An online meeting with city heads was held on Monday, November 16, chaired by the Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal. The meeting was attended by Minister of Health Maxym Stepanov, Deputy Minister of Health - Chief State Sanitary Doctor Viktor Liashko, Ukrainian epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists.
Denys Shmyhal noted that the Government is now looking for ways to slow down the growth of COVID-19 patients: from adaptive quarantine to improving weekend quarantine. According to him, the introduced measures concern mostly three industries.
"For us, this is one of the ways out, when people are at home on weekends and do not create a large flow and crowds. The high earnings of the industries on Saturday and Sunday are just proof of the fact that huge flows of people spend time on the food and entertainment industry," the Prime Minister said.
The Head of Government added that the weekend quarantine makes it possible to redistribute demand from the weekend to five working days, reducing the flow of people and the сontact of different social groups.
Denys Shmyhal stressed that the Government is now focused on communication with industries to develop mechanisms to compensate for losses.
"Today we have a number of tools that have proven themselves in the spring. We are also working on developing new programs. Today we have up to seven instruments we are going to introduce this week to support the industries that suffer the most," the Prime Minister stressed.
According to the Prime Minister, the Government is working simultaneously to increase the availability of beds, to supply oxygen to give doctors more tools to treat patients. Denys Shmyhal noted that any anti-epidemic measures do not give immediate results, and the effect of weekend quarantine can be tangible in 2-3 weeks.
Epidemiologist Natalia Vynohrad noted that there were currently two options for controlling the disease: either weekend quarantine or a complete lockdown. She cited the example that other countries are also resorting to curfews.
Deputy Minister of Health - Chief State Sanitary Doctor Viktor Liashko stressed that a strict lockdown, which would close the country for three weeks, will hit the Ukrainian economy hard.
"When we talk about weekend quarantine, if it is implemented at 100%, it will significantly affect the weekly growth rates. Control over the growth coefficient during the week will allow us to keep the healthcare system in full readiness for as long as possible," Viktor Liashko stressed.
The Chief State Sanitary Doctor added that the Ministry of Health is now reorienting itself to closed groups to prevent mass outbreaks in small social groups and called on city heads to work together.
Following the meeting, it was agreed to strengthen cooperation between the Government and local governments and to hold such meetings on a regular basis.