• While the overall number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the non-Government controlled area (NGCA) of eastern Ukraine remains relatively low at 208, this figure has more than doubled over the last week.
• Access to personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks and antiseptics, remains limited on both sides of the ‘contact line.’
• The COVID-19 crisis has further disrupted limited economic activity in eastern Ukraine, which has already been devastated by over six years of armed conflict. Many businesses have been forced to close or partially shutdown, and the production of coal in NGCA decreased by a third since the start of 2020. The prices of food and other goods reported to have increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Humanitarian organizations’ ability to organize humanitarian aid convoys through the ‘contact line’ to NGCA remains limited, with only two UN-organized convoys reaching Donetsk (NGCA) since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis in March. Due to restrictive measures imposed to control the spread of COVID-19, humanitarian convoys are not permitted to transit through Donetska oblast (NGCA) to Luhanska oblast (NGCA). No UN-organized convoy has been able to reach Luhanska oblast (NGCA) since before the COVID-19 crisis. UN agencies and humanitarian partners continue to advocate for unimpeded access to conflict-affected populations on both sides of the ‘contact line.’
Public health situation:
• The majority of people residing close to the ’contact line’ have limited access to personal protective equipment (PPE), including face masks and antiseptics. According to a rapid assessment conducted by the UN Migration Agency (IOM)i , over half of respondents reported challenges getting PPE, with some 60 per cent indicating that neither antiseptic nor face masks were available in their locapharmacy. An additional 21 per cent had no local pharmacy and lived an average of seven kilometres from the nearest.
• Most people living close to the ‘contact line’ understand how to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19 risks. According to the IOM assessmentii, 99 per cent of respondents said they understood what precautionary measures to take against COVID-19, and 80 per cent believed that people in their settlement were adhering to COVID-19 preventive measures.
• The population residing close to the ‘contact line’ is concerned with the health systems’ capacity to respond to COVID-19. Almost half of respondents stated that they had no local hospital with in-patient care, and lived an average of 18km from the nearest in-patient hospital. Some 38 per cent did not think their local clinic had capacity to host an increased number of patients, and another 30 per cent were not aware of the local clinic’s capacity. Most cited the low number of medical professionals, insufficient beds, and poor medical equipment as the main reasons for their concerns of health facilities’ capacity.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.