extend the pandemic until 2023.
Earlier this year, the Head of WHO warned that the uneven vaccines distribution could cost the global economy up to $ 9.2 trillion. Almost half of these losses, according to the analysis of the situation carried out by the Research Fund of the International Chamber of Commerce, will fall on developed countries – the United States, Great Britain, Germany and others.
The WHO’s Head called the uneven distribution of vaccines a “catastrophic moral failure” for the whole world. According to experts, by the end of this year, about 15 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines will be produced in the world. However, due to an inefficient and inequitable distribution, they will mainly end up in the markets of developed countries. The United States, for example, has contracts for the supply of doses that are 4 times the population of the country.
In the global context, the situation in Moldova looks quite good. The population immunization program, which got somewhat stalled at the beginning has gradually gained momentum and is showing good results now.
In particular, the number of new cases is noticeably dropping down, by about 20-30% per week. In total, there was a threefold decrease in the previous month. At the same time, the number of tests increased, while the level of positive results, on the contrary, is down up to 10%. Most importantly, the death rate has dropped by 13%. In total, 250,5 thousand people fell ill with coronavirus in Moldova, 5,795 of them did not cope with the disease. The decrease in new cases and the increase in recovered cases significantly reduced the number of active patients. Since April 1, their number has decreased by more than 3 times – from almost 17 thousand to 5.3 thousand. This has greatly eased the burden on the health care system and has ensured a much-needed respite.
An uninterrupted supply of vaccine is a key element in maintaining the immunization campaign momentum. Judging by the statements to the media, it was finally secured – at least, for the near future. Thus, as of today, Moldova has received a batch of Russian Sputnik V (the second is planned today), Chinese Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines. There is an agreement on a large batch of AstraZeneca. Additional €24.8 million funding from the World Bank was approved to buy vaccines.
To record data on citizens’ vaccinations, the government approved yesterday the creation of an automated information system – a kind of state register, which will collect information about who and with what vaccine was inoculated, both in Moldova and abroad. Further plans include expanding the platform with the functions of signing up for the jab and receiving a certificate of vaccination.
Noteworthy is that the situation with the current quarantine restrictions has clarified. Due to the fact that the state of emergency in the field of health expired on April 18, and on Wednesday, April 28, the Constitutional Court canceled the decision on the introduction of the state of emergency, there was a period in Moldova when no decisions regulating the pandemic-related restrictions were made. However, yesterday, April 29, the National Public Health Commission again decided to introduce emergency in public health.
Despite the relative stabilization, experts are extremely skeptical in their forecasts for the near future in light of the upcoming Easter holidays. Doctors fear a repeat of last year’s scenario. Then, the number of applications before Easter also decreased, and the situation with the pandemic seemed satisfactory. After the holidays, however, the number of infected and the number of severe cases increased sharply. Let’s hope that the intensified vaccination process will help ensure that past year’s negative scenarios won’t be repeated.
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