Igor Boțan: Social impact of pandemics is huge


Expert Igor Boțan said we should speak about history, which witnessed many pandemics, so as to persuade those who do not believe in the existence of the coronavirus at present as the social impact of the pandemics is often huge. “The goal is to persuade the people that the lessons that we learn and that are taught by history should be now re-learned so that we realize particular things,” Igor Boțan stated in the public debate “COVID-19: Memories of the Future or what History teaches us?” that was staged by IPN News Agency.

IPN project’s standing expert Igor Boțan said there are persons who consider there are no reasons for concern in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, in contrast to the previous pandemics like the Black Death that killed over one third of the people in Europe. There are yet reasons for concern as the current pandemic has and will have an immense impact on the economy, which, for its part, will affect a large number of people. “These things – the falls in the economy – were also visible in the case of very developed states. In the Republic of Moldova, worrisome things are also anticipated, including as regards the small and medium-sized businesses. The Government now says that the revenues collected into the state budget are by several tens of millions of lei higher than a year ago. This shows the stricken businesses make all the social payments, but do not have revenues,” stated Igor Boțan.

According to him, the authorities take the necessary measures even if there is place for the better. They communicate with the WHO and undertake and coordinate the protocols. Society went through the state of emergency that showed how the mechanism works. The relaxations followed and they led to the second wave of pandemic. “I think the measures taken by the authorities are insufficient. The problem resides in our political culture and in the people’s behavior. The response comes out when we look at opinion polls – over one third of the country’s citizens do not believe in the pandemic,” stated Igor Boțan.

He noted there are concrete cases of aggression against those who wear protective masks. “There are people who consider the novel coronavirus and the pandemic are a conspiracy. The idea that chipping takes place is imbedded and the Orthodox Church, which is the most trusted institution in Moldova, also contributed to this,” he added.

According to Igor Boțan, even if the Security and Intelligence Service focused on the monitoring of websites that spread fake news, an aggressive propagandistic segment remained outside the focus. This segment undermines authorities’ effort so fight the pandemic and it is hard to estimate the negative impact on society. Money is invested in containing the pandemic, but there are no elementary discussions with the people on the necessary measures.

The debate “COVID-19: Memories of the Future or what History teaches us?” was the 146th installment of the debates project “Developing political culture through public debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.