Policy responses for Ukraine - HSRM


Policy responses for Ukraine

1.2 Physical distancing

Self-isolation, “stay at home” measures have been implemented throughout the country, communicated through public officials and different communication channels.  After the first COVID-19 case was detected on 06 March, the first restrictions started on 12 March 2020 and were in initially in effect until 03 April 2020, which after the government declared an emergency situation on 25 March, were extended subsequently to 24 April, 11 May, 22 May, 22 June. 
The measures include:
- The Ministry of Health advises to keep at least one meter distance; the Cabinet of Minister decision taken on 29 March 2020 envisages that those who need self-isolation should avoid any contacts, except cohabitant family members, and keep at least 1,5 metre distance and use PPE in case of urgent need to get foodstuff, medicines, hygiene products, health facility visit.  
- All educational institutions were closed (12 March 2020).
- All mass: cultural, entertainment, sports, social, religious, advertising and other events, involving more than 200 people were banned in Ukraine (12 March), which was further reduced to 10 people (17 March). Only those events are allowed that are necessary to ensure the work of state and local self-government.
- Metro lock downs in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Dnipro (17 March).
- All commercial intercity road travel was banned (18 March).
- All trains (intercity, urban, regional) ceased operation (18 March), but some exceptions can be made in agreement with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Ministry of Health, or, with regard to international railway travel, in agreement with the Ministry of Infrastructure, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the State Border Guard Service;
- Passenger transportation by cars (e.g. Bla Bla car) between regions is prohibited, not including private transport (17 March);
- Only a maximum of 10 passengers are allowed per any public transport inside cities, including small buses, including “marshrutkas” bus, trolleybus, trams and other means (17 March). 
- Restaurants, cafes, shopping and entertainment centers, fitness centers, cultural establishments (e.g. concert halls, libraries) were closed (17 March), but food delivery is allowed, provided that the personnel have personal protective equipment. Retail trade in food, fuels, hygiene products, medicines and medical products is permitted as well as banking and insurance services.
- Non-essential businesses were recommended to work from home. Working restriction hours are not in place (17 March).
- Those who return from counties with community transition are obliged to self-isolate for 14 days from the moment of border crossing in specialized facilities (29 March 2020). Specialized facilities are to be set up by Oblast Administrations and the Kyiv Administration (for Kyiv). These facilities will provide medical care. The Ministry of Digital transformation has developed an electronic mechanism to track/monitor those who have to self-isolate, which started on 5 April. As of 25 June, self-isolation is not applicable to those travelers who are tested for COVID-19 by PCR method and receive negative results
- Some restrictive measures were relaxed by the Ministry of Health (30 March 2020). Markets (rynok/bazar), are allowed to operate under the following requirements: no more than one visitor within 20 meters of the market area; at least 1.5-meter distance between customers in the queue; all personnel should be equipped with PPEs and carry out necessary anti-epidemic measures; on weekends the distance between counters must be at least 3 meters. However, the decision on the opening of market places was assigned to the local authorities (see Transition measures: measures in other sectors).
- On 2 April, the Government strengthened restriction measures to be enforced between 6 April until 24 April. It is prohibited to visit public places without a mask or respirator; move around in a group of more than two persons, except in case of exigencies and accompanying children under 14 years of age; visit public places for persons under 14 years unaccompanied by adults; visit parks, squares, recreation areas, forest parks and coastal areas, except walking pets with one person and in case of exigencies; visiting sports and playgrounds. Furthermore, it is prohibited to be out on the streets without IDs; to leave isolation without permission; pay visits to palliative care and social protection institutions, except in case of urgent needs; pay visits to places of temporary stay of foreigners and stateless persons illegally staying in Ukraine and places of temporary accommodation of refugees, except for persons providing legal assistance to persons staying in such places.
- During the Easter holidays (including Catholic and Orthodox Easter) some regional authorities introduced additional restrictions considering local circumstances and potential risks leading to aggravation of the epidemiological situation in the territory. Hence, the Western regions Volyn, Trans-Carpathian, and Chernivtsi have tightened quarantine measures and imposed a closure of shops (including groceries) and gas stations for the weekends of 11-12 and 18-21 April 2020.

On 16 May the Chief State Sanitary Doctor of Ukraine issued Interim recommendations on the organization of anti-epidemic measures during quarantine for Long-term care facilities, based on the WHO guidance “Infection Prevention and Control guidance for Long-Term Care Facilities in the context of COVID-19”, covering mental health facilities and social care homes. Other specific population groups, particularly  those over 60 years of age are recommended to keep self isolation and avoid working places, except those who are employed in the critical infrastructure. People with certain conditions (e.g. chronic diseases, cancer) are being informed through different communication channels on prevention measures, including self-isolation, and algorithms to follow in case of first respiratory symptoms.
With regard to the Non-Government Controlled Area in Lugansk and Donetsk regions, the de facto authorities tightened COVID-related measures (31 March 2020):
- Retail shops, including those located in the markets and shopping centers, were closed; an exception was made for pharmacies, grocery shops, veterinary points, shops selling household chemicals and personal hygiene products
- The Post Office suspended mail exchange with the Non-Government Controlled Area territories of Donetsk region and the Russian Federation
- Railway connection between Lugansk and Donetsk NGCAs regions were suspended;
- The organization of all events (entertainment, culture, sports etc.) requiring physical presence was prohibited
- Visits to the public areas such as parks, playgrounds, libraries and cultural centres are prohibited;
- All cafes and restaurants are closed until further notice

According to the Resolution #367 of 4 June, on “Procedure for entering and exit from the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine”, persons coming from the temporarily occupied territories in Donetsk and Luhansk regions should use the mobile App "Action at home" for self-isolation. Otherwise, the entrance can be denied.

On 8 August, the Government by the Resolution # 979 applied temporary restrictive measures regarding crossing the checkpoints of entry/exit from/to the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol city. The operation of EECPs was suspended from 08:00 on 9 August till 08:00 on 30 August except citizens of Ukraine and members of their families. Those citizens who traveling from  the temporary occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol city the self-isolation can be completed if a person passed a PCR-test with a negative result after crossing the exit checkpoint. Entrants and persons enrolled in educational institutions and living in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol have the right to enter or leave independently or accompanied by a legal representative without mandatory self-isolation, in order to enter to/start studying in educational institutions in the controlled territory of Ukraine.

Update on quarantine duration extension (as of 09 October):

Due to observed violations of quarantine measures in some regions during celebration of the Orthodox Easter, by a request of the Ministry of Health the Government on 22 April 2020 prolonged the quarantine until 11 May 2020. On 04 May, the Prime Minister announced that the quarantine will be extended till 22 May but starting from 11 May 2020 the Government introducing the first stage of lifting restrictive measures. On 20 May, the Government took a decision to extend quarantine by 22 June, but also changed the modality to ‘adaptive quarantine’ starting from 22 May (the 2nd stage of quarantine easing strategy) and followed by the 3rd  stage as of 1 June . On 22 July, the Government extended quarantine by 31 August and introduced epidemiological zoning for territories, then on 26 August the quarantine has been prolonged by 31 October. As of 13 October the Government once again extended the adaptive quarantine by the end of 2020 and as of 11 November introduced a “weekend quarantine” throughout Ukraine (details in the section 1.3)

The biggest Ukrainian mobile operator Kyivstar, with over 26.2 million subscribers, has launched an interactive service that monitors how people observe the self-isolation rules, make phone calls and use mobile internet during the lockdown. The “Just Stay at Home” platform uses the aggregated data from Kyivstar’s subscribers and automatically built graphs and charts on Big Data algorithms. According to the map, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kyiv, Ternopil, Lviv, and Chernivtsi have the highest self-isolation compliance index (between 40% and 50%). As of April 20, over 29% of Kyivans have limited their movements during the quarantine, compared to almost 22% in Odesa, 19% in Kharkiv, 18,7% in Lviv. Chernihiv, Volyn and Uzhhorod oblasts have the lowest compliance with self-isolation: only 9-11% of citizens have restricted their movements amid the coronavirus lockdown. To collect the data, Kyivstar analyses the changes in base stations by phones and the distance from the zone of the primary location to a radius of more than 1,000 meters. The operator uses anonymized data of certain groups of subscribers, not of specific individuals. The government relies on mobile carrier data to get a clearer picture of how well Ukrainian cities comply with the self-isolation rules.

Additional credits: Dr Elina Dale; Dr Vitalii Stetsyk; Dr Liudmyla Slobodianyk;Mr Artem Skrypnyk;Ms Olga Demeshko; Ms Anastasiya Brylova; Ms Tetiana Dolhova


*According to the national legislation (available at https://zakon.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/1645-14/print), the terms “quarantine” and “self-isolation” mean:

quarantine - administrative and health measures used to prevent the spread of highly dangerous infectious diseases;
self-isolation - the presence of a person in respect of whom there are reasonable grounds for the risk of infection or spread of an infectious disease, in the place (premises) determined by him in order to comply with anti-epidemic measures on the basis of the person's obligation.