11 February 2018- A contingent of soldiers of Moldova’s National Army is participating during February 11-17th at the international exercise “Platinum Eagle 18.1”, held at Babadag Training Centre, Romania.
60 officers, sub-officers, sergeants and soldiers from the Motorized Infantry Brigade “Dacia” (Cahul) and the 22nd Peacekeeping Battalion (Chișinău) will engage into training together with troops from Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Ukraine and the USA. Moldova is going to Platinum Eagle 18.1 with 12 HMMWVs and other military equipment.
The goal of the exercise is to increase the interoperability between the participant troops, maintaining the capacity of joint training, preparing for peacekeeping missions, as well as developing a regional environment favorable for military cooperation. The Moldovan troops will take part in an international group, led by American troops, and will conduct shootings, command procedures and subunit control.
In 2017, Moldova’s President Igor Dodon blocked the participation of the Moldovan National Army in Platinum Eagle 17.1. Dodon motivated the refusal to allow deployment of troops to the joint exercise “Platinum Eagle 2017” with the lack of an approved Defense Minister (Anatol Șalaru was dismissed) and lack of arguments in favor of the participation.
In 2018, Platinum Eagle unites approximately 300 soldiers from Bulgaria, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and the United States, as part as the Black Sea Rotational Force 18 multinational exercise.
The state of Public Health Emergency was prolonged until July 15. Restrictions that remain in place
The National Extraordinary Public Health Commission (NEPHC) decided, on June 23, to extend the state of Public Health Emergency until July 15, taking into consideration that the epidemiological situation in the country is characterised by the confirmation of cluster cases (groups of cases over time, geographical location and/or joint exposure), as it is mentioned in the NEPHC decision.
The previously imposed restrictions will be maintained: groups of maximum three people in public spaces, meetings with the participation of maximum 50 people with a strict evidence of their identity, restricted access to public spaces of people aged 63 and over, no private events can be organised, as well as the activity of nightclubs, educational, cultural, sport centres, rest camps, treatment institutions remains blocked.
The access of foreign citizens and stateless persons is still forbidden on the territory of Moldova, with the following exceptions (established on May 15):
- family members of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova;
- persons holding a long-stay visa, a residence permit or a document equivalent to a residence permit issued by the authorities;
- persons being on business trips, proved by a visa, residence permit or other equivalent document;
- members of diplomatic missions and consular posts accredited in Republic of Moldova, of international organisations / missions, as well as members of their families or personnel who provide humanitarian aid;
- passengers in transit, including those who are repatriated.
Persons who enter the Republic of Moldova during this period have to fill in an epidemiological form, as well as a declaration on their own responsibility to comply with the self-isolation regime of 14 days in determined places.
At the same time, the decision provides for the resumption, starting July 1, of all activities except the activities mentioned previously.
According to the most updated data provided by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection (MHLSP), there are 15 078 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Moldova at the moment, including 8400 cases of people who recovered and 495 cases of death. On June 24, there were 364 newly confirmed cases, while the total number of taken tests reached 69 943 until June 23.
Photo: Romania Insider
The desperate call of Moldovan doctors and the reasons why medical system can’t resist for too long
The first medical employee from the Republic of Moldova, Ecaterina Litvinschi – a 79-year-old woman who died because of coronavirus – was buried these days. The woman worked as a medical emergency doctor at at a National Center for Emergency Medicine for about 35 years. According to her relatives’ declarations, she was buried on the edge of a Chisinau cemetery, in a special area where those contaminated with coronavirus were expected to be buried:
sector 277, tomb no. 1
“Historically, those who end their days by suicide were buried on the far side or outside the cemetery. Is that an “honour” attached to a hero doctor?” wondered a relative of the deceased doctor.
Also, the relatives of the medical emergency doctor mentioned that the hospital administration, where the victim was previously hospitalised, insisted to not disclose the fact that Ecaterina was infected being on call to an already infected person, without special equipment and without being warned by the emergency service 112.
Not enough protective measures for medical staff
Out of the currently confirmed 298 cases of infections with COVID-19, 60 are medical workers, according to the information provided by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection. Moreover, until two days ago, authorities refused to present information on cases of COVID-19 infection among medical workers, giving assurances that doctors have protective equipment and urging journalists not to seek sensations.
The National Ombudsman Mihail Cotorobai made a request addressed to Prime Minister Ion Chicu, in which he informed about the intention of a high number of doctors to submit letter of resignation due to the lack of the protective equipment, which would provide safe working conditions to the medical personnel.
Mihail Cotorobai asked to urgently identify additional funds to ensure protective measures against COVID-19 contagion, both at the level of hospital medical institutions and at the level of primary health care centres. “The recommended measures are imperative both to ensure the patients’ right to high-quality medical services, as well as to ensure safety of the employees of the health system who are put at major risk of contagion due to non-working conditions,” the Ombudsman said.
Currently, six medical institutions in the country are being involved in the treatment of coronavirus patients. Next week other district and municipal medical institutions will be delegated to hospitalise infected patients. The authorities announced that a triage centre is prepared to be organised at the Moldexpo Exhibition Center. By Wednesday, it will be fully equipped, including with 700 beds.
“The number of confirmed cases is increasing, we reiterate the call to citizens to be very cautious. We are sure that if we follow the rules, we will not allow a jump in coronavirus cases and we will have the capacity to handle the situation. This gloomy scenario can be avoided if we are supportive. It is clear that we will overcome this situation, and the authorities and citizens will make the necessary efforts,” stated the prime minister during a press conference.
The announcement of the prime minister sounded optimistic. More and more desperate calls appear online though, being posted by journalists, politicians, artists, regarding the precarious situation in the medical institutions of the Republic of Moldova. Most of them are made anonymously, as medical workers fear to lose their jobs.
The member of the Parliament Radu Marian posted on social media, on March 28, a message sent to him by a person whose mother works as a nurse at the municipal hospital in Balti (one of the hospitals involved in the treatment of coronavirus patients).
“My mother is scared to go to work. She receives one mask for 24 hours and 2 pairs of gloves without other equipment. They write something else on the paper. It’s like fighting on a battlefield without any weapons. […] I wrote to you as a child who is afraid of losing his mother because of the incompetence of the authorities and because of the situation in the hospitals of Moldova,” is said in the message.
According to the data presented by the authorities, during this weekend, there were reported the most cases of infection per day since the beginning of the epidemic in Moldova.
Not enough resources
Doctor in medical sciences, specialist in Intensive Care, Tihon Moraru called on the authorities to take urgent measures on acquiring the necessary equipment for managing the patients in need for intensive care. He mentioned that in order to be able to provide the necessary treatment to 50-100 critical patients, there is a need of at least 30 to 40 high performance mechanical ventilators, produced in the USA, Germany or Japan.
“I am afraid that we are late by 3-4 weeks, it will be very difficult for the equipment to be brought to the country. This can only be achieved by the authorities of our country and as quickly as possible. […] I believe that the maximum number of hospitalisations for the serious and critical patients will be between the middle of April and the beginning of May, which is why this devices of vital necessity must be brought to the country as urgently as possible. […] They are very necessary for the intensive care units of the country, especially those of the district hospitals of the country, where these devices are outdated,” specified Tihon Moraru.
The Moldovan authorities announced that 200 thousand protective screens and 500 filter masks were purchased in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the purchased protective screens represent only 10% of the announced necessary quantity, while the acquired amount of filter masks cover 25% of the health system current needs, reported ZdG.
Being contacted by ZdG, the manager of the company responsible for acquiring the protective goods said that, at the moment, the company does not have the products in stock, while importing them from China is a complicated procedure that will surely result in delivery delays, given the pandemic conditions.
Not enough tested persons
Another 32 people were lastly confirmed as being infected with the new type of coronavirus, after 246 samples were processed in the laboratory of the National Agency for Public Health, announced the sanatateinfo.md portal. That amounts a total of 5 324 persons who were tested, including family doctors and mayors. Given the exponential growth rate of the contagion demonstrated in other countries, the number of tested persons in the Republic of Moldova can be concluded as being way too low.
Enough Government assurances that “all is kept under control”
For purchasing 200 000 protective screens and 500 000 filter masks, the Government of the Republic of Moldova approved the allocation of 36 million lei from the reserve fund. “It is a measure to ensure protective equipment for the next period. We have enough equipment, but we are preparing for the second half of April and May,” said Prime Minister Ion Chicu.
At the same time, some district hospitals already have taken decisions of replacing at least a part of their old equipment using their institution budget or by applying to international funds and calling for foreign governments’ donations of protective goods, disinfectants, tests, etc.
Photo: Facebook| Ala Nemerenco
The Republic of Moldova will continue to be supplied with natural gas through Ukraine
Moldova will continue to receive natural gas through Ukraine, after the Ukraine and Russia have reached a consensus, signing a new transit agreement on December 19th. As a consequence, the natural gas will reach Moldova through the usual pipelines.
After long hours of negotiations between the Russian, Ukrainian sides and the European Commission, the new terms of the gas transit agreement starting from January 1st were established: Russia is expected to supply natural gas to Europe through Ukraine for a period of at least five years, while the Russian corporate group Gazprom will pay the Ukrainian company Naftogaz $2.9 billion to end legal disputes between the two countries, Reuters reported.
According to the new agreement, Gazprom, which supplies more than a third of Europe’s natural gas, will ensure the transit of 225 billion cubic meters of natural gas via Ukraine over a five-year period, out of which an amount of 65 billion cubic meters will be delivered in 2020 and 160 billion cubic meters between 2021 and 2024.
In response to the consent of Gazprom to pay Naftogaz after loosing the lawsuit brought to the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, Ukraine will sign a legal agreement and waive all requests by December 29th, so that both parties can resolve all issues before the current agreement expires.
After the European Commission Vice-President, Maroš Šefčovič, Russian Energy Minister, Alexander Novak and Ukrainian Minister of Energy and Environmental Protection, Oleksiy Orzhel announced the reached agreement, Gazprom said that Moscow and Kiev would meet in Minsk to continue talks, according to Reuters.
Also last week, the new operator of the Ukrainian gas network – GTSO and the Romanian company Transgaz signed an agreement that will allow the supply of natural gas from Romania to Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova through the Isaccea-Orlovka interconnection point, starting from January 1st, 2020.
It is not though clear yet whether the prices for supplied natural gas will increase or not. While the Ukrainian Energy Minister declared that the tariff for Russian natural gas transportation via Ukraine will increase compared to the current contract, which will expire at the end of the month (but did not specify what the increase will be), the Moldovan president promised that the tariffs will be even lower.
“The gas will continue to flow through the pipelines of Ukraine. I remind you that starting from January 1st, the price will be lower, much lower compared to the price we paid during 2019,” said Igor Dodon, the country’s president, at a press conference today.
The current contract by which Russia supplies natural gas to Ukraine and other European countries, including the Republic of Moldova, expires at the end of this year.
Photo: Getty Images/ S. Gallup
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