A year of COVID-19 in Moldova in retrospect

The SARS-CoV-2 virus that was detected in Moldova for the first time last March claimed over 4,000 lives so far. The health authorities reported about 191,000 cases of COVID-19. Some of the people contracted the infection more than once. In the national hospitals, there are now over 4,000 patients infected with the novel coronavirus. Over 300 of them are in a very serious state. IPN retrospection:

March 7
The first confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported in a woman aged 48 who returned from Italy and who was hospitalized in a serious state. The National Extraordinary Public Health Commission issued an orange alert for COVID-19. When returning to the country, all the persons have to self-isolate at home for 14 days after filling out epidemiological forms.

March 11
The education institutions were closed. In the course of the month, these switched to online learning. All the social, cultural and sport events were banned.

March 13
A red alert was issued. At international level, the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

March 16
All the trading units, except for drugstores, shops and gas stations, were closed. The markets, eateries, cafes, restaurants were also closed. Air traffic was fully stopped. Foreigners were banned from entering Moldova, with small exceptions.

March 17
Parliament adopted a decision to declare a state of emergency in Moldova for 60 days, as from March 17, at the suggestion of the Government. The Transnistrian administration also declared a state of emergency on the left side of the Nistru. The police started to impose fines for non-observance of the quarantine regime.

March 18
COVID-19 claimed the first life in Moldova. It was a woman aged 61. The number of infected persons at the end of March rose to 300, while the death toll to five. The authorities decided to open COVID-19 units in districts. A triage center was set up in Chisinau.

April 30
The number of deaths associated with COVID-19 rose to 116, while of infections to over 3,770. The development partners offered Moldova assistance in the form of protective equipment, computers for students and teachers for ensuring online learning. The holding of religious ceremonies in churches was banned. The celebration of the Sunday of the Dead was transferred to the start of June.

May 16
A state of public health emergency was declared in Moldova for the period between May 16 and June 30. The wearing of masks in public transport, in commercial and closed public areas and in other places became mandatory nationwide. Ninth grade graduation and Baccalaureate exams were annulled.

June 1
Libraries and museums resumed work without organizing large-scale cultural events. The markets in Chisinau and Baltic reopened. Wedding, birthday, christening and other kinds of ceremonies remained restricted.

June 17
A new record number of COVID-19 cases was reported - 478 infections during one day. The total number of infections was of 12,732. The death toll stood at 420. In the second half of June, the markets in the municipality of Chisinau started work according to a shortened program. Shopping centers were banned from working on the weekend.

June 23
The state of public health emergency was extended until July 15. The presence of persons in groups larger than three, of persons older than 63 outside home and in public places without an urgent necessity and of children and adults at playgrounds, sports grounds and places of recreation was still banned. The education process at general, professional and higher education institutions and the children’s summer and recuperation camps remained suspended.

July 15
The Republic of Moldova passed the ceiling of 20,000 infections with the novel coronavirus. As many as 659 persons succumbed to COVID-19 by then. Globally, COVID-19 caused over 600,000 deaths. The authorities decided to extend the state of emergency until August 31.

August 1
Swimming pools ceased operations. The theater and concert institutions on August 1 restarted the rehearsals, artist training activities and organization of cultural events in the open air with the participation of not more than 50 persons. Festive events were banned as of August 1, expect for wedding and christening ceremonies, in public eating places with the involvement of at most 50 persons.

August 17
Private kindergartens reopened, but only after inspectors determined that the instructions on COVID-19 were obeyed.

August 26
The National Extraordinary Public Health Commission decided to extend the state of public health emergency until September 15. As many as 624 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Moldova, taking the total number to 34,900 cases. The death toll was of 967. The State University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Nicolae Testemiţanu” was the first institution in Moldova that registered the data about the complete genome SARS-CoV-2 in the GISAID international repository.

September 1
The students of private and public schools returned to classrooms. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, the education institutions didn’t organize school year start festivities and the program of study takes place depending on the learning model chosen by the founder. Activity in classrooms could start after ensuring physical distancing of at least 1.5 meters and making sure the anti-epidemiological measures were obeyed.

September 4
It was reported the first case of death among children confirmed with the novel coronavirus. This was a girl aged 15 from the municipality of Chisinau. She suffered from comorbidities, such as severe viral hepatitis, kidney failure and stroke.

September 8
Nicolae Furtună resigned as director of the National Public Health Agency following a meeting called by Prime Minister Ion Chicu. In a TV program, Nicolae Furtună said that COVID-19 all over the world claimed the lives of those who were a burden for them and for those around. According to him, from medical viewpoint, the “burden of infection with COVID-19” is correct, not yet from social viewpoint and as regards the suffering.

September 14
The National Extraordinary Public Health Commission extended the public health emergency until September 30.

September 28
Remdesivir that is used to treat patients infected with COVID-19 got to Moldova. Almost 50,800 cases of COVID-19 and 1,287 associated deaths were reported in Moldova. The global death toll stood at over 1 million.

October 1
A state of public health emergency was declared in 26 territorial-administrative units that were placed under red alert, including the municipalities of Chisinau and Bălți. About 1,000 new infections were reported daily in the county.

October 13
Red alert in connection with the spread of SARS-CoV-2 was issued for 35 territorial-administrative units. Hâncești, Leova and Soroca districts were under orange alert. According to the Ministry of Health, the number of cases of COVID-19 was of 62,600, while of associated deaths was of 1,478.

November 1
Presidential elections were held in Moldova. The voters presented themselves at the polling stations with own pens and wearing masks. The persons who were unable to travel to polling stations, including those with symptoms of acute respiratory infections, could vote at the place of stay after filing an application. Even if the Transnistrian authorities maintained the restrictions until December 1, on the election day they allowed those with Moldovan papers to go to polling stations established on the right side of the Nistru. The runoff vote was held on November 15 in similar sanitary conditions.

November 18
The Republic of Moldova got 1,607 new cases of COVID-19 during 24 hours, this being a new negative record. The death toll from COVID-19 was 2, 072 cases. Mask wearing became mandatory in public places in the municipality of Chisinau for all categories of people, including in public transport. A state of public health emergency was declared for November 30, 2020 - Janaury 15, 2021.

December 1
The authorities approved the cultural-artistic program devoted to Christmas and New Year, which was different from the earlier ones. To reduce the risk of infection with the novel coronavirus, most of the activities were moved to TV and social networking sites.

December 14
Changes were made to protocol concerning infection with the novel coronavirus. The patients who received treatment for mild and moderate forms of COVID-19 at home or who were under recovering stated to benefit from compensated drugs. Patients with moderate forms stated to be treated at home, as the asymptomatic ones and those with mild forms of the disease were. The Government approved amendments to the budgetary-fiscal policy by which a lump sum of 100,000 lei is provided in the case of a health worker who dies from COVID-19. One week before the winter holidays, the students switched over to online learning.

December 31
As many as 977 infections with COVID-19 were reported on the last day of the year, taking the total number to 144,818. The death toll was of 2,985. The development partners continued to make donations of protective equipment and medical supplies.

January 13
The state of public health emergency was extended until February 15. The National Extraordinary Public Health Commission ascertained that the epidemiological situation remained unfavorable.

February 1
The number of cases of COVID-19 Moldova exceeded 160,000, with the death toll standing at 3,446.

February 15
The state of public health emergency was extended for two months, until April 15. The Government said the number of cases of COVID-19 during the sixth week of this year increased by about 18% compared with a week ago. The National Extraordinary Public Health Commission instituted additional restrictive measures so as to prevent the spread of Sars-Cov-2. One of them banned shopping centers from working on the weekend. The number of participants in festive events at public eating places was reduced from 50 to 20.

February 25
The total number of cases of COVID-19 in Moldova rose to 181,886, while the death toll to 3,871. The Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik-V was officially registered din the Republic of Moldova by the Medicines and Medical Devices Agency. The Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines were also authorized. Registration certificates valid for a year were issued for these vaccines. The producers were asked to present post-authorization safety and efficacy studies.

February 26
The National Extraordinary Public Health Commission in the evening of February 26 decided to institute a special activity regime at national level for the period between March 1 and 15. This way, the public and private primary, secondary, lyceum, extra-school, technical vocational and higher education institutions started to apply online learning. Later, the authorities decided to extend the spring vacation of students (March 5-8) until March 15.

February 27
The first 21,600 doses of AstraZeneca against COVID-19 provided by Romania arrived in Chisinau. 1,810 doses of this batch were transmitted to the Transnistrian authorities.

March 2
Vaccination against the novel coronavirus started with frontline health workers. More than 700 health professionals of reanimatology and intensive care units were immunized during the first day.

March 5
The 14,400 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines of the first consignment shipped through the COVAX Facility reached the Republic of Moldova. Moldova became thus the first country in Europa that got vaccines delivered by COVAX.

The National Extraordinary Public Health Commission abrogated Annex No. 1 to the decision adopted by it on January 13, lifting the restrictions on the entry into Moldova imposed on foreigners coming from “red zone” countries. All the persons who will enter Moldova will mandatorily fill out the epidemiological form and will sign an own responsibility statement by which they will pledge to self-isolate for 14 days in definite places. The persons who have the negative result of the PCR COVID-19 test done within 72 hours before embarking (for those who travel by common transport) or before entry into Moldova (for those who travel by own vehicles) will not have to self-isolate.

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