Igor Boțan: Authorities must tighten restrictions to prevent spread of Omicron

Although initially some believed the new coronavirus variant could be beneficial to a certain extent, working as some sort of vaccine where people achieve immunity at the cost of developing only milder forms of the disease, it turns out not to be the case, said expert Igor Boțan during a debate organized by IPN.

“A pandemic wave lasts about half a year, and in developed countries, where the intensity of communication is very high and the level of urbanization reaches over 70%, these waves spread relatively quickly. In this part of the world where we live, a new wave comes about 2-3 months late. In Europe, the Delta wave began to develop actively in May of this year, when Romania and Moldova were only seeing tens of new cases per day, but the situation worsened later. The same situation awaits us with the Omicron variant, only this new strain is much more contagious. So, after the winter holidays the new pandemic wave will inevitably come to Moldova”, explained Igor Boțan.

According to the expert, in terms of coronavirus restrictions, Moldova is somewhere in the middle among European countries. “With the spread of Omicron, the authorities must consider tightening these restrictions, otherwise the medical system may not be able to withstand this new pandemic wave.”

In terms of human rights, Moldova follows exactly the ECHR jurisprudence on ensuring human rights during a pandemic, but also regarding vaccination, says the expert. A ruling by the Constitutional Court in the autumn of this year states that access to justice through Zoom hearings is fair and does not violate human rights. “We have to adapt and listen to doctors’ advice, there is no other solution ", said Igor Boțan.

In his opinion, the Moldovan authorities are reacting appropriately to the new pandemic wave. “Now that the fourth wave has begun to decline, the Ministry of Health has published the sixth edition of the protocol used for the treatment of COVID-19. I believe that the Omicron variant, which is growing in Europe and America, will be studied and the Moldovan authorities will amend the protocol for the treatment of COVID-19 in time. At the same time, citizens who are not vaccinated or who have false vaccination certificates should be treated in a friendly manner so that these patients do not isolate themselves and, if they have health issues, consult their doctor in time, because it is the only way to heal these people and not allow the new wave of COVID-19 to spread. Moldova must take over the practice of some European countries, such as Germany, which imposed severe fines on those who issued false vaccination certificates”, said Igor Boțan.

The expert also said that, according to the Government’s Action Plan, in 2022 an immunization rate of only 50% is expected to be reached, and this is a signal that the executive is giving in to the citizens’ distrust in vaccination. “We need to prepare the people and hospitals for the fifth pandemic wave. Wave four, Delta, started in Moldova in August, during the holidays, when our fellow citizens, mostly from Italy, Russia, were detected with COVID-19, according to official statistics. Measures are needed as a whole, in order not to allow this new wave to grow unprecedentedly”, warned Igor Boțan.

The debate titled “Omicron, the 2021 legacy for 2022. What do we do with it?” was the 220 installment of the “Developing Political Culture” Series run by IPN with the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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