Address by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on measures to counter the spread of coronavirus in Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine held a meeting today to counter the spread of coronavirus. As of March 13, there are only three confirmed cases in Ukraine. And, unfortunately, an elderly woman died.
A decision was made to introduce a number of measures for the safety and health of Ukrainians. Many of these measures are similar to those in countries where statistics is ten or even hundred times worse than in Ukraine.
But we will not wait for the official hundred or thousand of sick.
It can’t be "too early" in the issue of life and health of Ukrainians. It may be too late. That is why we act decisively and proactively.
Today, the following is agreed:
First. We are closing the border for foreigners. Passenger border crossing points will be closed.
Starting from 00 hours 01 minutes on March 16, 2020, foreigners will not be able to enter the territory of Ukraine for two weeks either by plane, train, car or any other means.
Foreigners who are entitled to permanent or temporary residence in Ukraine are exceptions, in particular representatives of official international organizations and diplomatic missions.
This issue will be considered again in two weeks.
Cargo checkpoints - air, railway, sea and automobile - will continue to operate. Crews of ships, airplanes, trucks can enter Ukraine and are obliged to undergo medical verification with rapid tests.
Second. As for the Ukrainians who are now abroad. Those who departed from Ukraine by charter flights on a tourist trip will definitely return home according to the schedule.
Concerning other citizens of Ukraine. Three days later, we will close regular air traffic. You should return home within this period. Those who do not have time to do so for objective reasons should contact the Ukrainian consulate. In cooperation with Ukrainian airlines, they will be returned home by non-scheduled flights.
We have already successfully evacuated citizens from China. And this weekend a special aircraft will bring home Ukrainians who are stuck on the border of Italy and Slovenia.
But I urge all Ukrainians to get back in the next three days.
Everyone who returns will undergo a medical examination. In case of detection of symptoms of the disease, they will be sent for observation.
Next. We strongly recommend all citizens to refrain from traveling abroad unless absolutely necessary, especially for travel.
In the near future, infectious disease healthcare facilities in each region of Ukraine will be fully equipped with express test kits to detect symptoms of coronavirus.
Due to the order of the Cabinet of Ministers UAH 100 million have already been allocated for personal protective equipment. If necessary, 500 million will be immediately allocated for the purchase of intensive care medical equipment under the accelerated procedure.
The Institute of Molecular Biology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine will produce 200 thousand rapid tests as soon as possible.
10 million masks were transferred from the state reserve to the healthcare facilities.
Also, mobile laboratories will be used for testing in the regions of Ukraine.
We had a conversation with manufacturers, suppliers and pharmacists. There are things you cannot make money at. This is war and people's health. Therefore, masks, disinfectants, tests and other necessary means will be on the shelves of pharmacies in sufficient quantity and at an affordable price.
The state will economically stimulate the launch of production of personal protective equipment.
I also urge suppliers and retailers not to drive up grocery prices or make money at people.
In addition, the Cabinet of Ministers banned the export of personal protective equipment from Ukraine. There are more than 12,000 hospital beds available in the infectious disease hospitals to handle complex cases, about 2,000 infectious disease physicians and more than five thousand nursing staff. Measures are being taken to maximize the ability of hospitals to receive the required number of patients for intensive care.
Negotiations with international partners on the provision of humanitarian aid, including medical equipment, are underway. Customs service of Ukraine is commissioned to carry out the clearance of such goods quickly, not more than in one day.
The State Food Quality Control Service will strengthen control over the water supply and drainage system.
The National Bank of Ukraine agreed to support my initiative and to develop a program of measures for credit support of business and population of Ukraine.
I earnestly ask the elderly, especially those with chronic diseases, to stay home. As the world experience shows, and especially the experience of China, where the virus has already declined substantially, the most effective way to fight is to stay home.
Particular attention is paid to the health of our military. They will be maximally secured and protected. They protect our country from the virus of encroachment on our territories. We will protect them from all other viruses.
I also want to thank every Ukrainian doctor for the daily selfless work. Just like our military on the frontline, you protect the lives of millions of Ukrainians.
We instructed local authorities to introduce additional financial incentives for the healthcare workers involved in anti-epidemic and treatment activities.
I also want to respond to some politicians. If we were afraid of public opinion, afraid of rallies - we would not open Bankova Street. The temporary ban on mass events is not an encroachment on the constitutional right to protest, it is the care of the health of Ukrainians. Let the situation stabilize, the incidence of a disease decline - and then you are free to protest.
I personally ask business executives - if possible, allow your employees to work at home, remotely. Especially those who have children and who cannot leave them because of quarantine in schools and kindergartens.
A lot depends on each of us. Everyone who has even mild symptoms of the disease must isolate himself for a minimum of seven days and consult a general practitioner.
Simple things help: wash your hands with soap. Thoroughly and more than 30 seconds. Use a disinfectant, greet each other without shaking hands or kissing each other's cheeks, keep one meter distance.
Keep in mind that buckwheat, matches and toilet paper do not save you from coronavirus. Critical thinking, cool head and hygiene measures are required. Among other things, information hygiene is needed.
Do not be driven by the provocations of Internet scammers who want to incite panic among us, among Ukrainians. The panic virus is worse than coronavirus. We have experienced many things. We have not been overcome by bird flu, swine flu and Spanish flu.
We are strong, and everything will be fine.
I wish you 36.6!
Keep well, dear Ukrainians!