Irkutsk
Ulan-Ude

Blagoveshchensk
Chita
Yakutsk

Birobidzhan
Vladivostok
Khabarovsk

Magadan
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk

Anadyr
Petropavlovsk-
Kamchatsky
Moscow

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The Far East has chosen different restrictive paths

Regions of the Far Eastern Federal District have different approaches to the introduction of restrictions due to coronavirus

The Far East as the neighbor of China was the first to be at risk due to the spread of coronavirus. However, in the end, the incidence went up later than in central Russia. The regions have taken various restrictive and preventive measures and are now reaping the benefits.

The Far East has chosen different restrictive paths
Photo: pixabay.com

Irina Litvak

editor-in-chief of the Chukotka news agency

I work in Chukotka, and spent my vacation from March to April in Khabarovsk. During this time, I had to observe a change in people's attitudes towards the regime of self-isolation, depending on the different stages of the epidemic. The wave of morbidity reached the Far East much later compared to the central part of the country. Although we all know that in neighboring China the epidemic began in the fall, the borders were closed only in February, but at the same time the virus from the Middle Kingdom did not reach us! This surprises all Far Easterners.

In Khabarovsk, patients with COVID-19 appeared in late March. This is a few people who returned from a trip to Europe. In Chukotka, the first confirmed case was recorded only in mid-April. And, of course, the attitude of the inhabitants of the regions towards the introduction of restrictive measures was twofold: on the one hand, the authorities should follow the instructions, and on the other, no one around was ill. And by the time the first cases began to appear, people were already tired and began to violate this regime. Indeed, for example, they did not initially say that the disease can be asymptomatic.

In Khabarovsk, a strict regime of self-isolation was introduced for people at risk - those who are over 65 and have chronic diseases. All the rest at first quietly walked around the city, mostly without masks, because they simply could not be bought! In March, in many pharmacies there were advertisements: “There are no masks, sanitizers and gloves,” however, in some stores masks were sold at speculative prices - 80-100 rubles apiece. Only in mid-April masks sewn from ordinary fabrics appeared on sale, but, in my opinion, there is no sense in them - except perhaps purely psychological.

Khabarovsk is a transit city to which many people come and pass through, including from abroad. But for some reason, security measures at the airport and train stations were not tightened immediately. So, for example, it was with the first charter that flew into the city during the self-isolation regime from Thailand. Residents of the city were indignant - shops and hairdressers were closed, everyone was told to stay at home, and a whole flight with potentially sick people was dismissed on their own - by public transport to their homes. It seems that the authorities simply did not understand what exactly needs to be done - to repeat the experience of Moscow and introduce maximum self-isolation for everyone, or, first of all, to tighten control over passengers arriving in the region.

For example, in Chukotka, sanitary control at airports was strengthened at the end of January. At first, they just measured the temperature for passengers, now employees of Rospotrebnadzor rewrite the data and addresses of all arriving. Transit passengers traveling to districts are accommodated for 14 days in an observatory in the Ugolnye Kopi settlement. Not so long ago, another observatory with 28 seats was opened at the Anadyr Hotel, where residents and guests of the city can pass self-isolation.

Many people have a question - was it worth introducing the same restrictive measures at the same time when they were introduced in central Russia? It seems to me that each region had to make its own decisions based on local epidemiological situations. Probably, more attention should be paid to the control of those entering. This is exactly what they did on Sakhalin, and now it is clear that there is the best situation in the Far Eastern Federal District. At the end of February, local authorities introduced strict supervision at the airport and sent for a 14-day self-isolation of all those who arrived from abroad.

I think that now that the peak of the pandemic has passed in the west of the country, the danger will still remain in our Far Eastern regions. In Chukotka, tough measures to introduce self-isolation were taken together with the whole country, when there was not a single case of infection in the region. At the same time, as experts say, only now a peak of incidence has begun in the okrug. In summer, shift workers arrive in the region, and local residents go on vacation, as they say in the North - "to the mainland." The number of flights is gradually increasing: if until recently one flight a week flew to Moscow, now three. Geologists, shift workers come to gold and coal deposits. True, their shifts are now increasing by 14 days of isolation.

Not all employers also pay their regular employees downtime, so they are asked to return half a month earlier; however, there are those who were financially injured when returning from a business trip or vacation.

And, of course, it’s a pity those who are engaged in small and medium-sized businesses. For the Far East, such a crisis situation is fraught with the fact that entrepreneurs will not try to revive their business - they will simply leave. The problem of the outflow of the population before the pandemic was very acute, but now, I am afraid, it might worsen. People strive for more comfortable regions for life and work. And the most annoying thing is that not newcomers will leave, but real, indigenous, Far Easterners. I am not a pessimist and try to analyze what is happening objectively; probably, the local authorities should make every effort to help people as much as possible in solving their problems.

September 20: current information on coronavirus in the Far East
Digest of regional events and latest statistics