Ukraine has overcome the third wave of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov has said.
“Finally, I can state that we have overcome the third wave of the pandemic. From tomorrow, there will not be a single region with a ‘red’ level of epidemic danger in Ukraine,” he said on his Facebook page.
Stepanov said that, as planned, on Friday there will be a meeting of the State Commission on Environmental Safety, Manmade Disaster and Emergency Response, which can cancel the “red” level of epidemic danger in Sumy region.
The minister said that the third wave of COVID-19 claimed more lives compared to the first two, and during this period the healthcare system worked with tension, there was not enough oxygen in medical institutions.
“The late March and the early April were the hardest. The capacities at Lviv Chemical Plant [supplying medical institutions with oxygen] were overloaded and at some point some of the production capacities stopped. However, we managed to restore them overnight. We did not leave a single person without oxygen. For example, one of the city hospitals in Kyiv, before the pandemic, needed 3 tonnes of oxygen per month, and during the third wave – 5.5 tonnes per day,” he said.
According to Stepanov, at the peak of the epidemic, there were 44,000 patients in hospitals on oxygen therapy; while a year earlier there were 3,500 beds with oxygen in Ukraine.
At the same time, the minister recalled the need for further compliance with anti-epidemic measures.
“No ‘barbecue’ costs life and health. Therefore, take care of yourself, because the virus is just waiting for you to take off the mask,” the minister said.
The tourism industry of Ukraine in 2020 saw about UAH 60 billion damage due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The demand is lower today and the damage to the market has been significant. If in the world the losses of the tourism industry amounted to about $ 800 billion, then in Ukraine, according to our calculations, about UAH 60 billion. This is the damage that the industry saw in 2020,” the head of the State Agency of Tourism Development in Ukraine, Maryana Oleskiv, said during a press conference on assessing the impact of COVID-19 on the hotel industry in Ukraine.
At the same time, she clarified that the agency plans to publish the detailed results of the industry in 2020 in early February.
At the same time, there is still no detailed statistical data on the tourism market and its participants in Ukraine, Oleskiv said.
“For the state agency, this will be one of the priorities in the next  year. In the budget that we have, which is UAH 100 million, we plan to use a significant share of funding to create a unified tourism register, where all accommodation facilities and tourist activity subjects can register and receive operational statistics at least monthly,” the expert said.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers have overcome the logistics problems that arose at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shortage of certain active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), said President of the Association of Manufacturers of Medications of Ukraine (AMMU) Petro Bahriy.
“Among the general problems that have arisen with the introduction of quarantine [at the beginning of the epidemic], I would single out the problems of logistics, difficulties with the import, transportation of pharmaceutical products and their registration in connection with closed borders, as well as problems with the so-called ‘anticovid’ goods, for which there is an increased demand today,” he said in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
Bahriy noted that the price of some APIs of drugs used in the treatment of COVID-19 and complications of this disease has grown significantly in the global market – there are problems with production due to delays in deliveries.
“This is not a critical situation for the industry as a whole. We have to restructure, place orders earlier, realizing that delivery times will be longer than they were before the pandemic. For the entire time of the pandemic, consumers have not particularly felt a shortage of medicines,” he said.
The pandemic has accelerated the digitalization of business processes for 39% of respondents out of 74 surveyed managers of companies in various sectors of the economy, 42% intend to reduce office space, according to a report “Business leaders’ view in Ukraine 2020: Special issue of COVID-19” by KPMG company in Ukraine. “Leaders understand that increased digitalization is one of the main drivers of organizational development. Companies have to reсonsider what customers want and how they can achieve it,” the report said on Friday.
However, capital shortages and a lack of consensus on key technology trends are the biggest challenges in accelerating digital transformation, the report said.
At the same time, the most successful were converting operations into a “figure” (39% of respondents) and the creation of new digital business models and income streams (36%), according to the survey, which was conducted from July 15 to August 31 of this year.
At the same time, 30% indicated that progress in digitalization not only accelerated, but put the company forward for years to come.
When asked about the barriers to digital transformation, 22% indicated a lack of capital to accelerate progress (7% globally).
According to world leaders, the biggest challenge is to focus efforts and investments in areas that will be promising in the future, while avoiding areas that may be only a short-term response to the pandemic.
As a result, 33% of global CEOs identified the biggest challenge in accelerating digital transformation as “a lack of understanding of future operational processes.” Companies need to understand if COVID-19-related changes (such as consumer behavior) are indicative of an ongoing trend, or just a temporary effect of the pandemic.
In Ukraine, “a lack of understanding of future operational processes” was recognized as the main challenge by 14% of managers , the authors of the report said.
Regulatory pressures were cited by many respondents as the top threat to businesses in 2020, while executives prioritized staff shortages last year.
“This risk continues to be on their radar, but has shifted to fourth position,” added the authors of the reports.
At the same time, according to the survey, 73% of respondents in the world and 39% in Ukraine are convinced that remote work has expanded their access to the pre-personnel reserve.
Around 30% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in Ukraine went online during the pandemic, Director of the Department for Transaction Business of TAScombank Yevhen Zakalata has said.
“As for Ukraine, quite a lot of enterprises are developing online. We can see a growth in carriers, and not just under conditions of the pandemic, carriers grow by 20-40% annually in principle. Around 30% of all SMEs went online and every second business expects an increase online sales,” he said during an international conference titled “Online Banking – the Time of Innovation.”
Zakalata presented data from the Shop Express platform, a partner of the bank whose core business is development of websites for online shops. According to the data, 92% of 1,271 new online shops developed by the platform in March-May 2020 did not practice online sales before the pandemic.
“This does not mean that all of these clients today receive online payments, but at least they have started selling online, which is the first step taken by these clients towards carrying out transactions online,” he said.
According to the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU), as of January 1, 2020, the main owner of TAScombank was Sergiy Tigipko (99.93066% of shares).
According to NBU data as of June 1, 2020, TAScombank was ranked 18th in terms of total assets (UAH 20.675 billion) among 75 banks operating in the country.
Kyiv budget losses already reach about UAH 1.5 billion because of pandemic of coronavirus (COVID-19) disease, Mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko said.
“Well, today it is difficult for everyone. We live in completely different realities during two months. Some lost their jobs, some went on leave without pay, some began to earn much less. The city is also losing money. According to our estimates, the losses of the city budget reach about UAH 1.5 billion due to the pandemic,” Klitschko said at an online briefing on Wednesday, May 13.
“If the situation worsens, the capital will decide on additional budget adjustments. After all, we practically do not receive taxes and fees that came to the city from small and medium-sized businesses. However, we understand how difficult it is for business and what it needs to be supported. So, we do everything, what we can do in this situation,” the mayor said.
Klitschko said that the city provided a 50% discount for small and medium-sized businesses to pay for the rental of communal property. If it is impossible to use the facility, for a period of restrictions as well, tenants of communal property were exempted from payment under lease agreements. Moreover, from March 1 to April 30, individual entrepreneurs were exempted from paying a single social security tax.
“With understanding the fact, that the business has losses and it needs help, we prepared a decision of Kyiv City Council on the introduction of symbolic fixed payment of shares in the amount of UAH 1 for summer and seasonal areas of cafes and restaurants. Namely, before the end of October for summer areas, and before the end of December for seasonal ones,” the mayor said.
In addition, the summer and seasonal areas that received documents in 2019, the Department of Urban Planning and Architecture of Kyiv City State Administration will issue new documents for placement without processing and unnecessary approvals, for a period of two working days. Such procedure will concern new areas that want to work in compliance with all requirements.
“I would like to remind that the city authorities resumed cooperation with the Entrepreneurship Development Fund, the former German-Ukrainian Fund. Entrepreneurs of the capital will be able to get financing from the fund for the implementation of investment projects. The city also provided funds in the budget for financial and credit support of the business. It is more than UAH 7 million. Due to these funds, Kyiv entrepreneurs will get the compensation of 50% of the interest rate on loan agreements with the fund. We understand that small and medium-sized businesses are the basis of the city’s economy, and it must be supported and encouraged. It will be difficult for everyone, but I am convinced that by joint efforts and constructive cooperation we will overcome this challenge,” Klitschko said.