Coronavirus Chronicle in Moldova: Is the Situation Improving?

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According to statistics, the COVID-19 morbidity rate has been decreasing for several weeks in a row. However, given the winter approaching and the still low level of vaccination, it’s too early to relax.
Statistics shows the incidence of a new type of coronavirus has been growing since mid-October. At the moment, 256.5 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19, of which almost 5.2 million have died. According to experts, immunization of the population is still the only effective method of preventing the prevalent disease. In this context, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for the development of an international vaccination plan to ensure that 70% of the population is vaccinated by the first half of 2022. The UN chief stressed that the coronavirus has increased inequality in the world, and he called the fact that billions of people are still waiting for their first vaccination a “moral failing”. Europe, even though leading in terms of vaccination of the population, according to the World Health Organization, still remains the epicenter of the pandemic. It is the European region that accounts for half of all cases of infection and death from coronavirus. In fact, this is an anti-record from the spring of last year, when the disease was raging in Italy. As a backdrop to all this, strict restrictions are returning to Europe, particularly in relation to unvaccinated citizens. In Austria, the police conduct raids in restaurants and transport, identifying those without a vaccination certificate. In Upper Austria, there is a lockdown for the unvaccinated. In the Netherlands, a partial lockdown was introduced on Saturday: shops and bars close at 8 pm, and establishments selling non-essential goods - at 6. The well-known restrictions on 1.5-meter distance and “maximum four-person gathering” are returned even for those at home. Due to the increase in cases, the mask regime and restrictions returned to Belgium. To visit catering establishments, theaters or other entertainment or cultural places, one must have a complete vaccination certificate, a negative test or a certificate of recovery. Lockdown for the unvaccinated and those who have not had coronavirus is also enforced in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Acting German Chancellor Angela Merkel characterized the situation with the spread of coronavirus critical. “We must state that the pandemic is not over. On the contrary, I can’t call the current situation anything other than critical. The fourth wave hit our country with all its might”, the German politician stressed. Recall that in recent weeks, the highest incidence of COVID-19 in Germany for the entire period of the pandemic has been registered. Only this week, about 50 thousand new cases were detected per day. The Russian Federation registered another anti-record of COVID-19 deaths: 1,251 people died in one day – this is a new maximum since the beginning of the pandemic. As stated by the Russian President’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov, “there is no end to the pandemic in Russia in sight”. Moldova is lucky to have avoided the lockdown, according to Economy Minister Sergiu Gaibu. The official said that the situation with coronavirus in Moldova is better than in neighboring countries. “We tried to avoid a lockdown, and we succeeded. Certain measures were needed, otherwise there would have been no such results. I am glad we could avoid such a measure as lockdown,” Gaibu said. Moreover, as statistics show, the situation is not further deteriorating (unless, of course, this is another failure in the system of statistical data collection). Part of the country is emerging from the COVID-19 red danger code. Last week, the danger level dropped below the red threshold in almost all administrative territories. A total of 6,861 new cases of infection were registered over the past week, with an average of 980 confirmed cases per day. In fact, for the first time in the last two months, the incidence rate has fallen below the thousandth mark per day. The cumulative incidence over a seven-day period totaled 184 cases per one hundred thousand of the population, which corresponds domestically to the threshold for the orange code introduction. The observed reduction in the number of new cases has positively impacted the situation with hospitalization. The country still features just under 2.5 thousand COVID-19 patients hospitalized, almost 300 of which are in intensive care. The good news was that the procedure for establishing the equivalence of the Moldovan COVID-19 certificate with the European one had been completed. At the same time, vaccination rates have significantly decreased – by almost 20% compared to the previous week. The level of a full-scheme immunization is about 26% compared to the 70% target necessary to ensure collective immunity. Currently, the authorities are in talks about the purchase of Russia’s Sputnik V in order to meet the needs of citizens who want to be inoculated with this particular vaccine. For reference: 356.5 thousand Moldovan citizens were diagnosed with COVID-19, 8,709 of them died.