Ion Guzun: Public authorities are graded with a "six" for their COVID-19 crisis management

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, state institutions have been inconsistent in their public communication and their actions in different fields of activity. On a grading scale ranging from "one" to "ten" for crisis management, cumulatively, the authorities would receive a "six". Medical institutions and health care workers get a "ten plus" for their outstanding conduct during the crisis, even though they lacked simple protective equipment. These opinions were voiced by Ion Guzun, legal advisor to the Legal Resources Centre from Moldova (CRJM), at a public debate titled "COVID-19 crisis management efficiency in Moldova", organized by the Association for Participatory Democracy ADEPT.

Ion Guzun said that the situation that occurred in COVID-19 medical buildings made it clear to both doctors and confirmed patients that corruption, in particular public procurement fraud, has greatly affected the ability of having a quality medical system.

"So far, they didn't seem alarmed when we said that funds were misappropriated at the Republican Hospital, that is that some money was spent inappropriately while purchasing ambulances. However, the pandemic exposed that we could have had more and better equipment. Unfortunately, law enforcement agencies did not conduct investigations on time, investigations were politically obstructed and the courts did not really punish acts of corruption, including in the field of health care", said the CRJM advisor.

In his view, it is without a doubt that state authorities and medical institutions have differently managed the pandemic crisis, thus should be graded differently.

The expert reminded of the executive's assumption of responsibility for adopting several measures to support the economy in the context of the crisis. However, upon detailed examination, it was found that these measures regulated or deregulated "cigarettes or electronic cigarettes" - things that, according to Ion Guzun, have nothing in common with the pandemic.

According to the expert, "through various tricks, which have been previously widely applied, several provisions that sought to narrow human rights have been enacted". For example, access to public information has been greatly narrowed for journalists, who transmit information to the public.

"These examples show that while enacting measures aimed at revitalizing the national economy, state institutions have also passed several provisions that have narrowed human rights", said Ion Guzun.

The debate was conducted as part of ADEPT’s project "Keeping an eye on the authorities: managing the Coronavirus emergency and crisis", with the support of the Good Governance Department of the Soros Foundation Moldova.

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