New quarantine rules will take effect in the country from August 1, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said during a press briefing in Kyiv on Wednesday.
“From August 1, new rules regarding quarantine restrictions begin to operate in Ukraine. We have made a distribution into four zones, each will have different restrictions. The softest will be in the ‘green’ zone – mask mode, keeping a distance, one person per 5 square meters at public events, when visiting cinemas and theaters, the occupancy of the hall is no more than 50%, in public transport transportation is exclusively within the seating area. Regarding the crossing of the border between the ‘red’ and ‘green’ zones within the country, traffic will be limited in the ‘red’ zone, appropriate posts will be set up at the crossing,” he said.
The minister stressed that new rules are introduced for the division of countries into “red” and “green” zones.
“Regarding the arrival from abroad from August 1, the statistics will be updated every seven days. We will also change the indicators – if we are currently measuring the number of active patients in the country, then from August 1 this will happen like in European countries. There will be two indicators – if the increase in patients over the past 14 days exceeds such an increase in the territory of Ukraine and if the percentage of increase in the last 14 days compared to the previous 14 days is more than 30 people,” Stepanov said.
Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal expects in 2020, after the quarantine is over, a meeting of the Ukrainian-Italian Council on Economic Cooperation and the holding of a common business forum.
“After the quarantine is over, we expect to hold a meeting of the Ukrainian-Italian Council for Economic Cooperation and organize a joint business forum as part of the visit of Prime Minister of Italy Giuseppe Conte to Ukraine this year,” the government’s press service quoted Shmyhal as saying following a meeting with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Italian Republic to Ukraine Davide La Cecilia and a delegation of representatives of Italian companies operating in Ukraine.
The Ambassador of the Italian Republic to Ukraine Mr. Davide La Cecilia, in turn, added that Ukraine is of interest for investors.
“Italy is one of Ukraine’s first commercial partners at the global and European level, and we have set a goal of increasing investment and deepening economic cooperation,” said Cecilia.
The parties agreed to intensify cooperation in various areas of the economy, in particular, in the development of energy, agribusiness and infrastructure.
The capital is planning to introduce the first phase of easing restrictive quarantine measures from May 12, Mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko said.
“We are approaching May 12, the day from which we plan to introduce the first stage of easing restrictions in the capital. We plan to open in Kyiv: non-food stores (with a total area of up to 300 square meters), hairdresser and beauty salons (by appointment and not more than one client for each service at the same time), parks and squares, walks in groups with a limited number of people, small architectural forms, with the prohibition of the consumption of food and drinks on the spot, small-sized production facilities of non-food goods and consumer services (atelier, domestic services, etc.),” Klitschko said at a briefing on Friday.
According to him, lawyers and notaries, auditors, as well as drive-in theaters, open-air museums, and libraries will be able to work (so far only lending books service, without reading rooms).
The mayor said that compliance with safety rules by employees and visitors of institutions is required.
“Thermometry of employees and visitors is mandatory. Following safety rules is required. If a client has no mask, he either does not enter the room, or it is the responsibility of the service provider who must provide a client with a mask,” Klitschko said.
The mayor said that at the first stage of easing, large shopping and entertainment centers, as well as schools, kindergartens, playgrounds, coastal recreation areas will remain closed.
He said that ground-based public transport will work at the first stage of easing.
“That is for sure until May 22. However, we will increase the number of routes to those areas that are not currently covered. The increase in routes will concern electric vehicles, namely, trolleybuses and trams,” Klitschko said.
According to him, businesses that will begin work should solve the issue of bringing its employees to workplaces.
“Metro, as I have repeatedly said, will be opened by decision of the government. It will not be right away,” the mayor said.
According to him, at the first stage of easing restrictive measures, the government allowed the summer areas of cafes and restaurants to work. The capital’s emergency committee approved the conditions for their work on Friday.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has emphasized that the relaxation of quarantine restrictions in the country should pass in a disciplined and gradual manner.
“Every day, the number of people who have recovered from coronavirus is growing steadily. This is a positive trend that adds optimism. At the same time, if we want to preserve all this, we should not relax, and should withdraw from quarantine in a disciplined and gradual manner,” he said in a video message to Ukrainians on Wednesday.
Zelensky recalled that the first quarantine mitigation would occur in five days.
Вefore the introduction of quarantine due to the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Ukrainian business improved its expectations regarding the slowdown in inflation in the next 12 months to 5.1% from 7% early this year and the strengthening of the hryvnia to UAH 26.01/$1 from UAH 27.43/$1.
According to the quarterly business outlook survey conducted by the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) from February 4 through March 4, 2020, business was more restrained in expecting growth in production of goods and services in Ukraine in the next 12 months. Thus, almost 30.8% (37.6% a quarter earlier) of respondents expected an increase in this indicator, another 48.7% (45.5%) believed that they would remain at the same level.
According to the survey, business activity of Ukrainian enterprises decreased to a moderate level amid a reduction in the Business Outlook Index (BOI) for the next 12 months to 110.5% from 112% a quarter earlier.
The decrease in BOI was insignificant due to high business estimates for the total sales of own-produced products, investment costs for machinery, equipment and inventory, as well as the financial and economic condition of enterprises.
According to the survey, the share of companies expecting improvement in their financial and economic condition over the next 12 months fell to 27.6% from 28% the previous quarter, while those forecasting deterioration increased to 10.8% from about 10%. The regulator said that all surveyed enterprises, except for the water supply sector, had optimistic forecasts, and the mining industry had the most optimistic forecasts.
The number of unemployed in Ukraine in the first two weeks of quarantine increased by 500,000-700,000 people, over the next two weeks, in April, by another 500,000-600,000 people, to 2.5-2.8 million people, the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UCCI) has said.
“According to the estimates of the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the unemployment rate today is 13.7-15.4%. This is the highest rate in the last 15 years,” the press service said citing president of the chamber Hennadiy Chizhikov.
This figure does not take into account the number of labor migrants who returned to Ukraine after the start of pandemic, he added.
About 4 million people were employed in the “stopped” industries, he said.
“A survey of companies conducted by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry shows that 26% of them plan to reduce staff, another 30% have not made a final decision,” the expert said.
According to the agency, the total amount of support for businesses through tax exemption in March and April stood at UAH 9.3 billion, of which UAH 900 million was support for small businesses, which suffered the largest losses during quarantine.
“The estimated losses of only two sectors – beauty salons and passenger transportation – amount to about UAH 1.5 billion over a month and a half of quarantine. Losses of the entire businesses “in quarantine” are many times more,” he added.
As reported, according to the State Employment Service, on April 13 the number of registered unemployed amounted to 387,500 people, over the week this figure increased by 36,200 people.