Coronavirus: Ukraine Takes Measures to Counter Epidemic

  • Some 344 deputies of the 450-member Verkhovna Rada supported the law at an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday.
  • Unlike other European states, Ukraine introduced not only administrative but also criminal liability for violation of sanitary standards.
  • Other opposition members called for the government to immediately submit a plan of anti-crisis measures to parliament.

Yesterday, the Verkhovna Rada adopted a law to combat the coronavirus pandemic and canceled plenary meetings until the end of quarantine in Ukraine on April 3. The Metro has stopped throughout the country. Shuttle taxis, trolleybuses, buses, and trams are allowed to carry no more than 10 masked people.

The Verkhovna Rada (Supreme Council) of Ukraine, often simply Verkhovna Rada or just Rada, is the unicameral parliament of Ukraine. The Verkhovna Rada is composed of 450 deputies, who are presided over by a chairman (speaker).

The law also closes all entertainment facilities, cafes, restaurants, fairs, markets, and catering establishments. Doctors urge people to self-isolate, and the Ministry of Health (MoH) has assured the public that Ukrainian doctors have enough professionalism to contain the epidemic.

Anti-Epidemic Law in Ukraine

Some 344 deputies of the 450-member Verkhovna Rada supported the law at an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday. The law is titled, “On Amending Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine aimed at preventing the onset and spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).”

The law temporarily simplifies procurement procedures and exempts imported medicines, medical devices, and equipment to contain the COVID-19 epidemic from import duties and value-added tax. Control over the prices of medicines, medical supplies, and socially important goods is vested in the government. At the time of quarantine, Ukrainians will not be evicted from housing due to debts for utilities.

Employees can now legally demand to be transferred to work at home or on vacation. Managers and entrepreneurs can suspend the work of their institutions and enterprises, subject to prior mandatory public information. For internally displaced persons, the obligation to file certificates of registration for the period of quarantine and for 30 days after its termination has been suspended. To doctors who are directly involved in the elimination of coronavirus, the government will pay up to 200 percent of their salary.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), also known as 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD), and novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) is a viral respiratory disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). It was first detected during the 2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.

For violation of the norms of the law “On the Protection of the Population from Infectious Diseases” in Ukraine, a fine is now imposed from between UAH 17-34,000 (€6-12,000). For violation of sanitary rules, a fine is imposed from UAH 17 to 51,000 (€6-17,000), or arrest for up to six months, restriction of liberty for up to three years, or imprisonment up to three years. In the event of “death or other grave consequences,” the perpetrators face imprisonment for a term of five to eight years.

The Danger of Abuse after Quarantine

Immediately after the vote for this law, which took place without discussion and in the “turbo mode,” the deputies began to comment on its text. The deputy from the opposition Voice party, Olga Stefanishina, noted that, unlike other European states, Ukraine introduced not only administrative but also criminal liability for violation of sanitary standards. She demanded that this paragraph of the law be repealed immediately after the quarantine was terminated.

As the representative of the European Solidarity faction, Victoria Syumar, explained, the opposition voted in favor of this law, provided that all factions further envisage measures to prevent abuse and restrict citizens’ rights and freedoms. In contrast, Natalya Korolevskaya, a deputy from the Opposition Platform – For Life party, called for the government to immediately submit a plan of anti-crisis measures to parliament.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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