This Associated Press video says about itself:
(18 May 2020) Doctors in Ukraine are struggling against the coronavirus in deplorable conditions, working with substandard equipment that breaks down frequently, lacking drugs to treat patients, and all the while being paid low wages.
A corruption-plagued economy, weakened by civil war, has brought the country’s health care system to the point of meltdown – and it’s now being overwhelmed by the pandemic.
Svetlana Padynich works 12-hour shifts as a medic in an ambulance crew that takes COVID-19 patients to hospital in Chernivtsi in western Ukraine.
She’s concerned at the number of workers at her ambulance station who have fallen ill recently.
A week ago, one of her colleagues died of pneumonia caused by the virus. Another four have also come down with pneumonia but are in a stable condition.
Padynich wears an FFP2 mask, which offers only limited protection, and she wears another medical mask underneath it.
Protective gear is in short supply, with most of it coming from private donors, and deliveries have been irregular.
Because of that, the 42-year-old medic says she has not seen her mother since the start of the outbreak.
Medical workers account for about a fifth of all Ukraine’s coronavirus cases, with more than 50 getting infected daily.
Overall, the country has recorded more than 18,000 cases, with over 500 deaths.
The city of Chernivtsi and the surrounding region has been a hot spot of contagion, with 2,647 confirmed cases.
The outbreak in Ukraine has been exacerbated by the thousands of citizens who had temporary jobs in Italy, Spain and other European countries.
Many of them returned home, and some brought the infection with them.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s administration inherited an underfunded health care system that was further crippled by a reform launched by his predecessor that drastically cut state subsidies.
The subsidies previously covered wages for health care workers and hospital utility bills.
Under a new stage of the medical reforms that began last month, however, those funds have been sharply reduced, putting many clinics on the verge of closure.
Zelenskiy has acted to soften the impact, offering new subsidies to COVID-19 medics that quadruple their monthly wage.
Meanwhile, further challenges could lie ahead.
Under pressure from business leaders and farmers, the government last week relaxed the lockdown it imposed two months ago, and gave the green light for some stores, beauty parlours and other ventures to reopen.
Doctors fear this could trigger a new wave of contagion.
Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:
With 1,847 new infections, Ukraine has set a new daily record. This brings the total number of registered infections in Ukraine to 90,000. More than 2000 people died from the consequences of the coronavirus. According to the Reuters news agency, the increase in the number of infections is due to too rapid relaxation of measures. …
In principle, all schools in Ukraine would reopen on September 1. But in areas labeled red zones, schools will remain closed.
Things may yet get much worse in Ukraine, where the pandemic started relatively late. As the Ukrainian healthcare system has been ravaged by privatisation.
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