Turner believes that Kiev is ready for coronavirus (photo: Vitaliy Nosach / RBC-Ukraine)
Already recorded in Kiev three cases COVID-19 infections. On Monday, the metropolitan authorities strengthened restrictive measures to protect the city and its inhabitants from the coronavirus. Following the closure of educational institutions, restaurants, shopping malls and gyms were suspended.
In order to isolate people as much as possible by decision of the government in Kiev and other large cities, the subway stopped working on Wednesday. Those who need to get to work are forced to transfer to ground transportation. In recent days, the Internet has flown over frames of “full” minibuses and huge lines at stops.
So far, the Kyiv City State Administration has decided to introduce a restriction until April 3. First Deputy Chairman of the Kyiv City State Administration Mykola Povoroznik spoke about what will happen next and about the readiness of the capital to confront the epidemic in an interview with RBC-Ukraine.
Whose initiative was to stop subway work in Kiev?
It was an initiative of the Cabinet of Ministers and the President. We suggested introducing a mask mode and installing thermal imagers at the entrance of the stations, but such a decision was made. Analyzing this situation, today I do not consider this decision to close the metro as a mistake. For example, today (March 19, – Ed.) London also closed subway stations.
Yesterday, the city council secretary Vladimir Prokopiv said that the city council is developing special measures so that the metro with certain restrictions, but still work. Soon Vitali Klitschko denied this. That is, no ideas and special events are considered at all?
In fact, this is not possible. The metro is not a bus that can ride until noon, and not go after lunch. It either works or does not work. You can close one or two stations, but in this mode it does not make sense to start it. The subway is one of the most dangerous places to get infected.
At the same time, we see what the situation with ground transport led to the closure of the metro.
This is not a subway closure problem. The situation with land transport is a consequence of half-hearted decisions. After all, when the government made the decision to close the metro, it was necessary to make a decision on the closure of enterprises in the city. It so happened that the metro does not work for us, and the enterprises continue to work.
But what about grocery stores, medical facilities, and pharmacies?
They work. It was just public transport that had to continue to work in order to transport the number of people that provided critical infrastructure. We are talking about enterprises that ensure the life of the city – grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals, utilities, gas stations and so on.
But, obviously, work was continued not only by these, but also by other enterprises …
Yes, and because of this, we got such a reboot of public transport. Our entire passenger traffic is distributed approximately 50 to 50: half is transported by the subway and half by land transport.
It should be understood that all routes of ground public transport are organized in such a way as to drive a passenger to the subway as the main vehicle in the city.
For example, most routes from Troieschina went to the metro station “Pochayna” or “Lesnaya”, “Chernihiv”, “Levoberezhnaya”. That is, it was the beginning and end of the route. Therefore, now for two days we are rebuilding routes, introducing new ones to ensure normal traffic in the city and so that ground transport duplicates the subway lines.
How effective is the control over the restriction of ten people in transport? After all, we see a lot of photos in social networks, where there are fifteen, and twenty, and thirty passengers. And they are being transported. We also see complaints that not all passengers in masks are wearing masks. Is there really control over this, or are they mostly turning a blind eye?
They do not close their eyes for sure, because the police are working with this situation, and the State Food and Beverage Service is working. They try to stop such vehicles. But so far we are not talking about some kind of material punishment, at least as of yesterday and today. They conduct explanatory conversations, both with one and with the other in order to resolve this situation.
As far as I know from the police, public transport more or less maintains this norm. Private transport – less. But if we talk about yesterday and today – this is still a completely different picture. Yesterday there was a more difficult situation, while today everything has more or less settled down. I think every day it will be improving.
According to the number of people in the transport and whether all the masks are masked, should the driver follow?
The driver must carry passengers. He definitely should not keep track of whether they are all masked. He does not control the entrance and exit of passengers.
All decisions that would not be made are for a law-abiding civilized society. The fact that we have a part of people who are not serious enough about this threat, which has already been confirmed throughout the world, is very bad. Measures will not work unilaterally.
Repeatedly, I heard the question, why are ten people, and not eight, for example. Because experts say that a limit of ten people per bus allows them to be located at a distance of one and a half meters from each other, so as not to pose a threat.
That is, the driver can not forbid the passenger to enter the transport without a mask?
Yes, it cannot. He can only recommend, request and the like.
You mentioned the Kiev enterprises that not everyone adheres to restrictive measures and continues to work. Are there any punishments for them and how is control exercised over those who have stopped, who have not stopped, but should have. For example, we see that there are separate shopping centers that continue to operate.
We left the work of shops exclusively grocery and hardware. If you are talking about Epicenter, this is a hardware store and, in fact, it should work. In a day or two, we will understand what works, and the work of which institutions and enterprises need to be resumed now.
For example, we have several chain stores that sell mainly hygiene products and partly cosmetics. Most of them have stopped working. Now we will hold consultations, and, in my opinion, they should resume work in compliance with all norms and rules. After all, there are sold hygiene products and sanitation.
And regarding other institutions, for example, beauty salons, gyms – someone checks to see if they have stopped working?
There are appropriate structures that check this. For example, the barber shop where I had my hair cut closed. Perhaps there are those that did not close.
There is yesterday’s example in the Obolonsky district when fourteen or fifteen children were found in a computer club. It’s even hard for me to find the words regarding the owners of such a club. How this can be allowed is completely incomprehensible to me.
The police react to such things. If before the discovery of three infected in Kiev, one responsibility was foreseen, now the police will punish such enterprises in accordance with article 325 of the Criminal Code as those that endanger people.
Do you have information on how many people in Kiev today are checked for coronavirus?
For example, yesterday (March 18, – Ed.) Seven people checked – all were not confirmed. Every day, the dynamics are different: approximately five to ten people check daily. This is not about quick tests, but in the laboratory. They test more with quick tests.
Why is there such a shortage of medical masks, and does the local government have any leverage to solve this problem?
In fact, this is a clean market. And the situation with the export of tens of tons of masks from Ukraine, which was earlier, is now making itself felt.
We definitely do not have any levers of influence. The only thing – now we have found several manufacturers who will rebuild production and provide some part of the city with masks. First of all, those who are in contact with a large number of people. It just takes time. So far, we do not have so many masks that we sent them to the pharmacy network.
We have strategic reserves, of course we will provide hospitals. But this stock is enough, roughly speaking, for seven to ten days. They need to be constantly replenished.
How many quick tests are provided by Kiev?
Today it is almost ten thousand tests. We still chartered a large number of tests. Just problems with logistics in the world as a whole do not allow them to be brought on time. But now there are more than enough of them in the city.
Over the past week, approximately 200 inspections have been made in the city.
Which hospitals have test systems?
Today we delivered two test systems to the Alexander Clinical Hospital and the Kiev City Clinical Hospital No. 9. There are only two such test systems in Ukraine. These are the test systems that we planned to transfer to airports.
We purchased them earlier. But, again, because of logistics, they were brought to us only yesterday. Yesterday we cleared them, took them away and today transferred them to these hospitals. At airports, they are virtually no longer needed due to the closure of borders.
They give a more accurate result, they work with saliva. Up to an hour, you can get the result with an accuracy of 97-99%.
How ready are the hospitals now? Is there enough staff?
There are enough staff for today. Hospitals are staffed. If suddenly the situation worsens, we will switch to a different mode of operation – a round-the-clock mode, with round-the-clock duty. We will attract specialists from other hospitals, we will reprofile. To do this, there is a whole plan of measures for which we must act in this period.
What kind of disinfection measures are carried out in Kiev?
We carry out disinfection measures in public transport. I’m not sure if they started today, but we plan to begin disinfection of stops and streets. And also we carry out disinfection of entrances, stairwells and elevators. We provided all the management companies with a disinfectant solution, and therefore there should be no issues with this. If questions arise, then this is to them.
The Verkhovna Rada has already passed a law on supporting business in quarantine conditions, it seems that now another package of laws is being developed. Does the Kiev government consider any mechanisms to support local business?
If you read this law, you saw that this is a solution to the problems of business, especially large business, at the expense of local budgets. We are still developing a package of solutions for small and medium-sized businesses in terms of renting communal property and in terms of renting land, if necessary, given the adoption of this law. Regarding the rental of communal property – probably, it will still be needed.
I would like to make at least some consultations when making some decisions regarding local budgets at the level of the Verkhovna Rada. Because, in fact, it will be quite difficult for local budgets.
And consultations as such were not held before the adoption of this law?
No, they definitely didn’t.
Already calculated the potential losses of the local budget from restrictive measures in connection with the threat of an epidemic?
Direct losses due to what we see today are one and a half billion hryvnias. This is a shortfall in the budget of Kiev due to the law adopted by the Verkhovna Rada. And what will happen next, what will be the indirect losses – the figures may be completely different.
Restrictive measures in Kiev are valid until April 3. And what mechanism is next – is the local government to decide on their termination or extension?
If no other decisions are made – to extend or to strengthen measures, then on April 3 it will end.
Do you admit that they can be extended?
Yes. Everything will depend on how consciously we relate to the measures introduced today. If today we adhere to the established rules – to stay at home, go out only for groceries and at the same time keep our distance from people – then this will be one scenario. Then it can end in early April.
If we are irresponsible, for example, letting children go to a computer club, then the situation will be completely different. And in this case, it is difficult to predict when restrictive measures will end.
Is it possible to introduce an emergency in Kiev and under what conditions?
The day before yesterday we decided to introduce an emergency in Kiev. Documents are currently undergoing legal procedures. In fact, the decision on the emergency was introduced by the state emergency commission throughout the country on March 10. And the day before yesterday we confirmed the strengthening of restrictive measures and introduced an emergency on the territory of the city of Kiev.
All measures that are in an emergency are already being implemented in Kiev.
What is the algorithm of actions of a Kiev resident who suspected he had a coronavirus – where to call, which medical institution to contact?
There are two options. The first is to sit at home, and if you feel the symptoms of the disease, you need to call the family doctor. For those who have not chosen a family doctor, there is a 1583 telephone from landline phones. But you should make a declaration with the family doctor to be under the supervision of your doctor. Then it will be much calmer.
The second option is to stay at home, and if you feel serious symptoms, a temperature above 38 and difficulty breathing, you should immediately call an ambulance. These are two scenarios that exist today. But they all start the same way: “stay at home.”