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Amur region holds the defense in the fight against coronavirus
Amur Region, surrounded by regions with COVID-19, does not allow the situation on its territory to worsen
By April 20, only 16 cases of the disease were registered in the territory, and four patients have already recovered. Amur Region, being one of the closest entities to China, not only does not survive a critical situation, but also demonstrates a successful fight against an unfavorable epidemiological situation. What regional authorities are doing and how diverse support measures work, EastRussia has learned.
WHERE WE WAITED FOR
The Amur Region, like other Far Eastern regions, for quite some time remained “clean” from the territory’s coronavirus infection. The proximity of the PRC did not help the spread of the dangerous disease. On the other side of the Amur River lies the Chinese border city of Heihe - one of the settlements of Heilongjiang Province, where COVID-19 roamed after the ill-fated province of Hubei. The rapid closure of checkpoints helped to protect the region's inhabitants, thanks to which the flow of citizens traveling in both directions was prevented and thereby prevent possible dangerous contacts. Later, the regional authorities allowed to open a transport corridor for the supply of Chinese goods - mainly fruits and vegetables. But even this did not become a vulnerability in protecting Amur residents from the spread of coronavirus.
The trouble came much later and in full accordance with the forecast of Rospotrebnadzor. A local resident returned to Blagoveshchensk, who spent an exotic vacation in Morocco and flew home with a transfer in Moscow. The woman picked up the coronavirus. Then COVID-19 was detected in three more people who came from another region.
The first case of the disease became known on March 29. Two weeks later, according to data on April 20, 16 patients were registered in the Amur Region who were diagnosed with coronavirus infection. Cases were recorded in Blagoveshchensk and Tynda, people were immediately hospitalized in observation boxes under medical supervision. The first four patients with recovery have already been discharged home. There are no deaths caused by coronavirus in the Amur region.
UNDER STRICT CONTROL
Nevertheless, the government of the Amur Region is not going to abolish all the restrictions and prohibitions that it introduced against the background of the spread of coronavirus throughout Russia and, in particular, in the neighboring regions of the Far East. The region has been on high alert since January 27, on March 27, the authorities temporarily suspended the activities of most enterprises, including catering and services. And on March 30, restrictions were tightened for shopping centers, allowing only food and pharmacy products to be sold. The innovation did not affect only continuously operating services and departments, hospitals and pharmacies, institutions providing the population with food and essential goods, and companies that perform urgent work. Cafes and bars, hairdressers and game studios, as well as most shops, went on forced vacations.
The first easing of the regime was introduced on April 7, then many enterprises were allowed to open; severe restrictions remained only for the shopping centers of Blagoveshchensk, Svobodny and Belogorsk. Additional exemptions were introduced after a week, then individual entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized businesses were able to resume work throughout the region. At the same time, the Amur government introduced a number of reservations and restrictive conditions for admission of institutions to open. Mandatory rules were the presence of masks and gloves for employees, sanitizers, maintaining a social distance of 1,5 meters (with markings), regular cleaning, as well as a restriction on a one-time number of visitors. So, in the hairdressing salon you can serve only one client per reception, and catering was allowed to receive guests only until 18:00 local time, after which it is allowed to work only in the delivery or “take-away” mode.
“We went for such a serious easing of the regime, primarily for business, but at the same time, we should not forget about security. The business that does not understand the situation we are in will work on it precisely and apply administrative fines. And if with the help of such measures it is not possible to correct the situation, then we will again have to go into hard mode and close everything. Although we would not like this very much, ”explained the Governor of the Amur Region Vasily Orlov at the next meeting of the coronavirus operational headquarters.
SUPPORT BUSINESS AND PEOPLE
The issue that concerns all entrepreneurs, without exception - those who continued to work during unscheduled weekends and temporarily closed - concerns the support measures that the regional authorities can offer business. And if it became immediately known about federal innovations, then each subject makes regional decisions himself. So, the Ministry of Economic Development and External Relations of the Amur Region has completed the development of a plan of priority actions for the development of the economy in the current conditions. It provides for a number of measures to support business in the region.
One of the most important blocks in this program is tax breaks. The establishment of a reduced rate will affect the transport tax for passengers, the patent tax system for several dozen types of entrepreneurial activity, a significant part of the property tax on organizations, as well as the simplified tax rate. It is planned that almost 25 thousand Amur entrepreneurs will be able to take measures.
A lot of work in this direction is being carried out at the municipal level. Together with the business community, a project is being developed to reduce the interest rate on UTII - for example, in Blagoveshchensk they plan to halve it. The mayor of the city, Valentina Kalita, has already spoken about this. Small and medium-sized businesses in the region will pay half the social contributions - from 30% the rate was reduced to 15%. The Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry has already announced that local entrepreneurs will be given free of charge conclusions about force majeure in connection with the coronavirus - such a document can be used to explain unfulfilled contractual obligations.
Since April 13, a unified hotline has been operating in the Amur Region to support entrepreneurs in the context of the coronavirus. A businessman can get advice on tax, credit, legal and other issues. In the region, a deferral of lease payments was also introduced as support — it extends to business entities that use state property.
Since April 8, banks began to issue interest-free loans to employees of Amur entrepreneurs. The support program involves VTB, Sberbank and SME Bank. The loan amount is calculated individually - the number of employees is multiplied by the minimum wage and coordinate with the loan term. And the Amur Regional Microcredit Company has launched a program for issuing microloans up to two million rubles. This service can be used by SMEs, as well as legal entities affected by the spread of coronavirus. A loan is issued for two years, and the interest rate ranges from 1% to 3% per annum. Businessmen who are not on the list of the most affected can count on similar loans, but the rate will be higher - from 3% to 6% per annum.
A number of anti-crisis measures are also being prepared by the Guarantee Fund of the Amur Region. In the context of the coronavirus pandemic, the organization plans to support SMEs as much as possible. In particular, the term of existing loans to businessmen is extended to seven years, while an additional commission is not necessary to pay. A mechanism for guaranteeing loans with a reduced interest rate of 0,5% per annum for a period of up to three years is in operation.
Against the backdrop of supporting business in the Amur Region, officials have not forgotten about social protection measures. This primarily affected citizens who are at risk for coronavirus infection — older people 65 years and older, 20 thousand pensioners will receive food packages for free. Funds for the purchase of food came from the All-Russian public movement of volunteers "Medical Volunteers." The first batch - 2,5 thousand rations - will go to nursing homes and to elderly Amur residents, who are being looked after by social services. Products have already been purchased, and delivery began on April 15.
Since April 13, most of the region’s schools have returned to full-time education after several weeks of distance learning. Similar measures were taken for kindergartens. However, in Blagoveshchensk, Belogorsk, Svobodny and Blagoveshchensk districts, everything remains the same: the pre-school educational institution is closed, students study online. Colleges were not allowed to open.
At the initiative of the region’s governor Vasily Orlov, a charity account was opened in the Amur Region to collect donations. The money is sent to help volunteers and retirees, as well as to additional purchases of personal protective equipment that will be distributed to medical workers. As of April 15, activists have already collected 10,5 million rubles. Vasily Orlov transferred his earnings there for a month, the idea was supported by large businessmen, officials and private individuals.
FOR PROTECTION AND TREATMENT
In healthcare, the interaction between institutions is fully established, which will primarily accept (and accept) coronavirus patients. The total capacity of the five infectious hospitals is 397 beds. Including 300 beds - in the Annunciation City Clinical Hospital for patients with complicated course of the disease. The hospital has its own compressor station to provide patients with oxygen. In addition, 26 ventilation devices were purchased at the expense of the reserve fund of the Russian government in the amount of 52 million rubles. Equipment will soon arrive in the region. The Amur Region remains one of the regions with the mildest prevalence of coronavirus infection.
“The first devices will begin to arrive in the region from April 19. The rest will come until mid-May. At the same time, we are working with the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation on centralized supplies of respiratory equipment, ”said Natalya Gazdanova, Deputy Minister of Health of the Amur Region.
The situation with the replenishment of medical masks is decided by the regional government in all available ways. Most of the personal protective equipment is purchased in neighboring China, in batches of 100 to 400 thousand. On April 7, Amur officials sent an order for five million masks to the Russian Ministry of Health. Delivery is expected soon.
The shortage of masks in the Amur Region is also made up by sponsorship - the next batch of about 700 thousand pieces arrived on April 14. Half of the protective equipment was sent to hospitals. Large local mining enterprises participated in the procurement. Disposable masks were purchased from Russian and Chinese suppliers.
At the end of March, individual entrepreneurs announced their readiness to establish the production of reusable protective equipment - the list of those who wish, including specialized industries and caring citizens, includes 52 items. The total declared capacity observed by activists is 7,5 thousand units. Masks order retail chains, including for retail sale - the price starts at 40 rubles apiece. A disposable product, which can also be purchased at the box office in grocery stores, will cost 23 rubles apiece.
The main weapon in the fight against the spread of coronavirus infection remains self-isolation of citizens. Every day, officials of municipalities and the Amur Region appeal to the population through accessible communication channels and remind them of the need to stay at home whenever possible. Observance of quarantine discipline is bearing fruit so far - there are few cases, and quarantine violators are surprisingly few.