Coronavirus Chronicle in Moldova: State of Emergency Extended until November 30

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Marina Dragalin
Experts say that if tighter restrictions are not introduced, and the number of people vaccinated does not increase, more dangerous strains of the virus may appear in the country
To date, 246.3 million people have been diagnosed with a new type of coronavirus. The number of victims of the pandemic has almost reached 5 million. At the same time, Europe is now the only continent where the incidence of COVID-19 is growing. Of the new cases of coronavirus infection identified last week, 57% were registered on this continent. Our neighbors - Russia and Ukraine - have been surpassing the maximum number of infections per day since the beginning of the pandemic. In Russia, more than 40 thousand new cases were detected, in Ukraine – more than 26 thousand. The Russian Federation also beat the anti-record for the number of deaths – 1,159 patients died during the day due to the coronavirus. The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, once again called on countries to cooperate in the fight against infection. According to him, no one will be able to complete the pandemic on their own. He said that overcoming the pandemic will be possible when the supply of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX mechanism becomes a priority, the G20 countries fulfill their obligations to distribute vaccines, and developers share technologies and licenses. The WHO estimated that about $23 billion will be required for an annual program to provide vaccines, tests and medicines for coronavirus in high-risk countries for the next 12 months until September 2022. The situation in Moldova also continues to deteriorate. Despite the fact that in recent days the number of new cases has not crossed the 2,000 mark, as it was last week, the rate of spread of the disease continues to grow – the number of new cases increased by 16% compared to the previous seven days. On average, one and a half thousand people get infected a day. In total, since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 334 thousand citizens have fallen ill, and now almost 15 thousand residents of Moldova are infected. Doctors pay attention to the fact that the number of cases of serious and moderate forms of coronavirus infection has increased by 8-10%. This led to an increase in the level of hospitalization. “We have a 35% increase in hospitalizations, which has put some pressure on the country's hospitals, and we are forced to organize new beds in different regions. There has also been an increase in the number of serious cases that are actually affected by “delta” – an option that, as all doctors note, is much more aggressive. From the latest data, it is known that more than 90% of cases are a “delta” strain”, Health Minister Ala Nemerenсo reports. There are only 17 available beds in intensive care units in the country, and in the capital a place is vacated only in case of death or discharge of a patient. The number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 population is 308 people, compared to the previous week’s 265. Most hospitals are operating at full capacity, there is a shortage of beds in intensive care units for patients with COVID-19 and a lack of necessary equipment, including lung ventilation devices, monitors for vital functions, oxygen concentrators and other sources, medications and protective equipment for medical personnel. COVID departments for children are overwhelmed. According to doctors, whole families have been hospitalized recently, including babies up to a month old. There are currently more than 50 children in the capital’s Clinical Infectious Diseases Hospital. “Out of 54 minors, 21 children are under one year of age. We also have children up to a month old. This age is the most dangerous, because immunity is not fully developed. There are kids who have chronic pathologies,” says infectious disease specialist Diana Vlad. There are several vacant places left in Chisinau’s Institute of Mother and Child. 32 patients aged from one month to 18 years are being treated here, and all 20 beds are occupied in the Emilian Cotaga medical institution. Three newborns with COVID-19 are ventilator dependent. They got infected with coronavirus in utero. According to the Ministry of Health, since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 21.5 thousand children have fallen ill, 6% of whom are under one year of age. Moldova witnesses the death rates growth. On Thursday, 46 people died from the coronavirus – this is the highest figure since the beginning of the pandemic. The total death toll is already 7,665 people. Against this background, the authorities extended the state of emergency in the field of public health until November 30. In areas with a “red level” of epidemiological danger, it is recommended to extend school holidays. Since November 8, weddings, baptisms and other events are prohibited. Vaccination of the population remains the only effective way to counteract the pandemic. However, its level has not increased significantly over the past month. The number of people willing to get vaccinated is declining. The summer campaign results were better, as many were vaccinated for the purpose of travelling abroad. Introducing mandatory vaccination for some professions, such as doctors, teachers, the HoReCa employees and several other categories of the population, is being debated. This statement was made by the coordinator of the immunization campaign Ninel Revenco. Health expert Alla Tocarciuc noted that mandatory immunization and restrictions for the unvaccinated have already proven their effectiveness in other countries. In fact, it has long been clear that the introduction of mandatory vaccination is only a matter of time. Since its onset, the immunization campaign in Moldova has covered 25% of the population, while the national vaccination plan provides for 70% of residents by the end of November to achieve the collective immunity. According to experts, if the authorities do not impose stricter restrictions and the number of those vaccinated does not increase, new, more dangerous strains of the virus may appear in the country.