Coronavirus Chronicle in Moldova: State of Emergency 2.0

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According to experts, amid the growing morbidity rates, the country needs more stringent restrictions as part of the anti-coronavirus measures.
According to the World Health Organization, the world has reached a plateau in terms of the incidence of COVID-19. "That plateau is on a really high intensity level. There are about 4.4-4.5 million cases being reported each week, and that is certainly an underestimate of the true number of cases that are actually occurring around the world," explains Maria van Kerkhove, the WHO technical lead on  COVID-19. Moreover, about 67-68 thousand deaths from coronavirus are recorded per week. 223 million cases of infection have already been registered, of which 4.6 million resulted in death. The WHO states that the globe will have to live with the coronavirus forever, much like influenza. In particular, the Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Program, Mike Ryan, said that the coronavirus continues to mutate in countries where the number of unvaccinated people is still high and where hopes for eradicating the coronavirus are weakening. "I think this virus is here to stay with us and it will evolve like influenza pandemic viruses," Ryan said. At the same time, the doctor noted that eradicating the coronavirus completely is very unlikely. Experts underscore that if the world had taken earlier steps to stop the spread of the virus, the situation today could have been very different. "We had a chance in the beginning of this pandemic. This pandemic didn't need to be this bad from the start," Kerkhove said. According to specialists, mass vaccination remains the only chance to reduce the spread of the disease and a deterrent for subsequent mutations of the virus. To date, about 5.6 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered around the world. As WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recalled, the organization's global targets are to enable every country to vaccinate at least 40 percent of its population by the end of 2021 and 70 percent by mid next year. "We still see a shocking disparity in access to COVID-19 vaccines around the world. In low-income countries, most of which are in Africa, fewer than 2% of adults are fully vaccinated, compared with almost 50% in high-income countries," the head of WHO said. Ghebreyesus also called on countries to introduce a moratorium on booster doses, while there are those in the world who have not even received the first dose of the vaccine. The epidemiological situation in Moldova has deteriorated so much in recent weeks that the authorities have decided to declare a public health emergency. It will be valid from September 11 to October 31. According to the Minister of Health Ala Nemerenco, the decision was dictated by the development of the epidemiological process, which is of an upward nature with tendencies to a constant exacerbation. In addition, in some areas there is a sharp increase in the number of cases. She clarified that new conditions will be created for people over 18 to participate in outdoor or indoor events. They will be required to provide a certificate of vaccination confirming full immunization or COVID-19 negative test result. Also, they will be allowed to present a certificate confirming the presence of antibodies, completed no later than 90 days before the day of the event. As Speaker of the Parliament Igor Grosu said, given the increase in the number of COVID-19 infections, the country needs more stringent restrictions as part of the anti-coronovirus measures. Moreover, these restrictions should not adversely affect the economy. "It should be understood that we cannot afford the restrictive actions of the past year. We cannot block the economy, but we can introduce rules that will allow both the private economic sector and its customers to be held accountable," said Igor Grosu. According to epidemiologists, the Delta strain prevails in Moldova, which is more contagious and dangerous. The number of new cases per day is growing rapidly and has recently reached 850. Noteworthy is the high proportion of patients in severe and extremely serious conditions who account for almost 10% of the total number of those hospitalized. Against this background, mortality rates are naturally growing. Last week, there were 3,231 cases of coronavirus infection, which means that an incidence rate is up 26% compared to the previous week. At the same time, 84% of new cases are unvaccinated citizens. In total, 273 thousand cases were recorded in the country, of which 6478 were fatal. The country is facing a worrisome situation. The previously announced forecasts of more than 3,000 infected per day remain relevant. The government expects such a daily increase as early as next month. These numbers are significantly higher than those recorded in Moldova at the spring peak of the epidemic. The health care system continues to actively prepare for the influx, and experts urge to accelerate the mass vaccination, the level of which is currently about 22%.