20 Jan 2022 22:17

Moldova declares red level of epidemiological risk, introduces tough restrictions

CHISINAU. Jan 20 (Interfax) - Restrictions will be introduced throughout Moldova in the light of growing coronavirus rates, Moldovan Minister of Health, Labor and Social Protection Ala Nemerenco said at a press briefing on Thursday.

"As of Monday, January 17, Moldova has recorded 233 cases per 100,000 population, while the red level is announced at the level of 250 cases. Each following day saw a new record in daily Covid-19 infections. The country is entering the red zone, as an upward trend in disease rates is being observed. Moldova is moving into the red zone of Covid at the national level," Nemerenco said following a meeting of the emergency healthcare commission.

"We propose moving education at schools online, first for two weeks, because infections among children are growing. All children's departments at hospitals are overcrowded. The public and private sectors should try their best to move to remote work or working in shifts. There will be the obligation to provide a Covid certificate whenever entering any point of sale, except food stores and drugstores, post offices, the offices of communal services, exchange offices, banks, railway stations, and airports," she said.

Nemerenco highlighted that in this situation, her ministry will be acting in line with European best practices and the recommendations of the World Health Organization.

"We will apply European practice: anyone who enters a clothing store or a perfumery must produce a certificate. Besides, no more than two people may enter any store together. Retail stores will be closed from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. Any private mass events are prohibited," she said.

There are sufficient quantities of tests, medications, and personal protection equipment. And there are vacant beds in hospitals, she said.

"But we are experiencing shortages of medical personnel already. Yesterday alone, 222 medical workers got sick. All of them are vaccinated but must stay in quarantine. We may come to the point that there are vacant beds in hospitals but there is no one there to treat people. So I'm calling for everyone to vaccinate and observe all the restrictions," she said.

Nemerenco expressed concern over the fact that the new variant called Omicron is spreading fast.

"We may reach the point of 10,000. By the moment I came to the briefing, there were 4,000 positive tests already, and there is no data from private laboratories yet," the Moldovan health minister said.

Moldova registered a record number of daily Covid-19 infections at 3,255 on Wednesday against 2,681 cases reported the previous day.

The cumulative number of registered Covid-19 cases in Moldova has reached 397,676,423. There are currently 18,835 active cases in the country. As many as 368,373 people have recovered from Covid-19 in Moldova since the pandemic began. The country's death toll of Covid-19 has reached 10,470.

The Moldovan government last week prolonged the public health emergency regime until March 15. From January 17 onwards, only visitors with Covid certificates may legally enter the country.