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Covid-19 spurrs Ukraine's self-proclaimed republics into sudden action

April 2, 2020 11:00 AM, Der AUDITOR
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LUHANSK. A "Mundus Agri" correspondent, living in the Luhansk People's Republic, outlines the enormous impact the outbreak of the new coronavirus has on daily life. The first infection has only recently been confirmed. Measures to contain the virus are only starting to be implemented.

Republic has switched to sudden action

The sanitary and epidemiological station of Luhansk officially confirmed the first Covid-19 infection on 28 March. No measures to contain the virus were in place before then - not even quarantine measures. The new circumstances have, however, forced the Luhansk government to act fast. All schools were closed as of 30 March and the end of the school year has been moved from 25 May to 1 July. Parents and childern are required to do homeschooling. Cafés, restaurants and clubs, non-food shops and markets are now closed for a month. The Emergency and Anti-Epidemic Committee has also forced notaries, stocktaking services and register offices to suspend all activities. Although some businesses have switched to home office and shift work, most people continue to travel to work as usual. Sowing also remains underway for cereals and for pulses. The sowing of the fodder and industrial crops has also started, whereas the sowing of coriander has been completed.

Panic buying is a problem

Panic buying has prompted supply squeezes in some towns in the self-proclaimed republics. Suppliers have, however, responded quickly by stepping up food deliveries. Although there is enough food, prices have, however, risen sharply. A similar situation applies in the pharmacies of the cities. Face masks are either not available or too expensive with prices ranging as high as RUB 60 per piece (USD 0.76/pp). The government is trying to resolve this issue by ordering several factories to produce face masks as quickly as possible at prices rangin at RUB 20 per piece (USD 0.25/pp). Some businesses are also trying to reap a profit by sewing reusable masks that cost more than RUB 100 per piece (USD 1.27/pp).

Russia as a role model?

The population is divided. While some people do not even believe that the virus is spreading and continue to live their ordinary lives by throwing caution to the wind, others are more much more concerned and follow the safety guidelines. Russia may well serve as a role model if the government decides to introduce strict quarantine measures to prevent the new coronavirus from spreading any further. The transport of goods has not been suspended with Russia so far. The chairman of the Republic's Customs Committee has assured the public that there is enough food for everyone. Problem, however, is that the people still suffering from the dramatic events in 2014. Many have already started to stock up on essential products, including sugar, cereals and pasta, flour and oil.

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