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Russia-Ukraine war: fear of covid patients in shelters; unleash a massive contagion

646 thousand cases were reported in about 20 days. The bombings liquidated the use of masks and all preventive measures.

The image narrated by the local media is that of a resident of kyiv who don’t know what to do. He has covid. The alarms sound. He should go down to the bomb shelter which is only a hundred meters from his house, in a subway station. But you know that if you go down the escalator you could spread the disease.

It happens again and again in a country besieged by invading troops, but also a nation that the pandemic never let go. The neighbor, say the chroniclesfinally stays at homesheltered next to a wall that could withstand an eventual collapse.

It is a situation that is repeated. According to data from the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, since the war began 646 thousand cases of coronavirus were reported.

Ukrainians at the Dorohozhychi station of the kyiv metro seek shelter from the bombs.  Photo: EFE/EPA/ROMAN PILIPEY

Ukrainians at the Dorohozhychi station of the kyiv metro seek shelter from the bombs. Photo: EFE/EPA/ROMAN PILIPEY

The war swept away everything

On March 10 alone, 5,700 people had to be hospitalized. But the war, it must be said, completely liquidated the use of chinstraps and any preventive measures against the pandemic.

No one wears masks on the streets of the main cities. In some places, old signs remind you that you must enter with your face covered. But few pay attention. And no employee controls. Not even a pharmacy, where Clarion went in to buy cough syrup.

Civilians take refuge in a kyiv subway station.  Photo: AFP

Civilians take refuge in a kyiv subway station. Photo: AFP

Is impossible to think and put into practice the concept of social distancing. All that has become a thing of the past, since the beginning of the bombing on February 24 last.

Covid is not an issue, but the virus is

The Ministry of Health recognizes that practically nothing can do. The posters that used to invite people to get vaccinated have now been replaced by war propaganda that “invites” the Russians to leave Ukraine but you want to have a bad time. The coronavirus is not an issue, faced with the challenge of helping the population keep morale high.

But the virus is. It had not retreated even when Putin ordered the invasion to begin. Vaccination rates were already worrying Before the war. Only 38% of Ukrainians had been vaccinated with the two-dose schedule that most European countries require.

CASES
0,000,000


00,000

per million inhab.

DEATHS
00,000


0.000
per million inhab.


Source: Johns Hopkins
Chart: flourish | Infographic: Clarion

Just one day before the invasion, on February 23, more than 25,000 new cases of Covid-19 were registered. The WHO diagnosis is forceful. For the agency, Ukraine is coming out of one of his worst waves of coronavirus since the pandemic began.

Like many other countries, Ukraine experienced an increase in the number of cases due to the spread of the Omicron variant. The last peak was in early February. The Kyviv Independent newspaper reports that in mid-February, the 60% of tests of Covid-19 carried out in the country had been positive.

When the bombings began, the laboratories and testing centers made efforts to remain operational. But the escalation of belligerence forced the experts to work on the war emergency.

The health system is dedicated 100 percent to treating the war-wounded. It is because of this situation that many Ukrainians who suspect they have Covid directly decide not to report it. They resign themselves and hope that the situation does not escalate.

It is known that any war creates favorable conditions for the spread of infectious diseases. But this, in the case of respiratory, even more. The shelters are densely populated. There are subway offices where up to 50 people sleep and live together.

The theater of the House of Ukraine where a shelter is installed.  (Photo by Wojtek RADWANSKI / AFP)

The theater of the House of Ukraine where a shelter is installed. (Photo by Wojtek RADWANSKI / AFP)

Another kyiv resident, Kateryna Ilchenko, said she was infected in a bomb shelter during the first days of the full-scale invasion. There were around 30 people hiding from the shelling in one space.

“The space was quite big, but there was almost no ventilation,” Ilchenko told the Kyiv Independent. After getting infected, kept going to the shelter following the air raid alerts, but says he wore a mask constantly.

He didn’t do much to treat the virus, just drank more hot liquids usual. “To be honest, covid-19 was not my biggest concern,” she assumes. Her mother was trapped in Irpin and she couldn’t focus on taking care of herself while she was worried about the safety of her loved ones.

The Les Kurbas Lviv Academic Theater which became a shelter for evacuees.  REUTERS/Pavlo Palamarchuk

The Les Kurbas Lviv Academic Theater which became a shelter for evacuees. REUTERS/Pavlo Palamarchuk

Experts say that while the spread of Covid-19 in Ukraine amid Russia’s war may seem like a local problem, it could affect the pace of the pandemic. far beyond the borders of Ukraine.

Because more than 2.5 million refugees They have already fled the country and move under terrible health conditions. Most of them go to Poland, according to the United Nations. According to agency estimates, that number may grow to 4 million people.

Lviv, Ukraine (special envoy).

Day 23 in photos: Russian missiles fall on Lviv, Ukrainian counterattacks slow advance on kyiv

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