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Far East builds a barrier from COVID-19

How FEFD regions prepare to confront the coronavirus pandemic

In several regions of the Far East, the first patients with the new coronavirus have already been identified. Cases of diseases are still rare, but the fact that outbreaks cannot be avoided is understood by ordinary inhabitants and authorities. In the regions, a high alert mode and measures to counteract the spread of the disease have been introduced. It is forbidden to hold public events, holidays are announced at schools, students study remotely. EastRussia found out what they are doing in the regions to contain the spread of infection and minimize business losses.

Far East builds a barrier from COVID-19


The leader in the number of cases of coronavirus in the Far Eastern regions became Yakutia. On Wednesday there were ten confirmed cases, on Thursday - already 14. And on March 25, the republic’s authorities asked people over 65 who live in Yakutsk and Zhatay to go to self-isolation. As explained by the deputy chairman of the republican government and concurrently deputy head of the operational headquarters of Yakutia to prevent the importation and spread of coronavirus infection (COVID-19) Olga Balabkina, the self-isolation regime will operate until the epidemiological situation stabilizes.

“Today, self-isolation is important, first of all, to preserve your health. These measures are related to taking care of you. Social services will continue to be provided to you, ”she turned to elderly Yakutians.

Moreover, the authorities are prepared to pay the elderly for voluntarily restricting contacts with the world. Two thousand rubles will be given to them at the beginning of the regime of self-isolation, two more - upon completion, subject to compliance.

Special recommendations were given to resource-supplying enterprises - the authorities ask them not to charge penalties and fines for them in case of delay in payments during the period of self-isolation of older people.

The governors of the Sakhalin Region, Primorsky Territory, and the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug asked for self-isolation of the elderly. Social workers and volunteers should help with the delivery of products, medicines and other issues.

There are no officially confirmed cases of coronavirus on Sakhalin, although two people were suspected the day before. Nevertheless, a ban on all public events was introduced in the region, theaters and state cinemas were closed, tours in museums, cafe locks in shopping centers and sports clubs were canceled. By the way, the region was almost the only one in the Far East that closed gyms even before the official appearance of the coronavirus.   

In Primorye, where there are already two such cases, there is a recommendation for the halls to limit the number of visits - at the same time there should not be more than 50 people in them.

Two cases were identified in Buryatia. Patients were hospitalized in the Republican Infectious Disease Hospital, their condition is satisfactory. And Kamchatka was agitated by the message about the high temperature of Governor Vladimir Ilyukhin. He passed the coronavirus test, the result is negative.



Although epidemiologists and virologists say that masks are not 100 percent protected against the virus, they are strongly recommended to wear them, at least in crowded places. But, for example, in pharmacies in Vladivostok there are no masks since February, you can buy them on online trading floors, but at completely inhuman prices - 50 rubles apiece. Before the epidemic, a pack of 150 pieces cost 200-50 rubles.

Those who cannot afford to buy this simplest and, in fact, cheap means of protection, are advised to sew masks. On the Web, you can find master classes on how to make them. In Primorye, they decided to attract prisoners to the process.

“Prices are rising for all personal protective equipment. We sent gauze stocks — about 16 thousand meters — to our correctional facilities for sewing gauze dressings. This is a technical implementation, we will continue this work further, ”said the head of the region Oleg Kozhemyako, speaking to the deputies of the regional Legislative Assembly.

Sakhalin authorities promise that 300 thousand medical masks will be delivered to the island next week, moreover, now these personal protective equipment will be delivered to the island weekly - the regional authorities reached an agreement with the manufacturer. According to their information, today about 50 thousand medical masks are on sale in Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands - 400 thousand units were brought to the island a week ago. It is worth noting that the Sakhalin Oblast allocated 60 million rubles from the reserve fund for the purchase of masks, medical equipment, medicines, medical and sanitary equipment as early as March 16.

Primorye deputies decided to send 500 million from the reserve fund to fight against coronavirus. Introducing the advising bill to parliamentarians, Prime Minister Vera Shcherbina explained that the money will go to medicine, the purchase of protective equipment and other preventive measures.

From Wednesday, 20 vehicles of the government and parliament of Yakutia were transferred to the regional Ministry of Health. According to the press service of the head and government of the region, doctors go to them on calls in the capital of the republic.

“In the city it is necessary to conduct a large number of analyzes of contact persons and people who came from abroad. For doctors, a large number of cars are required, which, unfortunately, is not enough in medical institutions. Therefore, he decided to use motor vehicles of the government and parliament of the republic. I am sure that this decision will help to keep the situation under control and more quickly identify people who have been in contact with sick citizens, ”explained the head of Yakutia, Aisen Nikolaev.

Officials in the Khabarovsk Territory gave their official cars to doctors; if necessary, they are ready to give cars to doctors in the Jewish Autonomy. In large cities of Primorye, mobile medical teams begin to operate. There is a possibility that in the near future additional cars will be required. In this case, doctors will also be given cars from the garage of the regional government and municipal administrations. In addition, in the region it was decided to create special search groups that can quickly identify people in contact with patients. They will include police officers, Rospotrebnadzor, MFC.



Despite the fact that the coronavirus barely reached the regions of the Far East, business has been storming for a month. According to the Deputy Prime Minister of Primorye, Konstantin Shestakov, at the moment, five areas have suffered the most: transport companies operating in the international sector, hotels and hostels, travel companies, as well as organizers of public events and cultural and sports organizations.

“Already, we are seeing significant business losses in these areas. So, in hotels the load decreased to 5%, and for the tourist enterprises of the region - tour operators and travel agents, revenue fell to zero, ”the deputy chairman said, noting that more than 18 thousand people were employed in the industry.

To support business, the regional government promptly adopted the first package of measures. For enterprises of the tourism industry and the sphere that apply a simplified taxation system, the rate on the "income" object will be reduced from 6% to 1%, and on the "income minus expenses" system - from 15% to 5%. Entrepreneurs working in the field of passenger transportation, hospitality, art and entertainment, cafes and restaurants, travel agencies, organizers of exhibitions, sports and recreation enterprises got the opportunity to reduce the tax burden.

Hotels and hostels were exempted from property tax in 2020, and the transport tax for shipping companies was cut three times. In addition, for transport companies involved in excursion and passenger services for tourists, it was decided to reduce the transport tax rate for buses with an engine capacity of over 200 horsepower.

According to the estimates of the Ministry of Economic Development of the region, these measures will reduce tax deductions for more than three thousand economic entities of the region, which will save up to 7,5 thousand jobs.

The executive director of the association “Primorsky Regional Union of Travel Industry” and CJSC “Travel Agency“ Primorsky Club ”” Olga Gurevich says that these measures were developed together with professional and business associations, however, this is more support for the future if the companies manage to survive.

“Now our business is in a very difficult situation: not only are there no sales, we are returning previously paid tours. At the same time, we need to return not only the cost of services, but also the agency commission, which has long been spent. Relatively speaking, six months ago we sold tours for 100 thousand rubles, 90 were transferred to a service provider, ten is our commission. The money goes to pay wages, rents, taxes. So it’s right to speak not about a drop in profitability, but about losses. Travel companies of Vladivostok approached March with a minus of one and a half to two million rubles. How long can founders of companies withstand this regime? A month or two. If the situation does not stabilize, a series of bankruptcies awaits us, ”Olga Gurevich explained.

Following travel companies, problems may also arise with insurance companies, which will have to pay huge amounts to tourists. Help now, says the representative of the trade union, can only real money.

“We appealed to the governor with a request to allocate subsidies to the wage fund in the amount of minimum wage. This is one option. The second is state contracts for some work, for example, market research, route development, promotion of the region, ”summarizes Olga Gurevich.  

In the Primorsky Territory, about two thousand workers are tied to international bus transport. In late January, people were sent on vacation without detention. In total, more than 400 cars are idle in the industry. The difficulty is that enterprises took equipment on credit and leasing, but now there are no funds for payments.

“We ask you to resolve the issue of deferred payments for this period, because otherwise the enterprises will be destroyed,” said Yuri Poshivailo, chairman of the Primorsky organization of the union of workers in motor vehicles and road facilities.

In Yakutia - a similar picture. The head of the republic signed a decree on measures to support small businesses of 19 points, among which - an order to the regional government to reduce taxes on the simplified tax system - on property, as well as on reducing rents for small enterprises.

"There are also recommendations for our business entities with a state share of more than 50% to sharply reduce the rent for small businesses up to the point that the rent is set at a rate that will cover only utility bills," Nikolaev added.

At the same time, measures will be finalized. The document, taking into account all the concessions and measures, will cost about 500-600 million rubles.

In Sakhalin, a package of measures will be discussed at the investment council under the governor Valeria Limarenko in the very near future, says Andrei Kovalenko, the representative for protecting the rights of entrepreneurs in the region.

“We have created a task force under the Commissioner for the Protection of Rights under Entrepreneurs, which includes the leaders of all leading business associations. We propose to support, first of all, the hospitality industry. In principle, support measures have been developed for different areas, ”said the business ombudsman.

According to him, among the measures - control and supervisory vacations within the powers of the regional executive power, a decrease for enterprises using the simplified tax system, the rates on the object "income" will be reduced from 6% to 1%, and according to the system "income minus expenses" - from 15 % up to 5%. For shopping and business centers - a decrease in the coefficients from the cadastral valuation of property from 1,5 to 0,5%.

“This will provide significant savings in property tax payments. And a number of other proposals for specific industries. Now the office of the ombudsman, together with business, in conjunction with the government, is working on a second package of support measures. Representatives of the food industry began to contact us, so, it became more difficult for manufacturers of confectionery products - now people are not up to cakes and pastries; representatives of the fitness industry who have already had to close. We understand that we are in the same economic space, where everything is interconnected, and issues need to be resolved in a complex, "- said Andrey Kovalenko.



In Primorye, the option of temporary employment of workers at risk of dismissal is being worked out. The authorities are ready to offer public works, for which the state will pay. Funds - 84 million rubles - were allocated from the federal budget, another part was provided in the regional.

“This money will be used to pay for public works, which will involve people who are forced to take vacations without pay. They will receive about 14,5 thousand rubles a month, ”said Vera Shcherbina, chairman of the regional government.

Public works will be organized by municipalities. These are construction and repair of roads, work in the field of housing and communal services, agriculture, forestry and other fields.

Doctor of Economics, Professor of the Vladivostok State University of Service Economics, Director General of the University Center for Programs of the World Health Organization (WHO) Alexander Latkin suggests paying attention to the fact that the coronavirus epidemic is not the only factor complicating the situation in the economy.

“The situation in small business is very difficult. We, in the Far East, have a very large number of entrepreneurial structures developing their business based on good-neighborly relations with the Republic of Korea, Japan and China. We imported timber, fish, other goods and services there. We exported most of the fruits and vegetables, furniture, electronics, components. When production stopped in China, we immediately felt it. But the worst thing: not a single currency in the world with the fall in oil prices has collapsed like the ruble. And in the Far East, the situation will be complicated by the fact that it is more dependent on imports than other territories of our country. Therefore, small and medium-sized businesses began to fall apart. Unfortunately, we cannot afford powerful support measures like China or the United States. From my point of view, it will be very difficult for us in Russia now, I am talking about the economy and life in general. We are waiting for the closure of enterprises, a decrease in profitability, an increase in the number of unemployed, "- Alexander Latkin made a forecast. 
January 20: current information on coronavirus in the Far East
Digest of regional events and latest statistics